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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nashville and the Charlie Daniels Museum

Now, as I have learned for my insanely jam-packed trip to St. Augustine, sometimes you just can't see all a city has to offer in one hour.  When I got to ride along with my wife on a work trip to Nashville we had approximately 1 hour of free time to soak to take in the city, so this was going to take some careful planning. 

We took the time to see the Ryman Auditorium, which is the former home of the Grand Old Opry.


And of course we had to check out the OTHER must-see Nashville Landmark:  The Drake Motel. 


They Drake Motel was featured prominently in the movie "The Thing Called Love" staring River Phoenix.  Its billed "as where the starts stay".  Hey, let's check out their Trip Adviser page!

Here's are the titles of some of the reviews:

"I got robbed.  Enough said"-One star

"Do not stay here!!"-One star

"Motel Hell"-One star

"Dirty motel"-Two stars

"DO NOT STAY HERE!!  BED BUGS!!"-One star

"Great place for hookers & drug dealers"-One star

"Awesome, if your not a baaaaby"-Five stars

We took a stroll down Broadway Street, which is lined with Country Music Bars.  Live country music spilled into the street at 1:00 in the afternoon.








It was all pretty charming except for the hideous AT&T building towering overhead.


But time was short, so we only had time for one real attraction.   My first choice would have been the Music Valley Wax Museum, but sadly it was destroyed in the horrible flood Nashville had.  So, I dragged my wife to my second choice.


The Charlie Daniels Museum!  Its not like I am some sort of diehard Charlie Daniels fan, but no one can argue that "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" is one of the greatest songs of all time.

The museum itself was in the back of sparse dingy gift shop that sold shirts like this.


In the back was the Museum, which contained artifacts from Charlie's life, mostly comprised of outfits and awards.


Of note is the Golden Fiddle that Charlie won from the Devil himself.......


Other instruments of note include  Ronnie Van Zandt's guitar.....


A chunk of the twin towers' steel carveed into a cross and placed in a guitar case along with an American flag guitar.....


And this Nativity Guitar....


And of course what good country boy would have a museum without a picture of his mama?


A somewhat random exhibit is an autographed pair of pro wrestler Bill Goldberg's wrestling tights.....


And my favorite:  A stuffed Raccoon playing the fiddle.....


Sadly, the Charlie Daniels museum shut down shortly after I visited.  No word on what happened to the Raccoon.

So, there is my incredibly abbreviated trip to through Music City.  I'm sure there is plenty more to see.  Maybe next time I will rent a room at the Drake Motel and stay awhile.
 
The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page.  You can also follow me on instagram

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fields of the Wood: World's Largest Ten Commandments

It should not be a surprise to anyone that here in the bible belt they take their Christianity very seriously.  One doesn't need to look far to find examples of this religious fervor.  However, there are few monuments as impressive as the Fields of the Wood.

Tucked way back in the smoky mountains of North Carolina near Murphy, NC lies the "Bible Theme Park" known as "Fields of the Wood".  The most noticeable feature of the attraction is the World's Largest Ten Commandments, literally placed across the side of a Mountain.


Just look how big this thing his, that is a normal sized person.....


The stair case up in the middle is possibly the most extreme bible related workout you will ever have in your life.


Perched at the top of the mountain in none other then the world's largest Bible.........


 But that's not all.  You can actually crawl up INSIDE the World's Largest Bible and climb to the top to get an even better view.

Disclaimer:  This is not permission to overlook the Bible
I must say, the view is spectacular.


You also get a bird's eye view of the Golgotha Rock.........


Golgotha, which translates to "Place of the Skull" was said to be were Jesus was crucified and was described as a rock formation that looked like a skull.  I must say, that their rendition is adequately chilling.


For those who did not get enough of a workout climbing the commandments, there is ANOTHER mountain directly across known as "prayer mountain".  Climbing Prayer Mountain you you will come across this.....


