Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow time in the Tennessee mountains

It’s that time of year when I really enjoy getting outdoors and soaking up the snow and cool air, especially in the mountains. So my wife and I headed to, well, what most would call an unlikely tourist destination: Oak Ridge, TN. That’s right, the “Secret City.” Our primary mission was to check out the immense Coal Creek OHV park in our Land Rover. We enjoy the scenery of being out on the trails, along with the challenges and adventure of off-road driving. Did I mention it was winter?

Winter showed up just in time as the snow began flying soon after we rolled into town. It just kept coming down for the next two days and made for some very scenic driving. Temps were cold (to us) most of the week but especially earlier in the week where lows dipped into the low teens and it struggled to make it into the low 20’s during the day. Snow has a way of adding another level to the trails. At certain points, it can actually add traction; however, as it begins to thaw the trails get slick again! Trails that normally have running water across them freeze over in these conditions. This is the point where you will find the least amount of traction period. A sloped trail, solid smooth ice with a very slight film of water on top. Fortunately for us, the Warn winch on the front of the Discovery came in handy several times when we encountered these conditions.

Taking a break from the trails, we visited the science museum in Oak Ridge. It was fascinating to me to read about the history of this city. If you aren’t aware, Oak Ridge is where components for the first atomic bomb were made in the early 40’s. The city was built by the government and kept secret specifically for this purpose. Entire trainloads of all description of cargo would enter the city from around the area and leave completely empty. To the amazement of folks in surrounding areas, a lot of stuff went into Oak Ridge and nothing seemingly ever came back out! If you’ve never been to check it out, I highly recommend visiting the museum and reading the history behind it all.

If you enjoy pictures of the snow and scenery of the Tennessee mountains, check out our photos from the trip at:

Happy Trails!


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