Day 31 – A short trip / A long day

A slow start contributed to the feeling of a long day, but we were only going to visit one stop, Stone River Battlefield, TN. That makes for a short day, right? Not necessarily so.

The trip down into Tennessee was swift, for all intents and purposes – we drove interstate the entire way. But, it was difficult driving with what seemed like all trucks bearing down on us along every mile. Sometimes we felt like we were in a tunnel made of trucks – all going 70 mph. Seriously. After we made it through Nashville and all the left exits, then immediate right exits just to stay on the appropriate road, we were relieved to finally make it to Stone River, Tennessee.

Stone River is the site of yet another bloody Civil War battle for control of the rivers and rails. Whoever was to triumph in the conflict would absolutely need to have control of the shipping and supply lines. The Southern General Bragg thought after one day of battle he and his troops were triumphant and left the scene to report his victory. Yet, the Union General Rosecrans continued to fight with his men and took a stand on a ridge where they constructed a continuous line of cannon to confront the approaching Confederates. This proved to be the demise of the Southern troops in this battle and although Bragg had reported a victory, had he stayed in the area he would have witnessed the defeat of his forces.

Once again, today it is a beautiful peaceful place that also has a large National Cemetery and the oldest Civil War Monument. The monument was constructed immediately after this battle ended while Union troops were burying the dead and designating the spot as a Union Cemetery.

While we were looking forward to sampling some Tennessee BBQ in Nashville, because of the traffic we decided to bypass Nashville all together and take another route back. So, in Dickson, TN we found a tiny hut labeled “Ronnie’s BBQ” with a sign that boasted “Voted the best BBQ in Dickson.” Well, that’s just what we wanted; the best BBQ in Dickson. We parked and went in. It was a one room kitchen with a counter. The tables and chairs were outside in the form of picnic tables. We decided to be brave. This was a little “local color” after all. (The year after we were married and made the move across country a friend had wished us a good trip and reminded us not to be afraid to experience some of the “local color” that new places could offer us. And, to this day, we’ve tried to remember Fr. Greg’s advice.)

I think Ronnie himself might have helped us at the counter. We ordered pork and brisket and flap jacks and coleslaw (with the option of mayonnaise or vinegar!). He packaged our goods and we went out to enjoy the décor of his dining room along the road. Needless to say, the meat was very good, but we liked the signature BBQ sauce even more! We were so happy with our meals we went back in to get a piece of the chocolate chess pie and Southern pecan pie we had seen on the counter for our dessert. Both were delightful. I think we found the best BBQ place in Dickson, Tennessee!

While making our way through the country back North and West to Canton, we saw many, many churches. One Baptist sign quoted scripture: “Taste and See the Goodness of the Lord.” Under the quote was added “Free samples inside.” I laughed out loud. Someone had some creative advertising campaign going. It caught my attention. I only wish I would have been fast enough to capture a picture, too.

After such a complete meal my driver was feeling a little road fatigue. So, we pulled into a parking lot so he could close his eyes for a few minutes. To my delight there was a Dollar Tree and a Walmart to keep me entertained and where I could get my evening walk around the stores and the parking lot. As I walked, I noticed the clouds were stunning. This one reminded me of a woman gracefully dancing.

So, the last hour of our day was driving back in twilight as we watched the sun turn the clouds in the sky pink and magenta. It was beautiful. And then it was dark. Very, very dark! Thankfully, by that time we only had about 15 miles left to travel. I knew we were in the deepest part of Kentucky, but we had not yet experienced it as the deepest, darkest part of Kentucky.

Yet, we found our way back and relaxed from our travels. It’s so nice to have a “home base” to come back to after exploring. This little place in Canton along the Cumberland River has been perfect in every way.