Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy Anniversary Disaster Blaster Trip

Old farm equipment at Stone Cove

Happy Anniversary Disaster Blaster Trip 

Kenny & Dana Koogler 31st Wedding Anniversary

The Garden Inn at Bee Rock 
Monterey, TN 

Pictures are here starting with frame 48 
Disaster Blaster Photos

  Our 31st wedding anniversary was coming up. I made up several plan options for a get away trip,
and I presented them to Kenny.  He liked the idea of going to the Garden Inn at Bee Rock.  We had never visited there before.  We liked the little town of Cookeville which is about 15 miles northwest.
We figured we'd do some hiking and relaxing and maybe a day of shopping and exploring the town.
There are a number of good wineries and an excursion train in the area.  We figured it would be a great deal of fun and romance.   The first rumble of far away thunder regarding this trip came when I called to set the reservations.  The lady I talked to was unable to let me know for sure if we could get the dates we wanted or not.  She told me she would take my phone number and call me back ASAP.
Later in the day she called and the big group they were booking in around the same time would be gone by Saturday morning so if we were alright with coming in on a Saturday we could make the weekend work.   We agreed upon this and set the reservations.

             The second rumble of still far away thunder happened when I posted on Facebook that
we were going to attempt to reach Verble Hollow Falls.  Kitty Myers commented that she thought
it was supposed to be a "long, wicked bushwhack".   It didn't look like it would be too bad on google maps, but in chatting with Kristen Bobo and Tom Dunigan.. I learned that she was more than right.
Kristen called it a hell hike.   Tom cautioned that coming in there that time of year we were very liable to encounter hunters and property owners.   We did not have our heels locked in the dust about going on this difficult hike. It was great if it worked out. If it did not work out this time that was ok too.   Kristen said the route down off Bee Rock was shorter, harder, more vertical.   I had decided I would try to find a slightly longer, easier way for us.

       We got going Saturday morning and we could not check in to the B & B until 3 pm.
We had plenty of stuff to do and see so we set about exploring. We went to Cookeville and tried shopping and lunch first since it was still cold and rainy.   Neither one of us was very interested in shopping so after lunch we headed to see Stone Cove.  It was not the greatest, but good.
Stone Cove is private property which sits right by the road and thus far public access has been allowed.  There  is a bluff with 17 arches in it. There are historic structures.  There is a waterfall.
Saturday the waterfall was piddly.
 Interesting arch with a very graceful shape near the start of Stone Cove
 Historic home site with chimney, steps, spring house still standing on this side of the road.

Looking out from under one of the arches at Stone Cove

       We also attempted to reach Peters Falls which is about 10 miles west of this spot.
We found it, but came out at the top of the falls.   We want to go back because I later saw the correct approach which would get us to the base of it and a far better view of it and a chance to explore.

       On our way back toward Monterrey I had Kenny pull into Verble Church Road in the hopes I could speak to the property owner for a better approach to Verble Hollow Falls.  We were in luck.
They were home. They were nice. They welcomed us and agreed we could go. It was late in the day and we agreed on a parking place, start time, etc.   I offered them a chance to back out. I said I knew it was hunting season and would they prefer we wait until that was over?  No! Go ahead.  Just wear blaze orange.  They told us to stop back by and let us know what we found.  I asked them if they wanted to go along? No we're not able to do all that.   They said the ladie's son had been before though and found the falls and caves.    We were very pleased we would not have to go down off the bluff. We had a nice visit with these people. They were interesting and polite. I liked their dogs and they said that the one I liked best might go with us which was great.    We then headed to the Garden Inn to check in and get settled.

 The view from the bluff at the Garden Inn

Garden Inn at Bee Rock.  We are getting rid of this blue color at our house. We've got one room left to go.

         Once we checked in we  walked out to Bee Rock. One other couple was out there taking selfies on a cell phone.   It was a gray day and the view wasn't helped by the gloomy conditions.  We did not linger because it was cool and windy and the view was not great and it began to drizzle rain.  A man came out there and asked " Would I be intruding if I came down there?"  We told him no, to come on that we were fixing to head back.  He offered me a hand in coming back up the rocks. I thank him and took his hand.  He was reeking of alcohol.  I hoped he would not fall off the cliff. We
got cleaned up and went to Cookeville to eat dinner.  We went to Ruby Tuesdays and had a delicious meal.   We came back to the Inn later and the entire crew was there now.   They were a boisterous group and took up practically every space.   We were ready to turn in so we could go on our long adventure to Verble Hollow Falls the next morning after breakfast.    Lying in bed reading with the tv on...... I would hear the volume of the talking rise and fall. I kept hearing a man loudly cursing and dropping the F bomb from time to time.  I would have Kenny mute the TV and try to listen to see if they were getting into a fight.   You could hear one drunken, male voice get loud then die back down.
They never got into anything physical but it was clear they did not get along.      I figured best thing to do was stay out of it and let the inn keepers deal with them.

