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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: What to Do at 55
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 03:49:06 -0500

C wrote:
> We are two couples going on vacation towards the end of March
> Our ages average 55 and we want to have fun.
> Here is our itinerary Perhaps some experienced travelers can share their
> knowledge of
> thing to do and places to go.
> Kansas City MO
> St Louis MO
> Memphis TN
> Nashville TN

As long as you're in Tennessee, you will probably want to come on
over to Chattanooga.  Since Chatta ran out all the industry, they've
tried (with varying success) to become a vacation destination so
that all those kids who would have gotten good manufacturing jobs
can now work for minimum wage in the hospitality industry.  Ahem.

Anyway, among the points of interest:

Rock city - rock garden in the sky

Confederama - Huge Diarama of the War for Confederate Independence
Battle of Chattanooga.  I think the name has been sanitized to
"Battle above the Clouds or something like that but locals still
call it "confederama".

Point Park on Missionary ridge - Civil war battlefield museum.

Incline railway - cable car that climbs Lookout mountain at a 45 deg
angle and puts you out near the Confederama.  Buses take you to Rock
City and Point Park.

Aquarium.  Not quite as good as Baltimore's but better than any
other I've been to.  Extensive fresh water displays.

Raccoon Mountain pumped storage plant - one of TVA's largest
projects.  They pump water to the top of the mountain at night and
flow it back down in the day to make peaking power.  Very
interesting tours given daily plus the scenery is beautiful.
Several nice RV parks in the area.

Chickamauga National Battlefield park - one of the largest civil war

Hunter Arts Museum/Riverfront/Arts district - Nice arts and dining
district along the river.  Museum is small and unremarkable but the
mansion it's in is beautiful.  The arts district surrounds it.

If you're into shopping (Ugh!) there's the Hamilton Place mall, the
largest in Tenn.  Located on I-75 just as you start out of town.

There is a vast amount of camping resources in the area including
state parks and recreation areas built by TVA but now operated by
private contractors.  Both the Chickamauga and the Nickajack
dams/lakes are in the area.  If you want to stop for a couple of
days for something different, there are marinas at both lakes that
rent house boats.  Lots of fun.  We've done that several times.

Probably worth the time while you're in the area to drive 25 miles
north on I-75 to Cleveland.  The most notable thing in town is,
natch, my restaurant, John G's BBQ on Ocoee St in downtown
Cleveland.  About 10 miles out of town is the Ocoee Olympic
whitewater course.  The most remarkable part is just how much
environmental damage the government will do when it wants to do
something.  They literally dug up and re-routed the Ocoee river to
make the course.  Apparently natural rocks weren't good enough cuz
they made vast amounts of concrete rocks and then painted them to

There is a huge amount of rafting, both commercial and not, on the
river.  Also of interest is what I think to be the country's longest
and highest flume line.  A power house about 3 miles downstream of a
dam is fed water through a wooden flume line.  Very fascinating if
you like that sort of stuff.  Of benefit to recreation, water has
been bypassed around this hunk of river (since the turn of the
century) for so long that the rocks are nice and sharp.  When TVA
releases water for rafting, the rapids are Class III.  Guided
rafting trips cost around $30 a head.  My favorite outfit is
Nandahala Outdoors Center (NOC).

If you go on up Hwy 64 about 10 miles, you'll come to Copper Hill.
This area has been a copper mining area since the turn of the
century.  A combination of mass logging to fuel the copper smelter
and the sulfuric acid vapors that were released until the 30s
completely de-vegetated the whole area.  When I was a kid, the place
was stunning, bare red hills as far as the eye could see.  Against
the will of the locals, TVA has come in and reseeded much of the
area with cheap pine scrub but one area has been preserved as it
was.  There's a nice little mining museum in the area.  You can do
it all in an afternoon.

When you're in this area, you're not too far from the Great Smoky
Mountains.  There is, of course, Gatlinburg and the National Park if
you're into the tourist trap stuff.  A much nicer place if you want
to get away from the tourists is Tellico Plains.  Look at your maps
north and a little east of Cleveland to see the location. A nicely
paved road runs up the Tellico River.  18 miles up, there is a
little settlement with an RV park, a small store and some cabins
including ours.  5 more miles up the road is the North Carolina
line.  There is both free and fee-based NFS camping.  A dirt road at
a tributary called North River leads to several fee and free
campgrounds.  Other than the commercial CGs, none have facilities
other outhouses.  A Forest service CG that does have hookups and
facilities is the Indian Boundary CG on the Indian Boundary road
that forks off the Tellico River road.  This is a very nice CG and
the Indian Boundary road that ends up on Robinsville, NC is a
spectacular drive. It reaches one of the highest altitudes on the

The Tellico river is stocked with rainbow trout weekly and offers
some of the best fishing in the region.  North River is a
wild/artificial lure only river.

