Monday, April 26, 2010

My Old Kentucky Home

These large black barns had long hinged vertical openings along the sides to allow air to pass through and cure the tobacco. Quilt patterns painted on their sides preserve the heritage of the region.

Sampson, Markos and Tarn love to share their experience. In Springfield, KY they had the opportunity to speak to a gym packed with students full of questions.

Stormy skies are beautiful to watch, and often lead us to seek out new friends and shelter. Our experience is enriched by the wonderful people who welcome us into their lives.

The interior of a 200 year old southern church. The congregation - close knit families, a community support system.

Spring "killer" lambs and their mother.

"We've crossed the Mississippi (River), the Tennessee River, the Ohio River..." actually Tarn went on to list three or four more rivers too - his grasp of our adventure is baffling.

There's always something to look at and wonder as we travel along the road.

The waitresses of the Corner Cafe, Westmoreland, KY, treated us to an amazing spread of Southern comfort food and hospitality!

Another of Sampson's many animal friends along the way, this time at the Nashville Zoo.

Hollers (hollows) and backbone ridges - Kentucky's built us into steel machines. The tiny rural roads guide us to warm and heartfelt people. The land of Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln - dulcimers and American Saddle Bred horses.

Tanya's Song of the South

Texas mesquite, cattle, Black's BBQ
Friends and cousins
The wind always blew.

Louisiana crawfish, the Cotton Gin
Dollar General, levies and bayous

Mississippi Dogwood, Red Bud,
Cypress trees
The road, RVs and wild turkeys.

Alabama- Markos lost his second tooth
Learned of journeys and stones
A history unearthed.

Tennessee hills, biscuits
more barbecue,
Cousin Keri and Mike, a trip to the Nashville Zoo.

Kentucky is families that go way back
The quilt trail, two entry houses
and 'baccy (tobacco) barns of black.

We're still headed north - one more stop to make
then westward bound is the road we'll take.

Sampson's journal
April 22 Greenville, KY (guests of the city in the Canoe Trail cabins)
Today we woke up and I read my "Harry Potter" book and then I got dressed. Later Dad made eggs and salty ham for breakfast. After breakfast we did school and the Bobby came over and gave us our (business) cards that we ordered. (Bobby was the man that Dad had asked to make the cards.) Then we played in the rocks and water and then left. An hour later we got to Cambelleville and went to the CVS and had a granola bar for snack there. Then we went to a grocery store and Markos and Dad went in and Tarn and I and Mom read some. Later we got to a little country store and got some fresh hamburgers and onion rings for lunch. After lunch we played a little bit of pool at the country store. Later we biked to Springville and a guy invited us to stay in his little community center. It had a mural of Barak Obama and Moses on the side, it read, "The leaders may change, but the rules stay the same." (The Ten Commandments where written between the two leaders.) Later we took a walk around town and then did our journals. We had vegetable soup for dinner.

Markos journal
April 23 (Steve and Marianne's, Springfield, KY) Today we had french toast for breakfast and I helped Mom make french toast. After breakfast we did our math work, then we had a muffin outside. Then, we walked to the horse stable and we saw a horse pulling a buggy with a man in it. Today we saw some big horses that were called Saddlebred.
April 26 (Steve and Donna's, a family dinner, a dry cozy home and a ride into Cincinnati) Today we had jelly on bread and fruit for a little something to eat before breakfast. Then Donna made eggs and bacon for breakfast. After breakfast we played a little game of hang man and it was fun. Then we went outside in the garage and we put our stuff in the trunk (of the car.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, Ain't No Place I'd Rather Be

As we entered Tennessee, waterways flowed over rocks and formed cool pools, quite a contrast to the sloughs further south in Mississippi.

Markos holds a meteorite, one of the hundreds of thousands of individual stones in Tom's Wall, a monument to women, honoring his great, great, great grandmother and her journey on the "Trail of Tears" and return to her former home. The Indian removal from areas east of the Mississippi River to the "Indian Nations" area west of the Mississippi occurred in the 1830's.

Birds, bees and butterflies, quite a few topics of conversation as you travel along by tandem bicycle.

The diverse hardwood forest of Mississippi and Tennessee.

Wisteria vines take over the skeleton of this giant roadside tree.

Beavers and turtles command the waterways here.

A Lunar Moth pays a visit to the Holdiness household, a cool sighting on a warm evening!

No worries, this one is dead. My first up close viewing of a Copperhead!

444 miles of beauty, wildlife and history. Wonderful people and an amazing National Park. The Natchez Trace Parkway gets a solid four stars for bike tour-ability!

