Sunday, January 21, 2018

Alabama - 2 stops

Hope Hull, AL

On January 11, 2018 we landed at the Montgomery South RV Park in Hope Hull. As the name suggests we were just south of Montgomery. This is our second time at the park. We stayed here back in June 2016. During that visit Les was sick with the flu so we didn't do much but we had explored Montgomery and Selma a few months earlier from Auburn.
The park is right off of I-65 so there is some road noise. The sites are all gravel with a wider than normal stripe of grass. This time we were in Site 24 which is a long site parallel to the road, so it is a little more private where your picnic table is - it was so cold we didn't sit out much! We had full hook-ups, the WiFi was spotty at times and our Verizon signal was strong. We paid $31.00 a night with our Good Sam discount.

It is hard to see everything in one stop and the last time through we missed the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.  So it was on our to-do list this time. It was a rare warmer day when we went, which was nice as there is a bit of outdoor walking.

Adjacent to the parking lot is a large open field with wide cement walkways that are lined with information boards and where you overlook Moton Field.
We were once again humbled by the stories told here. On one hand we are glad that we have made so much progress in this country with racial issues, but on the other we are sadden that at times it seems we haven't made any progress at all.
The stories of the struggles and accomplishments of these men and women are so inspiring. They certainly paved the way for future generations and we are in awe of their courage.

The two large hanger buildings have been turned into museums. Picture boards, videos, and audio recordings take you on the journey of the airmen.
Hanger 1 is the first stop on the tour. You are greeted by a National Park Ranger and then set free to explore. There is no entry fee, just a donation box. The entire grounds are handicap accessible.

There are two planes in this Hanger along with a small wooden plane that looks like it might fit perfect on a playground. It was actually used as a flight simulator.

The "cockpit" was closed to simulate flying at night. The instruments and control panel were the same as a real plane. An instructor, sitting at a desk behind the simulator could communicate with the cadet inside while controlling the "flight" and gauging the student's ability. Nancy was glad she wasn't closed inside of it and we are pretty sure the cadets weren't taught to wave at the enemy.

You can practice your parachute folding - it's a good thing no ones life depended on us! Kind of like trying to fold a fitted sheet, but with the risk of killing somebody.

As you enter the War Room the first thing you notice is the model airplanes hanging from the ceiling and the pictures of them wrapped around the walls. There is a large showcase with model warships. Take a seat at one of the tables and you can flip through the training manuals that were used and take a stab at identifying what types of planes and boats you would be facing once in the air.

Each room and office has a telephone on the wall that activates the audio system.
Each one explains what the room was used for and has interviews with people who were trained here.

The cadets came from across the country to be trained. As of April 1943 over a hundred cadets had entered the flight training at Moton Field. The stars indicate which states and how many came from there.
AL - 10, AZ - 4, CA - 5, CT -1, FL - 4, GA - 3, IL - 6, IN - 4, KS - 2, KY - 1, LA - 1, MI - 1, MD - 1, MO - 2, MS - 2, NE - 1, NC - 6, NJ - 4,  NY - 3, OH - 6, OK - 3, OR - 2, PA - 3, SC - 4, TN - 3, TX - 6, VA - 17, WA - 1, WV - 1.

Mrs. S. O. Johnson ran The Tea Room which was a popular hangout for cadets and staff alike to catch a quick bite to eat and socialize.

Hanger 2 is where you can watch a 20-minute informational film detailing the time spent here and the many struggles they had not only here but across the nation and across the ocean.

There are a number of kiosks through out the building that have photo and story boards along with a sitting area where you can watch interviews with people who trained and worked here.

A Red Tail plane hangs from the ceiling, the airmen became known for their red tails.

This is also where you can shop at the Bookstore. Nancy was pretty excited to find a National Parks Geek Pin and sticker.

Some of the original buildings have long since disappeared and in their place metal "Ghost Buildings" have been built. What a creative way to recreate the buildings.

There is an interesting Michigan connection for us. Les worked for Coleman A. Young when he was the mayor of Detroit. He often shared stories of his time here.

Foley, AL

It seems every post could start with the words "Damn, it's cold"! As we are working on this blog post it is 19 degrees with a real feel of 8 in Foley. The cold weather can go away anytime now.
Magnolia South RV Hideaway is where we called home for the week, arriving on January 14, 2018. We are about 10 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, and no we did not go swimming.
There are over 50 sites, all back-in with full hook-ups. Our site was cement and level, they are about average width. Th club house has a TV and lending library. The laundry room was clean, the bathrooms were okay. We took advantage of the large fenced dog park.

One of Nancy's friends from high-school, Farmington High in Michigan lives here so it was the perfect place to stop. We had a wonderful dinner with Peggy and Paul and Paul's sister Louise. Nancy and Peggy haven't seen each other in close to 20 years so there was lots of catching up to do, we never left the dining room table for 4 hours. Didn't get a picture which was just fine with Peggy!

We did get lots of pictures of Roadside Oddities.
Battery Dearborn
On our travels to search out the oddities we found ourselves at Fort Morgan which is on the very tip of land between Mobile Bay and the Gulf. The fort was built between 1819 and 1833 and played a significant role in the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864.

A side road we took to the beach looks like it has been in a war! Even though the sun was shinning it was a little too cold to stay on the beach. So a quick pic and back in the car we went.

From there we drove through Florabama, which as you can guess is right on the boarder of the two states. Off in the distance we could see smoke from another large fire, two actually, one north and one off to the east.
Local coffee shops are one of our favorite things, well next to breweries but we didn't find any of those here. This stop not only got us good coffee but we found a painted rock too!

Elberta, AL (yes, with an E) was a treasure trove of oddities.
George Barber, millionaire and owner of Barber Marina commissioned Mark Cline, a fiberglass artist to create a Stonehenge. The fiberglass remake is not the complete Stonehenge but Bamahenge is non the less pretty impressive. You can watch the sun rise and set on the two solstices.

Barber didn't stop with Bamahenge, you will also find Dinosaurs in the Woods. There are supposed to be four but we could only find two.

The Knights in the Woods were a little tricky to find, there are two identical twins and they blend into their surroundings very well.

Of course you have to have a little fun every now and then when you come across these things.

The grounds of the marina are filled with a variety of sculptures. 

The fountain in the center of the roundabout is the biggest.There are a number of Seahorses along the roadside and also small Oriental type statues.

The Lady of the Lake, a 50-foot sculpture once sat in the water but has been moved to storage. While trying to find the Lady we came across this giant spider. Wouldn't want to meet a live one this big!

A stop at Lambert's Cafe is a must. It is the home of the Throwed Rolls. Yes, they really do throw the rolls across the room! The decor reminded us of a Cracker Barrel. The food was very good and you get generous portions. Staff wander around with large pots of their "Pass Arounds" and you can get as much as you want - fried potatoes, okra, black eyed peas, pasta etc.

Up next is Pass Christian, MS our last stop before meeting Katrina and Steve in New Orleans.

Till we meet again....

Happy Trails to You!!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Turn signals and brake lights are important!
Back in early December as we were leaving Louisville, KY we blew a tire on the tow-dolly, well actually the tire shredded and in the process ripped the fender off of the tow-dolly.
We found the fender on the side of the road and Les was able to bend it somewhat back into shape and reattach it.
But as you can probably guess the lights no longer work. We picked up a set of magnetic lights that sit on top of the car while it is being towed and help to let people behind us know what our plans are.

1 comment:

  1. It was great to catch up with you! Next time you come down you can park in my drive and stay longer!