Nearer to Cleveland and the Interstate is the Hiwassee River near
Benton, TN.  There is a fee campground at Quinn Springs near
Reliance and several free ones.  Additional free CGs are near
Sylco.  I can give you directions if you're interested, though I
doubt that a large rig could make it there.  The Hiwassee is a wide,
shallow river that also has some rafting companies offering guided
trips.  Fishing is good there too, though I don't think they stock

A small but famous attraction north of Chattanooga up Corridor J or
east of Cleveland is Dayton, TN, home of the Scopes Monkey trial
where some our ancestors made fools of themselves.  The courthouse
is open for tours and there is some museum space.

When you're in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend you go down to
Warner-Robbins AFB south of Macon to the Air Museum.  Very nice.
There's a wally world nearby if you want to overnight near the

That should keep you busy for awhile :-)


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Which U.S. state do you prefer to live in?
Date: Sat, 15 May 2004 10:40:11 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Fri, 14 May 2004 23:12:55 -0500, Jaberwokie <> wrote:

>Tennessee: reasons; low taxes, no income tax, conservative government,
>lower prices on many things, lots of water and fishing, good hunting,
>not too hot in summer and mild winters.

Other reasons. Georga nearby with lower sales tax, much lower gas tax and some
people with actual education....  In tennessee, lots of fairly low priced
country land not too far from civilization.  Actually three states in one
(west, central and east) so you can choose your political climate.

Potentially negatives:  Hall income tax on investment income.  Second worst
educational system in the nation.  Redneck government.  Recurring effort to
pass a (state) unconstitutional income tax.  Stupid, stupid, stupid blue
collar workforce. (I'm understating this a bit)

All in all, still the place I'll probably retire to.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Which U.S. state do you prefer to live in?
Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 01:47:49 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Mon, 17 May 2004 17:32:14 GMT, "mo" <> wrote:

>Have you considered the possibility that he's right?  Just because the truth
>is ugly, doesn't mean we go into denial.

Of course I'm right.  Tennessee has always advertised itself as having cheap
labor.  That was fine when mill jobs dominated.  About 15 or so years ago the
government and government school types started slapping each other on the back
and awarding educational excellence awards right and left in an effort to fool
outsiders and attract some higher skilled jobs that paid better.  The effort
was fairly successful.  For awhile.

Since I've been back to town we've lost a number of medium-tech manufacturing
plants.  Westvaco's carton plant being probably the largest.  They couch the
reasons in suitably politically correct language but when you stand around and
chat at Chamber meetings, the real reason becomes clear - Stupid, uneducated,
untrainable workforce with almost no work ethic.

Even in my little low tech enterprise I've learned that locals aren't worth
the interview.  My entire staff right now came from other parts of the
country.  I have NEVER hired a local person who worked out.  The attitude
seems to be that work is something that you do when you can't think of
anything else to do.

It's a sad state of affairs and will remain that way as long as the three most
important educational goals are football, football and football.  About 4
years ago the city school board spent over $1 million to equip the city high
school football field with pro grade metal halide lighting and new stands.
That's the same school where they don't have enough textbooks for each student
to have a set of his own and no one is allowed to take books home.

I offer my employees a partial tuition subsidy if they'll send their kids to
private school and save them from the abuse of public school.  Right now all
but one are using this subsidy.  It's bad when even "restaurant workers"
recognize horrible education when they see it.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Buying land:  What should you look for?
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2005 03:21:11 -0500
Message-ID: <>

Given TN's insane annexation laws, the first thing to look for is a
county where there are no significant cities and where you're so far
away from any city that the risk of being annexed is small in your

Check the county property tax rate - they vary widely.  You'll also
want to make sure the county doesn't have zoning and that the county
commission's attitude is anti-zoning.  It's a real bitch to have the
county commission suddenly make the zoning power grab and then send
out petty bureaucrats out to, as Jefferson said, "to eat out your

Voice of experience here.  Back in the 70s I bought some land in
Bradley county that was over 8 miles and on the other side of the
interstate from the city of Cleveland.  Fast forward 30 years.
Cleveland has annexed right up to the other side of the interstate.
The rural folks unfortunate to have suffered annexation have seen
their property tax double and their personal business subject to
meddling from a whole empire of codes and regulation and other

Worse, A couple of years ago, Bradley County slid in zoning, mostly
under the radar.  In that short time an incredible zoning and
"planning" and otherwise meddlesome bureaucracy has sprung up.  In the
far reaches of the rural county, there are code nazis driving around
making sure that Farmer John doesn't do something they think he
shouldn't - things like building another building and such.

