On Monday we had another short trip pulling the RV north to Tennessee. The trip was mostly on state highways and took about 1.5 hours. Our next destination was the TVA campground at Pickwick Dam on the Tennessee River. We had stayed at this campground last spring and remembered it as a lovely campground with a nasty odor from the pulp mill across the river most of the week. Thankfully, the campground was just as nice and the odor was not nearly as bad as last year all week. I guess either the pulp mill was not in full operation or we had favorable winds. I also remembered they made it difficult to back-in your RV by putting up railroad ties on both sides of the pad that are not much wider than the wheel base. Along with trees, posts, and other obstructions across the road making it difficult to swing the truck, it took me four attempts before I got the RV going at the correct angle. Once I got everything lined up properly, backing it in was not a problem, although the RV was still at a slight angle since the railroad ties made it very difficult to change the orientation very much. Other then this problem, this is one of the best maintained campgrounds we have ever stayed in. While it did fill up over the weekend, for the most part it was very quiet and serene, even with the multiple barges going through the locks each day and into the night.
Since there were no hiking trails in the campground, we decided to cross the Tennessee River on Tuesday to the Pickwick Landing State Park just on the other side. Last year we had spent out time here visiting Shiloh Military Park, so this was our first time to the state park. Along with all the water activities associated with the lake, the park operates a full golf course and marina. Supposedly they also have a disc golf course, however, I saw no evidence of it from their maps. Since we were there for a hike, I figured I would check into more fully later in the week. They do have one nice hiking trail that is a 2.8 mile loop going out a peninsula into the lake above the dam. Along with some nice views of the lake and dam, there is also the remains of the CCC camp that built the original dam on the river and the remains of the docks used when the area was logged. The trail is relatively flat as it winds through the woods overlooking the lake. The only challenge was a bridge across a stream emptying into the lake that was underwater due to the high level of the lake in the spring. Since this was very early in the hike, we decided to cut upstream to look for a place to cross the stream. We were obviously not the first to take this detour as there was a faint trail along the stream. Except for scaring up a water snake that immediately dove into the stream, we managed to find a narrow spot without too much trouble. Kal just about gave up on the hike due to the snake until I convinced her it was more afraid of us then we were of it and had hightailed it into the stream.
Wednesday was very wet with heavy rains that put standing water nearly up to the steps of the RV (only about an inch deep) so we stayed close and relaxed inside the RV all day. Thursday morning we were woke up at 6:00 in the morning with a call from Kal’s dad that her mother had passed away during the night. While greatly saddened we were also relieved that it was finally all over, especially since her dementia had gotten so bad she hardly recognized anyone. Obviously the rest of the week was spent close to the campgrounds with multiple phone calls, texts, Facebook posts, etc to contact everyone and await the decision about memorial services. We did get the bikes out a couple of times to ride around the campgrounds, but for the most part we stayed close to the RV the rest of the week.
We did drive into Savannah on Friday to go to the store and took a few hours to check out the Tennessee River Museum in downtown Savannah. This is a small museum with exhibits highlighting the history of the Tennessee River. Exhibits included paleontology and geography of the area, archeological evidence of the Indian cultures, early settlement history, a large section on the Civil War, the brief history of steamboats on the river, and the history and current cultivation of freshwater mussels. It took just over an hour to peruse the exhibits which was a welcome change from the stress of the week.