Monday, October 29, 2012

The Auburn v Texas A and M Game: Not Really A Game At All.

Auburn University, Alabama - Temperature High 60's, Low 40's  Auburn will attempt a second season win tonight against the Texas A and M Aggies.  We're here to cheer the Tigers on but realistically, we know it will be a long shot. 

The temperature dropped all through the day and clouds have moved in but we don't expect rain.

We took Auburn's Tiger Transit from the intersection of Woodfield and Donahue streets to witness "Tiger Walk" at Jordan Hare Stadium.  We rode with a nice crowd of Aggie fans and one really obnoxious 'Bama fan who insisted on belting a big "roll tide" every few minutes. 

The 'Bama fan received no response from either the Auburn or Aggie fans.  The bus took a very long route but the ride was comfortable and enjoyable with the exception of the 'Bama fool who surely couldn't find her way to the "capstone" else she would have been there, wouldn't she?  Or did she just come to Auburn to show her team spirit?  Wayne was courteous to her, as he always is, when she asked foolish questions to him, addressing him merely as  "Hey, Auburn fan"....  

A bus full of Aggie fans, three Auburn fans and a lone 'Bama fan.

Once off the Tiger Transit, we still had quite a walk around to Gate #10 where the players would enter the stadium.

Walking through the dorm area approaching Jordan Hare stadium on the way to the Tiger Walk.

Wayne is in his glory here.
Naturally a crowd was already assembled but we got a fair place where we could almost see the tops of the player's heads as they filed by.  All the while, the band played the usual spirited pieces and cheerleaders shouted through their giant megaphones.

Despite our long history with Auburn, this would be our first Tiger Walk and I wondered why.  When we ran upon this poster of the history of Tiger Walk, I was reminded that this "rite of passage" was still a fairly new phenomenon.

I was glad to be here even though I was embarrassed that Coach Gene Chizik did receive a low roar of "boo's" when he walked by.  I hated that for him. 

"Tiger Walk" from a distance

Being around Jordan Hare Stadium is exciting and Wayne really enjoys himself while we're there.  He doesn't enjoy going to night games though, so we'll watch the game from the comfort of home. 

We decided to walk back to the car rather than walk in the opposite direction to take Tiger Transit back to the car. The breeze really picked up while we were on campus and the temperature continued to drop. 

The walk back to the car was straight out Donahue.  We enjoyed seeing plenty of revelry and several drunken fans on both sides. 

A little too much drink going on here.  This crowd is here for every game.
They have a microphone and they direct their own pep rally with the crowds walking to the stadium.

Returning to the coach, we found Lexie and Ozzie had found and destroyed an entire pad of scratch paper, including several important papers I was working on. This means they had found their way from their window sill to the kitchen table and my work station.  Ozzie had put two of his toys in his bed... I think to take the blame for the mischief.

Moments before we found the mess the furkids had made
Not surprisingly, Auburn lost to the Aggies and the mood around Auburn, the campus and the campground is not real good.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Auburn Tailgating In A Losing Season

Auburn, Alabama - Temperature Daytime Highs 80s, Night 60's - The Auburn faithful began arriving to tailgate as usual on Thursday afternoon but the crowd is noticeably thinner. Each day we take a drive around town and through campus.  This is how things looked this afternoon.

The entrance to the Fish Biodiversity Lab area of the hayfield coming in off College Avenue... just before the Woodfield Drive intersection. Two years ago, during a Champion season, on Thursday afternoon, this lot was filled to near capacity.

Another hayfield between College and Donahue... again, lots of unsaved tailgating space.

Some of the Auburn loyal fans have made their usual private tailgate party areas.

Another view of the College Street entrance to the hayfields

The RV spaces are available at 2 pm on Thursday before home games.
I took this picture to share with a blog reader who plans to make an inaugural tailgate visit to Auburn next year.  

The plight of the Auburn oak trees is well known. For generations, the live oaks at the Toomers Corner intersection have been rolled with toilet paper the night after an Auburn win.  It's a stupid ritual and not good for the trees but it's always done. 

A couple of years ago, a mentally deranged 'Bama fan (and I use the word "fan" loosly here) poisoned the trees and it's likely they will not survive despite the best efforts to save them.  This is how one of them looks this year.  Not dead, but not really living either.  This is the part of college football that worries me. 

One of Auburn's dying old oak trees at near dusk

Partial view of Jordan-Hare football stadium

One of the most treasured buildings at Auburn is Samford Hall.
Wayne's parents met on the rear steps of this building.  How romantic is that?  

