Farm Collector Blogs > Aussie Trek Across America

July 19 to 20: Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri

by Ron Bywaters

Tags: road trip, trek across America, tractor drive, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri,

Day 23

All five tractors pulled out of the RV park at Goodlettsville at 8:30 a.m. heading for the Land Between the Lakes near Golden Pond, Ky.

Unfortunately all the RV parks along this popular strip were booked out or belonged to the National Recreational Forest authorities who have rules which make it difficult to book a group only one day in advance. The park we eventually booked into was at Grand Rivers and it was disappointing that we had missed most of the campsites on the water.

A drive to the nearby Kentucky Dam however was an unexpected bonus — we were just in time to see a barge being guided into a loch, a very interesting experience. The dam is enormous and power is produced through a power generating station at the dam site.

An interesting sight was a cement circle built up in the water to enable fishermen to avoid the very fast flowing waters. The catches appeared quite sizable — fish nearly a foot long were being thrown back unless they were skipjack, which are used as bait for larger fish. A group BBQ finished off the day.

Day 24

First stop was at Paducah, Ky., to visit a quilt museum, but our early morning getaway was halted when it was discovered that the museum did not open until 10 a.m.

Time is never wasted however — George had a flat tire which needed repair, and Carolyn needed to type the web notes from their trip to Memphis, so the hour was well spent. Others wandered around the town or enjoyed the Ohio River which ran behind the museum’s large buildings.

Once entry was gained, the museum was quite amazing, housing quilts dating back to the 1800s and showing every “Quilt of the Year” for many past years — all very worthy winners. Some of the exhibits, while looking exacting like their sewn counterparts, were actually made from wood — quite inventive and very attractive.

Today was the day when everyone was to rely on their GPS for instructions on how to get to the designated spot — no more concerns about whether we were on the wrong road, no more frayed nerves! Famous last words — by the time we had all left the city of Paducah, not one vehicle was on track.

Allan’s RV and the tractors headed up Route 45 instead of down Route 60, and Ron and Kerry in their RV found themselves in Metropolis, Ill., in no time flat which was not on the itinerary either! Never fear “Mary” would find the way — and find it she did for us, via dirt roads not even in the map book! Meanwhile the tractors did a scenic tour of a town called Vienna, Ill., and were led back to the chosen path by Curt, a helpful local.

A highlight of the day was traveling over the almost new bridge spanning the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, Mo., the Bill E. Emerson Memorial Bridge, named for a past congressman.

Not far out of the Cape, we were met by Bob Schmidt and guided to Altenburg, Mo., arriving by 3:30 p.m. Several people assembled to greet us, including Bob who had offered to be our host for the overnight stay. We were made very welcome by Carla Jordan, director at the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum and offered accommodation at the fairgrounds, a very pleasant, shady area with good facilities.

Then, once everyone had arrived by 6 p.m., we were advised that dinner was to be provided at the local “Mississippi Mud” Tavern and that breakfast was organized at Dib Deli for 8.00am Tuesday morning. These wonderful Americans never cease to amaze us with their friendliness and generosity. The meal at the “Mississippi Mud” was really enjoyable and we were able to chat with Bob and his wife, Diane.

See photos and read more on Ron’s website,