Saturday, December 1, 2012


Wednesday, my brother Norris and I headed to Tennessee to do some exploring and try to find a route to our ancestral land near Elk Valley on the line between Campbell and Scott counties. We took my UTV which was a swell idea because the roads are mostly washed out or just imaginary. We also took my smart phone with the GPS and topo map app. (another swell idea). We arrived around noon Wednesday, found a wide spot in the road, parked, unloaded, and headed back Lamb mountain from the north side. We went back in the bush 3 miles or so, met a hunter, found out we were required by law to wear blaze orange hats and vests because it was deer season, and got close to our land but were not able to climb up to it. The day was crisp unless you were zipping down the road in an open vehicle, them it was just plain cold. We hiked and found some beautiful open woods but it was not our woods.We tried several more trails, met a guy doing maintenance on one of the small gas wells in the area, heard the UTV making a funny noise and headed back to the van. A Cracker Barrel dinner, a trip to Walmart for blaze orange hats and vests, and checking in at the Super 8 rounded out the day.

Thursday dawned cold again. We drove into Lafollette had breakfast, and spent an hour at the historical society were we were able to find a picture of our great grandfather William Allen. He had been a Union spy for Burnside, wounded, captured and exchanged several times.After the Civil war he was elected clerk of courts then judge and served Campbell county for 60 years. We had known his story but had never had a picture of him. Now we do. He had also held high office in the Masons and it turns out the head of the historical society is a Mason. He is going to go through their archives and see what he can find for us.

As the day warmed we went to Elk Valley and tried to get up the mountain that way.We had been up there last spring but were unable to find a route to our property. This time we had the gps and it really helped. The road (trail, path) is in awful shape but we did not have any trouble getting up there with the UTV. We made it up to Big Wheel Gap at the top of the mountain then checked the gps and headed north along the ridge.I kept checking and we kept getting closer. After a couple of miles of dirt road and swimming through mud holes in the ute we made it to our property. It was good to see that no one had hauled it away in the two years since we had been there. There were some survey tapes going across some of our land so someone has been up there but there has been a misunderstanding of the boundaries by some neighboring property holders so it really wasn't too alarming. It was a beautiful afternoon. There were deer tracks all over the place and you could see for miles with the leaves down. We did start smelling a belt burning and found a loose belt on the alternator. After seeing the shape the belt was in, we tightened it up and slowly headed down out of the wilderness.

But wait!!! That's not all!!! Thursday night is Jam Session at Raccoon Valley Campground. I had brought a guitar so we drove down after dinner and had a very nice evening of old songs by old men ( and Carol ) I generally played along but found enough nerve to do "Waterbound" and "Hello Stranger" without anyone throwing anything at me. It is always a nice time and this was no exception. After a day on the mountain and a night in the valley the beds at the motel felt awfully good.

Friday took us to the Courthouse in Scott County for a little deed research that might help firm up our northern boundary. Finally we headed for home. It was an outstanding trip with great weather and a lot of very nice and helpful people.The folks at the motel, the historical society , the courthouse, the principal who let us park the rig in a secure spot at the school while we were up the mountain, and the fellas we met on the mountain were all as helpful as they could be. Once we told people who we were and that we were doing family research everyone seemed to want to help. Well, I'm off to help Mike and Karen Baum with their big Christmas sale so here are some pictures from the mountain including one of my brother walking down what is officially a county road through our land.It's just that no one is sure which county. Thanks for stopping.

PS I have been given a liebster award for the blog by several people. Thank you. I will respond soon.


  1. What a great way to spend time with your brother. Glad you got some orange gear, wouldn't want you to get mistaken for a deer.

  2. Cracker Barrel, Walmart, and hunters orange, what could be better!
    That's some beautiful land, I would much rather be ducking bullets than sitting at shows right now!

  3. Love that road along the ridge, Gary and I have done many a jeep and other back country trips; your photos bring back memories of wonderful, (some hair raising) trips we've taken down many a dirt road over looking cliffs, lakes, rivers, and streams, and lots of ghost towns.

  4. When you want to make a fashion statement, nothing works like a blaze orange vest and hat ensemble.

  5. Norris looks good in orange.........

  6. those are beautiful woods.
    Cracker Barrel- I have not been in one since I lived in Tenn.- say almost 37 years....

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