Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's a bit chilly. For real.

I took a short ride today, about 55-60 miles, in order to tag some spots for a phototag game being running on

This is a good way to confirm which gear is good, and what needs to be upgraded. It has been quite chilly here lately, today was a bit warmer than the last week has been and when I left the house after lunch it was 35 degrees or so and sunny. When I got home it was probably 38-39, but the sun had also been obscured. I quickly realized that my new gloves are not as warm as I would like them to be. I think I'll pair them up with a liner, if I can fit both. I was actually fairly comfortable apart from that.

I was also testing a new-to-me application for the droid called TrekBuddy. It seems to function as a fully functional stand alone GPS. I'm severely lacking on my GPS knowledge, but having been looking at getting a Garmin mapping GPS, either a 60 or 72 series model. This software, coupled with Mobile Atlas Creator and GPSVisualizer seems to be able to perform all of the functions that the GPS will. Not a direct replacement, but it should allow me to determine if I really need/want a standalone GPS without forking over $200 + mounts + software for a GPS. I simply turned on a track and produced the following map from the .gpx file once I ran it through GPSVisualizer:


So, I made my way around through the Woodlawn area and to Cumberland City in order to grab the tag that 2Fast4u got last week:


I crossed the river on the ferry, snagged the photo and then headed back toward home. Along the way, I got the following picture:


I didn't even know that there was an iron furnace in Montgomery county. I found this link while googling around for more information, this was at

This location gives the finder a view of the ruins of the Palmyra Furnace. Iron furnaces, such as this one which was the first recorded such furnace in Montgomery County, and the second in the Highland Rim Iron Belt, were crucial to the early economy of Tennessee. This one was built around 1799, and operated until several years after the War of Northern Aggression (which is called the Civil War up north).

The furnace was around 40 feet tall, and was built like a pyramidal tower with the interior fashioned to withstand extremely high temperatures. The hearth was made of sandstone and the exterior usually made of huge limestone rocks which would absorb some of the pressure and support the interior. An opening was left at the top, called the "bosh," for adding proper amounts of limestone, ore and charcoal which produced the pig iron when heated to high temperatures. There was an opening at the base for the bellows, usually powered by running water and the reason why most of these furnaces were located near rivers or fast running streams. Another opening at the base was called the tap hole, where molten iron ran onto the casting floor for molding. The iron came out in large chunks called called "sows" and smaller chunks called "pigs" because it looked like a mother sow feeding her pigs. Impurities, called "slag" were run off into a pit, where they cooled and hardened. Remains of these slag pits can still be found in many areas where these type of furnaces flourished.

By 1832, the iron produced in TN was equal to that produced in Sweden, the world leader at the time. In 1840, Tennessee ranked third in iron production in the nation. By the beginning of the War of Northern Aggression, the Tennessee furnaces had turned towards producing war goods, and as such were a prime target for destruction by the invading Northern Troops. The Palmyra Furnace was spared total destruction, and managed to limp on for a few years producing iron for local use, until the cost of production made it unfeasable to continue in operation.

Jumped back on the bike and headed home, my hands were getting cold.

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