We had an amazing week in the Bahama islands, now it is time to hit the roads of Tennessee.
We met our friends, Rod and Jaime, in Cookesville for the HOG Rally. A week of organized rides, interesting and fun day trips and lots of laugher.
Our first ride took us to Cumberland Caverns-Home of the Bluegrass Underground. Literally, a bluegrass band in underground caverns. Unique and very beautiful. You snake through the cavern to end up at this build in amphitheater. A huge chandelier was donated to the cavern by a hotel in NY that was being renovated. Amazing that they erected this piece of artwork 50-60 feet in the air and secured it into the rock ceiling! The “amphitheater” was carved into the side of the underground cavern. There are 32 miles of caves that can be toured. We went as far as the music was going to take us and “dined” on chips, hotdogs and pulled pork sandwiches (not gourmet but it hit the spot). A very cool way to start the week.
Our second day at the rally takes us to prison. Yes, I said prison! At the end of a fantasitc ride through the foothills of Tennessee, we ended up at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. It opened in 1896 and closed in 2009. It housed James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. It is now open for public tours. If prison tours were mandatory for the youth in America, crime would go down considerably. Talking about being scared straight. This place would do it! 3 hours was enought for all of us 🙂
We really did it up that last day. We went rogue, split away from the group and headed out on our own to Jack Daniels Distillary. We have our own organizer and her name is Jaime Larue! Jaime picked our desitination for this sunny day and we had a great time. Rod and Jaimes friends, Rodney and Denise drove in from Alabama to meet us. That was a nice suprise.
The tour at the distillary was really interesting. The water used in all the whiskeys comes from the spring that is on site. The corn mush is recycled and sold to local farmers for live stock meal. The barrels are made into JD souveniers. Amazing how a young orphaned boy, raised by a local lay preacher and moonshine distiller, turned his trade into the number one whiskey distillary in the United States. The story is not only interesting but inspiring. This is a “must stop” if you are in Lynchburg, whether you drink whiskey or not. In our case, we do like whiskey so after the tour, we treated ourselves to the whiskey tasting. We all came out with our favorites, but Jaime and I really liked the Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey. Yummy!
Our next stop, shopping of course. The Lynchburg General Store is owned and operated by Jack Daniels. There are over 20 local artisians that take the old barrels and create amazing pieces of art work. Rod and Jaime purchased this amazing barrel bar set with table and stools. It will go perfect in their home. A perfect way to end our Tennessee HOG Rally trip!