        Needless to say the big group stayed up late. Slept in well past their stated time and took up
all the space and the inn keepers time.  We felt like two step children the next morning. I finally
went out and asked  "Could we at least get a cup of coffee?"  She went to help me get come coffee and dropped a bomb on me.   The lady innkeeper told me that the woman who had offered to let us cross her property and go to the waterfall called last night while we were out.  She had changed her mind and said we could no longer go back through there to the waterfall. She told the innkeeper lady that she did not feel comfortable because of hunting season and because she did not even know of any waterfalls back in there.  I felt like I had been slapped in the face.  This message was delivered to me in the presence of all these strangers.  My parents taught me manners and one thing you don't do
is embarrass someone needlessly.  Use discretion and privacy in delivering any kind of message.
I was pissed.    I looked at the lady and said "This is turning out to be a very negative experience"
She wanted to know why. I was so angry I knew better than to address it fully in that moment.
I responded that it was not any ONE thing that it was MANY things and lets leave it at that for now.
I did tell her I felt it was inappropriate for her to have been put int he position she was in to deliver that message by the land owner.  I would have refused to do it saying I'd get the person to call them back.  The worst that would have happened was us showing up and being told to our faces that they had changed their minds and we couldn't go.  It pissed me off worse because the land owner lied.
It is shitty to change your story in a matter of hours.  My son went to see the waterfall..... I don't even know of a waterfall back there. All I could do was blink at that bit of information.   What the hell?

        I needed to tell Kenny so I gave him his cup of coffee and thought we'd stroll to the downstairs common room to try to get out of the crowd to talk.  There was literally nowhere in this place aside from our own room where we could escape them indoors.   We ended up having to go back to our room to drink coffee and talk about this.  We were both livid at the way things were going. I was madder than Kenny this time though.  We headed out the door and one of the big group said "Here we'll clear off a table for ya."  I said no thanks that I was about over the mess there and out the door we went.  We went to Hardees and grabbed a quick bite and tried to calm down.

              Next we went to hunt up Bridge Creek and Devils Creek falls in Cumberland Cove.
We'd fill our day up with other stuff and try to make the best of a bad situation.   We found it without any problem.  Bridge Creek Falls was not bad.  Devils Creek Falls barely had any water coming over it.  It was so disappointing that I didn't even take any photos of it.   It sucked.  We went up to one of the overlooks above Bridge Creek Falls. You could also see Devils Creek Falls from it, but again... who cares? It was a pitiful flow coming over it.   The overlook was pretty nice. One short set of steps there was slanted and twisted! It was quite an adventure going down them. The sun seldom shines on them and they stay slick and slimey!

 Bridge Creek Falls

           Crazy steps down to the overlook

Overlook above Bridge Creek Falls.

          We left the area in a hurry. I felt most unwelcomed thanks to the ugly start to the morning.
I had no desire to be fussed at our run off by anyone.  We did drive round to the far end of the housing development where there is supposed to be a Davidson Falls.  It was right by someone's house. No indication anyone ever goes down over the bluff here. I just wasn't feeling like struggling to Maybe    find a falls.   We went to town and got some lunch and tried to decide what to do.
I felt horribly sad still.     Kenny finally suggested we go to Burgess Falls and on down toward Rock Island.    Burgess Falls felt like another slap in the face.  We got there only to learn the trail is heavily damaged and you can't even visit the main falls.   We never even got out of the vehicle.  We continued on toward Rock Island. It was the right thing to do.   It was beautiful. I finally shook that negative vibe and that unwelcomed feeling.   I wished very much we had just brought our own camper and stayed here.  

     We enjoyed Rock Island and felt the nastiness of the day's beginning finally start to slip away.
We had never visited here this time of year before. It was worth a look for sure.   We remembered past trips and laughed about the foibles we tend to get into.
 Twin Falls with the sun peeping over the ridge. Beautiful!
 Spring Castle

Cascade along the Old Mill Trail

         When we got ready to leave the Rock Island State Park I plugged the GPS coordinates for
Old Mill Cascade into it. We were 10 miles from it.  It was on the way back toward Cookeville.
We would stop and try to find it.   We DID find it easily and thank the Lord it was not one of those places where we found access cut off.   A short stroll up there and we found it and it was more than worth the stop.

 Old Mill Cascade
 Closer view of the cascade and the cave. You can see the foundation of the mill
Mill stone in on the creek bank.

This was a pretty holler and we felt like that last disappointment of the trip was left completely behind.    We stopped through town to have dinner at Longhorn Steak House. It was great.
We went back to the Inn.  The large group was gone thankfully.     We had a better, quieter night.

             The next morning it was raining.  All either of us wanted was to be shed of this place.
So we left and had breakfast at Cracker Barrel on the way back toward home.

   Our house is not fancy, but it is nice. We have made comfort at home a priority.
It sucks to go pay to sleep in a place that is nowhere near as comfy.    It was sure good to get home.
We had not been home very long until the Inn Keeper called with a sincere apology and explanation.They also refunded half our stay.  They offered to try to smooth things over with the land owners to secure access to the path to the falls after hunting season was over.  We'll see what transpires.  They have changed their policy of booking large groups and couples in together.
The man inn keeper agreed with me that the land owner should not have put them in the position
of delivering a disappointing message. He  felt it was wrong.   I figure if it is meant to be.... it will be.  My list of places to visit is already lengthy.  I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

 Above is a short video of Rock Island's Twin Falls.

Short video of Old Mill Cascade. This place is gorgeous!

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