I thought my land would be remote enough that I'd never be bothered by
the meddlers but alas, I was wrong.  I'm going to sell the place and
see if I can find something even farther out in the country.  This
time it'll be in a county without a city of any size, preferably no

Unless you have a specific reason for west TN, I suggest looking
farther east.  First off, that disease called Memphis spreads it
tentacles out over much of west TNs.  Second, it's awful flat and hot
out there.  Then there's the New Madrid fault that will probably
shake, rattle and roll in the next couple of decades, if the
scientists are to be believed.

Middle TN, particularly the unincorporated areas of the Cumberland
Plateau are VERY nice.   That's probably where I'm headed.


On 12 Nov 2005 19:55:54 -0800, wrote:

>I'm planning to buy some land in western Tennessee.  I'm looking for
>about 6 - 10 acres, just enough to put a trailer on, plant a garden,
>put in a few fruit and nut trees, and basically enjoy.  Down the road,
>the wife wants a few sheep and goats, but they'll be mostly pets.  Pond
>building also seems to be popular in this area, and I may consider it
>I know I'll want a nice site for the trailer, a good path for the road,
>and a nice gentle southern slope for the garden.  What else should I
>look for?

From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Keep From Getting Points on Your Drivers License article
Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2006 14:34:50 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On 6 Apr 2006 10:52:41 -0700, wrote:

>Every once in a while, somebody comes up with a great idea for beating
>the system.
>This morning there is an article on on
>how to keep from getting points on your driver's license when you get a

I can't think of a better way of guaranteeing points than to piss off
some over-worked clerk at the DMV.  Besides the whole premise of the
scheme is idiotic.  Points go on your license at the point when you're
found (or admit to) guilty.  At least in TN where I'm familiar with
the computer system.

A sure-fire way to avoid points in TN is to pay the ticket promptly.
Counties don't report paid-off tickets to the state because they have
to share the receipts if they do.  Only those tickets adjudicated in
court are reported.

I know this to be fact both from being familiar with how the county
clerk's office works and from my DMV record.  I pulled my record
earlier this week.  Squeaky-clean, even though I've had a couple of
simple speeding tickets in the last 5 years.

I view an occasional speeding ticket as nothing more than a tax on
driving fast and pay it with little thought or concern.  My last one
was for 90 in a 70 zone (interstate, and I was doing a LOT more than
that :-) in Monroe county.  The fine was a paltry $65.  BFD.  It
varies by county so it pays to be informed before speeding.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Keep From Getting Points on Your Drivers License article
Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2006 16:04:08 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 11:58:58 -0700, wrote:

>On Thu, 06 Apr 2006 14:34:50 -0400, Neon John <> wrote:
>>I view an occasional speeding ticket as nothing more than a tax on
>>driving fast and pay it with little thought or concern.  My last one
>>was for 90 in a 70 zone (interstate, and I was doing a LOT more than
>>that :-) in Monroe county.  The fine was a paltry $65.  BFD.  It
>>varies by county so it pays to be informed before speeding.
>Wow! That same stunt in Washington will cost you several hundred, plus
>the higher insurance costs (if reported).

Heh.  That's yet another reason we try to foster the idea that we're
just a bunch of ignorant redneck hicks and that TN is a good place to
stay away from.  We want to keep our little jewel a secret from the
rest of the world.  We have too many ferrriners as it is.

You have to be careful in TN, as each county gets to set its own fees.
The big city counties with their tax-and-spend governments tend to be
high.  I know that Knox (Knoxville) and Hamilton (Chattanooga) are
considerably more painful.  I've heard that Nashville is really bad.
They get greedy so (so I hear) more folks contest the tickets.

