Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rock Island

The Spring Castle
A spring house used for refrigeration by employees of the old cotton mill that is located immediately across the road from the castle..............

As long as I have known my Mountain Boy he has wanted to get a fishing boat but somehow we never seemed to make it happen.
A boat was a topic of much discussion between us especially when we were in Alaska, both of us believing that in a land locked town with so many islands within easy boating distance, a water craft was a must.
It would have opened up a whole other world for us and we knew it.
We never got around to getting a boat while we were there and I am very thankful for that now.
If we had gotten one in Juneau it would have either been an intolerable hassle to sell quickly before leaving town, an intolerable expense to ferry back to the Lower 48, or an intolerable trip with two overloaded trucks and one ill-equipped truck on the Alcan in the Winter.
The weather in Juneau dictated a whole lot more boat than we would ever have needed here in Tennessee.
We had the opportunity this week for a small flat bottom fishing boat at a very good price and today we jumped on it.
And so we headed to Crossville this afternoon to pick it up.
Even though the weather was again changing here in middle TN, and rain and one more cold front was moving through the area, we stopped for a short period of time on the way up to Crossville at Rock Island State Park.
Although it is only 30 miles or so to the park from our home, neither one of us had ever been to this park before.
I don't know why.
Another one of those things that we never seemed to get around to.
There was not a lot of time to explore and the weather was going downhill fast, but on a cool and then cold and then very wet day we discovered an undiscovered treasure.
A small park with waterfalls and a rocky river and isolation on what felt today very much like a late Fall day...........
As we were driving home today we stopped briefly at a gas station.
While inside the station I read the headlines of the local newspaper and realized that there is currently a search going on for a man believed to have drowned at this park.
When I arrived home tonight I searched online to learn more.
What I learned is that drownings happen surprisingly regularly at this park.
I always knew that Rock Island was a popular hot-dog kayaking haven.
A place with unpredictable and wild currents and deep holes.
Which makes it ideal for hot doggers and apparently dangerous for those unaware of what this body of water can do.................
When we first arrived in the parking lot of this section of the park we heard a siren blaring in the distance and at first thought that it was a car alarm.
But it couldn't be a car alarm because it did not stop. 
Long and continuous and never ending.
Eventually we saw the signs - we were hearing the warning siren that water was being released from the dam.
Jamie was scared of the noise, and while James and LC stayed back in the truck I quickly walked down this steep set of rock steps.
Curious to see what was there I walked part way down the stairs, snapped some pictures and then reluctantly headed back.
We had to get to Crossville so did not have time for meandering or wandering or wondering what else was out here in this surprisingly lovely place...............
We made another quick stop at this beach area.
Rushing too much.
Time pressured.
I was pleased to have had an opportunity to at least take a look at this place but now that I was here I hated to be moving so fast.
I have driven past Rock Island more times than I could even begin to count over the years, and standing on the beach today I wondered why that was.
I did not know the answer.
In the past there was always someplace else I had to be - usually middle and eastern TN were places I was simply blowing through on the way to races in one of the Carolinas or one of the Virginias.
Standing on the beach today I regretted that fact.
It was cold and getting colder.  Cloudy and getting cloudier.  Damp and getting damper by the minute.
Time to go..............
I wanted to make two more very quick stops before leaving the park.
One was to take pictures of the Cotton Mill and the Castle..........
And the last to take a picture of the entrance to the Rock Island park.
The community of Rock Island is quaint and very pretty, filled with small mom and pop restaurants and craft stores.
We stopped at one of those craft stores after we pulled off the main highway, unsure of how far the park was from the highway and unsure whether or not we really had enough time for such a diversion.
LC walked out of the craft store, smiled at me as he climbed back into the truck, and told me that the lady in the store reported that the park was within spitting distance of where we were.
Spitting distance?
She really said that??
Yes.  Apparenlty she did..............
We bought a camper while living in Cody that we ended up selling before we had used it even once.
With the money we managed to put together a hard core trailer to haul our belongings across country, when we found out that such trailers are expensive and extremely difficult to find in Cody.
Now that we are back in Tennessee we have our 6 1/2 x 16 foot trailer up for sale.
We bought a 14 foot boat with a trolling motor today.
It's a humble boat that will get LC (I am certain me sometimes as well) on the water so that LC (I am certain not me sometimes as well) can fish.
Unlike campers and trailers though, this time we will keep what we have bought............
About 10 minutes after we left Rock Island the sky finally opened up and it began pouring with rain.
Between the small town of Sparta and the larger town of Crossville we began to climb up into the Cumberland Plateau and hit very heavy fog...........

More information about Rock Island:

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