Friday, July 23, 2010


For the fourth consecutive year, Jeff (a.k.a. Fathairybastard) has come to Harriman to visit me for three or four days during his summer school break. We met through our blogs back in 2006, became interested in each other’s stories, and developed a common ground for friendship. He is like a brother to me. His first visit from his home in Texas was back in ‘07.

Jeff and Denise rolled into town late last Monday afternoon, and, according to tradition, we drove to Oak Ridge to eat at Big Ed’s Pizza. The pizza was amazingly good, and, since they have added Fat Tire to their draft selection, we were in “hog heaven”!

Unfortunately, due to the heat and humidity, we broke tradition and stayed off the screened-porch this trip. It’s just been too blasted hot to sit outside. Oh, we sucked down a few brews, but we didn’t smoke one stogy together! Now that’s a shame!

However, we did have a good time just sitting around in the cool, talking, and listening and sharing to a few tunes we had stored on our PCs. As a matter of fact, one night I decided to show Jeff how I listened to my tunes back in the late 80’s. I took the fronts off my giant 100-watt speakers, complete with white woofers, and prepared to blow him away. I flipped the power button and the Kenwood fired up. It fired up so well that smoke rose from the amp!

Damn! I suppose it has been at least 10 years since I had the thing on! I’m sure dust shorted some circuit, it fried, and the smoke bellowed! The last time I had it on I blew the white rubber around one of the woofers! It’s just like me...falling apart! It’s always something!

Anyway, if anyone has a spare Kenwood KM-205 amp, I’ll buy it if the price is right! Frankly, I’m not sure I want to put anymore money into the component set. I’ll probably try to sell the individual pieces on eBay...or something.

I took Jeff and Denise to the Atomic Museum in Oak Ridge Tuesday, and, being a history prof and buff, he seemed to get a big kick out of all the Secret City stuff. We picked up Judy later, who had two doctor’s appointments that day, and went to Abuelo’s to eat. (See included photo of some of the great eats we had while Jeff was here! Click to enlarge the shots!)

On Wednesday, we headed off to Sevierville, TN to let Denise shop the Tanger Outlets. Man if was hot and they walked my butt off! ‘Course I needed it!

I even bought an Izod shirt there for 70% off! It really is a sharp shirt and I will look good in it!

One the way back from Sevierville it rained like it was pouring out of a boot! Jeff captured all the fun and posted a video on Flickr. What a butt hole!

Back in Harriman we picked up Judy and went to the local Gondolier for supper. The food and Fat Tire was good there too! (See included photo of some of the great eats we had while Jeff was here! Click to enlarge the shots!)

On Thursday Jeff wanted to ride up to Buzzard’s Bluff. If you remember that’s the place I cracked four ribs a year ago! It sits high above the Harriman valley and gives goers a wide panoramic view to this part of East Tennessee. The road is not maintained, so Jeff and Denise can truthfully say they went 4-wheeling in Tennessee! It began to rain on the decent and my truck was like a cocoon of protection from the elements and overgrowth along broken asphalt and water filled potholes and muddy ponds.

Jeff ventured out on the edge several times and Denise fussed at him for scaring her. I have to admit, I held my breath a little...after all, I know what it's like to fall up there!

We then made our way across Roane County to Terri and Steve’s place. The plan was to shoot a little, drink a few beers and smoke a cigar or two, then eat some chili, however, it rained and the forest surrounding Steve’s house was hanging wet with water and humidity. We voted on whither to move straight to “Miller time” or take a nap! I lost out on the nap, which I had been missing, so it was beer-thirty!

Jeff and Denise seemed to enjoy seeing the Dragons again, but we cut our visit short and headed to my place. Jeff and I played some tunes and then joined the ladies in the living room. We called it an early night.
Friday morning I met them at the Cracker Barrel and we sadly said our goodbyes. Their plan was to head to Denise’s family in Kentucky.

I suppose the time will pass slowly, but I am already looking forward to next year’s visit. I just hope the weather is nicer next time...maybe they can come back one spring or fall and really see the beautiful of East Tennessee without all the tropical heat! The older I get, the more I hate summer!

We always seem to enjoy each others company, even if it's just sitting quietly and listening to our bluesy
music! And, of course, we always act up in public!

For more on this visit, go to, and I’m sure he has a completely different tale to tell, and I’m sure to be the butt of his jokes!

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Ron and I were out again today for lunch and adventure.