We're hopeful for the best but prepared for the worst for the game against Texas A and M on Saturday night.  Without regard to football, Auburn is a lovely village.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Auburn -- The Lovliest Village On The Plain

Auburn, Alabama -- Temperature high 81 (Sunny), low 50:  We arrived in Auburn two days ago, stayed one night in a site at Chewacla State Park from where we couldn't get satellite reception. We promptly relocated ourselves into another spot the next morning -- the same one we spent several weeks in last year.  Here we have good satellite reception and our patio space opens onto a large tree-filled yard. With a full southern exposure, the sun is hot at 81 degrees in full sunshine. Hopefully the temperatures will come down a bit in a few days.  Our plans are uncertain as to how long we'll stay here and there's no real reason to move along for several weeks.  Four home games (Texas A and M, New Mexico State, Georgia and Alabama A and M) remain before the Tigers play 'Bama in the Iron Bowl the weekend after Thanksgiving. The Iron Bowl will be held in Tuscaloosa this year and we will not attend. 
The pep rally was held here at the practice field.
It's the first time either of us has been on it.
Auburn is having a difficult football season, losing all their games except one, which was a near loss.  While the losses have caused a lot of disappointment, we support the team in losing seasons as well as in winning ones.  Today, the Auburn Alumni Association sent a email encouraging everyone to attend a surprise pep rally at the practice field.  We donned our school colors, loaded the pups into their stroller and made our way to the campus. 

Here we're all waiting for the players to emerge from the indoor practice facility. 
The Auburn cheerleaders and mascot, Aubie, cheered the team on for Saturday's game against Texas A and M.

A photo with Aubie after the pep rally.
Ozzie is afraid of Aubie (looking up at him).
The pups are wearing their team shirts too.

We stopped in at Walmart for football weekend supplies and came upon the southern traditional favorite, Golden Flake truck with an inflatable "Aubie" alongside.  

Notwithstanding the Auburn Tigers poor performance thus far in this football season, we're here to support and cheer 'em on against the Aggies this weekend.   Wwwaaaarrrrr Eagle! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lynchburg, Tennessee and Jack Daniel's Distillery

Cornersville, Tennessee - Temperature Today: High 78, Low 43:  Jack Daniel's in Lynchburg, Tennessee is the oldest distillery in the United States. It's sold in over 130 countries.  Having lived many years in middle Tennessee we both had already toured this historic facility (years ago) but had an urge to see it again -- so we did it this week while traveling through the area.
Products of Jack Daniel's  Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Gentleman Jack, Old No. 7 Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey and Single Barrel

Our tickets for Tour #14

The Jack Daniel Distillery Tour is a popular tourist attraction for visitors to middle Tennessee -- and today, even though it's mid-October, was no exception. 

We had about an hour wait for our tour, which is free but requires a ticket.

We spent our waiting time looking around inside and outside the visitors center. 

None of this was here when either of us toured long ago.

Outside the Visitor Center
All this is new from our earlier visits here.
Now, I could retype from brochures or "cut and paste" a ton of material about Jack Daniel, the man, and the whiskey he made famous in this little Tennessee town of fewer than 5,000 people.  Instead of doing that, I'm posting a link directly to the company.  Jack Daniels Distillery .  Fair warning... you'll be required to enter your date of birth before entering the site, but it's chocked full of good information about Jack Daniel, his whiskey's history, the town of Lynchburg and this seventh wonder of the modern world.  

Special wood is used to make the charcoal through which the famous concoction is filtered.

The wood is burned just to the point of becoming charcoal.
Too much and it turns to ash... Too little and it doesn't crumble to the consistency that allows proper filtration.
Each piece of charcoal is less than 1" in diameter.

This is the famous cave spring from where the water comes that is used to make Jack Daniel products.  
Our tour guide is the young, slow-talking, bearded guy on the left. His name is Chris and he did a good job.
The tour comes with a fair warning that it takes an hour and a half, is both indoors and out
 (so you'd better dress accordingly) and has more than 100 stairs (up and down). 
You can't take pictures inside the buildings and you can't leave the tour once it's started.  
The three ingredients of Jack Daniels product.  Corn, Barley and Rye.

Jack posing with the Wayner and me.
Jack was, in reality, a mere 5'4" tall and wore a size 4 shoe. 
(The bronze sculptor who created this statue made him a bit taller at about 5'6")

Me and my pal, Jack.
Jack Daniel died at age 61 from gangrene that resulted from an early morning at the office, when he kicked the company safe, injuring his toe.  Infection caused his foot, then lower leg to be amputated. The infection finally took his life.  
The moral of the story: "Don't go to work early"..... 

Inside one of the 50+ buildings that house the barrels of whiskey while it matures.
The buildings are scattered across the county for good reason.  The product is flammable. 
If one building should catch fire, the others would be out of range and could be saved.

