(C)  2002-2013 J. Watson       All rights reserved  
Travel Letters
This summer we enjoyed the varied
RV parks, which run the gamut from
highly developed to rustic with hiking
trails and fishing streams.  Highly
developed means jumping pillows for
the kids of all ages, large pools,
miniature golf, etc.  Most gave us
pleasing views from inside our unit
as well as from under our awning.  
RV Travel notes from
the traveling gran'ma and gran'pa
Vol 23  No 2                                                                                                                                                                               August, 2013
Travelers often drive on the back roads to visit small towns in West Virginia,
Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia .  In addition to local eateries and small shops
there are a variety of things to see and do.  We toured a distillery, saw glass
blowers at work, went the length of a Toyota assembly line, visited a museum
honoring General George Patten, entered the Mammoth Caverns and even toured
the historic nuclear facility at Oak Ridge (the WW2 secret city).
Dear Gals…Your Guys...  Our grandkids…
Now that half of you can vote should we say grand people?)
…and special folks

HORSE CAVE, KY                               July 28, 2013

Seems like we just sent a letter and already there are
things to tell y’all.  Above all, we’ve enjoyed the grand
Kentucky scenery – with all the rain everything’s
green and seems to glisten.  This is in contrast to our
trip last year past endless Midwest parched corn
fields.   The view from our site is lush farmland.

This is our year to check out manufacturers – glass
products, autos, bourbon.  Samples of bourbon – but
no other samples!  In fact we couldn’t even take
pictures at Toyota – but what an operation.  

We saw a roll of steel become a car driving off the line
with headlights on.  The plant (above) extends over a
mile along the road in Georgetown, KY.

The Blenko Glass Works in Milton, WV, is an older
plant with a pleasing entrance of glass block and
plants and a pond with geese wandering about.  The
glass blowers are skilled in producing vases and
other products.  All is labor intensive.

Kentucky, to many, means bourbon, so we visited the
Woodford Reserve Distillery a small but interesting
operation housed in old stone fortress-like buildings.  
It’s a sleepy kind of business.  It can’t be rushed.  
Bourbon is placed in oak barrels and allowed to age
for at least a couple of years to reach perfection.  
Woodford is a premium label.
Last year, you may recall we visited the Gen. George
Patton museum in the Mohave Desert – this year we
stopped at Fort Knox to see another Patton museum.  
It is being totally redone to place the emphasis on the
Army's leadership development programs.  This
ranges from JROTC programs to those for top
echelon Army personnel.  It is a work-in-progress and
difficult to evaluate, but so far I saw no exhibit of
leadership by NCOs –I hope this is not overlooked.
We’ve been enjoying our stay at Horse Cave.  Our
site overlooks pasture land with cattle grazing.  We’ve
been here several days.  The photo is typical of this
area of Kentucky. And in the evening there may be
deer or we may hear the resident rooster crowing
throughout the day.   There is a small barn yard on
the campground property with chickens, horses,
donkeys, etc.  We’ve spent hours driving along
narrow roads and through small villages.  As the
name of the village implies the area is noted for the
number of caves – it’s as though the land is
WILMINGTON, NC                     September 12, 2013

With all the caves in the area we had to revisit the
Mammoth Cave National Park.  Actually, that was the
target for our touring in Kentucky.  As you probably
know, this is the largest known cavern in the world.  

The park service has a variety of tours.  Our tour took
us to see some historic artifacts, which in the broader
sense was not as interesting as seeing the vast
underground caverns.  The artifacts focused on the
remains from the locals in the 1800s, and earlier,
such as the graffiti they did with the smoke from
Have you ever visited a fish hatchery?  The Army
Corps of Engineers has campgrounds at many lakes,
dams, etc. for which they are responsible.  At Lake
Cumberland in Kentucky we stayed just downstream
from a dam and a fish hatchery.

The photo shows some of the long tanks at the
hatchery in which the fish grow.  You’ll notice the nets
above the tanks to keep birds from feasting.  Just
outside is a stream loaded with, of course, fishermen.  
Next stop…Oak Ridge, TN, where the materials for
the first “A-bomb” were produced: uranium-235.  
This was a secret city from its beginning in 1942 until
the end of the war.  How this was possible with a
population over 75,000 is hard to believe.  It is rural
and did not have security leaks; unlike today.  The
workers had no idea of what they were working on.  
(Even vice president Truman was unaware of the
Manhattan Project until a couple of weeks after he
became president.)   Oak Ridge is the focal point of
the US nuclear research, government and civilian.  

The production buildings, below, were the largest
production buildings in the world.  The output of this
vast facility was so small that it was actually carried
in a suitcase to the Trinity site in New Mexico for the
July, 1945 “A-bomb” test.  To the right is the loading
face of the graphite reactor.
The Blue Ridge Parkway generally goes along the
crest of the mountains – this is in western Virginia.  
We’ve taken this route before and enjoyed it enough
to repeat as we traveled to Appomattox Courthouse,
VA, to see the location of Lee’s surrender to Grant
in 1865.  The signing took place in the McLean
house, below.   

An important aspect of the surrender was the
arrangement to provide Confederate soldiers with
probation papers to have safe passage on their
return home.  These enabled them to ride on
federally operated carriages or trains and permitted
them to get rations at federal installations along the
way.  Though enemy combatants they were brother
Americans and Grant made an effort to ease the
transition from war to peace.  Soldiers who owned
horses were allowed to keep them. Printing presses
ran around the clock to produce the thousands of
documents that were needed.    

The Parkway in western Virginia is a beautiful area
and often provides views both east and west as it
runs close to the top of the mountains.  We could
drive for miles and hardly see a car.  

After visiting Appomattox Courthouse we headed to
Montpelier, home of President Monroe a bit north of
Now, a surprise announcement.  This
is the last issue of our
RV travel notes.

We have been RVing for over twenty
years and feel that now is the time to
enjoy the memories of hundreds of
places we've visited in the US and
Canada...especially the many people
we've enjoyed meeting -- how much
they've enriched our life

We hope that you have enjoyed
seeing America through our eyes.
Hope you’ve had a good start
on the new school year!!
(C)  2002-2014 J. Watson       All rights reserved