Sampson's journal:
April 9 Tupelo Visitor Centre Bike Campground - Today we woke up and I read a chapter from Narnia and did my math in the tent. Later I got out and Dad was making coffee and muesli for breakfast. After breakfast we packed up and went on a hike to "Little Mountain" (Jeff Busby Campground) and it was a half a mile. At the top we looked around and read ...(the information boards). Then we hiked back down the hill and left. An hour later we met some bicycles and two were going south and one north. We had a break there. An hour later we got to a historic site and had lunch with Loren (the biker traveling north). After lunch we kept biking and saw a dead water moccasin on the road. It's head was smashed but not it's body. It was black with yellow spots. Later we had some oranges at a bridge. Next we got to Bynum Indian Mounds and walked around. Then we got to Witch Dance and camped there. Loren gave us a science lesson on (how) planes (fly).
April 7 Meriwether Lewis Campground - Today I woke up and read some of my book, "Wayside School is Falling Down". Later I got out of the tent and Dad was making egg sandwiches for breakfast. After breakfast we played at the park and then did math. Then we went to the Welcome Center and took a shower. Later we left and we met some bicyclists that were biking the opposite way. Later we stopped at a picnic spot and had a granola bar and built a rock bridge across the creek. After break we biked to a historic site. We had jam and cheese and we waded across the creek. An hour later we got to Meriwether Lewis campground. There was a big monument where Meriwether Lewis was buried.

Markos' journal
April 14 Garrison Creek Picnic Area - Today we had pancakes with butter for breakfast. After breakfast we said good-bye to Carol. Then we took a picture. After that we got on the bikes and we rode out of the campground and went back to the main road.
April 15 Yesterday when we were biking we saw a big black snake that was alive and the big black snake turned out to be a Water Moccasin. Yesterday too, Mom saw something moving on the side of the road. Then it ran across the road and it was a bobcat. We also saw a wild turkey with a blue head. We had a grasshopper stay on the bike the whole day.
April 16 Cousin Keri and Mike's - Today we had eggs and cantaloupe for breakfast. After breakfast we fed the birds and we put some corn on the ground for the turkeys to eat and we put some seeds on the little table for the squirrels and the deer to eat. Then we put some peanuts in a metal cage on the tree for the squirrels to open the top and eat the peanuts.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Traveling the Trace

Sampson, Markos and Tarn learn how the cotton seed is separated from the lint with a cotton gin, Frogmore Plantation, LA.

Sampson tries his hand at picking cotton.

A Cypress swamp. We hear there are lots of alligators, water moccasins and snapping turtles! I think we'll be staying on the pavement!

A wash basin in the family bedroom, Kent Plantation, Alexandria, LA, mid 1800's.

Sampson, Markos and Tarn stand dwarfed beneath a giant two hundred plus - year-old oak.

The McFerrin boys size up dinner - crawfish boiled with Cajun spices, corn on the cob and potatoes. Shipley's donuts for dessert.

The Natchez Trace is 444miles of National Park parkway connecting Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. It follows the path taken by Native Americans, Kaintuck boatmen returning home to Ohio after selling their wares in Natchez and New Orleans, and Civil War soldiers, both Union and Confederate. The parkway traverses cypress swamps, hardwood forests and meadow lands. We've hit the Trace at prime Spring flowering - the white dogwood and red bud trees stand out amongst the dark greens of pines and fresh new leaves of oak and sweet gums. Roadside flowers vary in color: yellow asters, purple vinca, little red "strawberry cone" flowers, we call them, and white English daisies. The pink and red woodland azaleas are just starting to pop out.

It's time to be heading in the northward direction we are now taking - days are getting warmer, 80's and 90's Fahrenheit, 85% humidity. It's pleasant on a bike with the breeze and in the shade of trees when we stop.

Markos' journal:
March 31 Alexandria, LA Today we had donuts for breakfast. After breakfast we got a picture with the people that invited us into their house for one night. Then we got on the bikes and rode to a Goodwill and bought a long sleeve and a hoody for me. We left behind my old long sleeve and hoody. Then we got on the road again.

April 4 Today we had grits with honey for breakfast. After breakfast we played Lego and we built lots of things and each set was in a different bag. We did lots of different sets and they had lots of people and some sets had horses and some sets had little boats. There was a bag of sharks.

Sampson's journal:
April 1 (camped behind a Baptist church) Today we woke up and I read a chapter of my Narnia book. Later Dad made grits for breakfast with pineapples and strawberries. Before breakfast we did math. After breakfast we packed up and a sheriff came by and said, "Hi". Then we left and an hour later we got to Jonesville. In Jonesville we went to Family Dollar and bought pipe cleaners (to decorate Easter Baskets) and toilet paper and coffee. The manager let us have lunch at a restaurant across the street for free. So we went there and I got some nachos for lunch. After lunch we biked to the Frogmore Plantation and learned about cotton and how it's made. The we went to Will's (parents') house. (Will is the local newspaper reporter who interviewed us that morning.) We went in their pool. They have two grandsons, Milt and Jace. Later we did journals and Dad made egg dish for dinner. Today is April 1st, (April) Fools Day.

April 2 Ferriday, LA Today I woke up and read a chapter from "The Last Battle", Narnia. Then we fed the baby calf milk. Next Dad made pancakes for breakfast. After breakfast we dug in the dirt and took down the tents, then we went and checked on the cows and said goodbye. Later we got to Ferriday and asked for water at a gas station but they didn't have any. Then we got some trail mix out for snack. Later we went across the Mississippi River and got to Natchez. In Natchez we went to the visitor center and got some maps of Mississippi. Next we went to"Fat Mama's" and got lunch. I got six tamales. After lunch we went to the Longwood House (an 1860 antebellum southern mansion) and went on a tour. Later we got to the Natchez Trace. The Natchez Trace was really beautiful. Then we went up and down to Natchez State Park and camped there. Dad made chili for dinner.