Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Rick and I took some time this week to do a little sight seeing and exploring of the area surrounding Corinth Recreation Area. One of the first things that caught our eye was this sign.
Apparently, during the Civil War, Winston County, which was mostly poor farmers, wasn’t much into this Confederacy thing. As things heated up, they held a meeting and resolved that the people of Winston County had no desire to take part in the war and intended to support neither side. A further resolution stated that if Alabama could secede from the union, then Winston County could secede from Alabama! That was the birth of the legend of the “Republic of Winston”. Talk to anyone around here and they’ll be happy to regale you with stories of how Winston County seceded from Alabama :) That may have been the high point of the war for the county. Some did fight for the confederacy, some for the union and they definitely fought each other, effectively tearing apart the county.
On another day we toured the Confederate Museum which is located on the site of the Crooked Creek skirmish. Just down the road on the Crooked Creek was the Clarkson-Legg Bridge, the only remaining covered bridge in Cullman County. Old, definitely, but also long at 270 feet and one of the longest in the US.
This area has a lot of history but it also has nature at its finest. Hills, ravines, waterfalls. There are hiking trails throughout Bankhead National Forest and if I wasn’t such a wimp, I’d be out there. I AM out there walking on the roads, but the trails in the Spring tend to bring out the only critter I’m irrationally afraid of…snakes. Just the thought of running into one of them keeps me on the roads where it is less likely, but not impossible, to see one. I’d much rather see this.
You have to look closely, but there were 2 does and 2 fawns. Their coloring blended into the background so well it was difficult to get a good shot. They must be used to humans because they didn’t flinch, just looked right back at us.
Wednesday afternoon we took a drive to the little town of Haleyville just for something to do. I had a letter to mail and we needed a couple things from the store. We were surprised to find a Walmart there. It was a small one but they had what we needed. I tend to buy too much in the larger ones anyhow :) We stopped for gas and as we were leaving town, we passed the Police Station with this very large sign on the building.
Naturally, I had to Google that one :) Sure enough. On February 16, 1968 the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system in the nation went into service in Haleyville. The history of 9-1-1 and how Haleyville became the first is pretty fascinating and can be found here. Let’s just say that men can be very competitive and leave it at that :)
That’s all I’ve got today. Thanks for stopping by.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
National Naval Aviation Museum, Fun at the Shell Station and Corinth Recreation Area, Double Springs, AL
We enjoyed our stay at Fort Pickens so much that we extended our planned one week stay by a couple more days. We would have loved to stay longer, but our site was reserved by another party and our tanks were full, so it was time to go :) Fort Pickens is a Corp of Engineer park and does not have sewer hookups at each site, only water and electric. There is a dump site conveniently located on the way out of the park . So on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, we hitched up, dumped our tanks and headed north.
A couple days prior to this, we drove into Pensacola to visit the Pensacola Naval Air Museum. We had heard from daughter Carrie that it was not to be missed. She was right. It’s an awesome museum. And, it’s free! It contains more than 150 restored aircraft and 4000 artifacts from the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. The Blue Angels practice there a couple times a week. We missed them the day we were there, but they practiced the following day and we saw their planes fly over our campground. We were just on the other side of the sound from them. I was leisurely having my coffee that morning when I started hearing the noise. Unfortunately, by the time I figured out what was happening and threw some clothes on, they were done and my photo ops disappeared :( Darn!
And here is a model of the Navy’s newest Flattop, the USS George H.W. Bush.
We stopped to enjoy lunch at the Cubi Bar Cafe’. The club which originally was located at Subic Bay in the Philippines, was dismantled, packed into crates and reconstructed in Pensacola. It’s very close to the original cafe’, menu and all, minus the 15 cent hot dogs and beers :)
We each had a sandwich and chips. The prices were reasonable and the sandwiches were pretty good. Not the best we’ve had, but certainly not the worst. (Sorry, we were too hungry and ate our food before I even thought to take a picture!)
