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Up the Natchez Trace to Nashville

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Posted 09 November 2014 - 11:00 AM

As mentioned yesterday, we took US Route 64 east from Lakeland, TN, a road that would actually take us all the way to Chattanooga if we weren't stopping off in the Nashville area to stay with my high school friend, artist Bill Briggs and his lovely wife Denise, at their terrific home in Mt. Juliet, TN. Bill is the former assistant art director for the now-defunct The Nashville Network and is a very talented and well known artist in middle Tennessee. It's worth checking out some of his work at his WEBSITE



Here's Bill with some recent paintings for Corky Coker of Coker Tire.


One of Bill's most interesting commissions was a 10x84 foot mural for the Dreamworks film The Last Castle starring Robert Redford. 


The drive east along US-64 was quite pleasant, though we were delayed a few minutes in Bolivar, TN. "Honest, Officer Munoz, I didn't see the sign dropping the speed limit to 30 MPH..."




Our route took us through Adamsville, TN, in McNairy County, where we couldn't resist stopping in at the home and museum of arguably the county's most famous person, the late Buford Pusser, whose exploits as Sheriff from 1964 to 1970 were documented in the film Walking Tall and its sequels.




The museum is housed in Pusser's home and is crammed full of material about his life, family, and career.




The rough-looking stick on the left is Pusser's original "persuader" that he carried in lieu of a firearm. It was just a fence post he picked up somewhere. Once the stick became Pusser's trademark, people gifted him with the nicer-looking ones seen next to it.




In 1974, Buford Pusser drove to Memphis to ink a deal paying him $2 million to play himself in a sequel to the very successful first film. He was just four miles from home in his big-block 1974 Corvette when he crashed at a high rate of speed and was killed. The car was thoroughly inspected for mechanical problems that might have led to the crash; none were found. The skid marks at the crash scene testified to a high rate of speed when the car left the road. No evidence of foul play being involved in the crash was ever uncovered, but it seems many residents still feel it was something more than a single car accident.


The remains of Pusser's burned-out Corvette are displayed in the house's garage.




Near Savannah, TN, US-64 intersects with the Natchez Trace Parkway, which we were taking for about 75 miles to its terminus near Nashville. Knowing there would be no food on the Trace, we veered into a Sonic drive-in for lunch just before getting on the parkway. A Model A looks just right in a drive-in, don't you think?




The Trace is a lovely two-lane road where no commercial traffic is allowed, which was a very pleasant change from the truck-clogged I-40 and other interstates we've utilized. And we finally saw a bit of fall color, though my feeling is that this has not been a notable year for colorful leaves.



This is just about the best leaf color we saw on the trip, at a scenic overlook along the Trace.



A picnic area on the Trace.


About halfway along our drive on the Natchez Trace, I noticed that the ammeter was flicking from its normal 15 amps rate to zero and back again. This kept going on for about 15 miles and then it flicked to zero and stayed there. Uh-oh... I was pretty sure it was not charging as the horn only runs well when the generator is charging; doesn't honk worth a darn on just battery and that was the case now.

A dead generator isn't a big problem... unless you have to drive with your headlamps on or to use the starter a lot. The ignition system takes just an amp or two to run, and a good battery can withstand that rate of discharge for a day or more. But now it was going to be imperative for us to arrive in Mt. Juliet before dark, and we just barely made it. Had three cars flash me to indicate I needed to turn my headlamps on, but they all occurred in Bill's subdivision...


If today wasn't Sunday, I would just call one of the Model A parts vendors and have a rebuilt generator shipped to me. But it is Sunday, which means I can't have a rebuilt unit shipped out until tomorrow and won't receive it until Tuesday. And I'd rather avoid the delay.


If Bill and I can't repair the problem today, I'm probably just going to charge the battery up and head for Tullahoma in the afternoon. It's only about 80 miles away and I should be able to make it handily even without a functioning generator. I'll have at the rebuilt unit shipped there and we'll continue the last day home after installing it.


The excellent adventure continues...

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