Category Archives: nature

Clark range Hunting Lodge Has Personality!

 

AmericanPressTravelNews-Sept. 19th, “Bob and Barb On The Road Again”–What would make a modern family leave California, and pioneer backwards towards the east coast of the U.S.?   When the Echternacht family; Jim and Sandy and their son Ian headed to Tennessee, from their home in Santa Barbara, CA. in a circuitous adventure, they had made the decision to purchase Ken Moody’s hunting lodge, and the many hundreds of acres it afforded for client-hunters since the 1950’s.The family wanted to change their life’s paradigm. No more super highways to sit in traffic, no more anti-hunting,  and negative target shooting people to have to deal with, no more incredibly high prices for everything to continue dragging them down.

Son, Ian loves the shooting sports life, handling the dogs, putting hunters on to a wild boar, or the various other game animals on their hunting lodge properties.  I had a chance to shoot with Ian at their range, try out some fine weaponry, and master-blast a few sporting weapons-it was great fun and in an environment where booms and rifle cracks were perfectly acceptable.

The family are happy campers since purchasing the lodge in September, 2016.  “We knew we wanted to leave CA. so we made an RV out of a 1986 shuttle bus. The bus had a fine diesel engine, and no fancy electronics. We traveled all over looking for a place to land outside of CA. We wanted a rural, quiet place to spend our lives that had water, trees and hunting opportunities. So we coined the term: “Go east young man.”  We finally found it here in Clark range.  Just down the road from great service,  and shopping in Crossville, great neighbors, plenty of room, and very happy hunters are our lot now”, said mom Sandy.

When they got into to TN. they stayed at Fall Creek Falls State Park. “We loved the park, the people and the feeling of being in a state that was more laid back than any other we visited, and upon our return to CA. we looked on a land and business sale site, found this lodge here in Clark Range, and studied the idea of buying and settling in the woods and waters of TN. We took quite awhile to decide, and after selling our home in Santa Barbara, and a few trips to, and from Clark Range, here we are”, said Dad, Jim.

Hunters can stay and hunt at the lodge for boar, Fallow Deer, Black Buck and anything non-indigenous to TN.   Whitetail deer, black bear, and other specially licensed animals require a state license. People who wish to have a mount, and the meat hunt here. Several of the long term clients have stated that actually hunting is secondary to being in the wild with family and friends just to hang together-being happy to just be together with those they enjoy  in a relaxed, non-working environment in nature.

The property has diverse terrain with waterfalls cliffs and caves for the adventurer, as well as accessible locations with blinds for the more laid back hunter. First hunts for youngsters with their parents are welcomed. A few groups have come year after year for decades.

There is no plan for clear-cutting; just cleanup as the previous owner wasn’t around for controlling usage of his lands perimeters. Today, Ian is on it all! A great sportsman in his own right, he appreciates, and has the drive to renovate and upgrade the lodge to its original condition, yet upgrade in the style and manner of what a true hunting lodge really feels and looks like. Mom, Sandy, treated us to a great chicken dinner, and we slowly began to lose the trappings and feelings of the life in hustle-mode. Yes, while visiting, we relaxed and understood why folks from all over would come and de-stress at the Clark Range Hunting Lodge. A guide with 16-years experience takes you & your party on guided dog hunts. There are tree stands, and ground blinds also available for hunters of any age, and physical condition is what you’re in for. Parties of 10 or more have exclusive use of the Lodge and Preserve, and smaller parties too are always welcome! We’re going back for some more of that “personality.”

Located at 1640 Campground Road, Clarkrange, TN.  www.clarkrangehuntinglodge.com

 Phone- 931-863-3203

Note* There are several hunting  and sporting lodges in Tennessee, and we plan on visiting a few of these that are in, or are close to Crossville for Fall features.

 

Visit to Morristown, Tennessee

American Press travel News–July 9th, Bob & Barb “On The Road Again”-Once in the city of Morristown, we had visited with Anne G. Ross, Director of Tourism at the Area Chamber of Commerce Office. Anne sent us on a very informative itinerary that covered just a bit of the great things Morristown is all about.

