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 Post subject: Saturday Night Windmill & Night Run
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:18 pm 
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So after lunch on Saturday Jerry and Ross found us at the BBQ shack at the trailhead. We grabbed some beef brisket or pulled pork (depending on taste), baked beans, corn on the cob and potato salad and got our fill of some excellent food - lots of it too!

It was agreed that we would head back up the main mountain using a couple of Gravel Trails - specifically G1 to G37 to G2. Gravel Road 2 goes straight to the area around the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) windmills. So Colin took his place in the lead, Jerry and Ross were the meat in the KJ sandwich, and Dan and I took our spot as the "dust eaters."
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The TVA is the entity responsible for all the reservoirs and dams along the Tennessee River from Norris Lake just east of Windrock OHV Park, down to Alabama and back up to the confluence of the Tennessee and Kentucky Rivers where they meet the Ohio. Since the TVA got their start with renewable energy with the hydroelectric dams in all their reservoirs it makes sense that they would use windmills for electric generation, too. I was excited to get up close and personal with the windmills as I've only seen them from a distance driving along I-69 in Indiana. The climb up to Buffalo Mountain was pretty straightforward - no pics - but once we got to the top we parked the Jeeps and walked up to a viewing station from which to take some pics of the windmills on Buffalo Mountain and also Patterson Mountain to the north - the largest windmill installation east of the Mississippi. BTW, the pics show only a few of the windmills; the rest were either on a far side of the mountain or in an area we couldn't get to:
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We walked back down to the parking area & then walked up an access road to get a little closer to the closest windmills at the top of the mountain:
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Dan starting the walk up to the closest windmill:
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When we got to the base it was difficult to get the entire windmill in the frame. Colin - at 6 feet tall, and Jenny nearby - give a sense of the scale of these monsters:
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Here's a shot looking straight up. The generator at the top has to be the size of a boxcar! I really like the contrast of colors in this pic - the white tower, blue sky and the pink of the setting sun on the side of the tower:
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Here's a video (sorry, it's turned to the side and I can't change it :? ) showing Colin at the bottom of the windmill. You can faintly hear the blades turning:
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The goal was to get to the windmills before the sunset so we could see them and also be able to catch the sun as it was going behind the mountains. Goal accomplished!
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Before we headed out we got a shot of the three KJ's at the gate and each of us got a pic with our own cameras with our Jeep. KJ's left-to-right, Bob, Colin, Jerry:
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Bob's proud of his Jeep :pepper:
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We headed down G2 to the junction with Trail 4 - a moderate-rated though rocky trail. It climbs a nice hill right off of G2 and this is where Jerry wondered if there was a chance of getting high-centered on the rocks that greeted us right at the start of the trail (Jerry, I had the exact same concerns on Friday when Colin turned onto T4. It's normal!) Because it was nearly dark at this point we had to watch Colin closely so we could follow the correct line around and over the rocks.

We started turning a corner up to a decent rock ledge when Colin stopped and got on the CB and said that Dan and I needed to come to the front and take a look. And there on the side of the trail was a 2WD Toyota Tacoma, abandoned with two - count 'em, two! - flat tires. I mean, it's enough to take very capable Jeeps on these trail but to attempt them in a 2WD Tacoma on street tires...?!?! We shined the flashlights in the cab just to make sure there weren't any bodies inside before we figured out that the truck was just barely far enough to the side to give us room to climb the ledge. Sadly I didn't get a single pic to prove that some knucklehead attempted this trail in a 2WD 'Yota...

Anyway, we managed the run with not a single scratch or dent - and it was quite an exhilarating night. Some of my friends have wonder if I ever really need or use my Renegade lightbar. Well yes, Virginia, the Rennie lights DO come in handy!
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We got to a spot where we couldn't tell which turn to take, but after looking at the map several times, walking down a couple of the trails and checking out which direction they went, we finally figured out which trail connected us back to Gravel Road 1 and headed back to camp. Once there we feasted on some great Brats over the campfire, had a couple beers to wash down the dust and enjoyed wonderful conversation before turning in for a full day on Sunday...

Bob

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Last edited by TwoBobsKJ on Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Saturday Night Windmill & Night Run
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:32 pm 
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And we pondered taking the staircase down...haha. :-)r

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