The adventure part began at the new Frontier Arms store on Gallaher Road, between Kingston and Oak Ridge. It’s a huge place, and not yet jumping because the firing range isn’t quite ready. However, I expect the place to a hang out for many local residents once the firing begins!

yeah, we also visited my 8-pointer that I donated to Brant Williams to help decorate the store. He looks pretty good hanging up there!

We then stopped off near K-25 and I again took photos of the beautiful green swamp that has emerged there between the Clinch River and the back roads of the old diffusion plant. All it really needs is a couple of gators and we’d be in the tourist business with swamp boats!We decided to go to Oak Ridge instead of Knoxville for lunch and check out the newly opened Lincoln’s Sports Grille. The Lincoln's Sports Grille is owned by three local businessmen and a professional baseball player -- Mike Lincoln -- for whom the establishment is named. The group also includes Marcus Caldwell, Scott Green (whom we met today), V.J. Murray, and Len Hart.

It was Hart's relationship with Lincoln in Minor League baseball that brought the current Cincinnati Reds' hurler into the group.

Lincoln also pitched for the University of Tennessee before going pro.

As I stepped from my truck, my eyes were drawn to an AC Cobra parked in front of Lincoln’s. It’s always been my desire to own one of those, even if it was a “kit car” like this one. However, it looked pretty hot to me.
Just then someone hollered at me, “Paul, is that you!?”

It was about eight folks from K-25 on their lunch break. My last boss, Don Scheve, along with Brad White, Leslie Palmer, Debra Freeney, and Jim Edwards, to mention a few. It was terrific to see them again, and even Ron (my brother-in-law) seemed to enjoy the group. He had met several of them at concerts we’ve attended at the Tennessee Theatre in years past.

Lincoln’s Sports Grille turned out to be a great place. It’s much larger inside that it appears, complete with private party rooms, a large pool room, a stage that is occupied with live music Thursday – Saturday evenings, a huge bar with multiple pulls (they had Fat Tirethat’s all I needed), a two levels of tables and booths to chose from! If you smoke, Lincoln’s is smoke free, so take it outside to their large patio area with tables and umbrellas! It’s huge folks!

Now, lets talk food! I tried the K-25 (medium heat) chicken wings...and they were tender and juicy! Jim elected to try the “Cesar chicken wrap”, and I think I’ll try that next time.

Don and a couple of other tried the “tuna melt”, but Leslie liked her food presentation best (use your imagination)!

Then there was my old buddy (he’s really like a son) Brad and his “home wrecker” hot dog! Man, that thing is huge and, yes, he ate it all!


I even got to see old David has been almost 5 years since he and I shared an office. He hasn’t changed, though he’s had some health issues like me.

Ron and left the bar and headed over to the old Alexander Inn. The Alexander Inn, called the “Guest House” in the early “secret city” war days, is closed and starting to deteriorate. It was built in 1943 to serve the top-secret Manhattan Project (WWII), and serve as a place for visitor’s like J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Secretary of War Henry Stimson to stay while visiting “the project”!

Way back in the 50’s my Grandfather Williams, who worked at the ORNL (X-10) site as a carpenter. He had
a little room and I remember visiting one time and he showed me a secret he kept hidden from the Inn’s management – a hotplate he had attached to a table, and somehow the device folded down out of sight – hidden inside the table. The guest were not supposed to cook in their rooms, but he was not one to follow rules! So, the place has special importance to me because he lived there.

The good news is some money is coming in and the Alexander Inn may once again shine and welcome visitors. Many of us used to go to the bar there after work, so maybe that will happen again.

Anyway, the organizers are also making some income by recently allowing investigators with the Office of Paranormal Studies put all the ghost stories to the test.

"We're ghost hunters. We go around to places where paranormal activity is claimed. We'll check it out for ourselves and see what we can find," said Office of Paranormal Studies Co-Founder Clint Ferguson.

"There's a lot of rumors that it's haunted. We'd like to find out if it's haunted or it's not. If there's activity here, we'll find it," Investigator Pete Fransen said.

Requests to track paranormal activity at the old hotel aren't rare.

"I get a call probably every week to either take a tour to see the ghosts or somebody wants to come look for ghosts," Oak Ridge Revitalization Effort Executive Director Kate Groover said.

Heck, maybe they’ll start some ghost tours and make even more money for restoration. They may even find my granddad’s old hidden hotplate – if nothing else!

It was a great day, I even stopped on the way home and visited my buddy Gary Baker for a few minutes. He’s getting excited about restoration work on the Princess Complex that will begin soon, and the television station in downtown Harriman is coming right a long. I can hardly wait!

I stuffed a lot into one day and it felt good...just like old times!