Vacation: Day Four – May 27, 2014

Last night I went to bed too late. It was after 1 AM by time we made it back to the hotel and got ready for bed. For someone like me who rarely stays up past 10 PM it was traumatic.

I awoke a little after 5 AM. Miss Benita was snoozing in her bed. I decided to read a few minutes. I went back to bed after realizing she wasn’t waking up. I went back to sleep. I didn’t wake up until just after 9 AM. By time we both did our morning hygiene, shower, etc. it was 11:10 AM when we left for “breakfast”. I felt like the day was lost, wasted. I’ll never get those five hours back.

Bavarian Denny's

We went to the Denny’s in Pigeon Forge. She ordered biscuits, gravy and hash brown potatoes. I had a heart hearty hamburger with fries. If you are a fellow AARP member, Denny’s gives a 20% discount 24/7/365 to AARP member who show their card and ask for it. Nice. Oh, I’ll call the it Bavarian Denny’s because of it’s architecture.

Next drove Miss Benita to her sister Joette’s house. I deposited her there. No offense to my in-laws, but I needed to have some “me” time. I’ll be back over there at 4 PM. I’ll spend the evening with them. We will drive to Knoxville for dinner with them, my brother-in-laws siblings, and more. We’ll then drive over to the University of Tennessee campus. My nephew Ryan’s high school graduation is there. we” then go back to there house for desert and pats on the back. Ryan in attending the University of Tennessee next fall. He will major in computer engineering.

After dropping of Miss Benita I drove to the gasoline station and topped off the car. Next I drove up and down US 441 which is the tourist strip in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. It took some pictures of the strange and interesting venues along the way. There are signs everywhere telling you where you are. This one kind of summarizes all the location signs.

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There are some interesting and weird building along the US 441 drive. In the cities commercialization is out of control. How about these:

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I found this strange building turned upside down.

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When did the Hatfields and McCoys move to Tennessee? They had more billboards than a rich politician. They were everywhere!

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Pigeon Forge has it’s own Titanic. The last time I saw it had been in Branson, Missouri. The feel of the Seveirville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg area is like a blend of Branson, Missouri with a dash of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

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I guess they were envious of the people of Rapid City, South Dakota which has Mount Rushmore. They have their own version of the famous mountain. Now if I could just figure out who the four are on the Pigeon Forge version,

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You can’t be in Pigeon Forge without saying hooray for “Dollywood”.

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The were some places peddling adult beverages. Here is one of the venues.

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Just when you can’t stand the traffic any longer you run into beautiful scenery and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The development stops at the boundary. The scenery is what you come here for, well at least me.

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Why is my first thought of the late Mr. Fred Rodgers when I see this picture? Trolley!

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I am a nature lover. Few places are prettier.

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And my final example of how nice it is.

More tomorrow. Tomorrow’s agenda is Dollywood.

Vacation: Day Three

This is a quick and dirty “highlights” for the day.

  1. Left Gadsden, Alabama at 9:45 AM
  2. Miss Benita was surprised we cut across the northwest corner of Georgia on I -59.
  3. The traffic was terrible – Dallas like on I-24 and I-75 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  4. Head north from Chattanooga toward Knoxville, Tennessee.
  5. Got off I-75 near Sweetwater, Tennessee and took the back way up old US411 to Sevierville, Tennessee.
  6. Got to our hotel midafternoon. Unloaded the car and then went to my sister-in-laws house.
  7. Had a nice reunion and supper.
  8. Went for a walk around the hills in their neighborhood.
  9. Our nephew who just graduated from Liberty University and his finance arrived. We had the pleasure of meeting his soon to be wife. She is as nice as she is pretty.
  10. At midnight headed back to our hotel.

April 6, 1862

Battle_of_Shiloh_Thulstrup152 years ago today the Battle of Shiloh in the US Civil War began. My great-great grandfather Jacob Kepler fought in the Battle of Shiloh. He was a private in the Company C, 53rd Indiana Infantry. He was one of the older soldiers. He was born in 1820.

He served in the Army of the Tennessee under General Ulysses S. Grant. My great-great grandfather’s regiment joined the Army of the Tennessee in March 1862. They marched from Indianapolis where they had guarded prisoners. On March 15 they were ordered to Savannah, Tennessee where they took place in the Battle of Shiloh which is just south of the town of Savannah. Next they advanced on and and took part in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi from April 29-May 30, 1862. The unit’s next movement was a march to Memphis, Tennessee via Grand Junction, LaGrange, and Holly Springs, Mississippi between June 1-July 21, 1862. They were on duty in Memphis until September 6, 1862. While at Memphis my grandfather passed away from illness as did so many soldiers during the Civil War. He is buried with the Union soldiers in Memphis.

Here is my direct relationship. My father is Jimmie Kepler, grandfather Thomas Aaron Kepler, great-grandfather Emery Hall Kepler, and great-great grandfather Jacob Kepler.

Jacob joined the Army at age 41 to keep an eye on his son James K.P. Kepler (born 1843) who had enlisted. James is my great-great-great uncle. James survived several weeks following the Battle of Shiloh before dying. His date of death was May 27, 1862. Official US Government internment records show: Kepler, James K.P. Private, Co C, d.o.d. 27 May 1862, Section F, Grave 1408, O.I. Savannah, Tennessee. This is the official Shiloh National Cemetery. The online record is at:

For those that don’t know, The Battle of Shiloh was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and was encamped principally at Pittsburg Landing on the west bank of the river. Confederate forces under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard launched a surprise attack on Grant there. The Confederates achieved considerable success on the first day, but were ultimately defeated on the second day.

Photo credit: Chromolithograph of the Battle of Shiloh, American Civil War. The date is 1888. The Author of the picture is Thure de Thulstrup (1848–1930). It is in the Library of Congress.