This post was meant for yesterday, in fact that’s when I wrote most of it. But the longer the day went on the worse I felt. My stomach hurt, it was hot outside, and I did five loads of laundry. The most redeeming part of the day was having an excuse to rest and read a little.
Before I go play catch-up though I’ll try to sum up our weekend ‘adventure’ for you. I’m going to leave some of it out because this post got a bit unwieldy while I was clicking away, so you can fill in any of the blanks with either sleeping, cussing, driving, or eating. It’s like Mad Libs.
If you’ve been keeping up with me as you should you know we planned to take the 4th of July weekend and go tent camping in West Tennessee, looking for some property on the river while we were over there. Special emphasis on the word ‘planned’.
We started off by hooking up the boat and loading a tent, two coolers, chairs, and a duffel bag of clothes into the truck on Thursday morning… in the pouring rain. We then drove for an hour, still in the rain, laughing at ourselves for being those people that refuse to call off the tent camping trip due to gobs of water falling from the sky. We’re pretty
stubborn determined when it comes to that kind of stuff. Rain schmain.
Luckily enough, it quit raining before we got halfway there. In fact, it stayed basically dry all weekend, other than a few showers Friday night. Which was a far cry from back at the ranch, where it rained the entire time we were gone.
I started getting text messages Thursday afternoon asking if we had floated away yet, which was a tad unsettling since I honestly had no idea. I had zero phone service where we were, so checking the radar or seeing if anyone had posted a picture of the Turtle floating downriver on Facebook was impossible. (If you’re just getting here you can read all about why I’m a tad gun-shy of heavy rain now… go ahead, I’ll wait.)
I’ll save you the suspense and tell you the Turtle is still intact and in the same spot we left it this time, thankfully.
We decided to take a longer route to the state park we were staying at, so we drove up through Clifton Tennessee, which as it turns out is in the running for cutest tiny city ever. So cute in fact that some of the locals described it as Mayberry. The city literally sits on the banks of the Tennessee River, so close that if you were flying down Main Street and somehow managed to jump the little rock wall where the road ends you would land in the water.
People there (Cliftonians?) seemed to think we were a little insane when we kept talking about how nice it was to be somewhere with ‘stuff’. Probably because Clifton consists of a Main Street that is approximately 7 feet long. But unlike where we are now their Main Street is the home of a bar, a neat little restaurant, and a drug store that people actually frequent to pick up prescriptions, watch batteries, and various sundries. And I do like my sundries.
We walked around a bit and stopped for lunch at Ernie’s Smoke House, home of some of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Then we struck out towards Linden, which the hopeful little sign at the edge of town said was a short 19 miles away.
That’s when I learned my first new and unusual thing about West Tennessee: Nothing is 19 miles from anything else.
I don’t care what the sign says, or what Google Maps tells you before you lose phone service permanently. It takes an hour to get anywhere. Anywhere. If you can see it from where you are it’s probably a mirage and will disappear with a loud ‘poof’ when you get close.
But eventually, what felt like 3-4 hours later, we made it through Linden and over to Mousetail Landing State Park, where we had planned to set up camp for the weekend. There’s that word again.
The park was nice enough, but it just wasn’t the place we wanted to be. We had already decided on the way there that we wanted to look for land closer to Clifton or Savannah, instead of Linden and Lobelville like we originally thought. And staying at the park meant we couldn’t really do that with any sort of ease. You know, because it takes forever to get anywhere.
But we had a waterfront site in the primitive campground (read: zero cell service), so we set up anyway. And it was cute.
For the first time setting up we did pretty good, other than having to make a run to the next town over for C batteries to blow up the air mattress. We bought the only six batteries they had at Save-a-Lot for a whopping $3 and chanted the entire time the pump was running. I just knew they wouldn’t make it through the whole thing, but they did. Pretty impressive for $.50 batteries.
Even though the park really wasn’t our thing it wasn’t all bad. We got a little fishing in, until Marty stole my rod because his line broke. Then I just wandered about looking in holes in the ground and watching ducks. Which is what I do if left to my own devices.
We also had a great time sitting on rocks on the river bank watching the fireworks in the distance that night. As an added bonus a late night barge came through, lighting up the banks for what seemed like miles with his spotlight.
By Friday morning though we decided to pack up and cancel the rest of our reservations. We were going to take our chances and find somewhere to camp closer to the-cutest-small-town-evah.
Spoiler alert: There isn’t anywhere to tent camp in Clifton.
But we needed somewhere to park the boat while we drove all these twisty-curvy backroads, and we needed somewhere to stay that night. So after much deliberation (really it was only about 5 minutes) we decided to spring for a room at a little place a few minutes away called The Bear Inn. It caught our eye on the way in because of the dozen or so little log cabins sitting outside in a semi circle.
The cabins were a bit out of our budget, as was the room, but we splurged because I had already realized I forgot to pack any of our medicine. I managed to bring a huge box of pop tarts, but no prescription medicine. Meaning the trip would probably be cut short anyway. So off we went to park the boat (which still hadn’t touched a body of water) and check out a hotel room.
Definitely the best decision made all weekend. She put us in the suite at the end, which was a huge room housing a king and twin bed, a dining room table and chairs, kitchenette complete with dishes and a toaster, a big closet and bathroom, and a cedar chest. Really, this room was great. Not to sound too much like an ad, but it was clean and had just about everything we could have needed, down to a full set of silverware and a can opener.
After a few minutes of laying on the bed staring vacantly at the ceiling we headed back out to drive some more. I think in total we spent 7 hours Friday driving around to no avail. Not only is nothing less than an hour from anything else, but apparently Google is in charge of the infrastructure, and they have failed to inform the local officials. There are an inordinate amount of roads that only exist on Google Maps. We sat at an intersection for 10 minutes at one point trying to determine if our brains were fried from the riding around, because a road on the map clearly shot out through an abandoned barn and horse gate. We gave up on that one finally.
I won’t bore you with the rest of the details, but to sum it up for you our tent camping trip consisted of one night in a tent, one night in a hotel, dragging a boat around for no reason, two properties that were already flooded (with no rain), one that didn’t exist, 15+ hours of driving, way too much eating, one really nice property that was way out of budget, and lots of frustrating moments on the side of the road holding my phone over my head and hopping about. One realtor gave us directions to three different properties, all of which turned out to be absolutely terrible… or covered in water. I should have been more specific when I said waterfront.
All in all it was a decent adventure and we still like each other. Semi-Win.
I did come out of it with this terrible stomach ache though, which is much better today but still nagging. Fortunately I’ve now determined that the culprit is eating… so if I just don’t eat anything ever again I’ll be fine. Problem solved.
I assured Marty on Sunday afternoon that I would most definitely be dead by morning, no matter how much he protested. I was certain again last night that I would cease to exist today, but I seem to slowly be getting better. I suppose it’s possible I’m a touch dramatic.
Did you do anything fun for the 4th of July? Did you eat too much and cease to be a productive member of society? I hope you at least had an exciting weekend!
I’ll be resuming a normal posting schedule this week, with some cool things coming up the rest of the month thanks to my Start Experiment starting soon!