Monday, October 15, 2018

Road Trip 2018 - Day Eighteen, Little River Canyon

It was another most traveling day as we made our way Northeast from Montgomery Alabama to Chattanooga Tennessee. However on the way was a recommended sight, the Little River Canyon National Preserve.

I've been to National Parks, Monuments, Forests, Battlefield but never to a Preserve. Little River Canyon is touted as the 'Largest Canyon East of the Mississippi." Forgive my nouveau Western State chauvinism, but this is like saying that New Mexico is the greenest state with borders on Arizona. If you have ever been to the Rio Grande Gorge in Taos New Mexico, compared to the Little River Canyon, you will know what I mean.

Nonetheless, a photo op is a photo op.

How big is Little River Canyon?

The water fall at the head of the canyon can be a raging torrent when the river is at its peak

It wasn't today
Today you could walk out over two thirds of the river bed that is covered at flood.
But by the Great Maker's fabric softener running water is running water!

We also met and talked with people from Pennsylvania and Florida

Taking in the Canyon below the falls

Kilroy was here
de-I's brother spirit
The Turkey Vulture

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Road Trip 2018 - Day Seventeen, Nothing

As in with the exception of going out for breakfast, we did nothing.

We were so exhausted from yesterday both physically and emotionally, that we simply did not have the energy to go out again. Also we really wanted to do our blog posts on yesterday's experiences justice. Between the pictures and the thoughts for the text, they turned into three/four hour projects.

So we chilled, did some workouts to ease our pains from driving and walking, ate leftovers, napped, did research on what to do next and in general chilled. This evening we are both feeling much more rested and ready to hit the trail again.

Tomorrow we are heading north and east where we will end up in Chattanooga Tennessee. Not on our original thought process but that is the beauty of the the free from trip. We will stop on our way to see the largest canyon east of the Mississippi.

Road Trip 2018 - Day Sixteen, Uplifted In Montgomery

As depressed as we were in Selma the other day, our experience in Montgomery turned out to be entirely different. I will explain further as I go through the post because I think it is better done in conjunction with the pictures.

As I said, we were so down from our experience in Selma questioning whether anything really changes and what a State like Alabama is really like. We are staying in a hotel outside of Montgomery so we really didn't have any idea of what the city was like as we did not pass through on our way in. Researching all there was to do and see, it seemed that the majority of the significant sights related to the Civil Rights Movement or the White History of Alabama - things that threatened us with going right back to our depressed state of mind.

Nonetheless, we decided to go into town, go to the Visitors Bureau to see what we could find and visit the State Capitol building. Upon getting into town, we found that the State Capitol was not opened on Saturday but there were guided tours at 9, 11, 1 and 3. It was 9:45 and with the Capitol building a bit over a mile away, we decided to walk through town and explore to get to the 11 AM tour.

We were rather amazed at the cityscape - a combination of architecture, old and new, wide streets and vistas, historical points of reference, fountains - we quickly got into our photo mode and were having a great time.

As with so many towns, the old railroad station, once the center of communication, has now been repurposed

You are not going to escape the history nor should you

Architecture, old and new

Coming up to the State Capitol were historic Churches including Dexter Street Baptist of the March fame

As we approach the Capitol, let there be no doubt about this ground

Then we arrived at the Capitol with plenty of time which was good because it took awhile to find the place we went in. We went through security and were connected to our guide, an older black gentleman. What happened next was an experience that will remain with me for a long time.

Our Guide, Aroine Irby

Aroine is an amazing person. Here are links to a couple of articles that go into more about him and the tour he gives which I urge you to read. He was an Air Force pilot. He is an historian and is on the Alabama Historical Commission
He also as a 19 year-old was on the bridge in Selma on Bloody Sunday
He spoke eloquently about the power of Dr. Martin Luther King's influence and the importance of the non-violent protest
He spoke about how the Alabama Capitol was scene of both Jefferson Davis announcing the formation of the Confederacy, and Dr. King's concluding speech after the Selma to Montgomery March a bit over a century later
He made sure all that visited knew that what had happened in the past was real and that work needed to be done
And yet he made a point that change had occurred
That he would never be in the position that he was if that March had not taken place and Voting Rights Act passed
That his two children would not have graduated from the University of Alabama Law school and be allowed to practice law.
He was a voice that change had taken place and could take place
It was very, very uplifting
When you read the articles I've linked to, the stories told about Irby's relationship with George Wallace, the notorious Governor at the time of the March, are particularly powerful
Irby is also an author with books published on the Civil Rights Movement
There are not many things in the course of my travels I say are 'must see'
But I would tell you that making a trip to Montgomery Alabama, seeing some of the Civil Rights Museums and Monuments first and then taking that tour with Aroine Irby is one thing you should try to do

Well back to our normal programing
Here are shots from the Capitol building
Model of the first Alabama Capitol building
Made of Popsicle sticks (the model not the original Capitol)

These stairs are interesting
There are two mirror image sets of stairs
They were designed by Horace King
He was a slave who was and architect and engineer and was freed by his owner and had a significant life as a freed Black in Alabama during and after the Civil War

Irby had recruited the one 6 year-old to 'help' him
I don't think she was enthused!
After the Capitol we had lunch at a BBQ place. The ribs were particularly good

Then we went to Old Alabama Town

Like the Rural Louisiana exhibit we saw in Baton Rouge it captures a slice of life in the 19th century
Captain Spouse took a ton of pictures here. I was a bit exhausted by this time and I've not done a great job with this kind of photo taking so I refer you to her blog for this detail

However, I had another couple of people experiences while there
This is Jacob Buchanan - Van Megen

An Amsterdam native who married an Alabaman and now lives here
He is in the process of writing a cookbook on the Spirit of Southern Food for the Alabama 200th anniversary
We told him of our connection with Amsterdam but it was interesting hearing his take on modern Alabama confirming what we'd heard from Irby that this is a place that has a history but has made change, that it is not a place that is totally locked into its past

There was a potter in residence, Lisa Lenox
 She made this wonderful face which was not quite completed
She never has them in stock as they sell as soon as she makes them 
Scenes from Old Alabama Town

We stumbled back to the car
We were both wiped out
Yes just saw this carriage in parking garage for limos

There is one other cityscape feature the is found all over Montgomery
And you loyal blog readers knows what that means
WATER SHOTS!!!!!!!!!!

It is not only de-I who loves a good water shot

But I think this last sign we saw is a good punctuation to our day