The smaller counties, OTOH, pretty much admit that speeding tickets
are exclusively for revenue generation so they make the process of
having one's wallet picked as painless as possible.  Just slide the
bux into the ticket that doubles as an envelope and mail it off.  No
muss, no fuss, no time wasted in court and no points.

This last stop illustrated that position.  The THP cop trotted up to
my car.  No BS lecturing or posturing.  He asked for my license and
trotted back to his car.  Less than 5 minutes later he was back.  He
was back in his car and roaring away before I could get the ticket
folded and placed in my pocket.  Production quotas, don'tchaknow?

Heck, I'd pay up to maybe $500 a year for a special tag that would let
me drive at the "maximum speed appropriate for conditions" so tickets
without points are no big deal.  I, of course, don't speed
dangerously.  No zig-zagging in traffic or overtaking slow cars at
high speed.  But when the highway is clear and the weather is nice, I
like to let 'er rip.  Put 'er on about 120, set the cruise, sit back
and relax.

I wonder which state is going to be the first to recognize the revenue
potential of a high speed tag?  They could generate probably more
revenue without all the costs of maintaining a huge fee grabbing
operation and without all the bad will that fee grabbing generates.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Highway travel just got a little safer
Date: Wed, 03 May 2006 23:44:46 -0400
Message-ID: <>

Yesterday's primary election resulting in interstate travel in this
area getting a little bit safer.  This is I-75 north of Chattanooga
from White Oak mountain (about MM 16) to Athens (about MM 35).

Sheriff Gilley who IMO has run one of the largest Stop'n'Rob
operations in the state under the guise of drug interdiction has his
ASS handed to him on a PLATE in yesterday's primary.  Even better, the
guy who kicked ass is a genuine good guy, ex-Secret Service and
ex-presidential protection detail for Reagan.  The other party never
bothers to run a credible candidate so he'll get the office in

Happy days are here again!  Here's hoping that the first thing he does
when he takes the oath is hand out pink slips by the ream.  And maybe
follow that up with some indictments.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Highway travel just got a little safer
Date: Fri, 05 May 2006 03:00:12 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 04 May 2006 07:01:01 -0700, paddy <o'> wrote:

>Neon John wrote:
>Your new Sheriff is ex Secret Service.
>As part of their outlook, you might expect more of the "crime
>interdiction" random vehicle searches.

Why in the world would you say that?  The SS, probably more so than
other federal cops, has a defined task or two to do and they stick to
doing those tasks.  They are also very effective in figuring out how
to accomplish the goal with the minimum of intrusion in the general
public's life.

If your working theory were true then we'd see the SS going through
cities doing German SS-style wholesale roundups of citizens before
each presidental visit.  Instead they do their homework and
concentrate on the real threats.

Tim may fool me and I suppose it wouldn't be the first time but I'll
be among the most shocked in the county if he doesn't yank the
department into shape and stop their illegal activities.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Gatlinburg TN
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 12:22:56 -0400
Message-ID: <>


Best to ignore the crotchety old farts who've forgotten how to have
fun.  Gatlinberg is a fun place to visit for a few days.  Yes, it's
quite touristy but that can be fun for awhile.  I wouldn't want to
stay there and pay the high motel prices, at least in season, but
Pigeon Forge and Severeville aren't too far away.  Off-season, the
motel rates are quite reasonable and some are quite nice, both view
and accommodation-wise.

Parking on the main drag is problematic but there is a street that
runs parallel to the main drag on your right coming in from the NP
that has plenty of street parking.  The pay lots charge a modest fee
and may be worth it if you don't want to walk far.  I drive my 24 ft
motorhome there and have no trouble parking but anything larger might
present a problem.  If your rig is larger, best to park out of town
and drive a toad, rental car or the free shuttle.

There are several nice restaurants in the town proper (and many more
in Pigeon Forge) and unlike some of the others, I don't find the
prices high at all.  Not Waffle House-cheap but not bad for a vacation

The one thing to watch is the cops.  They know that few people can
afford to contest a ticket so they fee grab.  They'll write for 1 mph
over the excessively low speed limits and they also write for a tire
touching the white line on on-street parking places.  They've never
nailed me but I've watched 'em write more than enough tickets to issue
this warning.

