Saturday, December 10, 2016

Jack Daniels' Tour 'N Lynchburg Wandering

The 3 day Vacation Journey Continues.

After we left the Grand Ole Opry, we were pleasantly surprised that our packed CRV was still in the parking lot we left it in.  We drove to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, checked into a nice motel and went to eat at a Jim 'N Nick's BBQ.  The very nice waiter asked us what brought us to Murfreeboro and we told him we were just staying overnight before going to tour the Jack Daniel distillery in Lynchburg the next day.  He said welcome to Murfreesboro which is geologically the center of the state.  And to mark the exact center, in town, is a picnic table.  He raised his eyebrows instead of saying a disgruntle resident, "Whoop-de-doo!"

The rolling hills of mid Tennessee made up a beautiful drive.

Remember click on each picture to get the most out of it.

The Jack Daniels' Tour

The Jack Daniel's Tour Starting Point

If you study this framed sign above the urinal you will see it says they are trying to conserve water, so if you don't flush you will save about 1.33 gallons.  If you concentrate harder while reading the sign you might see me taking a picture.

After I used the Urinal and did not flush, at the hand washing counter while washing my hands, beside another man washing his hands, I said, "After reading that sign, I feel guilty washing my hands."

Jack Daniel's (1849-1911)

There is no shortage of Jack Daniel's statues around the Jack Daniels Campus.  In one picture Jack Daniels was standing up and other men were sitting.  Guess what?  All their faces were even height, which seems to suggest Jack was a short little guy, and the next picture directly above is a statue so short it might be called a statuette (that is a coffee mug next to him). 

The Jack Daniels Company builds its own barrels.  They have a special team that does nothing but build barrels.  The reason they have their own team is that they are picky on what they want:  White oak, no nails, it seals itself with its own pressure... the special wood, with its cells allows the aging whiskey go in and out of the wood, which takes years, which gives it the color, aroma, and taste.  

There are a bunch of these buildings around on the property.  I think we were told they hold barrels of Jack aging.

The fires are charcoal in the making.  Jack Daniels' whiskey is filtered through stages of charcoal.   After the charcoal does its job here it is sent away to a company that packages it up in sacks and sell it as Jack Daniel Charcoal Briquettes. 

These stacks of pallets are what will burn to become Jack Daniels' charcoal filters, and then Jack Daniels' BBQ Briquettes.  

Lynchburg has a population of something like 640.  Jack Daniel has about 860 employees.  I suppose there are at least over 220 commuters,

Our tour guide told us the story behind these antique  firetrucks... but my mind must have wandered then, I did not retain what was told.

This little white house was Jack Daniels' office.  He kept the books, had meetings, gave orders, and planned in this little house.  Our tour guide said Jack had a temper.  One time in this little building he heard something he did not like so he angrily  kicked the stove hard.  The stove broke his toe, which developed into gangrene and had to be removed.  Then his leg became infected... and... and, the tour guide interrupted her own story saying the message is:  "Don't go around losing your temper and kicking stoves."

The the cave that spring is in that furnishes Jack Daniel's with all its water.  The source is unknown.    Is that why they worry about me flushing 1.33 gallons down the drain?

Our docent.  She is very knowledgeable on all the operations.  In the littler white house where Jack broke his toe is a picture of all the brew masters, I think all were related to the founder, Jack Daniels.  She named them all. She has probably be around that property all her life.

Here is a statue of Jack Daniels close to the cave springs.  Jack was single all is life but was known to be a ladies' man.   The story is at his funeral several ex-lovers came to the grave side services crying.  They are also four or five chairs placed by his grave in case any  more lady mourners come by.  Also, while we were surrounding Jack the subject of his shoe size came up.  he shoe size just doesn't look right.  Too big for a small statue maybe.

While there, I edged up to him and when no one was looking asked him what was his secret attracting women.  I could see his stony eyes slowly move around.  First they moved in the direction of the group then rested on me.  Quickly he grabbed my cap and put it on his head and said in a whisper, "Jack - You don't have the Jack!"  Then he became a hard statue again.

These two plaques are mounted near the statue's base.  One, as you see, has the famous Number 7 that seemed to be all over the place.  Our tour guide said whatever the Number 7 means,Jack carried that secret to the grave with him

Lynchburg is in Moore County, which is a dry county.  However through some technical loophole you can buy bottles of Jack Daniels in the appropriate gift shop room in the visitor's buildings.You can also take a tour slightly more pricey that has a tasting room at the end of the tour.  See the auto tag near the end.

