Mountain Goat Trail

Mountain Goat Trail Wooden Path

Last Sunday morning, my son and I rode the Mountain Goat Trail at Sewanee.  This was his first ride on a Rails to Trails paved bike path, and he very much enjoyed the largely motorway-distraction-free experience, as well as the opportunity to ride through wooded sections that felt “like the middle of nowhere.”  The trail starts near Woody’s Bike Shop in Sewanee and ends at the Dollar General Store in, I think it is, Monteagle.  No more than five miles, probably closer to 4.6, each way.

The route includes a few gentle hills, maybe two secondary road crossings and one crossing at Highway 41.  Parking’s available at the Sewanee trailhead where there’s also an informational marker discussing the history of the former railroad as well as a topographical map of the trail.  At one point, there’s a 90 degree turn where the trail is constructed of wood and elevated over a declevity and around a property line.  In another place, gravel and sand tends to wash across the bike path from an adjacent gravel/sand pit or quarry – that’s the property around which the trail turns with the wooden elevation.

My son managed managed all of the trail well on his Modikoso superbike except for the gravel and clumps of sand across the path from the quarry.  He had to dismount and push the bike over it.  I rode over it on the Jamis Supernova with no real concern.  On the way back, oddly enough, we found the hazard had been, it looked like, completely washed away.  Odd, because although there’d been slight precipitation during the intervening time, nothing that would clear the trail.  Maybe somebody from the quarry hosed it down?

Mountain Goat Trail Information



Tennessee Democrat Party Summit

Occult conventioneers cars and van at Jim Oliver Smokehouse

Occult conventioneers' cars and van at Jim Oliver Smokehouse

Two pols who ought to be behind bars

Two pols (Ford & Obama - see window stickers) who ought to be behind bars

Here's a Democrat who obviously cares about the environment

Here's a Democrat who obviously cares about the environment

Someone who should know better.  "Just back up until you hear glass, honey"

Someone who should know better. "Just back up until you hear glass, honey" Nothing like auto-loan debt to induce poverty.

No, I didn’t attend or otherwise infiltrate the event held last weekend at Jim Oliver Smokehouse, Monteagle, Tennessee, although my wife and I spent the weekend with three other couples who’d also rented cabins at the Best Western property. Some kind of providential coincidence, although I don’t pretend to understand the divine intent implicit therein. Most of the Tennessee communist party members present behaved with surprising decorum and without the Clinton-era excesses one tends to expect of them, as a group.

People, that bit about ‘Tennessee communist party members’ is partisan hyperbole.  In case you didn’t recognize it as such, I’m telling you.

The rain falling on our cabin’s tin roof sounded like the wash-cycle on our Bosch front-loading washing machine. Caution-Lady said she awoke Friday night wondering, “Who’s doing laundry at this hour?” Ours was one of the newer cabins – spacious, well lit, nicely appointed, but with an enormous amount of wasted space under the roof – room there for a large loft. The Smokehouse restaurant itself was reasonably priced with decent service.

Caution-Lady, Seventy-Six and I visited with some brothers and sisters who initially came into contact with one another through the informal auspices of a radio ministry rooted in the Calvinist teachings of grace. John and I met Mrs. Millsaps, whose husband presides as bishop over a breakaway conservative Episcopal Missionary Church, in the parking lot of Mountain Outfitters, where she had gone to deliver yellow handbills advertising a jewelry and craft fair to take place nearby the weekend of 9 May. We discussed conservative politics and the recent presidential election, in addition to ministerial integrity and the necessary choices its possessors are sometimes called upon to make to their own social and financial detriment.

Puny pond not even big enough for turning a seakayak

Small pond not even big enough for turning a seakayak

We brought the fat-free Hebrew National franks on the grill - they weren't very good.  The high-dollar spiced sausages grilled then boiled in beer, however, were fantastic

We brought the fat-free Hebrew National franks on the grill - they weren't very good. The high-dollar spiced sausages grilled then boiled in beer, however, were fantastic

I’ve only got a year to burn off everything I overate this rainy weekend past. One of our number brought a variety of spiced sausage (I don’t recall the brand name) that was unbelievably good. Boiled in beer they were on the grill. Two whole chickens cooked on the grill using the internal beer-can flavoring method. Hamburgers, hotdogs, sides, cookies, pies, coffee, pop, wine, mint-juleps and beer for those who consume alcoholic beverages. It was a great visit.

A Maddeningly Busy Week

Tuesday, or was it Monday, I drove to Murfreesboro early, then back to the office by one.

Seen Thursday morning - looks like my wife's not the only one

Seen Thursday morning - looks like my wife's not the only one

Thursday early I looked at a foreclosure in the same neighborhood as the house upon which we’d made an offer a month or two back.

