The Devils Backbone

Ahoy from the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Summary of the Week

The crew arrived back on the boat on Sunday and spent the week doing water leak repairs as documented in the post titled, Announcing 2021 Itinerary. The week drew to a close as the crew completed this shore excursion by route of the Natchez Trace Parkway on their return to Texas.

Bet You Didn’t Know

On this weeks voyage of discovery, the crew answered the following questions:

  1. How long is the Natchez Trace Parkway?
  2. When was the Trace established as a unit of the National Park System?
  3. When was the Park officially Completed?
  4. What was a Kaintucks?
  5. Who were some famous folks who travelled the Trace?

Traveling The Trace

The crew jumped on The Trace at mile 200 near the town of Mathiston, Mississippi. They were 244 miles from the northern terminus near Nashville. However, for this shore exertion they would turn south and explore the 200 miles to the southern terminus in Natchez, Mississippi.

The Trace was the original footpath for the Natchez, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations. As the United States grew westward, the new settlers began to use the trail until it became a well worn path.

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A section of ‘sunken trace’ at milepost 41.5

In the early 1800’s, folks in the Ohio River Valley began building wooden flat bottom boats to deliver their farm crops and animals to New Orleans. They would sell their goods, along with the boat, and walk back home via the Trace. These folks became known as the Kaintucks.

Flush with cash, the Kaintucks became easy targets for land pirates. To solve the safety problem, people began building Stands, or Inns, to accommodate the Kaintucks. As the Stands became a main stay, the Postal Service used the route to deliver mail. This increase usage led to improvements of the path to more of a road. By the time the Civil War rolled around, both the North and South troops used the road. Both Jefferson Davis and General Grant were known to have used the Trace.

Other famous folks who have used the Trace include: General Andrew Jackson, Meriwether Lewis, and John Audubon.

Once the age of steamships began moving material up and down the Mississippi River, The Trace fell from favor and began to fall into disrepair. In the 1930’s, FDR used rebuilding the Trace as one of his projects to get people back to work during the depression. The Trace became part of the National Park System in 1938. The final section of the modern Trace was completed in 2005.

The crew made stops at the following mileposts on their way south:

193.1, Jeff Busby

180.7, French Camp

176.3, Bethal Mission

175.6, Cole Creek

160, Kosciusko Welcome Center

135.5 Robinson Road

Robinson Road crossing the Trace
RVing on the Trace

88.3, City of Clinton Visitor Center

52.4, Owens Creek Waterfall

0.0, Southern Terminus

Next Week

The crew will turn back to the grind of home schooling for the next two weeks. Their next shore excursion will be Easter Weekend when they go explore Garner State Park.

See ya then

Eric the Red

Announcing 2021 ITINERARY

The crew has been helping homeschool four of the grandkids since January. The grandkids took Spring Break the week of March 15 so the crew decided to perform a wellness check on Still Waters II. After the extreme cold spell a few weeks back the crew were a bit concerned how she weathered the freeze.

When they first arrived at the boat and looked around all seemed well. However, once the skipper turned on the water pump he quickly discovered the first pipe break under the galley sink. He fixed that leak by removing the broken water filter and reconnecting the piping. He turned the water back on and could hear a drip but could not find where the leak was actually located. In just a few minutes the drip became obvious as the cold water washing machine hose came loose from the threaded connection and water started spraying out from the open connection. After a trip to the local hardware store to procure a new hose, the skipper replaced the hose, and once again turned the water back on. He inspected the boat fore to aft and found no more leaks.

The skipper then hooked up dock side water and found a third leak. This one was not easy to get to, but perseverance paid off and finally the skipper repaired the line. After six hours of boat yoga in the engine room squeezed between the starboard engine and the hull, the Admiral suggested an aspirin to relieve the inevitable pain. After that repair was complete, the crew performed a third leak check and declared Still Waters II back to full health with no water leaks.

The crew has started to plan their 2021 adventure on the Ohio River up to Pittsburgh. It looks like it will take 30 travel days to cover the 1,230 miles from Columbus, Mississippi to Pittsburgh. The crew plans to launch the trip sometime in mid May. Hope to see you onboard.

Eric the Red

A ff solve – part 8 of 8

We have solved all but the last line of the poem, I give you title to the gold.

We know our coordinate to be married to the good map, the Military Grid Reference (MGRS) still needs some work because currently the spot is less than 5,000 foot elevation. And ff has stated before that the chest was above 5,000 foot elevation.

To proceed to the summit and solve the poem, we need to solve the 9th and final clue, I give you title to the gold. 