One place you might want to see is the Arts and Crafts loop outside of
town.  This is a very rural road where lots of artsy-fartsy types have
set up shop.  Everything from glass blowers to furniture makers.  The
shops are far enough apart that this is a driving loop and not a
walking one.  I believe that the shuttle serves the loop but I'm not

Even though in the mountains, Gatlinburg gets quite hot in the summer.
Be prepared.  I don't recall any public drinking fountains so carry
your own water or be prepared to pay for it.  There is a creek running
through the middle of town so you can dunk yourself if you get too hot
and are so inclined :-)

I do Gatlinburg about every 3-4 years, usually after Christmas when
the crowds are gone but the gorgeous Christmas lights are still lit.
That usually satisfies my need to visit a tourist area for the period.
I've been a couple of times in the summer but the crowds and mainly
the heat weren't much fun.

That Twin Creek park is gorgeous.  The shower houses are right out of
Architectural Digest, with private shower rooms done up in dark wood
paneling and chandeliers for lighting.  Most all the slots are
pull-through with full hookups.

As for spending money on junk, you can spend the entire day enjoying
Gatlinburg and not spend a cent if you like.  The junk is there but no
one forces you to buy it and there is plenty to see and do for free.


On Fri, 23 Jun 2006 05:11:51 GMT, "Marsha" <>

>Thanks for all the info, looks like I'm right in my assessment, a lot like
>Niagara Falls Canadian side.  Hmmmm. I didn't pick our vacation destination,
>friends did and asked if we'd like to go also. Seems like the teens will
>enjoy it :) . Me, I'd rather see the park and its surroundings. I really
>don't want to spend a fortune on junk.
>Since none of us have RV's we actually picked a campground. We'll be staying
>at Twin Creeks.  I have a 37 foot Hornet with double slides and all the nice
>amenities. Our one friend has our old Hornet its a little smaller but still
>way nice. I'm not sure what the other couple has, they just got a new
>trailer, so we do want water electric and I hope we also have sewer. If not
>I hope showers are nearby.

From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Tennessee West to East
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 12:32:52 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 01 Mar 2007 13:39:50 GMT, mikel <> wrote:

>We're going to be going through TN, the long way Memphis then heading
>northeast all the way across the state.
>If anyone has made the trek, how many days did you take, and where were
>your stops? Memphis, Nashville, Sevierville, etc. Places to not stay.
>we will be heading out in early June.

It's only about 450 miles end to end so that's an easy one day drive
if you don't want to stop.

Looking for the sights, I'd skip Memphis.  Too violent to be worth it.
Nashville has Music row.  A truck route runs directly through it so
it's easy in and easy out.  The best RV parking is out on Briley
parkway near the $CW$ and Outdoor World.  Can give you GPS coords if
you like.  Try to avoid downtown freeways if you can, as there is
construction plus they're VERY rough.

Sevierville, as you may know, is the gateway to Gatlinburg.  Generally
fun place to go along with Pigeon Forge.  Sevierville itself is very
RV-unfriendly.  If you're going to stay, go on to Pigeon Forge down at
the far end of the strip just before you exit to the NP.  I believe
the place is Twin Rivers.  Super nice RV park.

Knoxville is the next stop on the way.  Lots of interesting things to
do and as long as you stay away from the University area, RV friendly.
one of my favorite CGs in the area is the Cross Eyed Cricket at Oak
Rdige just before the 40/75 split.  They have a cute little trout pond
there where you fish and pay by the pound, and a restaurant that will
cook your catch.

Chattanooga has the aquarium, Hunter museum, an art district, the
Chickamauga dam recreation areas and lots more.  Downtown has been
nicely redeveloped, though there isn't much in the way of RV  parking
close in.  You can park out a little and ride the free electric
shuttle.  there are many CGs around the city.  The only one that I
DON'T recommend is Shipps.  High and the people who run it have bad
attitudes.  There's a Holiday Travel park nearby that is quite nice.

If you have time, take the 20 mile exit on I-75 in Cleveland and
follow the signs to the Ocoee River.  This is where the olympic
whitewater rafting competition was held.  Water sports rule the area.
There are a couple of primitive pay CGs and two electric/water forest
service CGs in the area.  Parksville CG down low and Chilhowee CG on
top of the mountain.  I'd not try to take a 40 ft bus up that access
road but once there, the CG is nice.  Suggest calling the district
forest service office ahead of time, as they close the CGs sometimes,
seemingly on wild hairs, and don't post any warning signs.  Pisser to
drive that far to find a barred gate.

