SmithDRay Blog
Friday, 24 December 2010
A new Photo Book by Ray Smith - Fall 2010
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: books

Here is a photo book published at the suggestion of those who saw the photographs I made this fall.  It was an unusual fall and was actually quite short for good color.  I had to seek out specific locations as one side of a hill would have color and the other side not.  One elevation might have color and below or above that level would not.  I found that getting close up helped and I really appreciated my 100 mm close up lens.


Click on link below to preview book:



Posted by smithdray at 9:03 PM EST
Merry Memories - 2010
Mood:  happy
Topic: Christmas

Here are some Merry Memories for Christmas 2010. 


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Posted by smithdray at 8:48 PM EST
Saturday, 7 August 2010
Colorado - July 2010
Mood:  happy
Topic: trips

Fanny and I recently went to Silverton, CO.  What a great place the San Juan Mountains are.  That is where many of Louis L'Amour's books are set.  I have read them all and enjoyed seeing the terrain and recalling the stories. 

We were there to see our youngest son, Zane, finish the Hardrock 100 mile endurance run.  He finished in 46 hours!  Silverton is 11,000 feet above sea level.  I could hardly climb stairs.  We stayed in the Royal Imperial Hotel (on the third floor with NO elevator!)

Here is a link to some photos of our trip:


Posted by smithdray at 12:40 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 August 2010 12:47 AM EDT
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Barkley Marathons 100 (and 60 "fun run")

Zane, my youngest son, ran in the Barkley Marathons this weekend at Frozen Head State Park, TN. 

To learn about the Barkley Marathons

He started at 7:15 AM on Saturday with the temperature at 30 degrees.  Sunny and clear.  This lasted all day and into the evening.

Zane finished loop one of the Barkley in a bit over 12 hours. He went "out there" on lap two in the dark and by Sunday morning when he returned to the start/finish line he has spent the night seeking to stay on the unmarked course with some difficulty.  He had six of the 10 pages from books and was running out of time.  It was raining and that did not help as it slowed travel even more.

Here are some photos from Day 1 and 2 of the Barkley: 



Posted by smithdray at 10:25 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 28 March 2010 10:26 PM EDT
Saturday, 26 December 2009
John Hendrix Story Published

The John Hendrix Story, about the man known as the Prophet of Oak Ridge, has just been published in hardback.  It includes both the articles I have published in The Oak Ridger's Historically Speaking column that feature John Hendrix and the content of the book, Back of Oak Ridge written by Grace Crawford, his adopted granddaughter.

Use this link to preview or purchase the book:













Posted by smithdray at 7:46 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 26 December 2009 7:57 PM EST
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Zane climbs Mount Rainier!
Mood:  incredulous

On August 25, 2009, my son, Zane Smith, climbed to the summit of Mount Rainier.  See more photos at:

Posted by smithdray at 11:13 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 31 October 2009 6:48 PM EDT
Friday, 21 August 2009
Oral History Interview with former Senator Howard Baker, Jr.
Mood:  happy

Former Tennessee Senator and President Reagan's Chief of Staff Howard Baker, Jr. is one of East Tennessee's most valuable treasures.  His humble, somewhat homespun manner endears him to anyone who meets him and his sincere desire to listen to hear precisely what is said makes him an unusually insightful person. 

His perception of our nation's history and future is aligned with his personal experiences and vast world knowledge.  He sees the United States as the world's greatest hope for democracy and feels we are still feeling out the details of our republic.  He believes the world's nations will all benefit from the grand experiment in public policy and governance that is our republic form of democracy.

It is a joy to listen to him.  He was chosen as the very first video oral history to be completed by the newly formed Center for Oak Ridge Oral History.  I was priviledged to be allowed to be a part of the four-person interview team that recently captured his thoughts on the history of Oak Ridge.    

To see more photos of the filming go here:





Posted by smithdray at 11:49 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 21 August 2009 12:36 PM EDT
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Books now available on








I am proud to announce that my Historically Speaking and Delina history books are now available on 

Just search on "Historically Speaking," "Delina," "1944 Troop Train Wreck," or "Historical Sketches of Oak Ridge Schools."