The Witness Tree.  Apparently, this tree was struck by lighting splitting it in half.  Supposedly, the church had hung their flag on the tree and the lighting "jumped" over the flag.  This was considered a miracle.  Works for me.

Once reaching the top of Prayer Mountain you find: Prayers......


Heading down from Prayer Mountain you get a nice view of the Commandments.....


Also of note is the baptismal pool, but they are very clear on their policy of unsanctioned baptisms....


One would also assume there are no cannonballs.......

Next to the pool is a replica of Jesus's Tomb with a real rolling rock.....



 Here is a view of the commandments from inside the tomb....


I'd also like to note that this place looks really cool on Google Earth.....


Because of its remote location the Bible Park is often near empty which gives it a unique and haunting feeling.  This was however, not always the case as this awesome vintage photo shows.

NC State Archives
So one question you may be asking yourself is "Why?"  Why is all this here in the middle of nowhere?  The answers lie inside the brochure....


Fields of the Wood is operated and maintained by The Church of God of Prophecy.  The church was founded by traveling bible salesmen Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson. 


Tomlinson was said to have climbed to the top of the mountain when he had a vision that inspired him to found the church.  Tomlinson would point to a passage in the Bible that he felt prophisized  the creation of the Fields of the Wood.

Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood

Like Walt Disney, Tomlinson would never see his vision completely realized as he died 2 years before the Commandments were completed in 1945.

The original church is still a few miles from the Bible Park, where there is also this interesting "Holy Ghost" monument.


I have read that over and over and I have no idea what it means.  If someone would like to explain it to me, I'd be happy to hear from you.

The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page.  You can also follow me on instagram

Monday, June 23, 2014

An Ode to Carnies

Ah, summer is here....This of course means only one thing:  The Carnival is in town.


Ah, the carnival.  This time of year tiny traveling carnivals start popping up all over small town America.  Its the perfect opportunity to play a few games....


Eat some fried food, and squeeze ketchup from a giant sticky udder......


And of course my daughter always talks me into getting onto something that spins me around and around as a metal bar jams into my guts.....


The other day I stumbled upon the first small carnival of the season.

It wasn't exactly bustling with people, but it had all the essentials.....












They did have a wicked collection of creepy clown mouth garbage cans....





They also had a carousel with some broken down weak backed horses......and they were serious  about it....


But today I wanted to take a look at a special kind of person.  The people responsible for running these games, preparing this food and operating these rides.  These people are Carnies.


These are the nomads that travel up and down the roads of America bringing joy to the hearts of small town America.  We put our trust in these travelers that erect the complicated machines that spin our children around and launch them into the air.  They proudly captain these rides with their mullets flapping in the wind.






I was always drawn to the carnival games when I was kid.....Enticed by their deceptive simplicity....


The carnies taunt and shout at you questioning your manhood and daring you try their games.


After all, who can't hit a balloon with a dart?  Especially when their is an enticing framed pictures of a space alien dressed as a confederate soldier hanging in the balance.....


Of course, as a child I was always obsessed with the Goldfish game......


Note that you can actually exchange 25 fish for 1 Iguana.....

I was obsessed with bringing home a damn Goldfish from the fair.....For some reason it didn't occur to me that you could buy these goldfish at the local pet store for a nickel.  These fish games actually have about the best business model known to man, as you have to pay 1 dollar for a chance to win a 5 cent Goldfish.

Of course, why should you settle for a goldfish or an iguana when you could win a cute and fluffy bunny.


I'm not exactly sure what the carny does with to those poor bunnies with that lacrosse stick.   But anyways, bank a ping pong ball into a floating cup and you get a rabbit.  Now, there is a certain questionable aspect about suddenly and unexpectedly becoming a rabbit owner.  Now, a fishbowl will only set you back a few bucks and you may even have one already, but who has a spare rabbit hutch laying around.  Maybe more thought should go into pet ownership.  Just a thought.

All in all, there is something romantic about the Carny lifestyle, but its not an easy life.  Remember, this summer show your carnies some love.



The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page.  You can also follow me on instagram