House stank. Huge house, four bedrooms, two baths, attached garage with big workshop, bonus room, big attached storage building. Built on a slab. Three really ugly and large 1960s sliding glass doors. Maybe 2200 square feet. All the floor covering must go. All the wallpaper must go. Everything must be repainted. Possibly a shower pan in one of the bathrooms must be replaced. Kitchen cabinets are ugly, but can be tolerated because they can probably be cleaned. Appears structurally sound. Exterior looks okay. Three layers, at least, of shingles on the roof, so plan on another. Puny cooling unit, so plan to replace.

Amelang Wheel Alignment

Amelang Wheel Alignment

Thursday I took Thursday, my silver 1997 Volvo 850, in to see Mr. Amelang for wheel alignment and balance. While I sat in a scuffed metal folding chair by the shop’s hot wood stove reading a model airplane hobbyist magazine, the quiet mechanical precisionist identified a goose-egg sized bulge in the inner side-wall of the car’s front right tire. At the same time, he mentioned to me that the tires were about worn out. I looked, and beheld wear-bars within a hair’s breadth of worn tread. That bulge looked pretty bad, too. I’d taken Thursday too close around a shoulderless right-hand turn dropping the doomed tire off the pavement’s edge. Plonk. Cussword. Steering had been pretty squirrelly for a week or so thereafter, which is what prompted me to have alignment seen to.

Thursday last Thursday

Thursday last Thursday

“Do you think it’ll be safe to driver over Monteagle to Chattanooga tomorrow?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t drive seventy,” Mr. Amelang replied, then, after a pause, “I’ll move it the back, that way if it blows out, it won’t do as much damage.

Radio controlled airplanes

Radio controlled airplanes



Mr. Amelang's most recent project

Mr. Amelang's most recent project

Drove 75 or 80 miles per hour, one on the Interstate, to Murfreesboro where I bought four Michelins to replace the 80,000 mile Yokohamas that’d given maybe 55,000 mile service. To be fair, I’ve always kept those tires close to maximum inflation for more precise steering and better mileage, which undoubtedly contributed to their early demise. Had the tire-shop fill the new Michelins with nitrogen which supposedly prolongs the life of the tire by remaining cool and neither expanding nor contracting during use or according to season.

On the way to town after work I stopped at Subway to pick up sandwiches, then met my wife and our realtor at barn of a 2600 square foot house located not far from where the Cautious One works. House has been on the market over a year, ridiculously overpriced for its location. Four bedrooms, two and half baths, large detached two-car garage.

We looked at two other houses, ate our supper in the car; returned home tired and well after dark.

Friday morning I arose at 4:45 am, pressed the button to make the coffee I’d prepared the night before, made and ate a bowl of oatmeal, made a lunch that included half of my previous night’s supper. Looked at the Internet. I was in the car driving a little after six. Stepford is on US Central Time, but Chattanooga is on Eastern Standard Time.

Those four new Michelins were a little mushy. Although I was only able to make them speak on one very tight freeway onramp (I think Exit 178 from I-24 East to 27 North), the tires at recommended inflation did not lend themselves to the rail-like tracking I have come to prefer. Both ways over Monteagle, the tires seemed to drift me centrifugally left or right as the road curved according to the hill’s topographic vagaries.

Only one of my appointments presented for testing as scheduled, and she arrived much too early. The scheduled interpreter arrived on time according to arrangements made several weeks ago. I administered fewer instruments than planned because more in-depth testing would have been inappropriate based upon observed behaviors and tested levels of academic achievement. The referring file contained nothing of use in preparing for the evaluation.

While I was busy getting to and working at Chattanooga, Caution-Lady and my mom took Seventy-Six to Nashville for CT scan to determine whether the apparently bone-covered cyst on his left brow extends its foul reach through the suture-line and into the infant boy’s skull. He did fine, although he had to have an IV to introduce some sort of dye into his system for imaging contrast.

On my way home, I got cheap gas at Manchester, and stopped at Jim Long Imports for Thursday’s 150,000 mile service. Ugh, another expense.

Back home, CL and 76 had arrived just a little before I did. We ate a quick supper, then had to enrobe our cranky baby (detoxing from the sedative given to induce stillness during the CT scan) in his green Godzilla costume to take him around to the homes of relatives and friends for his first ever Trick-or-Treat outing. He fussed horribly at the first stop. Was somewhat less angry by the time we got to my mom’s house, and after a short visit during which my wife and I ate cookies and candy on behalf of our son, we headed home without making the other intended stops. The kid just needed to be home. So did the parents.

Today, we accomplished nothing, but did look at some more houses. I am tired again.

11/2/08, 4:42 pm:  I’m trying to make this note update at Facebook.