Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Tires

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 61 degrees, high 90 degrees, clear skies

There have been hot air balloon races taking place at the Tuscaloosa airport this weekend. This picture is a sample of the different kinds I saw when I finished my walk this morning. I think it would be a lot of fun to take a ride in one of these. Imagine the peace and quiet as you float along over the countryside. Of course, it would be nice to stay away from power lines.

The races had two flight times on Saturday, with the first being at 0630 hours and the second taking place at 1700 hours. Sunday, the only flight time was at 0630 hours. Note the reflections of some of the balloons in the river.

I finally made a decision on which tires to buy for the truck. Actually, it wasn't that hard to decide. As I said in last night's post, I had narrowed the choices down to Michelin and BF Goodrich. When I arrived at Sam's Club today, I asked the salesman to check the prices again so I could make sure the prices I was quoted yesterday were correct. Everything checked out, but then I was told they didn't have the Michelins in stock. It would take at least ten days to get them here. Since we plan to go to Florida in the next few days, I decided to go ahead and buy the BF Goodrich tires. I have never used that brand, but the user reports on different discussion pages give them good reviews. Plus, they are about 40% cheaper. That's a significant difference in the cost. We'll see how they perform.

We have been keeping up with the NCAA Women's College World Series, held to decide the collegiate championship in softball. Florida is the number one seeded team, while Alabama is the number four seed. Today, we watched an exciting game between the two teams that looked like Alabama was going to win until the bottom of the last inning with two out when Florida hit a bases loaded home run to win the game. Both teams are very good, and either one would have been a great champion. As a result of the loss, Alabama is out of the tournament while Florida will go on to play either Georgia or Michigan for the championship, starting tomorrow night. Go, Gators!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Nashville, Georgia: City Of Dogwoods

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tire Shopping

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 59 degrees, high 83 degrees, clear skies, light breezes

I think I've created a monster. Carolyn wanted to go shopping again today. By the time we returned home, we had visited three more stores, and she actually bought some things. Are there any therapy groups for this? Just kidding.

The truck is going to need new tires soon, and I have been checking the prices around town with the different dealers. At this time, we have Michelins on it which have performed well. No blowouts, no flats, no leaks, just performance. The problem is the cost, which varies from store to store. BF Goodrich tires, which are about 30% less expensive, are used by Fedex and UPS. It would seem that these companies are going to buy the most cost effective tires, which would include tires that don't fail. So, I have a decision I need to make soon. Do I buy Michelin which has performed well on the truck, but is quite a bit more expensive, or buy BF Goodrich, used by UPS and Fedex? By the way, BF Goodrich is owned by Michelin. Decisions, decisions.

The new RV has a central vacuum system, which seems like it would be easy to use. Not so. The system is actually difficult to use, primarily because the parts are kept in the basement. That means we have to go outside to get the hose and fittings, put everything together, vacuum with a hose that tends to get tangled up with everything it comes in contact with, then take everything apart, and put it back in the basement. We got over that in a hurry. Today, we bought a little Eureka vacuum cleaner that is the perfect size for the RV. It is much easier to use and store. We'll still use the central system for the truck and basement. Luckily, there is a vacuum connection in the basement so we don't have to use the one inside the RV.

Does anyone like ciabatta bread? I hope that's the right spelling. We picked up a loaf of it today, and that meant sandwiches for supper. Good stuff. I need to get Carolyn to go shopping more often.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Colorado Springs, Colorado: Little London

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Post Birthday Rest

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 61 degrees, high 82 degrees, partly cloudy skies

We had nice weather today with much lower humidity. Light breezes made it even nicer. Don't wash the truck, don't wash the truck, don't wash the truck....

There wasn't much going on around here. We took it easy, except for a few chores I took care of. I guess all the excitement of Carolyn's birthday yesterday wore us out.

In our travels, I like to look for the off-beat stuff. This picture was taken in Holbrook, Arizona. Believe it or not, this motel was actually pretty busy. In addition to the wigwams, there were several cars from the 1950s and 60s sitting in the parking lot as part of the attempt to capture the nostalgia of earlier days and the roadside motels that used to be so prevalent.

While we were in Las Vegas, we drove down to see the Hoover Dam, which was started in 1931 and completed in 1936, two years ahead of schedule. At the time it was completed it was the largest electricity generating plant in the world, as well as the largest concrete structure. Lake Mead was the reservoir created behind the dam. According to records, 112 people died in the construction of the dam. A story of the history of the construction of the dam contends that the first person to die was a surveyor who drowned while looking for a location for the dam. Thirteen years later, the last person died and was the son of the first person who died. Is that weird?

As important as Hoover Dam is for the electricity it produces and the water it impounds for use, it is just as important for the tourism that is drawn to the area. When we were there 2004, it was crowded, even though the security had been tightened tremendously due to the 9/11 attacks.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Henderson, Nevada: A Place To Call Home

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Carolyn

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 88 degrees, partly cloudy skies

Carolyn was born on this date a few years ago. Happy birthday, Dear.

Have you ever noticed that the older a person gets, the less they are inclined to celebrate their birthday? I know it has happened to me, and Carolyn has taken the same attitude about the occasion. That doesn't mean we don't celebrate birthdays. There's not the same sense of anticipation that we used to have, at least for our individual birthdays. We still like to celebrate other birthdays, just not ours. For example, we try to make a big deal out of the birthdays for our girls and grandchildren, and Carolyn's mother. After all, she will be 85 years old in July.

If we live long enough, we may change our minds about our individual birthdays. At this time, it's a good excuse to go out and eat. And, of course, it's nice to have everyone wishing you a happy birthday. Hmmm. Maybe I have this thing all wrong. Maybe we do like to celebrate our birthdays. Just not our ages. The years are getting shorter and the numbers bigger.

Since it was Carolyn's birthday, she decided she wanted to do a little shopping. Now, that's a big thing because she doesn't care much for walking through stores and trying to find something she's just got to have. In this case, however, she had a little shopping list of things she was looking for, so it wasn't aimless wandering through stores. In fact, I think she probably took a couple of weeks to come up with a list so there wouldn't be any aimless wandering.

The first stop was at the WalMart Mall. We can't go shopping and not stop there, can we? Then we went down the street to K-Mart, where she found a couple of items she couldn't find at the Mall. The next stop was at a dollar store, where she found a couple more items she has been looking for. Folks, we're talking high dollar shopping here.

