Usually I can park anywhere for the night but not this time.
I spoke with another local ranger/cop who told me no you can’t do that when I asked if I can park in the overflow lot for Rock Island. I said years ago in Tennessee and Kentucky it was so rural you could have parked anywhere and camped for the night. I know, on a few occasions I ventured off the road and camped with people. He replied not any more, the health department won’t allow it, you need to be on a site and with facilities.
Health department? MY OH MY have times changed. I am sure there are spots you can get away with it but this was Rock Island’s big day for revenue. I saw plenty of tickets written for being illegally parked. I was told to stay away, venture out further for a place to park for the night, it was going to be madness on Monday for the eclipse.
So we left Rock Island, wandered and ended up in the little city of McMinnville, TN. Less than 15 miles away. Did some shopping, then it was off to find a local park with a grill to cook. A cop directed us to Pepper Branch which was perfect.
From the McMinnville website: Located at the Frank G. Clement Bridge and Barren Fork Dam, this park includes picnic tables and benches, great fishing sites, canoe and kayak launch, a 6 hole Disk Golf Course and a gazebo. Pepper Branch is also a trail head for the Barren Fork Green way. https://email@example.com,-85.7773736,20z/data=!3m1!1e3
I circled the park looking for a grill close to where I would park. But the lot closest to the grills sat two cop cars with lights on checking out a car. I wanted to avoid what ever was happening but I also didn't want to lug everything a good distance so I chose this area.
As I walked past I was asked do you know anything about this? Did they think my circling the park was because I was returning to the scene of the crime? I said no, what happened? A car window was smashed and a purse stolen out of it but we can’t find the owner. HUH? That didn’t make sense, if the owner is missing how did they know a purse was stolen? Hmmm!
While the crime scene was being investigated we made our supper. It was now dusk and still no shower for me so it was time to take a parking lot shower then I would worry once again on where to park. How does one take a parking lot shower? Ask me sometime.
After my shower I slipped into fresh clothes when I heard Ruth talking to a lady. I peak my head out as Ruth is telling her what my vehicle was. I said hand her a postcard for my book. From there Ruth explained how we were clueless on where we were going.
The lady answered you can come to my place, park for the night and stay for my eclipse party. Ruth said OK. I came out and introduced myself and with that off we went to who knows where following a lady named Karen.
If you don’t know where you are going a last name doesn’t matter either.
Before speeding off Karen warned us there is no cell phone connection once past the graveyard, I will slow down when we get there in case you need to use the phone because once past it the signal goes dead but I do have Wi-Fi at home.
It was a challenge following Karen, she must have thought my vehicle was an overgrown slot car the way she was driving but the Go-Go Bus did good, only lagged behind a bit.
Here we were on some mountain road, following a speeding car, Ruth didn't worry but I was apprehensive as I didn't initiate the conversation to get a good feel for who ever this lady was but God does work in mysterious ways and we were sure on a mysterious path alright.
We arrived to her house and no one was around except Karen and her barking dogs.
She tried to convince me to drive down the dirt path and park by the river and in the morning we would wake to one beautiful site. She also asked if we had flashlights and if we did to go ahead and explore her property, we didn't explore and I decided to stay under their street lamp, if you could call it that.
We were about to pull the curtains and call it a night when the husband came home, introductions were made, our doors were locked, and their dogs kept sentry duty with occasional barking through the night.
Well it will be interesting to see what morning brings.