2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 12

1 Dec

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 12 – 7/23/2021

Leaving Knoxville this morning, I headed southeast 30 miles on I-40 and SR-66 to visit the Tennessee Museum of Aviation located at the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Sevierville, TN.  This museum has several beautifully restored WWII aircraft, in flying condition, and has other aviation artifacts and memorabilia, dating as far back as the Wright Brothers glider replica on display.  Flight demonstrations, put on by this museum’s aircraft, are a frequent occurrence, but that didn’t happen while I was there.  Bummer!

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/TN.Museum.of.Aviation/

It was only a few miles to where I visited the Floyd Garrett Muscle Car Museum there in Sevierville.  This museum has 90+ perfectly restored muscle cars dating from the classic ’50s, ’60s, & ’70s and some of the more recent 2000s – 2010s.  To say this museum is filled with some of the most delicious looking ‘Eye Candy’ is an understatement.  That little tour took me back to my high school hot-rodding days.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

After that wonderful trip down ‘Memory Lane’ I headed southwest 25 miles on US-441 to visit the Cades Cove Museum located in Mayville, TN.  This small museum can be found in the restored 1790 Thompson- Brown log cabin adjacent to the Cades Cove Visitor’s Center.  The museum displays many family relics and family heirlooms from the generations who lived in this area prior to the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (1934).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed 20 miles west on US-321, thru Ainwick & Friendsville to visit the Lenoir City Museum & Cotton Mill located in Lenoir City, TN.  The small museum relates the history of Lenoir City, and that of Major William B. Lenoir, who moved to North Carolina in 1810 and settled on land granted to his father.  The Mill was one of several mills built in 1821 by Lenoir to produce cotton yarns and battings.  It survived the Civil War and was converted to a flower mill in the late 1800s.  The mill continued to operate, producing flower until the 1950.  Only ruins of the mill remain, as it was burned by arsonists in 1991 and was not restored.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I headed southwest 30 miles on US-11 to visit the Sweetwater Depot located in Sweetwater, TN.  The restored 1852 Sweetwater railroad depot uses photographs and antique railroad artifacts, to tell the story of the development of the city of Sweetwater and the surrounding Monroe County area from the early 1800s.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

It was another 35 miles southwest on US-411, thru Etowah, Delano, and Wetmore where I stopped to check out the Chilhowee Gliderport located in Benton, TN but there was nothing going on at the airfield.  So, I continued southwest about 10 miles to Ocoee, where I picked up I-75 and another 35 miles southwest to visit the Tennessee Valley RR Museum located in Chattanooga, TN.  This museum is situated in the reconstructed 1920s East Chattanooga Depot and displays restored steam locomotives and other rolling stock.  The museum has antique railroad artifacts dating from the early 1800s and offers daily short excursions, and other special offerings, on their restored 1950s era steam-driven trains.

Photo Credit: http://have-kids-will-travel.com/index.php/2018/11/01/tennessee-valley-railroad-museum-

Now I headed northwest 80 miles on I-24, across the Tennessee River, to visit Beechcraft Heritage Museum located adjacent to the Tullahoma Regional Airport in Tullahoma, TN.  This Museum displays 35+ beautifully restored civilian aircraft, including the very first 1924 Beechcraft Travel Air ‘Mystery Ship’ and many others in the Walter Beech Hanger.  My favorite is their 1932 Beechcraft Staggerwing.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

After that thrilling tour thru aviation history, I headed southwest 75 miles on US-64 to visit my friends Terry and Mary, who have a beautiful home in the boonies, just across the border, near Lester, AL.  Greta (my Garmin) took me on a few back roads to get me there, but I finally made it to their house.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Terry told me I was just in time to go with him to Jim ’N & Nick’s BBQ for dinner.  I ordered their St. Louis Spare Ribs plate with baked beans, cold slaw, and a cornbread muffin.  That was a great meal!  And, I had enough left over for tomorrow night’s dinner.  It was dark by the time we got back to their house, and we spent the rest of that evening reminiscing about old times, when our kids were growing up together in Titusville, FL.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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