Once we rested from the stress of all the shopping, we went out for supper with Terri and Thomas. Carolyn chose a restaurant named Wings that is popular in this area. An idea of the menu might be gained from the restaurant's name. It's what Carolyn wanted, and it is her birthday. Everyone had a good time, and the food wasn't bad.

It wasn't a bad day, and Carolyn seemed to have a good time. Even if it was her birthday.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Llano, Texas: Land Of Legend And Lure

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Format For Blog

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 69 degrees, high 87 degrees, partly to mostly cloudy skies

Guess what? It didn't rain today, miracle of miracles. I may not ever clean the truck up again. Unless we need the rain, or somebody pays me to do it.

Did anyone notice the new appearance of the blog? Well, duh! It would be hard not to notice it, wouldn't it? The problem with the old format was that it was difficult to place the pictures in it. I had been kicking some different formats around, and today I asked Carolyn to do a consumer test for me. I showed her the different formats I was considering and asked her which one she liked best. In other words, did the format have eye appeal, was it easy to read without straining the eyes, and did it flow properly? She narrowed her choices down to two styles, and we both decided the new format (named Denim) is the one that we like best. I know it will be easier to fit pictures in this new format, and it should be at least as easy on the eyes as the old style. There may be some minor tweaking done before I'm completely done with this format, but overall, it's not bad. I hope the readers like it.

We decided to get our semi-annual mall fix today. No, we didn't go to the WalMart Mall. We went to a real mall, University Mall, located in Tuscaloosa. We tend to visit one of these places about every six months, whether we need to or not. As we get older, we find that there's not much in these places that we need or want. It seems to us that the malls are geared more to the younger generations. They seem to be filled with overpriced and flashy clothes made to fit models, rather than old folks that have no interest in keeping up with the fashions. Just give us something that is comfortable and reasonably priced. After walking around and looking for about an hour, we were ready to say enough of that. Nothing has changed in the last six months.

When Carolyn cooks, she tends to prepare enough for at least a couple of meals. So, supper was leftover beef roast with the trimmings. She didn't get any complaints from me. I like leftovers, and the more we have, the better I like it. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. And food.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Willits, California: Solar Energy Capital Of The World

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Childersburg, Alabama

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 71 degrees, high 80 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, intermittent showers

The rain started about 0500 hours this morning and continued off and on all day. It did stop long enough for me to take my morning walk and not get wet from rain. The humidity, however, was another story. I was just about soaked by the time my walk was finished.

We had several chores to take care of today. It was time to wash the laundry, which is something I don't mind doing. After doing the laundry, I went to the library to swap some books and videos. On my way home, I stopped and had the truck serviced. By then, it was time for some meditation. Then, Carolyn prepared a beef roast for supper with the usual trimmings. Other than those things, it was a quiet day.

When we took our little road trip yesterday, one of the little towns we passed through was Childersburg, located in Talladega County and Shelby County. The population is about 5000 people. The main attractions are De Soto Caverns, Kymulga Covered Bridge, and Kymulga Grist Mill. The caverns were named after Hernando De Soto, who passed Through the area in his search for gold. The covered bridge was built in 1860 to allow easier travel on the Georgia Trail, an old Indian travel route. The most interesting thing about the bridge, other than it's age, is the way the wooden planks on the floor have been worn away by the iron wagon wheels.

The Kymulga Grist Mill was built in the 1860s and was powered by water. Wheat was ground into flour, and corn was ground into grits and corn meal. Most of the original parts are still in the building, but electricity is used for power now because it is more dependable than the varying water levels of the creek. Keeping the mill open has become a community project. One way they raise money is by selling corn meal and grits made in the mill. We did our little bit to help them by buying some of the corn meal and grits.

Here's a picture of the dam that was used to divert the water and turn the grinding wheels. Childersburg claims to be the oldest continuously occupied town in America, dating back to about 1540. At that time and later on, Indians of the Coosa tribe lived in the area. During World War II, the Alabama Army Ammunition Plant was located in the area.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Childersburg, Alabama: The Oldest City In America…1540

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Columbiana, Alabama

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 81 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, rain showers

After breakfast this morning, we decided to take a little road trip so we could scratch our wanderlust. It was important to us that we go somewhere we had not been, and be able to get home at a decent time. Looking at the trusty WalMart Atlas, the destination chosen was Columbiana. This little town met our requirements, and had gotten our attention because it seems like every time the weather is bad, the TV weather people keep mentioning the name of the town. I know, that's a lame excuse for going somewhere, but it worked for us. After all, we don't need much of an excuse to go exploring.

We drove over to Centreville and took Alabama 25 to the north. The route chosen worked out great because there was very little traffic, the countryside was beautiful, and we passed through some nice little towns. Typical of those towns was Columbiana, the county seat of Shelby County. The first picture is of their courthouse, which was completed in 1905. It would have been nice to get some pictures of the inside, especially the marble floors. However, the building was closed for the holiday.

Columbiana was originally named Columbia. The name was changed to Columbiana by the state legislature in 1832, and it was incorporated in 1837. During the Civil War, a foundry was operated for the Confederacy. The foundry was burned in 1865. It appears to be a prosperous little town, but most of the people work in Birmingham.

The downtown area is typical of many small towns, with small stores and offices clustered around the courthouse. In addition to courthouses, train depots, and lighthouses, I'm always looking for interesting wall murals to take pictures of. Notice the price of Coca Cola at five cents.

Here's another wall mural advertising coveralls. Do many people wear these? I've never had the yen to do that.

By the time we had completed our little excursion, our wanderlust had been scratched a little. At least for a day or two. After resting, we had hot dogs with corn on the cob. Then, TV with catching up with the soap opera that has become Jon & Kate Plus 8. Why is it that people want the attention, then when they get it, they find it intrudes on their privacy? Their fantasy suddenly became their reality. Can't have it both ways.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Columbiana, Alabama: Embracing The Future, While Preserving The Past

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lighthouses

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 78 degrees, rainy

The rain continued all night and didn't let up until after lunch. As a result, my walk was put off until the afternoon. When I did go for a walk, I got caught in a little shower that lasted for about ten minutes. Once that shower was finished, I was able to complete my walk. Boy, was it humid! I was glad to get home and cool off.

