Our first stop was in Oak Ridge, Tennessee - not to see the famous "Boys" but to visit the Museum of Science and Energy where the Manhattan Project took place. (You'll see a picture from the sign in registry from 1963 - see if you see a familiar name). This is where all the plutonium and U-235 isotopes were worked on in the "Secret City" to make the Atomic Bomb that ended WWII.
We enjoyed the history of the place, but we felt much dumber upon leaving after viewing way too many exhibits with way too many seven or eight syllable scientific terms. Our favorite parts were the hands on kids activities, at least until we realized we were struggling to decipher them as well.
Our next stop was the Lenoir Museum near Norris Dam not too far from Oak Ridge. We also made the drive to Norris Dam for some Dam pictures. This dam was made in the 1930s and brought electricity to what was at that time a very primitive part of our country. Before our Dam trip we had our highlight of the day at the Lenoir Museum.
The small museum has hundreds of artifacts from Appalachia. One of them is in a photo - the first person who can tell me what it was used for will receive a t-shirt from one of the places we visit over the next week. But the highlight was the Blue Grass concert going on in the building the entire time we were there. Every Sunday "pickers" show up and play their banjos and guitars and play and sing the most country blue grass music you'll ever hear. We even heard "Chicken Man." He's a skinny old guy with a distinctive voice ranging from base to falsetto. He's been on the Jay Leno show a couple of times and won a national blue grass singers contest. His trademark song I tried to attach to this blog - I'm not great at this so I'm not sure if you'll see it. I hope it works because it's bizarre. I asked him if I could buy a CD from him and he walked with me out to his car where I bought his last one. I'll leave it in the car for GiGi - she'll love it.
We left Chicken Man and ended up in Corbin, Kentucky, where we ate at the first ever Colonel Sanders KFC. There's a little museum as part of the restaurant. It's amazing the places you bump into if you just start wandering.
So Day one is over - I swear I see some green and yellow in Pee Wee's beard and Jimmy Football's hair, and Danny's ears seem to be growing. Maybe the trip to the Oak Ridge nuclear facility wasn't a good idea after all.