Here is the link to Delina on

Here is the link to 2006 Historically Speaking on 

Here is the link to 2007 Historically Speaking on

Here is the link to 1944 Troop Train Wreck on 


Here is the link to Historical Sketches of Oak Ridge Schools on


Posted by smithdray at 10:54 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 21 August 2009 12:38 PM EDT
Zane's 100 mile ultramarathon - Massenutten 100
Mood:  a-ok

Zane Smith runs his third 100 mile ultramarathon


On Saturday, May 16, 2009, at 5:00 AM, Zane Smith, Farm Bureau Insurance Agent of Spring Hill, dressed for a bit of running, began a 100-mile ultramarathon.  He was in Virginia within the George Washington National Forest’s Massanutten Mountains. 


The evening before he and his wife, Laura, had carefully placed “drop bags” in designated containers and had made sure much of what he would need for the next two days of running was included. Zane was taking the last minute precautions of being sure key support items would be available to him during the upcoming run through the day and night and much of the next day. 


This run was to be different than the two others he had completed.  The weather was hotter, storms were predicted and he planned to run this race alone, with no pacer and no companions.  He would rely on his support team and his growing experience in running 100 mile ultramarathons.


In his second 100 mile ultramarathon, the Pinhoti 100 in the Talladega National Forest in Alabama, Zane had done well by setting a faster pace and had finished in much better physical and mental shape than his first experience on the Massanutten Mountain 100 run last year.  Finishing at or below last year’s time was his goal.  


Zane finished the 100-mile run in 32 hours and 22 minutes. He was the sixty first runner to finish.  173 people started the run and only 101 finished. There were 19,000 feet of elevation climbed during the run…you read correctly.  That is like climbing one of the highest peaks in the world. Of course the air does not get as thin, but other environmental factors sure do make an impact.


In this run, Zane faced searing heat on Saturday throughout the day.  Late in the afternoon a thunderstorm caught him on Byrd Knob, among the highest peaks in the run.  He was out in the open. Runners reported hailstones and one runner reported seeing lightening strike a tree. Needless to say Zane did make a quick descent from the peak!


Zane packed a rain jacket in one “drop bag” and got it just before the storm caught him. When the rain hit, even with a rain jacket, there was no way to prevent his feet from getting wet.  Now, he was running wet with his shoes and socks soaked by the rain flowing in the trail. 


His best hope to avoid hyperthermia was to keep moving…fast. Rain gear helps, but when rain storms hit runners who are heated and dressed in running clothes, hyperthermia can be a real problem.  This may have worked to his advantage, as he ultimately was able to finish at his goal time.

The rain kept falling through the night and Zane kept a fast pace.  Being prepared for the many extreme and varied conditions that each run presents is but one of the many things he must think of and plan to face.  Without his knowledge and determination he might well have fallen victim to the elements as did some 70 others that day, during the night, and the next day.


But, being ready for the situation, he forged on through the night and early morning to the finish of this run. Of the ultramarathons Zane has completed over the past few years, three of them have been 100 mile runs.  He has been running ultramarathons since 2005.


Zane tells of a special moment in the run when he paused at Shawl Gap, the last high point of the course, and for a few short minutes let the effect of the beautiful surroundings and the personal reward of the run just about completed flood his senses.  He finds this ritual to be the most meaningful few minutes of the run.


This pause before the end of a run has become a tradition that began last year when he ran his first 100-mile run with a friend, Susan Donnelly’s help.  He paused at Shawl Gap and asked her and two other running companions to stop for a moment. 


It was a special time for them all. It was Zane’s first finish and they had helped him struggle through the night.  A special bond was formed in that run.


Zane enjoys running and can be seen at various locations around Maury County as he often runs along the roads.  He also travels to Frozen Head State Park in East Tennessee to get practice on the types of elevation changes he is likely to encounter in these grueling runs.  


While many of us may never experience the euphoria of that special quiet moment of achievement that comes after running through the night for 100 grueling miles, we can admire Zane’s dedication and learn from his application of ultrarunning skills to everyday life.  


Zane is a dedicated runner, but he is also my son, a loving husband and doting father, a member of Maury County Rotary Club and a local Farm Bureau insurance agent. Needless to say, I am proud of his accomplishments.


Ray Smith, (half of my son’s ultramarathon support crew)


Link to photos:

Posted by smithdray at 10:09 PM EDT
Saturday, 25 April 2009
Dandy, the mustached horse

Recently, I photographed a Missouri Foxtrotter horse with a beautiful mustache.  His name is Dandy and he is owned by Paula Walden who keeps him at the East Tennessee Riding Club stables in Oak Ridge.

Here is the link to my Skydrive where you can download individual images:

Here is the link to the story published in The Oak Ridger:

Here is an embedded slideshow using Smilebox:


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Posted by smithdray at 11:51 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 21 August 2009 11:48 AM EDT

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