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Chattanooga, TN

2019-04-22 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Traveling from Chattanooga, TN to Lynchburg TN, and Jack Daniels, and on to Huntsville, AL…

We prepared to leave for traveling to Lynchburg, TN, this morning.  Then we realized that Lynchburg is in the Central Time Zone and we were still in Eastern time in Chattanooga.  So we had an extra hour to kill.  But we left relatively early, and had a nice drive across Tennessee.  (The highway even dipped south for a few miles into Georgia before it turned slightly north back into Tennessee…)

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We soon arrived in Lynchburg, and …

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This is their fully restored antique truck, from all the way back in 1980…

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Signage on this truck shows Jack Daniel’s motto:  “All Goods Worth Price Charged.”

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The tour began by hearing an explanation of what Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is:

The law defines Tennessee Whiskey as: a spirit manufactured in Tennessee; made from grain that consists of at least 51% corn; distilled to no more than 160 proof (80% abv); filtered through maple charcoal prior to aging; aged in new charred oak barrels; placed in the barrel at no more than 125 proof (62.5% abv); and, bottled at not less than 80 proof (40% abv).

Except for the filtering through maple charcoal, this defines Bourbon.  In other words, Tennessee Whiskey is Bourbon filtered through maple charcoal.  Jack Daniels calls this process “Mellowing”.

We started at the Rick House, where they burn the sugar maple; we moved on to the water source, deep inside this cave:

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Here is a statue of Jack Daniel standing on a granite boulder; you know, Jack on the Rocks…

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This building was the headquarters office used by Jack Daniel’s up until 1958; it was here, in about 1905, that Jack kicked the company safe one morning, broke his toe, and died a few years later from gangrene, at the age of 61.

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The owners of the company in 1958 (four brothers who had inherited the business) sold the business to Brown-Foreman for $20,000,000.  It is still owned by Brown-Foreman today.  Brown-Foreman also owns Early Times, Old Forester, Woodford Reserve, Canadian Mist, GlenDronach, BenRiach, Glenglassaugh, Finlandia, Herradura, Korbel, and Chambord.

This is the Still House; it contains four giant 90′ tall stills, which produce the clear corn whiskey:

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The sour mash waste, after it is distilled, is piped over to this facility, where it is sold to local farmers as cattle feed; it still contains 6-8% alcohol.  Talk about contented cows!

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This is the Mellowing House, where the clear whiskey is dripped, drop by drop, over a 10′ tall stack of charcoal, a process called mellowing…

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The bottling lines are always my favorite part of these tours… This is a small line dedicated to their Single Barrel Whiskeys.  It dates from 1970 and seemed to me to be very non-automated – there is a lot of work done manually, like putting on labels, hanging tags around the neck, and putting the bottles into the cardboard boxes…

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Finally, the tour over, we head to the educational part of the tour:  the tasting.  This is strictly for educational purposes only, since drinking whiskey in this county is forbidden…

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We were given five sample with which to get educated.  It totaled about one ounce; we were told about how each type is made and what the differences are.  The funny thing was that both Lynda and I found the Rye to be terribly sweet, yet the “honey” version had very little taste at all.  Our guide checked it out and found that the two samples were switched!  It mattered little – we didn’t like either of them… I found that I liked Gentleman Jack, while Lynda preferred the original…

After the educational portion of the tour we walked through one of the old barrel rooms…

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After the tour we could return to the Visitor Center.  While you cannot buy whiskey in this county, you can buy souvenir bottles here.  The bottles were filled with some sort of brown liquid…

We walked 1/2 mile into downtown Lynchburg, and enjoyed lunch at Bottle House BBQ:

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We returned to the Villa and drove to Huntsville, Alabama…

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They are building McMansions here, too…

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We parked at an RV park at NASA’s Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville…

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The RV park is very nice.  And cheap!  I wish we had RV parks in California like this for $20 per night…

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For dinner this night we met up with friends we met on the Nor’ by Nor’ East Caravan; they will also be joining us on the Kentucky caravan in a few days…

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Dinner was great!  Pork Belly appetizer and Crawfish Fritters, with a nice bottle of an Oregon Pinot Noir!

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-21 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Easter Sunday and moving from Asheville, NC to Chattanooga, TN

We had a leisurely morning.  It was cold!  41 degrees!  We had a little hitching up to do; at about 9:30 we pulled out of the RV park and drove 5 miles into downtown Asheville.  We parked at the Visitor Center (it was closed), and walked towards the First Presbyterian Church.  It is Easter!

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By the time we were approaching the church we noted that we were over one hour early.  And we were cold!  So we stopped into Mayfel’s for brunch.  The Crab Cakes Benedict was great!

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Brunch over, we walked the 3 short blocks to church.  We were none too early.  This is not a “five minute church”.  We always worry when we attend a church as we are traveling that we are sitting in someone’s favorite seat!

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We didn’t take these photos while we were there – I stole them off the internet…

This was a lovely, VERY traditional Easter Service; organ, orchestra, choir, and the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus at the end.  We were invited to join the choir to sing!  (Not just us – everyone was invited…).  It was very nice…

We slipped out after the final singing and walked back to the Villa.  We pointed the truck west and we were off.  Quite a late start for us, but the weather was beautiful, and we had no reason to arrive at our destination (Chattanooga, TN) at any particular time…

The freeway out of Asheville; different than all the other southern states we have seen…

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It was great to see blue sky again!

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We pulled off the 40 Interstate to the 74.  No trucks!  It was a beautiful freeway for awhile…

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And then we entered the Nantahala Gorge… Two lane road, sharp turns, and a raging river!

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We stopped to take it all in…

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Eventually we reached Murphy, NC, where we stopped to do a little grocery shopping…

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Soon we were in Tennessee…

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The small roads continued, with views of rivers and lakes…

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We reached Chattanooga and the Raccoon Mountain RV Park at about 6:00…

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The park is in a canyon, with views of mountains all around…

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Time to affix the sticker for the new state!

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Happy hours and dinner ensued, and an enjoyable time was had by all…

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