Miocene Meets Little Chicago

Milling About the Miocene

I decided on a whim to take a road trip to Johnson City, Tennessee. The Natural History Museum at the Gray Fossil Site presents the fossils and skeletons of tapirs, saber tooth cats, rhinoceroses, red pandas, alligators, plants, and other creatures that once roamed the area. This fossil site formed as a result of an underground limestone cave that collapsed into a massive sinkhole, and eventually served as a water reservoir during the Miocene epoch between four and seven million years ago. Under those ideal conditions, the damp and mineral rich soil preserved these remains quite well.


A rhino, an alligator, and some saber tooth cats




Giant short-faced Bear, the largest carnivore in North America during the Ice Age.



No museum is complete without a shelf of skulls.


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Current sites of excavation behind the museum where they found rhinos and to the right were some elephants.


A bit of inspiration.

Little Chicago

So on to Johnson City, which I learned only yesterday is also known as Little Chicago. I’ve been several times but it was always for a late show at the Hideaway, leaving little time to explore. Between the Gray Fossil Site and Freiburg’s German restaurant and now the Little Chicago Festival, timing was perfect.



Wide view of the main intersection (blocked for the festival)


The Farmer’s Market is just setting up


The vendor alley has everything from Hungarian, Korean, Southern, and Chinese food, pizza, kettle corn, pastries, dog treats, and one truck that specializes in fried EVERYTHING.


Walking down Main Street toward Downtown Square


Little City Roller Girls had several bouts throughout the day.


There was an auto show all along the boulevard, but only a few real classics.



Founders Park is a nice urban park and greenway with rock architecture, a creek flowing through it, and sculpture installations on both sides.



Creek’s a little low after weeks of highs over 90 F



Downtown streets are lined with artisan, spiritual and fair trade goods, art, gifts, a comic book shop, and a really awesome barber shop+all around man store.



Seeker notebook, sage bundle, and sacred jade.



I wish all men knew about this store. Go get your hair cut, beard oiled and trimmed, buy yourself a nice shirt and a knife and some boots. All at the same place. At the same time. THEN call up your girl.


My favourite random discovery, and under the German flag. Someone stopped while I was taking the photo to tell me she looks like me.


Super cute street vendor called Sweet & Dirty’s.


Train mural next to the Hideaway. It continues to the left (this is only maybe one third).


Punk and rock dive bar that has hosted some really great shows over the years.



MLK Mural



And now the real motivation for this visit, second to the fossil site, Freiburg’s German Restaurant.


Franziskaner on tap with Hühnerschnitzel, Bratkartoffeln, und Rotkohl. Food was delicious. Service was not great but it is a German place 😉



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