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My Travel Log

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83. Almost Autumn in Alabama
This trip to Huntsville has been one about vehicles, from motorcycles to rockets. First, on the way up here, I noticed some really interesting-looking car lots on U.S. 231. I saw one that actually had some real oldies, like 1932 Fords and Chevrolets, on their lot! Then, later, I saw a lot that looked like it was nothing but classic 1950s and 1960s cars! I was in a bit of a rush, as usual, so decided I'd try to check them out on my return trip. I sort of tried to note some landmarks, so I'd be sure to slow down enough to make the stops easier as I came back through. But, it's starting to look like that won't happen. I've sort of forgotten the landmarks that I sort of tried to note, although I'm sure I'd remember when I got down to that area again:) However, I'm planning a little side-trip over to a couple of RV parks near Mobile, so won't even be going down 231 - so much for that plan. Maybe I'll get to that on my next trip through that area. So, that  was my first "vehicle" encounter.
Even though they were rolling by right in front of me, there was a significant space between groups, and getting a good photo would have been difficult from anywhere other than right in the median of the interstate (no, I didn't do that). If you enlarge the photo and look real close through those trees on the right, you'll see a string of headlights coming at you. At any rate, it was exciting ... but, I guess you had to be there ...

Next vehicle biggie was when I was visiting my son, Ronnie, in Guntersville. He was telling me about this car dealer in Albertville that restored cars and put them out in his showroom, so we took a ride up there. Below, you'll see photos of the neat Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Corvette we found there. I don't recall exactly what the prices were, but I believe they were somewhere in the $40k range. Those old classics just keep going up in price. If you'll check my America Views Classic Cars page, you'll see some that were in the $25k-$39k range back in 2002 - wonder what they'd sell for today ...
I was looking out the RV window one day and noticed this little camper shell in a campsite nearby and began to wonder if I would be able to get by in something that small, after being in a Class A for so long. I think I could, although I also still think I could get along for $1000 a month like I said in my first book. Joyce tells me that I tend to live in the past, pricewise, thinking that blue jeans should still be 5 bucks and tennis shoes (if they still sell plain tennis shoes) shouldn't cost more than $25. She'd probably have the same comment about my contention that I could get along in a 15 foot camper shell.

Coincidentally, Chuck Woodbury had an article in his last newsletter that was written by a guy that had a big Class A, but was always fascinated by those little teardrop trailers. He claimed that he never missed an opportunity to take a peek inside of one and reminisce about how cool it was "in those days." I guess I'm not sentimental about small RVs, since I never really had anything smaller than a 23' Class A (unless you count the 1962 Volvo with fold-down seats that was my first "RV"). I just have these thoughts now and then that it's silly for one guy to be occupying a 36' Class A with 2 slides all by himself, but hey! It's comfy! And, it's necessary when the rest of the family comes along!
I started this chapter talking about smaller motorcycle-type vehicles, so will conclude with a much bigger vehicle, the Saturn V that they used to launch the Space Shuttle. For those of you who have been to the Alabama Space and Rocket Center, but not recently, you're probably thinking that the Saturn V is still laying outside behind the museum building. Not so! Someone got the bright idea to build a special building for it. I think NASA must have some unallocated funds they're trying to get rid of. I noticed they recently also built a special building for teachers to use when they came to visit the Center. Seems like a lot of construction on things that don't really need those big buildings (IMHO). I suppose they figured the Saturn V would rust outside, or perhaps already is, so I guess that makes sense. Although, by the time it rusts, most people will have forgotten how to spell Apollo anyway, so maybe it's not that critical.

Anyhoo ... below, you'll see the sign advertising the new facility, then I've got some shots of the building from the front, as well as the gaping hole on the end where they fed the rocket to the building. It's not complete yet, so no indoor shots of it. In fact, a security guy came by and politely told me I wasn't supposed to be up there, even outside the building. I guess that's what those CONSTRUCTION ZONE - NO ADMITTANCE signs out front were for .... LOL.
I'm actually still in Alabama, so I'm writing this chapter enroute, as I started to attempt back in Chapter 81. I'm going to stick this on the website now, but may add to it before I return to Rockledge late next week. Stay tuned!

