Heading west out of Atlanta to the state of Alabama – hoping we will be singing “Sweet Home Alabama” – remember “home is wherever we park it”.
Ride across the state was easy, dry and quiet – that is until we stopped to visit the Tuskegee historic sites in Tuskegee, Georgia.
First stop was at Moton Airfield.
This is where all the African Americans were trained to be fighter pilots in WW II. They didn’t believe that blacks could lead and operate and maintain aircraft. I did see the movie and got my stamp. Great visit and felt sorry for the discrimination and segregation that happened to these men after many gave their lives and valiantly fought to help win the war.
Then we headed over the Tuskegee Institute and I immediately turned in the first gate with the correct name on it and found myself in the middle of the Tuskegee campus struggling to get around with a bunch of college students watching and wondering who I was with this huge vehicle. Finally came to a dead end in a parking lot with nowhere to go – remember I am driving a 36 foot motorhome with a car behind me and I cannot back up. Disconnected the car and slowly – back and forth worked my way out of that parking lot and got headed in the right direction. I told Brenda to follow in the car until I found the Tuskegee Historic site.
Out of the campus and there it was, half mile down the road with a big parking lot for me to park the coach. Went looking for the Visitor’s center and found it was closed for maintenance without any opening date. They did have a tour of George Washington Carver’s house at 1:30 and it was near that time. We waited around but no one showed. No movie – no stamp – no nothing.
Let’s continue out of town – GPS sent me in one direction and we soon came upon the dreaded sign “Bridge Out” – turned around and backtracked thru town and continued on to the campground.
Arrived at The Woods RV Park and was pleased. Large park near the interstate (but not noisy) with gravel roads and level sites and good wifi and cable tv and not overly crowded.
Saturday we headed downtown to explore. Tough to find a parking space as it is free on Saturdays and every meter was parked in. After a twenty minute ride around we finally found one.
Noticed a lot of noise nearby and we ventured in that direction and found out a fund raiser was going on by repelling down the side of a six story building. From the comments made this was going on thru the evening – no I am not interested.
Found our way down to the Riverwalk – always enjoy seeing what cities do with their river and how they make it a popular hangout. Montgomery has done a great job.
See the flood level in 1961.
Time for lunch and the hot spot was Chris’ Hotdog – been in business for 100 years and a favorite of FDR and Hank Williams and others. It was good with a special sauce.
Then made it down to the capital building (closed during the weekend)
and the first White House of the Confederacy – home of Jefferson Davis as president – found out it was only here for 4 months and then headquarters was moved to Richmond, Virginia.
We did stop at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church – where Martin Luther King was pastor and toured the building – plan on attending church there tomorrow.
Lots of redevelopment going on in Montgomery – impressive streetscapes – still have the engineer in me thinking.
We did visit the Museum of Alabama and found the history of the state very interesting – it is amazing how individuals can have such an effect on history and development of the area.
Wondered over to the Railway Brewery but they were closed today due to another fund raiser sponsoring an event in front of their building and they were donating their proceeds to the fund raiser instead – it cost $35 to get in and eat all the crayfish you desire – beer was extra – we skipped it.
Then found “The Alley” an area downtown in an alley that had a variety of restaurants and bars – great idea to convert an alley into an entertainment district – think about it – instead of garbage and the homeless – sell food and booze.
Home to watch the Gamecocks . . . oh well there is next year!
Sunday we are off to church – will attend Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Martin Luther King was pastor during the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. As expected we were the minority but there were plenty of other “white tourists” to visit the church service. Fantastic congregation as they all made a point to say Hi and ask where we were from and the women all gave hugs.
Worship service was 2 hours and 10 minutes – though it did include communion – and a “greet your neighbor” session that lasted almost a half hour – it was like herding cats – everybody wanted to go their own way and visit with each other.
Enjoyed the worship and fellowship and even was inspired to “take the first step to do what is right”.
That is the cross walk over which the Selma to Montgomery March walked in front of MLK’s church.
After church we headed over to Wintzell’s Oyster House (been serving food for 75 years)
and had some fantastic Bloody Marys and a sample plate of Oysters with 4 different toppings – oh were they yummy.
Walked across street and went to the Hank Williams Museum – no pictures inside so I can’t show you anything but it was amazing his short singing career (he died at 30) and how many records he recorded – didn’t realized he died from heart failure in his car on the way to his next concert.
Stopped at the local cemetery and visited the grave of Hank and Audrey Williams. I guess when the funeral took place it was one of the biggest funeral processions in the south.
Monday I did something that I don’t believe I have done before and that is on moving day – we did not move – you see tornados and hail and all the other stuff that goes with bad weather was predicated to come thru this area on Monday – the weather that hit Texas and Louisiana was about to hit Mississippi and Alabama and I didn’t feel like driving thru all that stuff – so we stayed an extra day and figured we would weather it in one spot. It was kind of scary thinking that something bad could happen to us.
It started raining this morning but the weather didn’t get too bad – it went north and south of us – oh thank the Lord. We even pulled in our sides and put everything away that could blow away and hankered down. Its 3 PM and the sun is now shining.
Will return to Montgomery in the future as there is so much more to see and learn about Civil Rights.
Tuesday off to Vicksburg, Mississippi.