Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee - Thursday, Februrary 24, 2011

Today, the weather acted a lot more like February. The rain came. Rain on vacation means museums. Off we went to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to visit the American Museum of Science and Energy.

Oak Ridge used to be called "The Secret City." People who worked there didn't know what their job was for, only how to do it. They worked on The Manhattan Project and were instrumental in producing the first atomic bomb and the invention of the nuclear reactor. "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, thus bringing the isolationist U.S. into WW II. We emerged from the museum four hours after we went in.

Time for lunch, so we went to The Soup Kitchen for homemade soup, sandwiches and salad.

Because it was around 2:30 pm, and because we learned so much in the museum, we decided to skip the 38-mile driving tour of Oak Ridge.

For the next leg of our rainy-day trip, we drove to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park at the Tennessee / Kentucky / Virginia border. It was a long drive from Oak Ridge. We arrived about 4:10 pm... visitor center closed at 5:00 pm. 

Cumberland Gap, and its Wilderness Road, was the primary route through the Appalachian Mountains back in the day. We had time to look at exhibits about the Cherokee Indians, Daniel Boone and then the Civil War (although no big battles took place at Cumberland Gap). We watched the visitor center movie, then headed up to Pinnacle Overlook. 

No view from the overlook as it was completely fogged in.  

We did, however, happen upon four deer, looking quite ghostly in the mist. I handed Bob the camera, he stuck it out the window and quickly snapped this photo. Brilliant!

Since we were here, we hiked a short trail to read a history marker and get a feel for the area.

Next, we drove through the tunnel to the visitor center on the other side which was closed, but we looked at the displays and sculptures outside and walked to the waterfall coming down the gully behind the visitor center.

The following sign was lying down in the dead leaves. It looked perfectly in place where it lay.

Boone Trail Wilderness Road.

A little farther down the road we got out and hiked to an old Iron Furnace and tried to see the waterfall coming down behind it. The water was overflowing its banks. I didn't see a need to try to cross a raging stream to try to get a better picture of a waterfall...gave up on that picture and took a photo of the raging stream instead.

It it hadn't been almost dark, we would have hiked this trail to the Three States Cornerstone. Guess we'll save it for the next trip.


Raging creek.
It was almost dark. We headed back to Gatlinburg, about 1-1/2 hours away. On the way back we stopped in Pigeon Forge at "Huck Finn's" for dinner. Bob had catfish and I had trout. We are in the south now. Our dinner came with all the "vittles" we could eat, and our waiter's name was Gordo. Vittles are "sides." Our vittles were hush puppies, white beans with turkey ham, coleslaw, and dill pickles served on a plate with sliced onions.

At night back in our room, the news and the weather channel predicted tornadoes in central Tennessee by Nashville. Thunder and high winds were predicted in Gatlinburg. Luckily, we did not have tornadoes!

We fell asleep listening to the wind in the trees outside our  unit.

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