I have mentioned several times how much I like to find the old courthouses and review their history. In addition, I like lighthouses. When we were in Oregon, we had a several chances to see old lighthouses that were invaluable to ships in the days before GPS technology became available. This first picture is of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, located near Newport, Oregon. At 93 feet tall, it is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. Built in the period of 1871 to 1873, it was automated in 1963 and is currently in use. The lighthouse was used as the setting for the "Moesko Island Lighthouse" in the 2002 film The Ring. It appeared in an earlier film, Hysterical (1983), and The Nancy Drew Mysteries 1977 television series episode "The Mystery of Pirate's Cove".

This is the Coquille River Lighthouse, located at Bandon, Oregon. It was activated in 1896 to guide sailors through the dangerous waters where the Coquille River entered the ocean. The height of the lighthouse is relatively short at 40 feet. After the river channel was improved, the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1939. At this time, the old lighthouse is maintained as a tourist attraction by the state.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Bandon, Oregon: The Storm Capital Of America

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 67 degrees, high 73 degrees, rainy most of the day

Here we are, two days after I did a little clean up of the truck, and it's been raining most of the day. I've got to stop doing any cleaning on the truck or RV. Except when we need rain.

I was back home from my morning walk about 0900 hours, and it started raining soon after. We thought the rain would pass through quickly and clear up, but no such luck. Terri came over for lunch and stayed until about 1500 hours. The rest of the day was spent watching TV, reading, working on genealogy, and relaxing.

In the summer of 2007, we spent almost four weeks in the Hendersonville, North Carolina area. Why were we there? Well, we had just spent most of the summer in Florida and South Carolina and were looking for some relief from the hot weather. Hendersonville is in the foothills of the mountains and is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, as well as many scenic areas. The weather was cooler and we had access to all the scenic beauty of the mountains. One of my favorite attractions was the downtown area. There was an obvious attempt to preserve the older architecture of the center of town. In addition, Hendersonville used artists' impressions of bears placed around town to pique interest in the natural attractions of the area.






We visited this area many years ago when our daughters were children. At that time, the town was smaller with much more of a small town feeling. We used the area as a base to explore, and one of my fondest memories was taking Terri and Lori fishing for trout in a stocked pond. I think they would have fished the pond empty if I had let them. They had a great time catching the trout. I had a good time taking the fish off the hooks and putting bait on, and watching them enjoy themselves so much. The little things like that are what I remember with the most fondness.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Hendersonville, North Carolina: The City Of Four Seasons

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Searching For The Past

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 67 degrees, high 79 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, scattered showers

This was another slow day for us, with Carolyn working on her genealogy research. I took care of some minor chores, did some reading, watched a little TV, and just took things easy.

In the afternoon, we took a ride that eventually led us to West Blocton, my mother's hometown. This little town has almost been forgotten by time, but there are some signs that a little growth is starting. A new subdivision has been started just outside town, and a couple of new businesses have opened. The last time we were there, none of the new stuff had been started.

While we were in the area, we went by the cemetery for Mount Carmel Baptist Church, which my mother attended when she was a child. Many of my relatives are buried there, and Carolyn has used information we gathered there in the past to help trace the family tree on my mother's side.

Carolyn has used information gathered from different sources to trace her family tree all the way back to 1000 AD on her paternal side. In addition, the earliest mention for her paternal side in the New World is in the 1600s. On her maternal side, she has been able to find information back to the 1700s.

On my maternal side, she has found information that dates back to the 1700s. On my paternal side, information can be found that goes back to the 1850s. Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done on my side of the family tree. We are in the process of trying to decide where we can go to get more information.

As might be expected, tracing ancestry is difficult and time consuming. Just when you think a breakthrough has been found, something will arise that discredits the information. Carolyn has become very good at being able to dig through the stuff and find something that adds a little more knowledge. I have a feeling that genealogy is a hobby that never ends.

More alter, be safe.

Today's Town - Colorado Springs, Colorado: Pike’s Peak’s City

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Greenbow Is No More

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 61 degrees, high 79 degrees, partly cloudy to mostly cloudy

After my morning walk and before I returned home, I stopped at the barbershop and got a hair cut. Carolyn cuts my hair most of the time and does a good job of it. Sometimes, however, she doesn't do it because of the vertigo. I was at the point that if I didn't get my hair cut, I was going to have the dog catcher chasing me down the road. I stopped at a place in Northport that has a female barber. She has cut my hair about three times, and does almost as good a job as Carolyn. That's about as close as I come to using a beauty shop. I feel more comfortable going to a barber shop than I do going to a beauty shop. Is that being sexist? I hope not, because that's not the way I feel about it.

Today was spent taking care of little chores we need to do from time to time. I dumped the holding tanks, mowed our little yard, did a little weed eating.... In the afternoon, I went to the WalMart Mall to pick up the things we usually buy there. While I was in the checkout line, the people at the head of the line tried to use a credit card that was refused. The people insisted there was nothing wrong with their card and that WalMart was the problem. Finally, I got tired of waiting and went to another cashier. When I left, the debate about the refused card was still going on. I have a feeling the people were going to lose that battle.

Last year when we had some spare time, we did some exploring of this area. Imagine our surprise to discover that Forrest Gump was from Greenbow, just down the road. That prompted us to try to find Greenbow to see if we could recognize landmarks from the movie. Forrest is well known in this area, and is considered a hero, both for his exploits on the football field and in Vietnam. Many people here remember his days as an All-American football player for Bear Bryant. As I recounted in a post last year, Forrest had been selected to be the football coach in an attempt to return the University of Alabama football team to their rightful position on top of the college football world. When the current coach, Nick Saban became available, Forrest graciously offered to step aside so Coach Saban could be hired as the football coach. That's just another example of the kind of person that Forrest Gump is.

Since we have been back in the area, we had been continuing our search for Greenbow. Unfortunately, we have sad news to report. It appears that when Hurricane Katrina passed through this area in 2005, the tornadoes that were spawned by it caused so much damage to Greenbow that FEMA decided to move the few people left in the town. Then, the ruins of the town were bulldozed and the land was cleared off. At this time, the land is being used as a pine tree plantation, with no hint that a town was ever there. What a sad state of affairs.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Greenbow, Alabama: May It Rest In Peace

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Experience

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 51 degrees, high 83 degrees, mostly clear skies

The nice weather continued today, and we're enjoying it. The forecast tells us that we can expect some rain over the upcoming weekend and holiday. In order to ensure we will get the promised rain, I cleaned up the inside of the truck.

