Home Away From Home

On the Way to Memphis

Got up this morning about 7:00 and after my coffee I got my shower. For some reason I thought it was 6:30 when we got up – Jerry told me it was when we looked at the clock – must have fallen back to sleep. We got busy and finally left Nashville about 9:15. Before leaving we stopped by the campground office so I could verify that we had joined Jellystone Park and then ran by Camping World to pick up a couple more placemats. Both of us misunderstood what the GPS was saying and ending up going the wrong way. We finally got turned around and headed toward Memphis. Morning traffic in Nashville was terrible and I know Jerry was relieved to get that behind him. He really does a good job.

I had set both GPS’s for the Memphis campground which is actually in Mississippi but then changed mine to find Hurricane Mills, home of Loretta Lynn. The GPS couldn’t find it. Actually now I don’t think it’s an actual town. We followed the signs and got there easily arriving about 11:00. The road to the actual tour and homes is very winding and we were concerned that we might not have anywhere to turn around. I felt that they must have a pretty big parking lot and was holding on to that thought! They did. Whew!

We walked around the gift shops and then got tickets for the tour. Our first stop was a replication of her home in Butcher Holler which is located in West Virginia. Her brother still lives in that home. Loretta’s mom and daddy had six children, Loretta being the oldest girl so she helped her mom with the other children quite a bit. Their dad worked in the coal mines from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am and then farmed. Loretta said he slept about three hours a night.

Next we went into a replica of the coal mine where her daddy worked. Because he had one of the more dangerous jobs in the mine he was paid $1.50 a day! I had heard the tour guide say he had worked in a coal mine so I asked him where he worked. Harlan County, Kentucky! We discovered that he was probably the guy who sold us our tickets last year when we visited and the same guy who came to get us when we had been in too long. Small world. He said our guide only worked there on week-ends now as he had a full time job, didn’t mention school.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOur next stop was the home they lived in until it got too big for them. It is definitely a 70’s decorated house and she loved green! In addition she liked to collect things and there are A LOT of doodads around. Pictures covered many of the walls. Loretta’s two oldest children died, one was riding a horse through a stream and somehow fell off and was knocked unconscious and drowned.

When the house got too big for them Loretta and Doo filled up the pool behind the house and built a smaller home and she still lives there now. I was surprised that she would live that close to all of the visitors. She still performs some, about 80 nights a year.

Then we took a tour of her museum. Someone must have had a lot of forethought because it was filled with gowns, plaques, signed pictures and other memorabilia. Jerry found a poster advertising her singing at Ayden Grifton High School which is not far from our home and I found a certificate signed by then Attorney General Rufus Edmonson naming her an honorary attorney general of North Carolina.

We also got to go through one of old tour buses. Interesting and nice but I do like my slides.

Leaving Loretta Lynn's
Leaving Loretta Lynn’s

On back to our “bus” where we had some lunch and then hit the road by 1:30. We drove about 7 miles to the Pilot Station where Jerry slowly filled up the tank and checked the tires. We pulled out of the station at 2:00. Skies are overcast looking like rain – of course! Roads in Tennessee are intermittently good and horrible, a lot of bouncing around at times. At least we’re not squeaking right now.

About 100 miles from Memphis it began to rain and rained the rest of the way and it seemed to take forever. I learned something else today. If we plan to stop and tour anything on the way we’ll cut our miles for the day. Today was a long day especially for Jerry. We got to Yogi Bear Jellystone Memphis just a bit after 5:00. Just as I was setting up the jacks Donna Freng called so Jerry actually did all of the setting up himself.

I pulled out left overs, meatloaf, pork chops, peas and I fixed some mac and cheese so we had an easy dinner. I fought staying up and finally about 8:00 got ready for bed and was sound asleep by 10.

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