Sunday, August 18, 2013


Okay, haven't done this in a while, so give me a little time to get back in the grove!

Yes, I've been down and out for the last four and a half months, recovering from back surgery.  So, blogging hasn't been on the front burner.  Also, my photography has taken off and what little time I've had to get out this rainy summer, I've spent it taking some shots and posting them on my photographic art page, Paul's Art!

Also, last year, before the surgery and rain, I purchased a toy that I have always wanted.  Granted, it isn't the '69 version that began the lust, but it is a GT 500, and a beautiful Grabber Blue 2010, I've dubbed "Thunder Mule".

He, it's too mean to be a she, loves the road, especially those with lots of banked curves and frequent straight stretches.  Last winter, about a week before my L4/L5 fusion surgery, "he" did an admirable job on "The Dragon"!  He ate up the 318 curves in 11 miles.

My wife and I loaded up some snacks, my camera, and headed out for a four hour tour of Morgan/Scott Counties, Tennessee.  The whole circular trip was about 140 miles, from Harriman to Rugby, Jamestown, Pall Mall, and Crossville.

I loved the trip up to Wartburg the best, because the road is winding, and new.  We rolled through Wartburg and on down hill (seems like even though you are traveling north) through Sunbright, and on to Elgin, where we made the turn toward Rugby, Tennessee. 
Rugby Visitor Centre 
Nestled among tall pines and oaks just south of the Big South Fork National Park, lies Historic Rugby, Tennessee; a British-founded village whose Utopian dream of a better life in America has never quite died.
Christ Church Episcopal Rugby
Kingstone Lisle House
Rugby School
Rugby Library
Christ Church Episcopal Rugby
British author and social reformer Thomas Hughes, famous for his classic novel  Tom Brown’s Schooldays, dedicated the Rugby Colony amid great fanfare on October 5, 1880.
It was a beautiful day, rolling along, windows down, and listening to the engine make that beautiful Shelby noise.  No, it ain't noise, it's something else to this "sixties kind of man", it's music to the ear, and the reason I rarely play the radio, or a CD.  The back-off sound alone is worth stopping at a red light or stop sign, and then, another opportunity to go through the six gears!  Even this 67-year old loves working the clutch and effortless movement of the shifter.
So, we roared on to Jamestown, took a hard right and headed north to Pall Mall, Tennessee.
Alvin C. York & Sons General Merchandise
What is in Pall Mall?  Not much, but it is near the home place of  Alvin C. York.  Sgt. York, a hero of mine since I saw the Gary Cooper movie years ago.  It was an inspiration for my "let's play war" days as a kid, and to be where he breathed the East Tennessee air was down right cool!
The York Roller Mill and pond
Roller machines that were belt driven in the York Mill
The Alvin C. York Roller Mill, with intake in foreground
Alvin C. York (roller) Grist Mill
Alvin C. York barn and silo
Alvin C. York Minneapolis-Moline tractor
Trips like this are made much better if you look for the little things, things that you expect to never find, but you have to look up and down, and take in the entire experience.
It's the small things that make a trip, like the slab of sandstone leaning against the general store, on which someone had painted the Ten Commandments! 
Or maybe it's the little Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) growing down my the pond behind the York Grist Mill.  
Or possibly the vines about to overgrow the R. M. Brooks service station residence.  You have to get out of your "Thunder Mule" and walk around a little to see it all, but it's there.  However, it won't be there long.  It will either be over grown or decay and fall, and you will have missed it!
And, you must walk all the way down to the York Grist Mill pond and falls.  The water fall is spectacular, especially on such a summer's day as we found it.  The intake has long since been closed and the pond overflows almost constantly during rainy seasons.

Ignore the Statue of Liberty on display on the York property.  It seems so out of place, but I guess someone was trying to convey Sgt. York's love of country.  However, there is no need for it...if you saw the movie, or read about him, you know he loved his country, even though he saw no sense in leaving East Tennessee to go off to fight.  After all, he barely knew about the world situation.
M247 Sergeant York
Yes, there is even a tank there, but the most important small find there is the 1969 Lincoln Mark III behind the house.  Like I said, you have to get out of your car and walk around.
The world has to look hard to find you in the East Tennessee hills...only a draft can find most young men (like York) like it found me.
Swinging back around through Crossville and down I-40, you again come to Roane County, Tennessee.  There are lots of overlooked items of interest in your own backyard.
1954 Federal Fire Engine
Like the vintage fire engines I found on the way home!
  You can see more photos from my trip here:
and here:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Okay, I'm no Walter, or Hal, (a.k.a. Bryan Cranston), nor do I care to be, but today I had one of those "Ah, shit!" moments!

I normally wear my hair buzzed off, but I usually stop at a 3/8" length.  That was the plan today when I made my first swipe, on autopilot, but as I landed the second one, I saw the blue 3/8" plastic guard fall before my eyes, and then heard it hit the ground below my deck, where I usually cut my hair.

As "auto" arm completed the second and third plow, I saw a huge tuft of white hair also fall slowly to the ground.  It was only then that I could regain control of my arm and stop the unwanted and deep furrowing!

I ran into the house to confirm what I thought I saw in my hand mirror, and Judy only had to say, "Ooooh!"  I knew then that it wasn't a really happened.

There was only one thing to do; make it all match the clear-cut behind my right ear.  So, here is the result...waddle and all!

It seems that I am making mistakes more and more often these days, and I can only blame it on my advancing age.

How in the hell did I get to be 67 years old!  I thought long ago, after receiving my orders for South Vietnam, that my life would be short, and I would die young and pretty!

But NOOOOOooo, here I am looking at a stranger in a mirror with short, super short, grey hair.  Who is he?

I suppose I really know the answer to that question, having documented my "life and times" in this blog (Mushy's Moochings).  However, I just don't feel like I know that fun loving dude anymore.  He's gotten old, and I never really liked old people, so how can I love me now?!

I guess I will though...carry on, that is.  Memories are all I have left now and they are good ones, great ones.  Wait, I think I can make a few more before I suck it in for the last time!

After all, there are grand-kids, and I have a Thunder Mule in my stable.  So, let's ride it into the sunset.  Giddy up, get it, go, gone!