After my morning walk and breakfast, we went to Publix to buy a few groceries. Carolyn likes to go to that store, so when she goes with me, that's where we usually go. It is a nice store, and the people who work there are friendly and helpful. That doesn't mean we aren't using the WalMart Mall. There are still items we buy there because they are less expensive or it is more convenient to get to that store.

When we bought our first RV, we were not given a good walk through that showed us how everything worked. In fact, the entire walk around took less than ten minutes. At that time, we knew so little about what to ask that we assumed we had all the information we needed to start using the RV. Not so. We learned by reading the manuals, talking to other RVers, and just diving in to a problem and figuring out what to do.

One thing in particular bedeviled us for the first three times we went out in the RV. We could not get any hot water to come out of the faucets. The hot water heater was on and and we could tell it was heating up, but no hot water in the shower or kitchen. Can you imagine taking a shower with cold water in the winter? Brrrrrr!

Finally, my frustration boiled over one night when we were in Natchez, Louisiana. The temperature was in the 30s, and I couldn't stand the thought of another cold shower. Since I knew the water heater was working, I decided there had to be a simple reason why we had no hot water. Opening the kitchen sink cabinet doors, I looked at all the water lines leading in and out of the water heater. I saw some valves located among the lines. Looking at the valve orientations, I noticed that one valve was closed. Hmmmm. Why is that valve closed? Since I didn't think I could make the situation any worse, I opened the valve to see what would happen. Guess what? The valve was the water heater bypass valve. Once I opened it, hot water was allowed to go to the faucets. Problem solved.

When we bought the new RV, the orientation we received was completely different than what we received for our first RV. The orientation took almost two hours, and we knew enough to ask a lot of questions. Isn't experience a great thing?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Biloxi, Mississippi: The Playground Of The South

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Gorgas House

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 46 degrees, high 77 degrees, clear skies

The refrigerator cooled off overnight after the short was repaired yesterday evening. After cleaning the inside, we moved the food back into it. The food had been kept on ice in coolers to make sure it didn't spoil. I can remember my family using an icebox when I was child. The last two days brought those memories back, and I have to say I like the modern refrigerator a lot better.

I had to go to Cottondale after my morning walk so I could pay for the repairs on the RV. The dealer there has a number of RVs on his lot, but he said he is selling very few RVs. Most of his business is coming from parts sales and repairs. In fact, he said he had 48 RVs waiting for repairs. He has five servicemen that stay busy. I hope he stays open because he has the only service facility in this area.

After I returned home and had a late breakfast, I called the manufacturer for our RV to see where to send the invoice for the repairs. I typed up a cover letter explaining what was repaired and the costs, and where to send our money for reimbursement. Then, I went to Office Depot and faxed everything to Heartland, our RV manufacturer. Now, we'll see whether we will have any problems getting our money back.

Carolyn decided she wanted me to cook supper, so we went into Northport to an Italian restaurant that we have used before. Not bad, and we have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

This picture is of the Gorgas House, one of the earliest buildings on the University of Alabama campus. It was built in 1829 for use as the university dining hall. In 1840, it was remodeled for use as a residence. The Gorgas family occupied the house 1879-1953. The house is one of four university buildings that survived the Civil War. The house is named for Josiah Gorgas, chief of ordnance for the Confederacy. In 1878, he was named president of the university and moved into the house that was eventually named for him. He remained president of the university until his death in 1883. One unique fact about Josiah Gorgas was that he was one of the few northern born Confederate generals. As the head of ordnance for the Confederacy, he ensured that the South had adequate supplies of arms and munitions throughout the war.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Abilene, Texas: Lene Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Little Round House

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 47 degrees, high 72 degrees, clear skies

Today's weather was the opposite of what we experienced the last couple of days. This is the kind of weather we love, and the kind we're going to look for once we get some errands taken care of.

I called the factory that built our RV this morning about the 12 volt power problems we experienced over the weekend. They worked with me in looking for a Heartland dealer, but the closest one is 90 miles away in Decatur. They said if I would look for a repair facility in this area, they would reimburse me for the repairs. I found a facility (Country Roads RV) and the serviceman came out this evening. He found that we had a short in the wiring for the refrigerator. Once the short was repaired, we were back in business. The serviceman was knowledgeable and fast. He was thorough in his trouble shooting, and I don't think we will have this particular problem again. In the event anyone needs RV service in the Tuscaloosa area, we can recommend Country Roads RV, and ask for Elliot Robbins. He is probably the best RV serviceman we have ever used. Country Road RV's number is 205-507-4678.

Even though it is small, one of the more interesting buildings on the campus of the University of Alabama campus is the Little Round House. It was built in the early 1860s as a guard post for cadets on sentry duty. The Little Round House was one of the few buildings on the campus that were not destroyed by Union forces when the campus was burned in 1865. In 1871, the building was used as an office by the University surgeon. Later on, it was used by non-military students as a residence. In 1888, the building became a storage area for university records. In 1933, the Jasons, a men's honor society, started using it as their headquarters. In 1990, the building was converted into a memorial for all honor societies at the university. The large brick building to the left is the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Jackson, Mississippi: Chimneyville

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Power Problems

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 58 degrees, high 67 degrees, rainy most of the day

The rain continued today, but good news - sunshine is in the forecast for the next few days. A pleasant surprise for tonight and tomorrow night will be the lower temperatures forecast to be in the 40s.

We have a problem with part of our 12 volt system. There is not any 12 volt power in the living room slide area, and the problem seems to also be affecting our refrigerator. A 15 amp fuse was burnt out in the breaker box, as well as a 5 amp fuse in the refrigerator. I'm not an electrician, so I started out with a handicap as far as repairing the problem. We looked at our repair books and the Dometic book that came with the RV. Once we figured out where the fuses were, I checked them and found that the two fuses I mentioned were bad. There is also a 3 amp fuse in the refrigerator, but it is still good. I turned off the power, replaced the fuses, turned the power back on, and promptly blew the two fuses again. So much for that. We'll contact the dealer tomorrow for assistance in getting repairs done.

All of this bad weather is starting to make us a little stir crazy. We're ready to go do something besides watch it rain.

Whe we were in Fort Worth in 2006, we visited the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. The Garden is 109 acres of beautiful plants and trees in the heart of the Cultural District. There are over 2500 species of native and exotic plants in 23 specialty gardens. The Garden is just one of the reasons we like Fort Worth. Here's a picture of the Garden.



