A Very Educational Field Trip

We drove 200 miles and through 5 counties on Friday.
The first stop was Helen Keller's birthplace and childhood home in Tuscumbia.
Once a 600 acre estate, 10 acres acres remain with the estate.  
Probably most people in the state of Alabama would recognize this statue.  
Jenna was thrilled that there was Braille on so many displays.
Helen at the well pump; it was her "light bulb" moment that started her on the path to being the most educated deaf-blind person of her time.  And here's the real well pump.
Then on to Wheeler Dam, stopping for a few minutes to show the kids the big lock doors and explain how it works.  The dam is 72 feet high and 6,342 across, creating a reservoir that covers the Muscle Shoals rock formation that had blocked navigation of the Tennessee River.

It has 11 hydroelectric generators, and the two locks raise and lower boats and barges and average of 53 feet.  It is one of 9 reservoirs that creates a stairway of navigable water from Knoxville, TN to Paducah, KY.
The winter and summer water levels can only vary by 5.5 feet--which blows my mind.   Part of DH's job at the control center is regulating the water levels for all the AL Power dams, there are many government regulations on how much water, when to move the water, and so forth.
Wheeler dam is owned by TVA power, and they do not give tours.  Next summer DH hopes to give us a tour of an AL Power dam, and watch some barges go through the lock.  When DH worked at a dam, the big kids would go quite often, but the dam where he worked did not have a lock. 
Then on to Joe Wheeler State Park Resort.  There are portions of the park's 2,550 acres on each side of the TN river, which can make it very confusing. (Translation: we got lost a few times.)
There we saw The Columbus Foundation's Nina and Pinta replicas.
These are the most historically accurate replicas of the Nina and Pinta ever built.  If I remember correctly, they took over 2 years to build, by craftsmen in Brazil, using only hand tools.
It was shocking to see the actual size, and amazing that the original small ships went back and forth to Spain.
The replicas now tour parts of the east coast shipping loop, for people like us to enjoy and learn about.
I just realized we did not get any pictures inside the ships =(.

1 comment:

  1. We went and saw the Nina and Pinta also in Richmond and I took many great pictures before I realized that the camera didn't have a memory card in it! Glad to see you are making up for lost field trip time!