Also if you have time, take the 60 mile Sweetwater exit on I-75
between Knox and Cleveland.  Go through Sweetwater, Madisonville and
into Tellico Plains.  The old Robinsville Road (now called the
Cherohula parkway) is becoming a destination for sports car drivers,
motorcyclists and people who love mountain tops.  Staying right along
the Tellico river instead of left to the parkway takes you up one of
the most beautiful trout rivers in the country.  Seventeen miles up is
a settlement called Green Cove.  Several RV parks and houses including
mine.  Plenty of primitive free camping and a couple of primitive pay
camp sites.  The RV parks have full hookups but they fill fast.
There's a gas station (gas only) and a couple of general stores.  The
RV parks are straight out of the 60s with upgraded wiring so don't
plan on parking a tour bus.

Here's a photo tour and map of the place.

I just got word that a couple hours after I left last Sunday, a
trailer in the Broken Arrow park caught fire and basically burned them
all down in that segment.  Probably fairly spectacular, as the
trailers were closely packed and most had add-on wooden porches.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 02:05:36 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Tue, 20 Mar 2007 18:00:45 -0600, AL <> wrote:

>Goedjn wrote:
>> The price per acre is irrelevent.  I can easily find land in the
>> $500 to $1000 per acre if I'm willing to buy enough at a time.
>> The problem is, OP want land (any amount?) and a trailer/cottage
>> for $10,000 TOTAL, or less, and that's tougher.   Prices go up
>> drastically as the acreage goes down.  And an ISD System
>> usually adds $5-7K all by itself, reguardless of whether
>> there's a building attached to it.
>Well, ya had me there - I had NO idea what an ISD System was till I
>Googled it
>and I have NO idea why the hell anyone wanting a 5acre parcel of ground
>would need one, but I'm guessing $5-7k wouldn't even buy one of the
>gauges in the instrument panel...

But it sure would be fun to play with :-)  Funny that Goedjn calling
the original poster an idiot for wanting a hunk of land and having
$10k to spend.  IN this town $10k can get one a couple of acres close
enough to see the sky glow from the local wallyworld :-)  Go out a
couple miles and $2.5K/acre in small parcels are available all over
the place.  That seems high to me for what is essentially farm land
but the yuppies who don't want to be too far from the mall are paying
it.  A "kilobuck an acre" is the rule of thumb for "country" land,
land where your engine might even warm up before you get to the first
grocery store.  My kinda land.

Oh, and internet access?  I saw a headline in the paper recently where
the local cable company was celebrating having the whole county wired.
A remarkable feat, at least from the financial perspective, given the
low population density.  My place up in the Tellico Mountains, 17
miles from anything, is in the process of getting DSL, according to
the last conversation I had with the local phone company.  The line up
the mountain qualifies so all they need do is install the mini-SLAM in
the big white box near my place.  I may have to drop back to 1.4 or
3MB but that's a hardship I can live with.

It's been remarkable watching some folks make absolute fools of
themselves in this thread.  No doubt land is expensive where they
live.  The secret to not looking completely foolish is to realize that
the rest of the world isn't like where they live.  Embrace that
concept or forever remain a knucklehead.


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 15:07:05 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 21 Mar 2007 18:33:37 +1100, "FarmI" <ask@itshall be given>

>"Neon John" <> wrote in message
>> But it sure would be fun to play with :-)  Funny that Goedjn calling
>> the original poster an idiot for wanting a hunk of land and having
>> $10k to spend.  IN this town $10k can get one a couple of acres close
>> enough to see the sky glow from the local wallyworld :-)
>So where is the "here" you refer to as having cheap land for sale?  I assume
>that it couldn't possibly be anywhere near Cleveland TN which is given in
>your sig block.
>Land there in Bradley County seem to run at around $12K+/acre plot, in
>Monroe County as about $24K for .75 acre, Meigs County at $39.9K, Polks
>North - $44K for 3 acres etc etc etc

No doubt, if you want to buy overpriced land from Don Harris.  The
cheap land, land not sitting on Mouse Creek Road and not being put up
for subdivision, won't be on a site like this.  probably won't be on
any site at all.  It will be a free listing in the Shopper or merely
have a FSBO sign on it.  Or even better, for sale by word of mouth.
I'm looking at some in Polk County right now that fits that category.
I've lived here most of my life, own a good deal of real estate in
this area and have a pretty good handle on land prices, believe it or

>I did a google for realty round that cabin of your which is 17 miles from
>anything and land round there is expensive too.  Now all we need to know
>from you is where (and exactly where) the cheap land "here" is located so we
>can google realty there too.