More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Gold Beach, California: City Of Gold

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Heavy Rains

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 78 degrees, cloudy, severe thunderstorms

What's going on? I didn't clean up the outside of the RV or truck in the last day or so, and it rained cats and dogs today. With heavy rain, high winds, thunder, lightning, and hail, it was a real storm that lasted most of the afternoon. At least we didn't have any tornado warnings. I'm ready for some dry weather.

When I got up this morning, I felt out of sorts. I had a headache and sore throat, and was stiff and sore all over. In fact, I felt so bad, I almost decided to not take my morning walk. In the end, I persevered, and I'm glad I did. Even though it felt like the walk would not end, by the end of it I had loosened up and felt better. Not 100% better, but at least I didn't feel like I should go back to bed. I'm not sure what was wrong, but it must not have been anything of consequence.

We'll see. Oink.

In 2007, we spent some time in South Carolina, including around Columbia, the state capital. This picture is of the state capital building of South Carolina. I've mentioned in the past that I like to see the courthouses (especially the old ones) across the country. Add the state capitols to that list of things I like. My favorite time to see them is on the weekend because there is less traffic and fewer people, which makes it easier to take pictures. Usually, the grounds have all sorts of plaques, memorials, and statues to commemorate historical events in the state's history. The capital in Columbia is typical of what we usually find.









Most of the tributes to people are usually to men. Here's one of the few to women that we have seen, Tribute To The Women Of The Confederacy, which was erected by the men of the Confederacy. I'm not making a political statement, just taking note of an interesting bit of history.

I think I'll close for tonight. As I said, I'm not 100%. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow. Oink.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Columbia, South Carolina: The Heart of South Carolina

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Thomas

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 69 degrees, high 88 degrees, mostly clear skies

Thomas reached a milestone in his life today when he turned 13 years old. We feel so fortunate that we were able to share this occasion with him and Terri. They came to the RV this evening and we had supper. After letting our meals settle a little, we had cake and ice cream. Thomas loves chocolate, so the cake was chocolate truffle and the ice cream was chocolate from Breyer's. I'll probably be up half the night getting to sleep after all that chocolate. That's okay, it was good.

Terri has a birthday party planned for Thomas tomorrow, with everything taking place at the bowling alley. He'll have his best friends there, and I'm sure they'll have a good time. This has been a good week for Thomas, with the news that he was selected for the basketball team, and then turning 13 years old. We're proud of him, and Terri is doing a great job teaching him the right values. Of course, we're proud of our other grandchildren, also. That means you, Julian and Zoe.

We were tired after our trip to Athens yesterday, so we didn't do much other than having Terri and Thomas over for supper and cake. In Wednesday's post, I mentioned that I was going to relate a history changing event that took place at the University of Alabama. My intent was to write about this event yesterday, but I forgot about it. I guess I was a little tired after our trip to Athens. Anyway, here's that little tidbit of history.

When I was on the campus of the University of Alabama on Wednesday, I noticed a historical plaque in front of a building. Walking over to see what was written on the plaque, I found that I had stumbled upon a site that had a real historical impact on the way people in this country were treated. On June 11, 1963, Governor George Wallace stood in front of the doors of Foster Hall to stop the enrollment of two black students at the university. This event became known as The Stand At The Schoolhouse Door. When the governor was confronted by federal marshals and Alabama National Guard troops, he stood aside. The troops had been federalized by President Kennedy. One week later, the president sent a comprehensive civil rights bill to Congress that became the foundation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Sometimes, I am amazed by the events that have taken place during my lifetime. George Wallace's illegal action of standing in a schoolhouse door barring entry to American citizens provided the impetus to pass the Civil Rights Act.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Little Rock, Arkansas: River City

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trip To Athens, Alabama

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 67 degrees, high 82 degrees, mostly clear skies

We drove up to Athens today to visit my sister Judy and her husband Roger. The roses in the picture are located across the street from their house. Aren't they beautiful? Usually, when we go up there, we take the interstates. Today, we decided to take the back roads up, and found it to be an easy drive with little traffic and beautiful scenery. The drive led us through Bankhead National Forest. As a country, we are fortunate that Congress had the foresight to create the national park and forest system. I hardly ever have anything good to say about those clowns, but they got this one right.

We went into Athens for lunch and a good talk about a variety of subjects, which included what everyone has been doing. It's enjoyable to be able to get with family and catch up. While we were there, Terri called and said that Thomas had been selected for the basketball team for the next school year at his school. He has been working hard to hone his skills, and it paid off. Way to go, Thomas!!

This picture is a close-up of the rose bush above.

We stayed at Judy and Roger's as long as we could and still be able to get home before dark. Our route led us back the same way we went up. The only difference we noticed was that we encountered a mini traffic jam of eight vehicles in Double Springs. That should give you an idea of how big that little town is.

When we arrived back in Northport, it was late enough that we decided to get something quick for supper. We stopped at The Front Porch, a family style restaurant just north of Northport. The only thing I didn't like about the meal was the green beans. Why is it that every menu has these horrible things that are passed off as vegetables? It appears the only thing most restaurants do with them is open a can, dump the beans into a pot, heat it up, and serve them up. I can't count the times those yucky things had too much liquid and contaminated every thing on the plate. Does anybody else dislike green beans? Don't get me wrong. Green beans are good if prepared properly, but most restaurants don't do it.

Yesterday, I spoke about how I like quirky little things. Here's the latest fad on diet aids. Maybe serving more green beans would do just as much good.



More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Athens, Alabama: Southern Splendor

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Alabama Museum Of Natural History

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 65 degrees, high 78 degrees, mostly clear skies

Remember in yesterday's post that I started wiping the RV down, and I mentioned that rain should follow soon? Well, rain came last night, starting about 2200 hours and lasting most of the night. Now, where can I find a good marketer for my rain making services?

I have been planning to visit the Alabama Museum of Natural History for some time, and today seemed like a good day to do that. The museum is located in Smith Hall on the University of Alabama campus. It has been operating for about 100 years and the collections had to be rebuilt after the Civil War when Federal soldiers destroyed most of the exhibits. When I entered the museum, a lady at the counter took my money ($1.00) and explained what was located on each of the three floors. The first floor has environmental exhibits and stresses recycling. There are also exhibits on what would happen if certain activities were curtailed, such as cutting out at least one 20 mile trip a week. They lost me a little when I saw all the posters and what I would call propaganda about the damage being caused by the widespread use of carbon based fuels.

