Harvest Host campsite, we continued south and decided to visit the Russel CaveNational Monument. It is in rural northern
Alabama and our GPS took us right to it.
It is a very small national site with some hiking trials and an exhibit
area explaining the importance of the site.
It is a
short and easy walk to the cave site and if you have visited a lot of caves it will
not immediately impress you. What makes
this place so special is the fact that humans lived at this site for over
10,000 years. This time frame is the oldest known human occupation in the
southeast United States. The cave has
been mapped for over 7 miles and is still being actively studied. Knowing that humans have lived here for such a long period of time is what makes it so impressive.
HarvestHosts is a site that contains nearly 1000-member host locations, where RV’s
camp for free, generally for an overnight stay. We first joined a few years ago
but never had an occasion to use it. Since
then, the number of hosts has grown and there is now an app that allows you to
find sites quickly. It contains information including limitations and what you
can expect. Most are dry camping
locations. There is no charge to stay, but the guidelines of the project
encourage the campers to visit the hosts and purchase some products. This is not required but appreciated.
at the Northfield Vineyards in Sparta, TN.
It is in a rural area and was once an active farm. We spent time talking to the owner and
purchased some wine and very good local cheese.
We enjoyed a quiet evening overlooking the farm
fields and watching the neighbors watch us.
We took the warning sign concerning the mules seriously.
Saturday morning horse trailers started to enter the grounds. Soon it was a steady stream with many parking
just around the corner from our motorhome.
Clearly there was going to be some kind of event taking place soon. Since we were parked right on top of one of
the outdoor arenas, we were in a good spot to see all the action.
that the events would start at 2pm. We
walked around and were amazed at how many trailers, horses and people were
Just as the
event was about to begin, it started clouding up and started to rain. The event continued despite the
not a big fan of the many horses.
While at the
rally, we did two tours arranged for by the rally hosting club. The first was a Redneck tour of Nashville by
bus. We did see a few places that we
have not visited before and it proved to be a very entertaining outing. Our self-proclaimed Redneck tour guide was hilarious
with constant redneck lore and insights on Nashville. During the tour he managed to grill every
passenger on the bus. It was truly one
of those things where you must have been there to get it. It was a fun outing.
The second tour
was completely different but very interesting also. One of the great things
about attending these rallies is having folks with local knowledge arrange for tours
you would likely not know about yourself.
This was one of those events. We
visited the warehouse that holds all the decorations that go into new Cracker
Barrel restaurants and updates or changes for existing restaurants. The small team of employees are responsible
for planning each location’s theme and all items that will go into the
layout. We had a great discussion with the daily operations
manager on how they find the items and how they plan the design for each
location. He made it sound like a fun
The tour of
the materials in stock was amazing just for the sheer volume of items on
hand. This link has a very nice write-up
on the warehouse.