Friday, October 26, 2007


Back to Tennessee!

We had a retreat in Monteagle Tennessee. It’s fairly close to Chattanooga and right up in the mountains—beautiful area! We flew in and out of Nashville (we’re getting to know that airport pretty well).

Monteagle is a small town located at the top of a mountain. Monteagle is most famous for the treacherous stretch of Interstate 24 that passes through the town. It is here that I-24 crosses the mountain of the same name, "The Monteagle" a major landmark between Chattanooga and Nashville. Crawling up 900 feet in elevation, truckers and other heavy vehicles may meet with overheating or mechanical failures. It is one mile across the plateau and then begins the same 900 foot descent.

We stayed at Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse Best Western. It’s well known for the smoked meats that are served in the restaurant. We ate breakfast there. They had the choice of Country Ham or Sugar-Cured Ham. I asked the waitress what the difference was. She had a really southern accent and said something like “the sugar-cured one is sweet because it has been cured with sugar. The Country Ham has been cured with ??” I ask her to repeat it a couple times and finally she picked up the salt shaker and said ‘salt’. We had the Sugar-Cured Ham and it was delicious!!

We drove over the mountain on a neat curvy road to the Cumberland Plateau below. It was really beautiful. We had a little time, so we stopped and hiked to a natural bridge and crossed it. There are lots of caves in that area. We also stopped at Sewanee where The University of the South is located. It is a beautiful campus—with gorgeous stone buildings. We walked around the campus and it was just one beautiful building after another, but the really breathtaking stop was in the Chapel. It was filled with wonderful stained glass windows. There was a wedding party just coming in when we were leaving. I’m guessing that have a lot of weddings held there.

Since we were in Nashville Saturday night—we had to go to the Grand Ole Opry. We saw Bill Anderson, Hal Ketchem, Porter Waggnor, and quite a few other singers—a couple who we weren’t too thrilled with. We were at the late show and had to leave early in the morning—so it was a short night.


A couple of short trips with family!

Here are some of Sandy and Al's babies! CUTE!

We spend Labor Day weekend with Sandy, Al and some of their horses (there were some of their riding friends also) at the Togo horse camp—it’s only about 50 miles from our place. We went riding several times—they have a new horse for those of us ‘non-riders’. She’s a PasoFino named Feliz. Sandy keeps bragging about how smooth riding Paso’s are—and I was surprised at how quickly we moved without trotting. They just walk faster.

Sandy brought a little mini pony for her friend Susie. It was fun to watch her take it for a walk with her dog every morning and evening. Another person there was Beth Ann, who is so funny. When she was growing up, she loved horses so much that she pretended to be a horse all the time—even having her friends over to eat oatmeal out of a bowl on the floor. She can gallop like a horse and rear up and kick. She kept us in stitches—we laughed until our sides hurt.

On Saturday, Kara and Paul came and rode with us. Paul said that he could get hooked on horseback riding—and he was on a quarter horse, so he was trotting while everyone else was on Pasos—smoothly gliding along.

The next weekend, we went to Fargo, because Pam was there with her mother. Mom went with us and we had a great time swimming with Tracy and Tucker and visiting with Tammy, Steve, Pam and Margaret. It was a fun time seeing family that we don’t see too often—and Tracy and Tucker are really a couple firecrackers.

I’m way behind with my travel stories—so be prepared.

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