Calypso made her third voyage on October 14. Dan and I want to camp in every state park in Tennessee, unfortunately some parks don’t have campgrounds. The second voyage was to Bledsoe Creek, near Gallatin, Tennessee. I’ll add that one in later.
Number three took us to Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park near Camden, Tennessee. It is named for the Confederate General during the Civil War. It’s a beautiful park that sits on the Tennessee River and Kentucky Lake. There are over 2000 acres of forest to wander. It’s a small campground and the only lakefront sites are for primitive camping only. That’s not for me, Calypso offers me all the comforts of home in a more rustic setting!
If you love hiking there are miles of trails. There’s even a 20 mile loop for the experienced hiker. The camp host told me that lots of people hike that trail in preparation for future hikes like the Appalachian Trail. There is a short trail right at our site that joins that trail about quarter of a mile in. That’s more to my liking. I can go for a one mile hike or a ten mile hike and come right back to my campsite when ready. Photo below is the view from our patio!
Photo below is the beginning of my first branch weaving. It took awhile to find the perfect stick, had to walk at least a mile! Maybe I will make some progress later this afternoon.
Death Valley is about a two hour drive west from Las Vegas. We got a late start and we were meeting Dan’s cousin who lives in Pahrump, so we had a very short amount of time. The park covers 5262 square miles! You would need several days there to really appreciate its beauty. The power of Mother Earth is beyond imagination. These are just a few photos made on my phone!
The lowest elevation in North America at 282 feet.
That white stuff is salt, not snow!
We met Dan’s cousin Dickie Hooper who lives in Pahrump. He insisted we eat lunch at the famous Sheri’s Ranch Brothel. He knows the bartender and apparently everyone else there! That was not on my bucket list but I can say it was a unique experience. They greeted us at the door of the bar and asked if any of us had an appointment! We said no we just want lunch!
Didn’t have time to see Red Rock Canyon so back to MGM. Later we had appetizers at Greek Sneek complete with Greek wine and Mythos beer. Ah, memories of Greece!
Lobby of MGM, our home for the week. I forgot how crazy and over the top this town is. It’s almost sensory overload, but it’s an absolutely magical place to be! Jeff and Ashley had the framing expo so Dan, Tristan and I met them for lunch at Wahlburgers. It’s the burger place owned by the actor Mark Wahlburg and his brothers. The burgers were big and juicy and we were fueled for the afternoon.
We rode the monorail to the end of the line and to the Mob Museum. It was fascinating. So much history. Some of the exhibits were very graphic, but unfortunately that is part of history.
The monorail runs through most of the strip and it’s the easiest way to get around.
This is the actual wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. When the building was torn down, each brick was labeled and stored. The museum purchased it from the family. I didn’t realize that the opposing mobsters dressed as policemen and acted like they were going to make an arrest. They had no resistance and they lined them up against the wall and shot them with machine guns! The red paint on the wall marks the bullet holes.
Below are some of the bullets and a tommy gun on display.
The museum is located in the old post office/courthouse where the trials led by Estes Kefauver, the senator from Tennessee were held. He was responsible for leading the fight against the mob.
Last on the stop is a speakeasy, and of course some liquid refreshment!
We ended the day in old downtown Vegas. That is where the original casinos were. A few of them are still there. It is an absolute feast for the senses. The lights are mesmerizing. There is a zip line that runs above the street. There’s a crazy light show in the ceiling! People dressed in bizarre costumes and there is any kind of street performer you can imagine, and some that you wouldn’t dare to imagine. We had a great meal at the Chicago Brewery, then hit the slots before heading back to MGM.
The Chicago Brewing Company is inside Four Queens Casino. It’s known for its wood fired pizza and beer. Yummy. I almost forgot to take a pic of the pizza!