There were three items that intrigued me the most. The first was the picture above, which is the State Fossil of Alabama. The exhibit is the fossilized remains of a whale, Basilosaurus cetoide, that lived in shallow coastal waters about 37 million years ago. Originally, the whale was misnamed, because Basilosaurus indicates that the remains were of a giant lizard. Once it was known that the remains were of a whale, the name still had to be kept because the rules regarding animals states that the first name given to an animal must be kept. The second exhibit I enjoyed was of a woolly mastodon skull, found in the Tombigbee River near Demopolis. I wonder how difficult it was for them to eat with tusks as long and curved as these were?

The third exhibit I liked was the Hodges Meteorite, an eight pound meteorite that is listed as the only documented event where a person was hit by a falling meteorite. This occurred in November of 1954 near Sylacauga, Alabama. The woman struck by the meteorite did not suffer any serious injuries, probably because it came down through the roof before it struck her. Can you imagine the shock and chaos that erupted when this happened? This is the kind of quirky stuff that I love to find. The tour of the museum was worthwhile, but I was disappointed that a museum owned by the state and located on the campus of a major university did not have any more exhibits than this one had.

Tomorrow I'll talk about another find I made on the campus that helped change the course of history of our country.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Mobile, Alabama: The Port City

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gauges

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 60 degrees, high 83 degrees, mostly clear skies

I had some really tough chores to take care of this morning: cleaning the air conditioner filter and checking the RV battery water level. When those tiring tasks were finished and I had recuperated, we decided to take a ride west of here to Reform. At Reform, we turned north and drove through some beautiful, rolling countryside. There seems to be very little farming taking place in this area, with woods and pastures making up most of the land. In addition, there aren't that many people living along the road we were on. By the time we returned home, the wanderlust was finished, at least for today.

Later in the day, I went to the library, then decided I would cook. I had a hankering for pizza, so I went to Sam's Club and picked up one that they cooked for me while I was waiting. We like their pizzas, and the price is not bad. Late in the evening, I wiped down the lower half of the RV to get the bug and bird stuff, as well as plain old dirt off the sides. I'll finish the top half tomorrow. More rain should follow once I finish.

When we bought our truck for pulling our RV, we decided to add some gauges to help us monitor the performance of the diesel engine. I did a lot of research and decided I needed to know what certain functions were doing at any time. In addition, we needed to have the gauges placed where we could see them easily. The location decided on was the pillar post on the driver's side. This location does not distract from being able to see the road, yet presents the gauges with good visibility.

The functions we decided to monitor included transmission temperature, exhaust gas temperature, and engine boost. The transmission temperature gauge is self-explanatory in that it shows what the temperature of the automatic transmission is doing. This is very important when climbing or using the transmission to help slow the truck and RV down when descending from a higher elevation.

The exhaust gas temperature (EGT) gauge is used to determine how hard the engine is working. If too little air or too much fuel is going to the engine, conditions that can be caused by the load the engine is under, severe damage can be caused. This gauge is monitored most when climbing. If we find the EGT is getting too high, we can slow down or pull to the side and let the engine cool down to prevent damage.

The boost gauge measures the amount of air above atmospheric pressure being taken in by the engine. Diesels live and die by the amount of air available to feed the engine. The more air available, the better the engine runs and the more efficient it is.

This information is based on my understanding of the technologies and experience with using the gauges. I have used the gauges to keep our transmission temperature in a safe range, prevented the engine from working too hard, and saved diesel fuel by keeping the EGT and boost within certain levels. By no means am I an expert on these subjects, but I think anyone who owns a diesel needs these gauges to accurately monitor these parameters.

I hope this post wasn't too technical.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Eutaw, Alabama: Home Of The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rainy Laundry Day

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 65 degrees, high 73 degrees, cloudy, intermittent light showers

Our rainy weather that started when I cleaned up the truck several days ago continued today. When the rain started, I jokingly said maybe I should go into the rain making business by cleaning up the truck wherever my services were needed. That idea is looking more and more feasible. Now, who needs rain, and is it in a place where we want to go?

We lasted as long as we could without washing laundry, but finally had to do it today. The laundry was busy, and we had to wait a little while for dryers. It looked as though half of Northport had the same idea as us, and the laundry was the busiest we have seen it since last spring. Once we finished the laundry and came back home, it was time for a short session of meditation. After the meditation, we watched a dvd that is part of the series titled The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick. We started watching that series when I checked out the first season's dvd at the library, and get hooked on the story lines and characters. That's about as exciting as it got here today.

We're starting to plan a trip to Florida of 7 to 10 days in the near future to visit family. After that, we'll be back here for a short time, then wander into Tennessee and Kentucky. At least that's the current plan.

When we were in Arizona in 2004, we visited the Petrified Forest, which is owned and operated by the National Park Service. On the day we visited, the wind was blowing about 40 mph, which made it hard to walk, or even stand straight. When I was taking pictures, I had to time everything to take the pictures during a lull of a few mph in the wind gusts. After a couple of stops to look at the different sights, Carolyn chose to stay in the truck. Since I was the designated photographer, I had to tough it out.

The Park Service has posted signs throughout the park asking people to not take rock souvenirs. There are anecdotal accounts of people who took souvenirs having bad luck as a result. I'm not a superstitious person, so my theory is that this is one way the Park Service fights the theft of valuable artifacts. Even with the attention the Park Service places on saving the wood, an estimated 12 tons of petrified wood is stolen every year.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Aberdeen, Washington: The Hellhole Of The Pacific

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 67 degrees, high 75 degrees, showers, mostly cloudy skies, more rain on the way

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. My mother passed away in June of 2007, and I think of her often. I wish I could tell her one more time how much I loved her and appreciated what she did for our family when I was growing up. There's no doubt in my mind that we all turned out better than we would have because of her.

Since it was Mother's Day, I suggested we go out to eat for lunch. Terri and Thomas met us at the restaurant and we had a good time. Unfortunately, the food was not as good as we thought it would be. The memory we'll take away from today is being with at least one of our daughters for this day of celebration for mothers.

