What an exciting, fun-filled day! On this day we experienced an amazing airport extravaganza, a fascinating tour of the Jack Daniels distillery and Jesus. But first, let me explain ……
Last night, whilst driving through the glorious green spaces of Tennessee, we were grazing for a unique place to park our Airstream overnight. Walmart and Truck Stops are okay places to use as a standby when boondocking (i.e. dry-camping with no hookups — electric, water and sewer), but the crowds and noisiness can be quite interruptive at times, with the question of safety always a factor. So why not search out the local airport, was slaDE~s suggestion.
We’ve camped at drop zones across the country. Why not non-skydiving operations as well, if they’re open, willing and able? Being a Licensed Private Pilot with 130 some odd hours of flying until my belt, I can talk the talk and walk the walk :). And that’s an important step in to building new communities and possibilities … finding a mutual interest with common dreams and values. It also helps to have a good looking trailer than has similarities to an airplane! :).
So around the airport we walked and knocked, until we found an authority figure who had the say as to whether we could park for the night. Blessed be the Fleeman family!
And park we did …. the only ones in the parking lot, on a starry-bright pitch black skied night, 5000 foot paved runway aglow, with a Wifi connection to boot! All you could hear were the chirping of birds, the waving of freshly born leaves in the wind and the occasional drone of a passing airplane. Life doesn’t get pretty much better than this.
Speaking of walking, I started out my day with a gorgeous walk in the country. Strange how passerbys can turn around and drive by several times out of curiosity to see who you are. But I carry forward at my speed-walking pace, not really giving them much notice. And it’s at opportune times like this that I LOVE carrying my camera when out-an-about in new territory and find awesome signs like this! How would you label this photo? ‘Jesus, just around the corner’ perhaps??
Before getting ready to pull out, Reford, one of the airport staff, suggested that we go and visit Joe Fleeman in his shop where he builds new and restores antique aircraft. Oh what a treat! It was like an aircraft playground with the most unique and fabulous airplanes one could witness: a cloth-winged Piper, a Cessna T-50 called the ‘Bamboo Bomber’, a Pitts Special, a Mustang II and Joe in the process of building a wooden framed Aeronca Champion from scratch (no quick build kit needed). WOW. Such brilliant talent, and Joe doesn’t even use the internet at all to acquire his knowledge. Rare indeed … old school, the way I like it!
After enjoying what seemed like our own museum tour, we made our way through to Chattanooga, but not before stopping along our scenic route in Lynchburg, home of Jack Daniels. I never knew what a treat visiting such a small town and going on a 1 hour Distillery tour could be. Lynchburg is a unique small town, population 361, rooted upon the growth of the infamous JD Tennessee Whiskey. Fascinating history around the origins of Jack Daniel and his emerging company registered back in 1861. “Even though it’s home to the Distillery, it’s a dry county and has been ever since Prohibition.” The 1 hour walking tour was awesomely unique and filled with interesting tidbits around the complete story of JD whiskey. No samples per se but lovely cold lemonade at the end of the tour helped to quench any thirst hunkered up through the succulent temptations of our tour (the wafting smell of whiskey from the vats was incredibly appealing). We had such a great day, touring the town and meeting some wonderful Tennessee people. We’ll surely be back, especially if we can go for a ride in some of Joe’s aerobatic airplanes ;).