A couple days later we were leaving the Florida Panhandle and re-entering Alabama. We have spent more time in Alabama this year than any other state. Our destination that Thursday was Montgomery. We arrived at the Montgomery South RV Park mid afternoon. This is a fairly new, nice, clean park. It is definitely not a destination park but is perfect for a night or 2 as you’re passing through. We settled in and then I took off to find the Costco in Montgomery. We were almost out of coffee and I took advantage of the opportunity to stock up on several other things in the process. I’m finding it difficult to stop ‘bulk shopping’ like I used to do in our house. I do have a residential refrig/freezer and another freezer in our closet, so it’s not imperative that I stop. I do worry about all the extra weight I add to the coach for traveling though. If I ever send out an SOS to come to a BIG cookout, you’ll know that we weighed and were way, way overweight!! Bring your appetites and the beverage of your choice :)
We spent 2 nights at Montgomery South RV Park, giving us enough time to catch up on some laundry and watch some March Madness on TV. On Saturday morning, we pulled out and headed further north on I-65. We stopped for diesel at a Shell station just outside Birmingham. The price was right ($3.799-I can’t believe I think that’s good, but compared to other places, yes it is!) and it looked to be an easy in/out type place. First impressions are sometimes deceiving and this one proved to be so. What we thought was a drive around the back ended up being a drive to a cement wall :) I scoped it out while Rick fueled and we made the decision to disconnect the Jeep and maneuver the coach around into a Y turn to get out of there. Fortunately we had a couple understanding people and they abandoned their pumps to give us space to turn. Once we were pointed in the right direction, we were able to re-hitch and get back on the highway. Whew! Not the most fun but it was doable. I’m sure it was entertaining to some :)
We proceeded to the Corinth Recreation Area of the Bankhead National Forest close to Double Springs, AL.
and here’s our site from the road.
We settled in, took a walk to explore our surroundings and settled in for the evening. This is a lovely place and everyone is super friendly. We’ve already had 2 job offers to volunteer as camp hosts should we want to . We may just take them up on it for a month in the Fall. We’ll see.
We’ll be here until next Saturday.
As I close I must say “Congratulations” to our NC Tarheels on advancing to the Sweet 16. We’ll be watching and cheering again on Friday night! :)
Thanks for stopping in. Happy Spring and as always, comments are welcome and appreciated.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Tuesday morning, at 10:30, we pulled out of Gulf State Park and headed East towards Pensacola to spend a week at Fort Pickens on Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida. Fort Pickens is part of the National Park Service and along with the campground, it includes the former military fort, defense batteries and a breathtakingly beautiful white quartz beach. Although the trip is less than 50 miles, it took a good hour and a half or more to get there. There were a couple of long bridges…
with a toll booth-$1.00 for both the motor home and the toad (towed vehicle). What a deal! :) There was also the entrance booth to Gulf Islands National Seashore-$8 entrance fee per car but good for 7 days. Then there was the campground registration building. As we had reservations, it was a short and sweet registration including a campground map and directions to get there from here :)
(Although this may look like snow to some of you, I assure you it’s beautiful white sand!)
We pulled into the campground and followed the narrow road around to our site-C44. Oh oh. While the site was long enough, (I had made sure we’d fit when I made the reservation) the angle to back into it was very tight, especially because our neighbors across the way had their car parked at the end of their pads but right at the street line so there was no room to swing around and into the site without hitting their car. We unhooked the Jeep from the tow bar first. That’s when I discovered that I had left the Jeep running all the way here! I felt like an idiot. It is my job to position the Jeep for hookup and do the inside work to ready it to tow. Part of that includes putting the 4 wheel drive into neutral and making sure the steering wheel is freely moving and didn’t lock. Well, I did all those things. I also forgot to turn off the ignition. I doubt that’s a mistake I’ll make again…hopefully. I do learn my lessons :) It didn’t hurt the Jeep, but it sure did burn some of this pricey gas :) Luckily, our new neighbors were home and moved their car long enough for us to back into our spot. This park was built back in the 1970’s when I doubt they thought a 40’ RV would be common. So, while it is tight in some spots, I would never bypass this park due to size. It is totally worth it.
While our Wednesday was taken up by the stormy weather I talked about in my last post, Thursday and Friday were gorgeous and sunny. We spent both of those days walking the pristine, unspoiled beach and exploring the old fort.
Fort Pickens was built in the 1820’s but never saw real combat until the Civil War. After the war it was abandoned until 1886 when it was used as a prison for Apache leader Geronimo and some of his men. The Apache’s were not locked up but given free rein to the entire island. Their families were even allowed to join them shortly thereafter. They soon became a tourist attraction with visitors taken to the island to see how they lived and they developed a trade in shells and handiworks they sold to the tourists. The fort underwent renovations over the years but after WW II, the fort was declared obsolete for defensive purposes. The National Park Service acquired it in 1971.
After a couple nice days of exploring, it was nice to be invited to share a campfire with some of the neighbors. Yup, this is a very nice life :)