One of the places we visited in 2004 was Death Valley. I tend to try to find beauty in every place we visit. So does Carolyn, except when we are in the desert. She does not like the desert, and can't wait to leave it. We were in Death Valley in May, and the temperature was already hot, with our truck thermometer showing 100 degrees. Of course, the humidity was non-existent, meaning it didn't feel that hot. At least I thought so. There's little vegetation in the valley, but the colors to be found in the landscape are beautiful.











We left the valley heading to the west, which meant we had to climb over 5000 feet. That climb was the first serious strain we had put on the truck, and it responded like a champ. Once we got out of the valley, we had a down slope that was an adventure. The true feeling of being pushed by the RV came into full play. Luckily, we had installed an exhaust brake on the truck, which helped slow us down a lot. Can you imagine how hard it was to travel in this area when there were no modern highways, and horses and mules were the primary mode of transportation?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Ferndale, California: The Victorian Village

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

More Rain Coming

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 85 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, heavy showers after sunset

Just when we thought the weather would be better for a few days, here comes the rain again. When I saw the forecast this evening, I mowed the yard because I think it will be several days before it's dry enough to mow again.

After my morning walk and breakfast, I decided to go to the library. I took the old computer and updated the anti-virus program, as well as installed all the Microsoft patches and fixes for the operating system. We haven't updated everything on the old computer since we have been here because the Internet access is so slow. When I use the library's wifi access, the connection routinely runs at about 400 kbs. That's much faster than what we have at the RV.

As a result of the slow economy, many businesses in this area have closed their doors. Among those closing were convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and others. This past week, Bruno's, a grocery chain located in Alabama and parts of Florida, was sold for a low price to another chain. As a result of the sale, several of the Bruno's stores will be closed. The Bruno's chain includes Bruno's, Food Max, and Food World. There is a Food Max located a bout three miles from where we live that is closing, meaning that the only store near us will be the WalMart Mall. As much as we use WalMart, we still like to see other stores open and viable to provide competition. We can only hope that another chain will open the closed store again. There is also the matter of the people losing their jobs. We feel for them, and hope they find new jobs soon.

Since we don't have much going on today, I'm posting a picture we took when we were on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington in 2004. This is Crescent Lake, one of the prettiest lakes we have ever seen. Finding the lake was an unexpected bonus of our trip. It is located just off US 101, west of Port Angeles. In my opinion, it rates as beautiful as Lake Tahoe.

Did everyone notice that the price of postage stamps is being increased by two cents on Monday? I stopped by the post office in Northport this morning and picked up a few books before the price goes up. We should be good for stamps for the rest of this year.

When I went for my morning walk, there was a running event taking place. Even though the temperature was not that high, the humidity was high. The runners looked like they were suffering. I like walking, but running is not one the physical activities I like to do. Especially with the humidity we have here and seeing how the running made these people look like they were ready to pass out. I'll do my fast walk.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Tacoma, Washington: When Rails Meet Sails

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Good News For Terri

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 89 degrees, mostly sunny skies, breezy

Today's weather was so much better that what we have have seen this past week. It was great to see some sunshine for a change. A few more days like this will help dry things out.

In October of 2007, Terri was in a car accident where another driver in a truck crossed the center line and struck her car head-on. She was lucky to survive the collision, and has been slowly recovering from the injuries she suffered. Today, she found out that a swelling in her left shoulder area that arose recently was caused by the accident which resulted in severe bruising in that area. It still needs to be verified by another doctor, but it appears that the swelling is caused by old blood remaining from the bruising. Obviously, we were concerned about the swelling, and there may need to be surgery to correct the situation, but we feel better about it today.

After Terri called and told of the results of her doctor's visit, we wanted to relax a little from the tension of worrying about what was wrong. We decided to get and take a short ride in the country, which worked to perfection. By the time we were back at home, we felt better.

Our niece Gina and her husband Tim are moving from Texas to the Smoky Mountains to start a new business in the near future. Their new business is at www.smokymountaingrocery.com, and will be located in Maryville, Tennessee, if anyone is interested. We are excited for them and wish them success. We're also excited because this will give us another place to visit where family will be located.

One of Carolyn's favorite places we visited in 2004 was Lake Tahoe. We were staying near Carson City, Nevada when we went to Lake Tahoe. To get to the lake, we had to go across a mountain, which meant we went up the mountain, then down the mountain to get to the lake. There were days when it would be snowing on the mountain just across the road from where we were staying, so we had to be careful when we went to the lake. We had seen the lake in many pictures before we went there, but there's nothing like seeing something in person.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Haines City, Florida: The Heart Of Florida

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dead Battery

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 87 degrees, cloudy in the morning, partly cloudy in the afternoon with light showers

We had more heavy showers last night after going to bed. The ground is getting soggy, the temperature and humidity are rising, and that means one thing: summer is just about here. We need to find a place that has cooler weather.

We didn't have much going on today. We visited Terri for a little while this morning, then took a short ride in the countryside. Late in the afternoon, Terri called and said her car wouldn't start. I went to where she was and found that the car battery was dead. I got the car started by jumping off the battery. Then we went to an auto parts store and had the battery tested. It tested bad, so a new one was bought and installed. That was it for excitement around here.

When we were in the Northwest in 2004, one of the places we visited was Mount St. Helens. The mountain is actually an active volcano that erupted in May of 1980. It was the most destructive volcanic eruption in US history, killing 57 people. It is well documented that the volcano was going to erupt, and most people left the area before the eruption. There were still people that refused to leave, however, and they suffered the consequences. Over 1300 feet was removed from the top of the mountain. After the eruption, the decision was made to allow nature to repair the damage. This picture was taken 24 years later, and it can be seen that the damage is being repaired, but slowly. It was a little intimidating to us to see the damage that occurred. We were able to get within about a mile of the current volcano, which had steam coming out of it. The intimidation came not from being that close, but from the vast amount of damage that occurred.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Elma, Washington: Gateway To Gray’s Harbor Since 1888

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Tornado Warnings

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 65 degrees, high 75 degrees, cloudy with heavy rain, tornado warnings

Anyone that knows Carolyn very well knows how nervous she gets when bad weather is in the area. Today was not a good day for her, at least for the morning. The bad weather started earlier than usual, with tornado watches and severe thunderstorm warnings being the norm, rather than the unusual. About 0845 hours, a tornado warning was announced and the warning sirens sounded. The picture does not convey the scene that we saw. It was darker with no sun shining, and the heavy rain was just starting. We went down to the WalMart Mall until the worse bad weather passed through. I don't know that the store would have been much protection if a tornado had hit it, but it had to be safer than the RV. More bad weather was forecast for the afternoon, but it was not as bad as we thought it might be. We're ready for some dry weather.