Just as my camera clicked this picture our tour guide said, "Sir!  I said no pictures in this room!"
I said, "I thought you said "No pictures in the next room behind those doors.""
Oh well, it was too late to undo it.

This big Christmas Tree shaped pile of barrels (hand made) is  near the visitors' parking lot.

Lynchburg, Tennessee

Lynchburg, the county seat of Moore County,  is about a half a mile down the road.  It has only one red-light.  There is a square which has stores surrounding the Courthouse.  It seems almost every store is a Jack Daniel's boutique and gift shop.  Strangely, there are two stores that cater to motorcyclists: The Harley Davison Store and a clothing store that has a black leather motorcyclists' sporty attire.

The Moore County, Tennessee Courthouse

One of the stores is Lynchburg Hardware Store that Jack Daniels owned and operated during dry spells and the  prohibition era.

The Lynchburg Jail converted to a museum and gift shop

Read the above plate, it explains it all.


Friday, December 09, 2016

New Old Grand Old Opry

The Ryman Auditorium , home of the Grand Ole Opry.
Here are some facts about the Ryman Auditorium you may or may not know:
Thomas Ryman (1843-1904) was a Nashville businessman.  He owned several riverboats.  He saw a lot crime and bad things near the river and wanted to clean it up.  He had built the Ryman Auditorium and named it the Union Gospel Tabernacle.  It opened in 1892.   It seats 2362 people. He had Evangelist Samuel Porter Jones do the preaching and soul saving.
Samuel P. Jones was known world-wide at the time.  He spent the last part of his life in Cartersville, Georgia and also had his daughter and her husband a house built here in Marietta.

Thomas Ryman with the Helm

These pictures were taken with my iphone about 30 minutes  before showtime.  The reason I used my iphone instead of my camera, you might recall in my last adventure (the day before) where I froze my camera's battery in a 9 degree Chinese ice art show.  But in time it thawed out and seems to be OK.

Contrary to rumor, Country Music is alive and well.  We went to the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.  Years ago, they just had one show a week, on Saturday night.  Now, they have Country Music performances several times a week with a matinee and evening shows.  
Frankly, we don't know much about country music... who is hot and who is drunk.  By the roar of the crowd we could pretty much who was hot.
The first group was the White Family.  They got plenty of hoots,hollars, and whistles.  The lead singer immediately dropped a name:  She said she was Ricky Scaggs wife.  
These are the people we saw live on our visit.

The Matinee Show on December 6, 2016
The Whites
Sarah Darling
Diamond Rio
J.T. Hodges
Del McCoury Band
Connie Smith
Trace Adkins

In 1943, it started housing the Grand Ole Opry.  And it has been doing that ever since with a couple of gaps.
Now, it seems to be doing well for itself again.
In 1963, in the early spring a bunch of us friends went to the Grand Ole Opry.  It was just a couple of months before I was going into the Navy.  Before going into the Opry we ate dinner at a Woolworth's.  We sat by the window.  While eating a man in a dirty raincoat, carrying a guitar case stood on the other side of the window and watched us eat.  We motioned for him to come in and we would buy him dinner.  He quickly joined us.
He told us he and Cowboy Copus (the Grand Ole Opry's M.C. at the time) were good friends.  They grew up across the street from each other.  He said Cowboy Copus told him to come to Nashville and he would let him sing on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. 
We wished him luck and we went out our way and he went on his.
While we were watching the Opry entertainment from the balcony we saw the man we bought dinner for coming down the aisle with his guitar.  We watched in amazement.
Cowboy Copus was singing a song  Before the man in the dirty raincoat got to the stage stairs two big men interrupted his stride.  You could see him pointing up at Cowboy, probably saying it was OK with him.  The forcefully walked him out.
Cowboy Copus didn't miss a beat on his song.

If I remember correctly Cowboy Copus and Patsy  Cline were killed in a plane crash about a week later. 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Gaylord's Opryland at Christmas Time

To get the most out of these, click on each picture.

Above 2 picturesView from our balcony

This is WSM-FM Radio.  They have their studio here.  They are doing their thing, broadcasting, while you watch.

The above and below pictures are samples of their ice sculptures in the Ice Show.  There are rooms after rooms of huge ice sculptures telling the story of Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.   Many Chinese artists came here to create this.  The rooms are 9 degrees F.  They warned us to keep your camera inside the heavy coats they issued you or otherwise your batteries might freeze up  Did I believe them?  No.  My camera battery conked out.

That's All Folks!

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