From the time I began planning my trip, I looked forward to spending a week or two at Turkey Foot Recreational Area in the Daniel Boone National Forest. I had downloaded the route to take to get because I didn’t think my gps would give me those instructions. I was right and glad I had the paper instructions. Once off the main road I came to a junction marked, believe it or not, Pilgrims Rest.
I thought this was quite fortuitous and marked the beginning of a great camping adventure. I was looking forward to watching stars overhead and listening to the brook run its course. And of course, a small campfire and roasted hot dogs.
Along this road were several churches, all Baptist, as well as some nice homes. The churches were small and not yet ready for the morning services so I though I might return to one once I set up camp, especially at the one marked Pilgrims Rest Church. Alas, it was not to be!
From there the road became so narrow two vehicles would have difficulty passing one another. There were no lane markings and the road was winding as well as hilly. After a few kilometers I came to a sign that said the road to the area was closed.
A posted map indicated an alternate road that was longer, so I turned around carefully in a small opening and began taking the alternate road. If the main road was narrow this one was even less so. No vehicles could possibly pass as there were no shoulders on the road. Once the road side ended it dropped into roadside greenery of a depth I dare not contemplate.
The road gave way to a lane that might have been passable in a 4-wheel Jeep or an ATV. The overhead canopy was so low an ordinary car would have had branches touching the car roofs. In addition, this lane was a mix of muddy clay and overgrown vegetation with a few stones thrown in. After the previous two days of continuous rain it was a soupy mire.
I walked it a bit to check it out in case this was only a small segment of the road. It wasn’t. My shoes were covered in yellow clay when I got back to the van. Fortunately I didn’t slip in it. So, as much as I wanted to spend time in the forest, it was not to be. Men plan; God winks. Turning around took several careful maneuvers during which my front end and back wheels hovered over the edge of the lane.
Once back on a more secure road I traveled through the back hills of Kentucky, which were pained in the most majestic colours of Fall. Along the way, shacks and old trailer-homes were planted haphazardly on the roadside as well as solid brick homes that almost seemed out of place. Even the poorest of homes had a vehicle parked nearby.
Since it was still early Sunday morning, I decided to head to Knoxville and Temple Baptist Church on Woodrow Drive. I followed their pastor on YouTube and looked forward to meeting him. When I crossed the State line into Tennessee, the Welcome Center looked inviting, so I stopped in. What a treat! The center was a mini-museum with crowds from all over. The Lion’s Club were handing our free coffee and tea as a fund raiser, and the park was decorated beautifully. The washrooms were spotless as have been all the washrooms in every rest area I stopped at. Parking was available for 18 wheelers, large RVs as well as cars. There was even handicap parking for RVs. Some one really thought out the needs of the travelling public.
After enjoying the sunshine and atmosphere, from there I went to Knoxville and found the church. Since I had two hours to wait for the evening service, I explored a little and found my place to park for the night. One Walmart said it was OK to park there but the neighbourhood was not good. The attendant suggested the other Walmart in a better area, so I asked and received permission to park at the better location. That secured I went back to the church to wait for the service to begin.
Before I physically got into the building, I was embraced by fellow believers and introduced to many more. One introduced me to Pastor Charles Larson and his wife, Linda. The pastor was not preaching that night, but the fellow who was gave a fantastic sermon like I haven’t heard in a church for 16 years. The gospel was plain and powerful. Two takeaways from it: either you are a missionary for Jesus, or you are a mission field; and, you have a choice to either have your sins blotted out by the blood of Jesus now or find you name blotted out of the book of life at the Great White Throne Judgment.
With that strong, encouraging message on my mind and heart, I headed “home” for the night’s sweet rest.