Okay, here I am in South Alabama. Finished up and headed out about a week earlier than anticipated. Was on the interstate this morning at 8AM! For those who know me, you know that's early! Made the 400+ miles to Silverhill, Alabama by 2 this afternoon. Did I see any colored leaves on the way? Nope ... but guess what I saw! I was looking at one of those billboards advertising a gas station, with the price in orange lights. I noticed it was $2.95 per gallon for regular. Then, while I watched, the price turned to $2.99! It really seemed wierd to see it change in front of my eyes. Almost like seeing a clock move :)  I also saw a bunch of those Love-Bugs, June-Bugs, or whatever other name you might call them. Photos below show my windshield at about noon, after "collecting" bugs for 4 hours. Had to stop at a gas station and hose them off, so I could see the road.
Next was after I got to Huntsville. The first weekend that I was here, I started hearing about the "Trail of Tears" motorcycle ride. They were coming up I-565, right past the Space and Rocket Center, on Saturday morning. I happened to get out where I had a good view of the interstate at right about 9:30 AM, when they started coming by. The almost continuous stream of bikers lasted almost 2 hours! I've never seen that many at one time before. I've included a photo here, but it doesn't show much.
Trail of Tears bikers
Chevy Corvette and Dodge Challenger in show window at Albertville, Alabama dealer
The "little RV" closeup
The "little RV" compared to my "big RV"
Click to enlarge, if you want to read what it says
Click to see a panaroma of this building - it's big!!
The nose of the Saturn V
Back in Huntsville, last week in September, almost into the leaf-changing period. Click on the Fall Color graphic to get information on when to expect leaves to change color, courtesy of the Weather Channel.

Monday is October 1st, so maybe I'll get to see some color before I get back down to Florida. We had some Fall weather the first week I was here, with temperatures down in the 40's, but it's back up in the 90's now. I guess those cold temps are what got me on the Autumn kick. If I see color, I'll take a picture.
Click to enlarge, to really see those bugs :)
Hard to even see the side of the road
So, what's in Silverhill, you ask? How about Wales West RV Park and Train and Garden Lovers Family Park. How's that for a long title? It was the Passport America member park that I was interested in, but it turned out that the train part was a bunch more fun. I met with the owner and we chatted a while about WiFi, then he offered to give me a ride on the train! He also told me a bunch of stuff about Wales and trains, about half of which I remember. Seems that trains originated in Wales and this is the Western-most Wales steam engine, so that's why the park is called Wales West. He has the train, depot, and much of the park decorated up for Hallowe'en, getting ready for a bunch of kids that come here to see it in October. Well, I rode the train for about a half-mile over to the haunted house they're setting up, then a half-mile back to the depot. It reminded me of some of those rides you get in DisneyWorld, except I didn't see any animals or ghouls popping up in the forest as we passed through it. I asked him about that and he said they hadn't gotten to it yet, but they'd soon be out there, too. Looks like a lot of work to me. Just one more "retired guy" that doesn't know how to retire.
Our train, with the diesel engine in front
The little steam engine
View from my VIP seat in the rear - enlarge it to see the decorations
A genuine replica of a Wales train station
Plenty of beautiful views as we passed thru the park
Returning to the station after a "long" ride
Tomorrow, it's on to Florida. Don't know if I'll see anything else worth talking about or photographing. Stay tuned!

Final stop - Tallahassee. Probably of little interest to those of you who haven't spent time growing up in Tallahassee, but while there, I took a "tour" of some of our high school hangouts and took photos. If you'd like to take my Tallahassee Tour - THEN and NOW, click that title or go to Leon1959.com and click NEW.