Of course it is.  It's the last privately owned land left inside the
Cherokee national forest.  There's a little hunk of undeveloped land
close by that the guy is asking $10k an acre for and will probably get
it - maybe from me.

Come down off the mountain and look around Monroe county and you'll
find plenty of cheap land.  Believe it or not, google probably won't
find it because few real estate agents want to fool with $5 and 10K
parcels.  Especially not enough to list it on the net.

If you want to find cheap land around here you do it the same way I do
- you dress up in work cloths to blend in and get in your little car
and go tromping around talking to people and looking around.  A lot of
times the land isn't even for sale until I talk to the owner.  Having
a few extra thousand to spend in his retirement in return for that old
scrub land suddenly seems enticing.

OTOH, if you want some really expensive land in Bradley County then I
can fix you up.  I have a 20 acre parcel that won't go for a dime less
than $5mil.  Location, location, location.

I do have to wonder what the purpose of your post was, other than to
make yourself look foolish.  You don't purport to be able to gain
local real estate knowledge from Google, do you?  What a dork!


From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: Calif speed camera coming?
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2008 18:58:57 -0500
Message-ID: <>

On Fri, 07 Mar 2008 11:10:44 -0500, Steve Wolf <> wrote:

>I have no idea why they do things they do in Germany.
>I am having a hard time understanding how preparing drivers by flashing
>the yellow before the green would make a driver safer than when he is
>facing a red and it turns to green.  Does the yellow somehow make the
>first person stopped at a red light start up more cautiously?  Are you
>saying that without the flash of yellow that first car is more likely to
>enter the intersection recklessly?  Is there data on this?
>I'd like to hear an argument in support of the pre-green flash of yellow.

I imagine that the pre-green yellow does the same thing that my watching the
orthogonal lane's light does for me.  When I see the yellow appear, I start scanning
very closely to try and detect vehicle(s) that will probably run the red light.  If I
see a car speeding up to beat the yellow then I know to just sit there and let him
have it.  Watching the yellow is a habit I developed to let me not have to pay
attention to traffic through the whole red light cycle.

>Watching what happens when signals are re-timed, I have observed habit
>is a terrible thing to break.  I would expect the flash of yellow means
>that it is time to let off the brake, the yellow is an invitation to
>enter the intersection.  That once in a while an opposing vehicle blows
>the light invites more accidents, not less.

What I can't figure out is why so many traffic engineers (sic) have so many really
harebrained ideas.  Chief among 'em is the notion that irritating and inconveniencing
drivers is somehow productive.

A stark example is in Cleveland on Inman street which is part of a 4 lane state
highway.  A couple of the robber-baron families in Cleveland built a museum to
themselves and located it on Inman street in a badly decayed part of town.  Folks
traveling the highway just want to get through there and out of town.

The city, bolstered by the traffic engineering department, got the crazy idea that if
they put a traffic light up in front of the museum, folks would suddenly notice the
museum as they impatiently sat waiting for the light and would suddenly drop all
other plans and zip into the museum for a visit.  They timed the light to guarantee
that the traffic pulling away from the previous light would have to stop.  They
claimed in the newspaper that it would be a "traffic calming" device.

Didn't work that way, of course.  It quickly became one of the highest accident
lights in town.  I could hear the especially violent ones at my restaurant.

The citizenry quickly got up in arms, of course.  The robber-barons and their patsies
on the city commission waged a war of words in the newspaper regarding the problem. A
recall petition was started.  The politicos are too prideful to admit that the light
was a mistake and take it down but now it's timed to let traffic flow right on

This light followed another even worse scheme that the city engineers dreamed up.
They were going to shrink the 4 lane highway down to two lanes with an "S" zig-zag in
front of the museum.  Fortunately the state had something to say about their state
highway and so this "idea" was still-born.

Back to the yellow-before-green.  I see it as just an additional tid-bit of
information.  Just like the developing practice of installing count-down timers on
traffic lights to show drivers how much time is left in the cycle.  I love that idea.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: standbyu gnerators.
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 04:16:21 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, 14 Sep 2008 12:27:53 -0400, Steve Ackman
<> wrote:

>In <>, on Sat, 13 Sep 2008
>21:20:17 -0400, Neon John, wrote:
>  Nice summary... though some of your numbers are
>in the realm of fantasy for some us outside of TN:

TN has no income, ad valorem or other general population tax other than sales
and fuel tax.  Ours is one of the highest in the nation.  I don't have a
problem with that, as fuel tax MUST be spent only on road construction and
maintenance and I can control how much sales tax I pay by how much I buy.