Most people who know about Jack Daniel's Distillery know it is made in a dry county -- meaning liquor cannot be purchased here.  I asked Chris about the status of that law these days.  Yes, the county is still dry and alcohol cannot be purchased here.  A state resolution was passed in recent years however, that allows souvenir bottles to be sold at Jack Daniel's Distillery and those souvenir bottles are allowed to have some of the product in them.   Good move.
Our stop here was in route to our usual fall destination for football at Auburn University.  We'll be there for a few weeks and hope you'll share the adventure with us.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Autumn In The South... Relax And Sigh

Our mad dash across the Midwest began to wind down with a three day stop on the Indiana side of the Ohio River.  Horseshoe Bend Campground at Leavenworth was our destination.  It is almost impossible to reach -- at the end of a one-lane, uphill, winding road across at least one spring.  The final one-quarter mile to the entrance was so treacherous, in fact, that I drove the car ahead of Wayne in the coach, got out every 50 yards or so, to guide him through the curves, ditches and overhanging limbs and power lines.

We found the campground to be worth the trouble. Alone, except for a few vacant weekender units, our site was along the riverbank, quiet and rural.  Between us and the river, a few trees shaded the coach from the hottest sun of the day.  A large grassy field lay on the other side and a great wooded mountain beyond that.

It was here in this setting that we did the unthinkable:  We unleashed Lexie and Ozzie.  It was my idea, but Wayne reluctantly agreed. We knew Lexie would follow Ozzie, who would come to us when we called.  The experiment turned out so well that we would take them out without leashes for several more walks while we were there.  It almost brought tears to my eyes to see little Lexie following Ozzie.  So sweet. I don't know why but I didn't take a single photo while we were at this terrific place. 

We would have stayed longer at Horseshoe Bend if we'd been able to get a signal for the computer.  We're in process of making appointments for our annual medical checkups and a computer is a necessary evil for that project.  We're also looking to have the electric toilet flush apparatus repaired and we'll need the computer to locate a Thetford dealer for that.  We moved along the third morning.

We spent the next night at Optimist Park Campground in the a little town of Vine Grove near Fort Knox, Kentucky.  The afternoon we arrived, we visited the General Patton Museum near there but found it to be in its very early stages, sparsely furnished with little authentic memorabilia. 

Fort Knox. Cameras are not allowed on the property.
Visitors are not given gold samples. Drat.

From the George Patton Museum.  I think Wayne said this is one of his uniforms.
Pearl handled pistols were in the museum.... but not the real ones.  The movie prop ones. Egad.  

The grounds of the Patton Museum had several large guns and tanks.

The furkids and I enjoyed strolling outside while Wayne visited the museum.

Fall is in the air and we feel it. The tree covered mountains are green, rust and yellow. This is a wonderful time of year to be in the south and we like camping in the woods, building campfires and walking in the leaves.  Those who know me know I become obsessed with finding dead wood for my campfires. It's just not the same with those purchased bundles of firewood.

This is Columbus Day Weekend and we're at Moutardier Corp of Engineers Campground on Nolin Lake River near Leichfield, Kentucky.  We had one night of steady rain but three days of sunshine.
Our campsite at Montardier Campground

An afternoon outdoors.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cornfield County Crossing

Tonight we're in Wisconsin. But just barely. We're just east of the Mississippi River, in Onalaska, Wisconsin, having left Madison, South Dakota this morning at 9:30. 

We did not see the Pipestone National Monument, Hormel's Spam Museum, the Jolly Green Giant or the large ball of twine that were all easy stops along the way.  Wayne has ants in his pants, I think. 

The bee-line across Minnesota was made on I-90 along the very southern edge of the state where there are miles and miles of cornfields.  Wayne called it a ride through "Cornfield County" and we both got a chuckle thinking about the antics and corny jokes told on the old TV show, HeeHaw.

While our route today might not have been through the most beautiful part of Minnesota, the agriculture was beautiful in it's own way and it's nice to know that each Minnesota farmer feeds 177 people every day -- or was that billboard in South Dakota?  It really doesn't matter, we enjoyed seeing it all.

An absolutely gorgeous Harvest Moon led us across the Mississippi River and into Onalaska at dusk tonight. We'll move along in a generally eastward direction tomorrow morning. 

Why the hurry?  I'm not sure actually.  Wayne grew tired of being in the drought stricken western states and needed to see some green -- which he will have plenty of tomorrow, I think.  Ultimately, we'll make our way south... perhaps to middle Tennessee, south Alabama and then into Florida for another go of it for winter.  Any or all of that could change...