The 9th Annual Southern Fall Tour was held October 15 – 19 in Columbia, TN, which is known as “the mule capital of the world.”
Traveling with Wendell & Rosie Allen, we arrived at the motel Monday in time for the Early Bird Tour. We unloaded our ’54 pickup from the trailer, and drove it on the tour through the country seeing the brightly colored fall foliage along the way. We arrived in Pulaski for a guided tour of the courthouse. Afterward, we heard there was a drug store across the street that served ice cream and 5¢ Cokes, so we all headed that way and quickly filled the small store. That evening we enjoyed pizza and more ice cream at the welcome reception.
During the week, we toured the General Motors manufacturing plant in Spring Hill where Saturns were built from 1990 to 2007. The facility produced the Chevrolet Traverse from September 2008 to November 2009. They now produce 4-cylinder engines and will changeover to assemble the Chevrolet Equinox. We traveled out to see the Old Order Amish Settlement in Ethridge where we boarded a horse drawn wagon for a pleasant ride through the settlement. We loaded up with purchases of homemade candy, canned goods, crafts and homegrown fruits and vegetables. We visited an Elephant Sanctuary Education Center to view, via live cameras, the “girls” in their natural habitat without disturbing them. The elephants came from zoos and circuses to live out their days in peace. We took a drive on part of the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway and onto the old one-way dirt road.
On Thursday, we divided up into Groups A, B & C. Franklin Gage was to lead the Group A tour, but his vehicle became disabled early in the week, so several people volunteered to give him rides. Wayne volunteered to let him ride in our ’54 pickup so he could lead the tour to the Arnold Air Force Base Advanced Missile Signature Center. The base had test facilities such as wind tunnels and space chambers. The Perrines let me ride with them to the tour of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery that morning in Group C. All the groups gathered back at the Lakeside Center on the base for lunch. Then Group A went for the tour of the distillery and Group B took the afternoon tour of the Air Force Base. Group C drove to the Walking Horse Museum in Wartrace. On the last day of the tour, we visited the President James Polk Ancestral Home. That afternoon, we had free time to go on the S & G Cycle Garage Tour or to the Rippavilla Plantation Tour. We chose to go to Rippavilla in Spring Hill, and it was a beautiful old Antebellum home built in 1855 with lots of history from the period of the Civil War. We closed out the week with dinner at the Mount Pleasant Grill and entertainment by a local country music group.
About 70 people attended the SFT, and local LSR members attending were: Wendell & Rosie Allen, Elmer & Barbara Anderson (trouble truck), Bill & Mary Ann Denman, Cleon & Doris Eck, Clay & Judy Perrine, Chic & Betty Vaughn, Frank & Myrl Wade, and Wayne & Betty Wilshire. Another great tour planned by: Chip & Cathy Sweet, Franklin Gage, Sid & Donna Carey, and Clay & Judy Perrine. Special thanks to Roy & Jo Ann Chambers who were some of the original organizers of the SFT. What a great idea!