We checked out part of the Lake way Area that included a visit to Cherokee Lake. The fishy lake has over 700-miles of shoreline. The ubiquitous largemouth and smallmouth bass are king here. We visited with shoreline angler’s cat fishing, and looking for brim and crappie. Everyone was having a great time, as the water was clean and clear and the temperatures were warm, but mitigated by a nice shore side breeze. We visited with Sam & Delores Phillips owners of Morristown Marine. Sam discussed the seven bass tournaments he runs each year on Lake Norris, Cherokee, South Holston, Watts Bar and Douglas Lake. He has 910 members of his invitational only events. They draw 220-230 boats for each event. Winners take home big bucks per event, ongoing for over 11-years. https://www.morristownmarine.com

Always interested in history, we headed over to the General Longstreet Museum. The historic home was used by General James Longstreet as his Civil War Confederate headquarters in the winter of 1863-64. The site includes a replica of an 1860’s tailor shop where Director Kelly Ford makes period military uniforms. We met up with “Dewey” a very serious Civil War buff, and he regaled us with a blow-by-blow of various Civil War skirmishes, dressed in a Confederate military outfit, he laid out everything he knew about General Longstreet’s life and times. Dewey is a very serious historian and really knows the full history of “everything” Civil war https://facebook.com/generallongstreetmuseum

We spent some time at the Rose Center of the Arts with Executive Director Beccy Hamm. The arts center is housed in an 1890’s Victorian school house. The center is the cultural arts hub of the Lake way Area. Gallery exhibits, performance spaces, meeting places and a sales gallery. We also met up with representatives from the Morristown Theatre Guild and Theatrical Company where we learned of the many shows slated for the coming months. Go:  https//:www.rosecenter.org

Panther Creek State Park was quite spectacular, Jason Chadwell, Park Manager showed us the incredible sites including an overlook of Lake Cherokee. We also met Craig Price who discussed the newest and most challenging 18-hole Disc golf course. No clubs, just special Frisbee discs thrown into basket-catch hoops.

Hillbilly’s Cabin Restaurant was a fine breakfast spot. We enjoyed Spanish Omelets’ and real coffee! Then we were off to the Meeting Place Country Store & Antiques, and did some shopping for fun oldies but goodies!

Yes, Davey Crockett grew up here and since that time so long ago, so did generations of other families and pioneers in business, industry, medicine, the arts and sports!  For more info go: facebook:Visit Morristown or facebook: retire Hamblen County, TN.

Next week take a peek at The Whitestone Inn on Watts Bar Lake!

 

 

Baxter Tennessee Catfish Fee to Fish Pond

American Press Travel News–June 26th, Bob & Barb Stopping to Smell the Roses and the catfish–Cats for a Fee On another planet (or so it seemed as I spent two years in the Congo) I fished nearly every day in creeks, ponds and even the deepest river in the world at 1290-feet deep.  I had catfish take my baits and lures along with all manner of other actual game fish that jumped, put on a great acrobatic show and had teeth, such as the tiger fish made of nightmares in this striped biter and slasher.  But the catfish dove, pulled and bulldozed their way towards the bottom.  On a dock at the Congo, I saw a 600-pounder being cut up for the pot. These wild-ones put up a fine fight, and smaller ones that didn’t break my line or rod, roasted over bamboo coals, were excellent fare.

There are nearly 3,000 known species of catfish in the world, but it is thought that the actual number of catfish species could be as high as 4,500, as many species of catfish are found in areas where there is little or no human contact. I counted about 30-different catfish species that I caught during my time in Africa.

Here in the states there are many varieties, but the ones most of us like to catch and eat are Channel Cats. Twin Lakes Catfish Farm is your spot!  They have Channel Cats, Blue Cats, Flatheads, and farm fed fish as well. They stock 10-15-thousand of them and they are ready to catch and keep, or catch and release for a fee.

It’s the first week of summer, and that’s what fishing is all about; togetherness sharing quality time in the summer outdoors. What we witnessed during our visit were families enjoying time together fishing.  The catfish farm has an RV park, a stage for events, a restaurant, a tackle shop where you can buy or rent gear if you forgot yours and a bait shop too! The Pippin Family, Greta Hurst, Greg Pippin and Lesette Pippin all work and manage what started in 1946 by J. Fred and Evelyn Pippin who purchased the first part of the farm. In 2000 the rest of the family moved onto the property and decided to take the idea of a catfish pay lake and make it a reality. They did!

