A Travellerspoint blog

The Secret City

Oak Ridge, TN

sunny 32 °C

Thursday we had booked a tour up to Oak Ridge, Tennessee called the Secret City Tour. We had a scenic drive up to Oak Ridge and then a nice lunch before we had the opportunity of touring a branch of the American Museum of Science and Engineering.

What a facinating place Oak Ridge is. It is one of the locations chosen by the US government in 1940 to participate in the Manhattan Project - the super secret project which developed the Atomic Bomb. The army went in and fenced off 27,000 acres of land in this isolated area of the Tennissee hills. They went about building a community which would eventually employ over 75,000 workers. They were building a research and manufacturing center to develop methods of extracting uranium 235 - a key component of the atom bomb. The project was so secret that it was not located on any maps and there were extraordinary practices put in place to ensure secrecy. Few people there knew what the project was about. Most people were not told what exactly they were doing or why - they were just told what to do and they got on with it. At that time there were 4 theories on how to best extract Uranium 235 so they built 4 facilities to research and pursue each theory. Dr. Robert Openheimer headed this project. Some methods were more successful than others and ultimately they were successful in producing the uranium for the first atomic bombs including the one dropped on Hiroshima August 6, 1945. Now they focus on producing radio isotopes for medicine - or that's what they are telling us! They took down the fencing, opened Oak Ridge and put it on the map in 1949.

Posted by DavidandHazel 14:10 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Supporting the Economy

The Vendors at Wing Ding

sunny 30 °C

We were up and out at a good hour to go to the vendor show which is being held at the Convention Center in downtown Knoxville. Dave wanted to arrange for new tires on his Wing and they always have very good prices at these shows. He wanted to get his name down early because they can get pretty busy. After that vendor was located and organized for later in the day we set about some serious shopping. These shows are much like the Home Shows, Garden Shows, RV Shows and Boat Shows - only with a focus on all things motorcycle-related and even some that are not. The good thing about this particular show is that the motorcycle focus is specifically Gold Wings - so the merchandise is not engulfed in the Harleypalooza that often dominates an all brands motorcycle show. During the day we spent wandering the exhibits we did our share of supporting the local economy and came away with some really good deals on things we needed (tires) and some things we didn't (everything else), We kept running into other members of our group who were having various bits of chrome, lights, or other things installed on their bikes. We checked in with John and Cathy Dorak of JD Lighting and members of our club and said hi from everyone. It was good to see how busy John was - and we saw some of his handiwork later in the evening when they had the motorcycle light parade.

During the afternoon the sky opened and deposited a good amount of rain in our helmets hanging on the back of Dave's bike - so we returned to our motel laden with merchandise, on new tires and with very wet heads. We headed out for dinner and then to watch the lighted motorcycles drive by before heading back to the motel for the night.

Posted by DavidandHazel 14:07 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Trip Down

Yesterday, Monday, we travelled to Summersville, WV where we met up with the final 2 couples making up our group. It was a long day of riding - about 540 km and we didn't get an early start. When we finally arrived we were hot and tired and ready for a drink by the pool. Within minutes huge clouds rolled over and we raced to get the bikes covered before the downpour. The group had dinner at a local family style restaurant, picked up a few munchies and settled in to our room for a happy hour before we all headed for bed because we planned an early start for Tuesday. As we fell asleep we could hear all the 4th of July fireworks going on around us.

We were on the road by 7:30 on Tuesday and although we covered another 520 km it seemed easier. This is a beautiful part of the country down through all the rolling hills of West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee. The highways are gorgeous sweeping roads through lush hills and mountains. Once we reached the motel by about 2:30, we checked in, unpacked and headed out to the Convention Center where many of the vendors and events are staged to pick up our registration packages. There were opening ceremonies at the Zoo so we all headed out there but were very disappointed (Too many people, too few food vendors, nothing going on - but a great zoo). We were far too tired, hungry and thirsty so a few of us headed out to a local restaurant for dinner before returning home to bed early to prepare for a day visiting the chrome fairy and all the other interesting things to buy and look at tomorrow.

Posted by DavidandHazel 13:41 Comments (0)

On the Road Again

First Day

sunny 27 °C

We are back on the road again after a brief stop at home. This trip has been planned for quite some time. We are heading off on the motorcycles to Knoxville, Tennessee to meet up with 20,000 other Honda Goldwing motorcycle riders. This is a big annual meet hosted by the Goldwing Road Riders Association, one of the two Goldwing clubs we belong to.

What does one do at a Goldwing meet which is also called a rally? Aside from the usual eating, drinking and merry making there are seminars on all sorts of topics related to safety and motorcycle touring, there are hundreds of vendors selling all sorts of aftermarket accessories and clothing for motorcycles and perhaps best of all are the guided tour rides that will be conducted every day all through the Tennessee Hills.

We left Pebble Beach shortly after 8:30 a.m. on Sunday and headed towards an exit on the QEW near Niagara-on-the-Lake to meet up with our fellow travellers - Ann and Andy, Glen and Maria, Tom and Pat, Mike and Dorothy, and Paulette and Richard. We will meet the rest of our group when we stop in Summersville, West Virginia tomorrow. They headed out earlier in the weekend to get some extra riding in.

The weather was perfect - perhaps a little warm - but who can complain about the gorgeous sunshine. Being Sunday of a long weekend, the traffic was lighter and the border crossing was fast - until Hazel got stopped in a random check and had to pull over to have her bike searched. As it turned out, Dorothy and Mike also were stopped because they are travelling on German passports and they had paperwork to fill out.

We all met up at a Tim Horton's on I90 and travelled to Erie in 2 convoys. The day was short - only just over 350 km but it was a nice easy way to start the first trip of the year.

We split into 2 groups for dinner - the other group headed out for pizza and our group headed to Quaker Steak and Lube - a really fun ribs and chicken wings place. Both the atmosphere and the food were great. The decor was amazingIMG_0051.jpg

Posted by DavidandHazel 14:10 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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