>> Farmer's Co-Ops and most truck stops have it (select "reefer" on the
>> pump).
>  Around here there are generally separate pumps
>for untaxed diesel, advertised as "Offroad Diesel"
>with prominent signs about it being dyed.

That's true for ag and construction-oriented gas stations.  Truck stops do NOT
have separate pumps, at least not at any truck stop I ever stopped at when I
was driving OTR.  At the pump I select "tractor", "reefer" or "both".  If I
select "both" then I fill my truck with taxed fuel first, lay the nozzle down,
pull forward and fill my reefer tank with dyed untaxed fuel.

I mention truck stops because they're literally everywhere and they all have
untaxed fuel.  Another advantage over co-ops or regular gas stations that sell
ag/construction fuel is that reefer fuel is almost always cheaper.  Truck fuel
is intensely competitive, much more so than gasoline.  Stands to reason when
you consider how much fuel a trucker buys.  I had small "corporate fleet"
tanks on my truck but they still held 200 gallons.  It kinda takes your breath
away to fill the truck and reefer and watch the pump click over $1000!

>> This can save 50 cents a gallon or more on diesel.
>  Last week when I filled the Jeep, diesel was $4.25
>here in the White Mountains of NH, while the offroad
>diesel was $4.19.
>  #2 Heating Oil delivered (100 gallon minimum)
>generally runs about the same price as Off-Road diesel
>at the pump.
>> Diesel is currently quite a bit
>> more expensive than gas but with the road tax removed, they're not that far
>> apart.
>  Must be nice.  I've got to move.

I was forced into health-related retirement last year.  I'm living off savings
and what little work I can do.  Cost of living is a huge factor for me.  One
of the reasons for doing OTR truck driving was to see the country and see if I
could find any cheaper place to live.  I couldn't.  TN is it.

The financial magazines (Money, Fortune, Forbes, etc) periodically rate states
for cost of living.  TN is invariably in the top five.  The ratings invariably
nick TN for its Hall income tax on investment income.  The thing is, Hall
doesn't kick in until one is effectively rich.  It never hit my dad (a CPA)
and it has never hit me.  Take Hall out of the equation and TN IS the
cheapest.  Especially in rural areas where property taxes are under control.

I have about a quarter acre parcel in the mountains near here.  It was a sad
day indeed when my property tax topped $1.00.  No, not a slipped decimal
point.  Less than a buck.  That was back in the early 90s.  I can't recall
exactly but I think that it's still below $5. I sent 'em a hundred bux several
years ago with a note to bill me again when that runs out.  The property tax
on this cabin/house and land in this resort area is still under $400.

Car and truck tags in TN are a flat rate of $24 plus any local option "wheel
tax".  Unfortunately my county has the highest wheel tax in the state, another
$24.  TVA power is very cheap and there are no delivery fees or other private
utility rip-offs.  The only additional fee other than the actual fuel-adjusted
kWh rate is sales tax.  I don't begrudge that very much, as that is the only
consumer/individual tax in the state.

Food is very inexpensive, though one does have to shop around.  Last Saturday
I bought about 30 lbs of chicken quarters to freeze for 88 cents a pound.
During growing season there is a road-side farmer's market on almost every
corner.  I stock the freezers with enough to last the winter.  Several of my
neighbors split a whole beef or two once or twice a year.  I'm going to join
in after I get another freezer.  OK, so it's not USDA prime but it is grain
fed Choice - good enough for stews and soup and stuff.

Several times a year I drop across the line into GA and buy literally a truck
full of food.  Ga doesn't tax food :-)  Handy resource!  I maintain a couple
of my old wholesale food accounts from my restaurant days which means that I
can buy some things even cheaper.  Mainly commodities and pork.

It would be impossible for me to live anywhere else and not draw government
relief, something I don't believe in.  I live quite comfortably.  The cabin's
air conditioned, well heated in the winter and I eat the foods that I like.  I
can't travel as much as I used to but since I'm not physically able, that
doesn't matter much.  The only thing that I miss from "before" is broadband
and that's because it isn't available here.  Yet.

C'mon over/down and check out the state.  You'll like it.


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