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Friendly Folks in Alabama

January 28, 2006

Alabama has a lot of friendly people. We started out Monday driving up from the Florida panhandle along US 331. It was a really nice scenic drive without much traffic. And there weren't many small towns so we still made good time. We stayed on Highway 331 until it met up with I-65 and took it north. What a rough ride! I-65 need some work.

We camped that night at Birmingham South RV Park and Campgrounds. We were going to visit the capital of Montgomery first, but since it was raining, we decided to just go up to the campground and then drive back the next day in the Blazer.

Montgomery, Alabama was a pretty town with a lot of history in it with the civil rights movement. The capital building was nice with a lot of marble on the inside. We were able to go inside the Senate and House chambers. We also went to the Alabama Archives building across the street. There were a lot of historical displays there. Adam and Lucas were given a printed sheet with items to find. They always have fun with the scavenger hunts and it helps them focus more on the displays.

Wednesday came and we went hiking in Oak Mountain State Park. We choose the "blue trail" which was the toughest trail, but it was an 8 mile hike that led to a waterfall. However after 1.8 miles and approaching lunch time we arrived at the "red trail" connector. So we decided to take the easier red trail back to the parking lot and skipped the waterfall.

After going back to the RV and eating lunch, we went back to Oak Mountain with the bikes this time. They had a fun BMX track there along with the regular bike trails. We started out on he BMX track. Cricket and the boys went first down the big starting ramp with brakes applied so they wouldn't go too fast. They went the entire course without getting airborne. Well I then had to show them how it was supposed to be done. I went down the ramp at a good pace and hit the first jump getting airborne. Wow that was fun! Next came a double jump and I got airborne again. However because of the double jump the landing wasn't so smooth. I caught the second hump and my bike went out from under me and down I went. Beside the fact that my right knee was now bleeding, what really hurt the most was my ego. How embarrassing!

We continued on the BMX track for a while and then went a little ways down the regular bike trails. The trails were a lot of fun also. Its too bad we burnt up our energy on the BMX track because I would have loved to have gone further on the trails. The kids were getting tired though and wanted to go back to the RV.

The next day we broke camp and headed further north to Scottsboro, Alabama. We had some friends there who used to live in Orlando. After arriving at Crawford RV Park, one of my friends lived just around the corner so I went over to pay a visit. I was a good thing I went then because a few days later he was sick. My other friend was also there finishing up some painting. Before he left we made plans to go over to their house the next day. His family (with 12 children!) live on the property of the Cliff House, which is a retreat center built on the side of a mountain. The side of the mountain is literally one wall for each room. I really enjoyed seeing both families them again and catching up.

Another thing we did yesterday was go to Alabama's biggest tourist attraction. Any guesses to what that may be? Perhaps the capital steps where Martin Luther King Jr gave his speech? The Space Camp where they have a Saturn V rocket and other spacecraft on display? No, Alabama's most visited tourist attraction is the Unclaimed Baggage Center. The Unclaimed Baggage Center is where all of the lost luggage goes up for sale to after it sits at the airport unclaimed for many days. After an hour of looking through stuff, Adam was the only one who made a purchase. He bought a CD soundtrack of the Star Wars movie for $3.

Today was another tough hiking trail. Alabama acquired a piece of land here in the 1990's called the Walls of Jericho. It had been privately owned and closed to the public for many years. It was a 3.5 mile strenuous hike down and even tougher getting back up! It took about 1 1/2 hours to go the 3.5 miles down and about 3 hours going back up. But it was worth it. We did bring more to drink and some snacks to eat this time. It is hard to describe and the photos really don't give you a good view of everything. Nearing the end of the trail you come upon the stream. At what most people think is the end of the trail is a wall of rock with water coming out near the base. That in itself was a site to see. However if you climb over a shorter section of the wall, it leads to a larger water fall. That water fall drops down into a pit where the water then travels through tunnels in the rock to the previous spot. It is a must see if you're in northern Alabama.

One last word on Alabama: most everyone we met there was very friendly. I guess Alabama is where they get the "Southern Hospitality" from.

Tomorrow we decided that since the weather is so nice during this mild winter, we'd go up into Tennessee. We're so close to it anyway.

Anyway, thanks again for stopping by. We hope you're enjoying our stories and photos. Until next time...