The explanation to the final puzzle piece, the 9th clue, is in the module titled: The Grand Finale.

A ff solve – Part 7 of 8

Stanzas 2 & 3 lead us on a trail that revealed the Blaze in the letters of the poem. This confirmed we were on the right path.

Stanza 4 was some table setting for the eventual solution. But notice that there are 12 T’s side by side in the poem before we solve Stanza 4.

We then revealed the ‘good map’ as the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS). The poem uses this coordinate system to direct you to within 1 square meter of our destination of the chest. The poem directs you to the 12T zone shown on the dust cover of TTOTC. We will reveal these twelve T’s in today’s section below.

In Stanza 5, the poem revealed the second part of the MGRS coordinate by revealing the true identity of the letter ‘I’ as actually the letters ‘TT’. There is a TT zone inside the 12T zone. All that is left to do is find the 10 digits that complete the MGRS coordinate: 12T TT 1234567890.

The first three lines of Stanza 6 reveal these 10 digits. Read The Beginning of the End to learn how ff hid this information in the poem, and how to decipher and find the 10 digits.

However, we will still have to solve one more clue, clue #9 in the last line of the poem to finally arrive at the long sought at answer to the location of the chest. We will reveal part 8 tomorrow.

A ff solve – part 6 of 8

In Part 5 we revealed the good map to be the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS). We also showed a bunch of hints from TTOTC, that the search area in the Rocky Mountains that we should focus on is the area 12T. We also commented that the 12T area is further subdivided into 60 smaller zones.

In Part 5, we will show how the poem singles out just one of these 60 zones and identifies the TT zone to be the location we should focus on next. The poem does this by directing the searcher to solve the I Puzzle hidden in the poem. The correct solve of the I Puzzle will be TT.

To learn how the crafty architect pulled this off within the words of the poem, read the attached presentation: Who Am I?

A ff SOLVE – Part 5 of 8

Mike Cowling (a popular you tube ff treasure hunter) once did a video on the dust cover of The Thrill of the Chase (TTOTC). Mike correctly identified the dust cover to be a huge hint. However, to my incomplete knowledge, Mike never identified the truth behind the hint. This module will unveil the long sought out truth. That the good map that ff often references is none other than the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS).

Notice similarities between the dust cover and the 12T zone

This module will explain at least six hints in TTOTC that would direct the savvy searcher to the MGRS. The module will go on to explain some of the solves of Stanzas 5 & 6 which will confirm the use of the MGRS as our long sought after good map. With this crown jewel unearthed, we have our second sign post which let’s us know we are still on the right path. With this sign post, we will also be able to more easily solve Stanzas 5 & 6, and eventually the poem.

The good map

A ff SOLVE – Part 5 of 8

Mike Cowling (a popular you tube ff treasure hunter) once did a video on the dust cover of The Thrill of the Chase (TTOTC). Mike correctly identified the dust cover to be a huge hint. However, to my incomplete knowledge, Mike never identified the truth behind the hint. This module will unveil the long sought out truth. That the good map that ff often references is none other than the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS).

Notice similarities between the dust cover and the 12T zone

This module will explain at least six hints in TTOTC that would direct the savvy searcher to the MGRS. The module will go on to explain some of the solves of Stanzas 5 & 6 which will confirm the use of the MGRS as our long sought after good map. With this crown jewel unearthed, we have our second sign post which let’s us know we are still on the right path. With this sign post, we will also be able to more easily solve Stanzas 5 & 6, and eventually the poem.

The good map

A ff solve – part 4 of 8

After solving Stanzas 2 & 3, and finding the blaze in module 3, I would think you are becoming convinced that there just might be some sanity in this solve method. We will now apply this same methodology to Stanza 4. The solve will be short and sweet, mostly a transition from finding the blaze to start of the search for the good map.

The Crafty Architect

A ff solve: part 3 of 8

Armed with our two gold nuggets, design features from Part 1, and our Word that is Key from Part 2, we are now ready to begin our trail to the summit of the solve of the ff poem. In Part 3, we will apply our design features and solve Stanzas 2 & 3. Along the way, we will find a true gem. As we top a foot hill on the way to the summit, we will find the blaze. This blaze will be the first signpost we find that lets us know for certain that we are on the right path.

Decoding the Blaze

A ff Solve – part 2 of 8

I promised to unveil the meaning behind the phrase ‘A Word that is Key’ in Part 1of this series. So without out further delay, promise made, promise kept.

A Word that is Key : learning how to use the Word is the next step on the journey to solve the Poem.

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