Day 27 – Land Between the Lakes and Ft. Donaldson

October began with a warm and sun-shiny entrance. The morning temp was 65 and rose through the day to 75.

We leisurely ate our yogurt and banana for breakfast and watched “Meet the Press” to catch up on the weeks of news we have missed. Feeling a bit more informed on current events, we decided to make a tour of the immediate area around the small community of Canton, KY. I made my driver a coffee and filled my water bottle and we set out. What I neglected to remember was to bring my water bottle with me! Out of practice already. This place just makes us want to lean back and forget everything. I guess I’m off to a good start.

We drove over the Cumberland River and found the Visitor Center for the Recreation Area known as “The Land Between the Lakes,” or more popularly known as “LBL.” It is 170,000 acres created by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the 1950’s. Now it is a pristine wildlife habitat that hosts camping, fishing, boating, hiking and all kinds of outdoor sports. And, it is beautiful! We drove the length of the LBL until we made our way into Tennessee. Already that far south, we made the decision to go as far as Fort Donaldson on the Cumberland River near the town of Dover, TN. It was a gorgeous drive and before we knew it we had arrived.

Ft. Donaldson is the site of the first major victory for the Union troops in the Civil War and was a turning point in the struggle for Southern territory. The battle was led by Gen. Grant and when his opponents asked what his terms for surrender would be, he wrote back saying, “nothing but unconditional surrender” would be accepted.

The fort was a Southern stronghold along the river that controlled major shipping lines of goods and services. Being on the high banks of the river, it is a very picturesque and beautiful spot. Today the grounds were visited by all manner of hikers, picnickers, and bird watchers. We walked through the National Cemetery and went over to visit the Dover House where the surrender to Gen. Grant took place. The structure is the original building and it was inspiring, once again, to stand in the same locale as a person I admire so much. Grant has been much maligned by history, (there was fake news even in his day) but because of his intelligence, stamina, devotion to his family, and his success as a humble leader, I admire him greatly.

As we slowly drove out of the park there were several people standing and looking into the trees. We slowed and a woman turned toward my car window and said, “Thar ‘er two eagles in the tree over thar. Come stand right cheer and you can see ‘em.” So, of course, I had to get out of the car and see if I could. Eventually, I did sight one of them, but they were too obstructed by the branches to possibly get a good picture. Still, it was thrilling to see one of them. My thanks to the woman who encouraged me to try.

Without water or peanuts or any of the usual provisions I carry in the car, we had to make a stop for fuel. Next to the Ft. Donaldson Park Visitor Center was an establishment named “Mama Mea’s” that was billed as a pizza place. We actually looked around for something else, but the only other establishment in the small town looked less than appealing. So, we went for pizza. It was filling. That’s about all. But at least now we could hear some of the birds tweeting instead of our stomachs growling.

We took an alternate route to return to Canton and our little condo and, once again, enjoyed the back roads of Kentucky. Along the way, as the sun was setting, we passed two families in horse and buggies out for a Sunday evening drive. The day could not have been more beautiful.

Last stop, we had to get a few groceries for the week. We found the Food Giant in Cadiz, which, my driver joked, was more like a Food Dwarf. Yet, it had all the items we needed. So, we purchased a few fruits and vegetables and came back for an evening of waiting for the internet to download pictures. It’s a slow and arduous process here, but we are committed to carrying on.

Check back to yesterday – I think I have the pictures added there now.