Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tourists in Northern Alabama

Up early again, but with fun on our agenda instead of repairs. We, along with Dortha and Mark, started off with breakfast at Swamp John's, a local eatery. Glenn and Sylvia were also having breakfast before heading back to Camp Red Bay to supervise their daily visit to the service bays.
After breakfast, the four of us went off in search of our first destination, the Coon Dog Cemetery. This is a local area cemetery that is open only to proven coon dogs. The first dog buried here was Troop, on Sept 4, 1937.

Each Labor Day there is an even held at the cemetery, when the graves get decorated. They also sell barbeque and t-shirts.

This is "Easy Going Sam", Last one on the Wood. These people take their coon dogs seriously!

The next stop was the Tuscumbia/Muscle Shoals area, where we stopped to visit the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Are these people famous? Mark, Dortha and Jim:

There is a portrait of each performer who has been inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame:

A colorful jukebox entryway:

The Hall contains exhibits and memorabilia from hundreds of musicians who either lived in, or were from Alabama. They also have a working, free, jukebox that plays music written by songwriters from Alabama. Mark picked a song and grabbed his girl for a turn around the dance floor.

The band, Alabama was certainly well-represented, here's their tour bus. Hey, whose driving the bus!

Just down the road a ways from the Music Hall of Fame is Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller. I was particularly interested in visiting this historic location, because back in the olden days when I was in high school, I played Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker".

This is the little house located next to the main house. Helen was actually born in this house. It also served as Helen's school house. When Annie was unable to make any progress with Helen's education while living in the main house, she implored the family to let her take Helen to this little house, where she could deal with Helen one-on-one without interference.

This water pump is where Helen Keller experienced a breakthrough in understanding language, when Annie spelled out the word "w-a-t-e-r" in Helen's hand, while water from the pump flowed over her other hand.

This is a bust of Helen Keller, located in the gardens on the property.

Dortha found a paragraph in a local information brochure about a pedestrian bridge over the Tennessee River, and we wanted to go walk across it. It took us some time to find it, and a stop at a questionable motel where Mark sent Dortha in to the office to get directions. Directions obtained, and off we went. The Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau brochure says, "The Old Railroad Bridge opened in 1839 as a toll bridge, and for almost a century was the only way to cross the river. During this time, trains crossed on the upper deck while wagons, pedestrians, and herds of livestock crossed over the bottom deck."

Here's a view from the Old Railroad Bridge, looking towards the O'Neal Bridge across the Tennessee River:

Jim and me on the bridge:

While we were looking for this bridge, we drove through the Tennessee Valley Authority Reservation. The Wilson Dam was closed, but we did see their service center and power plant.

After the walk across the bridge, which by the way, doesn't go all the way across the river but stops a little more than halfway, we were getting hungry, so it was off to a local Mexican Restaurant for lunch. Mark needed a thingy-majigy for his water heater and Dortha wanted a little doo-dah for her computer desk, so we went to the local Lowes. I'm having trouble remembering the last time I was in a Lowes, maybe last summer in Arlington, Texas. It was interesting! All that stuff you need when you own a house - sure glad we don't need all that anymore! Now, having said that, we did look at ladders. We are thinking about replacing our 6' ladder with an 8' one, and our little step stool with one a bit higher.

It was time to head back to the camp, what a fun day we've had!


Mark and Dortha said...

Thanks for a great day. We are looking forward to the next outing.

Pat and Mike said...

Jim & Ellie, you're in the area where I was born. I was born in Oneonta, AL which is about 50 miles north of Birmingham but have relatives scattered all over the north Alabama area. As a matter of fact, Randy Owen (and some of the other band members) are my cousins (2nd or 3rd, not sure). My maiden name is Owen. Wish I had a little of their $$ and I could afford a nice Motorhome like you. (-: Keep having fun and safe travels.

Hugs..........Pat and Mike

Jim and Dee said...

What a great view of the day! I was interested in the coon cemetery, I've heard a lot about it from a coon dog handler. What fun!

Joe and Sherri said...

Thanks for taking Sherri and I along. We had fun on the bridge and can't wait for tomorrow.

Camping World has their ladders on sale. I am going to get the one that folds up into a 4 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 72 inch stowable. You have access up to 5 ft.

Have a great day

Joe and Sherri