April through October each Saturday they run a tournament where participants can win a trophy and some cash too! They also host special tourneys for kids and veterans, ladies and special partner’s tournaments.  Greg told me that once in awhile, someone hooks up catfish to 90-pounds in his lakes, and then its pandemonium of fun for the angler, and everyone watching, as well.

Yes, catfish is on the menu at their restaurant, but so is all other non-catfish fare as well!

You pay one fee for all day catch and release, and another fee for catch and keep as well as paying by the pound for your fresh caught catfish. Open Thursday through Sunday, and they’re located at Exit 280 off of I-40, go north 2.5 miles on highway 56 to 580 Gainesboro Hwy. This is fun for you and pals, or for the whole family. Call 931-858-2333 for any additional information.

Great thing about fishing is “God does not deduct mans time on earth when he ( or she) is fishing!”

How Sweet It Is. Thank the Bee’s!

American Press Travel News–June 6th, Crossville, TN.-Bees; Oh How Sweet It Is!  When a wall in my “Man Cave”, writers cabin at the farm began vibrating and humming, I knew something strange and major was up.  I felt that it wasn’t a paranormal happening, so I stepped out back behind the cabin. I stood and watched (from a distance) honey bees flying to and from a small crack in my wood wall.  I looked up a professional Apiarist, and found Jeff Dayton from Rainbow Gold Apiary who promised to visit, assess exactly where he needed to open our interior wall to vacuum up the bees along with his 22-year old son, Tyler, after first finding the Queen.  They live-caught more than 50,000 bees with a painless vacuum (five pounds) and later transferred the Queen to a new hive box on his property to happily reunite the little fantastic critters with their leader. When the wall was opened, there was no honey left in the wax combs, as it was all eaten by the bees over the winter. They were getting ready to swarm again so in the coolness of early April, and without anyone getting stung, he successfully captured and relocated them to his bee field. My cabin was also not dripping with natures golden delight, and all I had to do was lots of cleaning, and redo the wall-case closed after closing up that outside crack.

Jeff has been at his bee business for the past 25-years, and now has 60-managed hives. He relocated about 10-outside hive colonies this year alone.  Jeff said about 80-percent of hundreds of colonies this past winter were lost in Tennessee.  Parasites like Varroa mites,  tracheal mites, poor bee nutrition , pesticides, and colony collapse disorder  were all known causes of bee losses. Dayton remarked that: “we all got to eat and everyone needs bee-power. Bees create our foods.”

Bees are fiercely protective of their Queen and their hive. Each of the hundreds of hexagonal wax pupae cells in the honey comb is constantly being attended to by worker bees.

In a way, Bees can be compared to the Trojan warriors of history. They take no prisoners and are inherently endowed against all odds, to fight till their death to protect their home and family. To me thinking about what Jeff Dayton told me about the number of bees it takes to make up 5-pounds, that takes 50,000 individuals was incredible. These bees alone (amongst other myriads of insects, and birds too, not to mention the other bee-billions around the world) assist in propagating thousands of fruit trees, vegetables, flowers, bushes and sundry field crops, fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, orchard cherry trees, peach, pear, apple, etc. The world would be a dead place if not for bees.

Jeff said that when he was a youngster he and his dad would raid old bee trees. They would “course” the bees flying to and fro, and follow their angles of flight. “We would triangulate where the hives were. I sure miss my dad, he got me into the Apiary profession, and I am what I am today due to his nurturing and teaching.” Jeff has passed his passion for the little liquid gold -makers in several ways. Besides teaching his son Tyler, he is a fixture at most outdoor special events.  This “sweet” guy teaches all who have interest, about the life of the bees and special nature they possess. He sets up a window case where people can watch the bees going about their daily lives supplying honey for their hives. Rainbow Gold Apiaries can be reached at (931) 484-9430. He can offer all hive products, offer his bees for pollination and does bee removal from anyone who needs this service at no charge!