Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Oak Ridge and Abuelo's.

Our first full day in Harriman started with a drive out to Paul and Judy's place, and then piling into Paul's truck for a drive out to Oak Ridge. Paul (AKA Mushy) wanted to show us a few of the sights out there.

Our first mission was to search for a huge Shinto bell that had been donated to the Oak Ridge facility by the Japanese. It's called the International Friendship Bell. Of course, the facility there at Oak Ridge, part of the Manhattan Project, was heavily involved in the creation of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan to end the Second World War.

Our search initially took us out to the Oak Ridge Public Library, which is surrounded by interesting and moving monuments. I believe this one is a tribute to all the people who worked at Oak Ridge on the Manhattan Project.

Out behind the Library, we found this beautiful fountain.

Next to the fountain, there was this beautiful, tree shaded area where people could come and sit, enjoying the scenery. But the heat and humidity of the day rendered the shade useless, so rather than have a sit and enjoy the place, we headed back around the building.

On the steps leading up from the fountain, across from the Library, we found this moving sculpture, an obvious tribute to the September 11 attacks. By this time, unable to locate the bell, and with the muggy heat beginning to get to us, we decided to leave the bell for our next visit and head on to the air conditioning in Paul's truck, and the American Museum of Science and Energy.

This museum is a wonderful collection of displays and artifacts, tracing the history of the facilities there at Oak Ridge, the Manhattan Project, and how the facilities there have evolved over the decades since the end of the war.

They had mock-ups of some of our nuclear bombs, including the "Little Boy", which is the one we dropped on Hiroshima.

When we got around to a huge areal photograph, Paul took the opportunity to show us all the buildings that he'd worked in over the thirty years of his career here at Oak Ridge.

After an hour or so in the pleasant cool of the museum, it was time to head back. Judy hadn't come with us that morning, having a few appointments of her own to take care of, but she was going to join us for dinner after. So we left the museum, piled back into Paul's truck and headed back to Harriman.

By this time, I was noticing that the swelling of my left hand was becoming tedious. It didn't hurt, and thanks to the Benadryl, it didn't itch very much, but the swelling was a constant irritant.

On the way back to Harriman, Paul took us by the Gun store where his old eight-point buck is on display. On previous trips I'd always seen this dude in Paul's basement, along with his tool bench, his gun safe and his toy cars. But a while back Paul decided to donate this dude to the folks out at Frontier Arms, Between Kingston and Oak Ridge. It's a cool place, which will become much cooler once they get their shooting range up and running. I expect Paul and I will make a few return visits, to shoot and visit his deer on future road trips. I look forward to it.

After stopping in Harriman to pick up Judy, the four of us headed to Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy, on the outskirts of Knoxville.

Being from Texas, I'm somewhat of an authority on good Mexican food. Well, Tex-Mex anyway. I wanna tell ya, Abuelo's is a wonderful place. Not only is is beautiful, with a cool architecture and vibe...

But the food was WONDERFUL! This is my plate, consisting of rib eye steak, chicken enchiladas, and a side order of bacon wrapped shrimp. Denise had a smaller plate of chicken enchiladas. We both agreed, the food was great, and this place could easily compete with the fare we get at some of our usual haunts back in Texas.

We were happy, happy as could be. Not only was the food good, but our company was great too.

Once again, it was great to be back in Tennessee, enjoying good food and good spirits with these great friends.

After dinner and the drive back to Harriman, the four of us sat down in front of Paul and Judy's big flat screen TV and relaxed. Paul enjoyed a small glass of Crown, I enjoyed a Yuengling in a chilled glass, and Judy turned Denise on to a cool little drink that she's become fond of.

She mixed a shot of Sweet Carolina, Sweet Tea flavored Vodka with a can of Minute Maid Lemonade. It's a wonderful little drink, and Denise took to it fast.

Since that night, Denise and I were able to pick up a bottle or two of the vodka at the liquor store in Bowling Green, but have yet to find it here in Texas. Yep, Denise went through a regular sized bottle there in Bowling Green (while I tapped into a new bottle of JD, Barrel Select), and then we bought a BIG bottle for the road. Have no fear though, we'll find it. It will NOT elude us. Worst case scenario, Denise will have to go back to drinking a 7&7 or a Shandy until we can make another drive to Bowling Green or Harriman. You know, everyone's problems should be so trivial.

Anyway, that was our first full day in Tennessee. Our further adventures will be outlined in the next post, so stay tuned. Cheers!


Walrilla said...

I'm not certain, but Spec's in Temple will probably be able to help you with that vodka.

FHB said...

Walrilla - Yea, I've heard of that place, but I've never been by there. I guess I need to check it out.

kerrcarto said...

Don't you mean the "International Don't Nuke Us To Shit" bell. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

FHB said...

kerrcarto - Aaahahahahaha. Yep, no doubt!

Mushy said...

With you gone and the oppressive heat, I'm back to being lazy again until cooler weather.

It was a good visit.

BRUNO said...

Boy, MUSHY'S lookin' GOOD for a "still older than ME!"-man!(At least HIS face sags UPWARDS, instead of DOWN, like MINE!)

I'm still surprised the "Little-Boy"-bomb DIDN'T fall on you, after your "other-exploits" had came to pass. Not to mention the HUMIDITY!

Man, the "stars just weren't in alignment" for ya' on THIS trip, were they???

FHB said...

Mushy - It was a blast. I hear ya on the heat. I can't believe your humidity. Horrible. You'd think the heat would burn it off. Livin' on the edge of a lake, I guess.

Bruno - Don't kid yourself bro. I had a wonderful time, even with the heat and wasps. I'd do it all again in a heart beat.