Half of this old New Hampshire boy doesn’t mind the cold. I think it must be the French Canadian half. Back home that half would say bring it on, I’ll just put another log on the fire. The other half, a mish mash of Dutch, Irish, English, German, and who know what else, is seeking a warmer climate.

We had to hold up at Big Ridge State Park in Tennessee for 4 days waiting for the Airstream dealer to open on Monday to get our water pump fixed. Everyday we woke up the outside temperature was between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. We stayed comfortable inside Shiny. Big Ridge was a beautiful park and Sue was having a good time taking pictures and rock picking. I had to make a trip or two into town for propane as we were using a 30 lb. tank every two days.

I was worried that when we left Big Ridge we would have trouble dumping our holding tanks. All the piping for that is exposed underneath Shiny to the frigid temperatures. After you get everything hooked up at the dumping station and you pull the lever to dump the Black (toilet) water. If all goes as expected, there’s a ‘whoosh’ and everything is safely down the drain. The worse sound in the world would have been silence, which meant that the piping was frozen.

We followed our usual routine and everything went just fine. When the tanks are empty I’ll hold the hose up while Sue rinses the inside out with a water hose. For some reason Sue decided to do something we don’t usually do.  She took the water hose and rinsed out Shiny’s piping. Lo and behold out pops a golf ball sized unmentionable and it starts rolling down the hill. Sue quickly gets downhill of it and starts guiding it up the hill and into the hole with a stream of water from the hose. It reminded me of when I was a kid playing marbles.

A music friend who I had met at Mount Airy invited us over to his place for lunch while Shiny’s water pump was being repaired. So after we dropped Shiny off at the dealer in Knoxville we showed up at Mike and Marcia Bryant’s house in Kingston, Tennessee. We had a wonderful time with them playing a few tunes and Mike made us a delicious lunch. Marcia had a banjo uke that Sue took a liking to. I can see the writing on the wall.

When we picked up Shiny everyone at the dealer was talking about the big snow storm due the next day. Because of this we decided not to push it and to sit out the storm at Edgar Evins State Park. BTW in Tennessee. With me being 62, the State parks were only $14 per night. Edgar Evins was another gorgeous park. Shiny had a temperature control problem here. Three very cold days later when we left, the roads around the campground were still snow covered. Keep in mind there are few guard rails on any of the ice covered roads in the park.


If I hadn’t had 4 wheel drive we never would have gotten out of there. We barely did as it was. When I thought we were out of danger of getting stuck I tried to get a high five from Sue but all I got was “keep your hands on the steering wheel!”. This is Sue’s version of getting out of the park from her journal entry the next day.


On to what we had been waiting for, the Natchez Trace. I was pronouncing Natchez Nawches but we learned it’s like the word matches only with an N. We got to the very beginning of the Trace and that section was closed.

trace closed

Can you say BUMMED OUT! We backed tracked about 20 miles and got on the trace but long sections of it were snow and ice covered so the driving was treacherous.


We made it to the free Meriwether Campground right on the Trace and stayed there for the night. Another beautiful area of Tennessee. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.


One thing I wanted to see was the burial place of Meriwether Lewis.


More sections of the Trace south of the Meriwether Campground were closed so we took and alternate route and made our way to Tombigbee State Park near Tupelo, Mississippi.



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