After I brought Carolyn home, I had to go to Tuscaloosa to help Terri with a task that took most of the middle of the day. If everything goes well, that will be the last time we will see that particular task. Late in the afternoon, I took Carolyn to Chili's for supper. When you're dodging tornadoes and taking care of things for your daughter, it doesn't leave much time for anything else.

Alabama is considered to be in the Bible Belt, and this area typifies those beliefs. This statement is not meant to be critical of anyone's beliefs. This state is one of the few left that does not have a state lottery (unless one was enacted without me hearing about it). Again, this is not meant to be critical. When we drove up to Jasper last week, we were amazed at the number of bingo halls that are available for people to use. We saw approximately 25 bingo halls, at least 90% of them were open, and the ones open were all busy. This was before noontime. It appeared most of the bingo halls were associated with churches or charities. The question that came to me was what makes bingo okay, but other types of gambling, such as a lottery, not okay? Keep in mind that I do not gamble at all, but the idea that certain groups controlling an activity makes it right seems a little bit off to me.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Brenham, Texas: Baseball Capitol Of Texas

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Demopolis, Alabama

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 65 degrees, high 80 degrees, mostly cloudy to partly cloudy skies

We felt the urge to get out and see some countryside this morning, and decided to drive down to Demopolis, about 60 miles south of Coker. Why did we go to Demopolis? Because we could, and hadn't explored the area.

Our route led us through areas we had been through before, so we didn't tarry around in those areas. It is amazing to us how much vacant land we see in our travels, and we saw plenty of it today. Mostly wooded with large pastures spaced among the wooded sections, this is nice country. I think we saw more catfish ponds today than any other place we have been. I wonder if the catfish farming is a viable business?

Demopolis is an old town located where the Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers join, and was originally settled in 1817 by French immigrants leaving France because of the downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte. The first crops they grew were grapes and olives. Since the original settlers were from the French aristocracy, the settlement didn't fare well because they were not used to the rough and rugged conditions of early settler life. Most of the French people moved on, but the town eventually prospered. Today, it seems to be a prosperous town that is growing to the southwest side of town.

When we're in a new town, we always look for a courthouse to take pictures of. Unfortunately, the old courthouse is gone, but a nice little city park took it's place. The downtown area has been refurbished, and is very attractive. The picture below on the left is where the courthouse was located. The one on the right is of one of the streets. Both these pictures came from the city's website.



We found an Army COE park there that we drove through. It's a nice little park, with large RV spaces, hookups, walking trails, picnic areas, primitive camping, and boat ramps. We wouldn't mind staying there a few days.

By the time we arrived home, the wanderlust had abated, at least for today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Demopolis, Alabama: Home Of Christmas On The River

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Library Visit

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 67 degrees, high 78 degrees, mostly cloudy skies

We had more showers overnight, but they didn't cause any problems as far as severe weather. No rain today, thank goodness. Isolated showers are forecast for the rest of the week, but I would be happy if it stayed dry.

After breakfast, I went to the library to return some books and videos and check out more. It is surprising how busy this library is every time I go there. One thing is certain: The libraries of today are a far cry from what we used ten years ago. Computer terminals, Internet access, dvds to check out, best selling books to check out, genealogy records to research, and other services that didn't exist not so long ago. Where we will be in the next ten years?

On my way home, I stopped and picked up a few groceries. We have found that as we get more senior (older), we eat less. As a result, we seem to be spending less money on food than in the past, even though prices are up.

I saw in the news that the stock market has erased the losses for the S&P 500 index for the year. Will that cause anyone to have more confidence in the stock market? There doesn't seem to be that much to be positive about coming from Wall Street or the government.

During our trip to the west coast in 2004, we spent some time near Crescent City, California, the northernmost town on the coast of California. We liked Northern California almost as much as Oregon. We saw many beautiful areas, and Crescent City was one of the nicest areas. The city has experienced 17 tsunamis since 1943, with the worse one occurring in 1964. At least 12 people were confirmed killed, more than 280 buildings were destroyed, and over 1000 cars and 25 large fishing vessels were destroyed. It is a funny feeling to be driving in an area that has signs posted about tsunamis warnings.

Here's a picture of the beach and ocean at Crescent City.



Here's a picture of the light house at Crescent City. The waves from the tsunami of 1964 knocked the glass out of the top windows.



More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Temple Terrace, Florida: A City For Living

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Flowers And Tow Boats

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 68 degrees, high 75 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, scattered showers

I knew I shouldn't have cleaned up the truck this past week. Rain, thunder, lightning, tornado watches and warnings, and more have been the normal course of the weather since that day, and there was more of the same today. For Carolyn's peace of mind, I guess I'll have to let the truck stay dirty from now on. I hope everyone knows I'm saying this with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. Although, now that the truck is dirty, the weather has cleared up. Hmmmm? What's with that?


When I went for my walk this morning, I took some pictures of flowers and other things I see everyday. The picture above is of yellow honeysuckle. This next one is of primroses I found in a grassy area next to a ditch.











The two pictures below are flowers that I can't identify.

















The Black Warrior River is important to the economy of the area because of the freight that is moved on the river using barges and tow boats. Here's a picture of two typical tow boats used in this area.



In the afternoon, we took a ride to Sam's Club to pick up a few things we needed. Actually, I planned the trip for when the worse weather would be passing through the Coker area, so Carolyn would feel safer. Looks like my plan worked. One thing we picked up was a baked chicken for supper. Sam's chicken is umm, umm, good. I timed it to where I got a chicken coming right out of the oven.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Pasadena, Texas: Pasa get-down dena

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Aching Feet And Legs

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 70 degrees, high 84 degrees, mostly cloudy skies

We were still tired this morning after yesterday's marathon, which meant we slept a little later. A little later to us means we were up by 0600 hours. Since I was tired, I didn't get out for my morning walk until almost 0900 hours.

I have two pairs of sneakers I wear for different uses. One pair is used for everyday use, such as working around the RV or out in the yard. The other pair is used mostly for my morning walks because they are more comfortable than the others. When I was getting ready for my walk this morning, I just put a pair of shoes on without paying attention to what I was doing. When I started my walk, I felt like something was not quite right. After about a half mile, I realized that I had put the wrong shoes on. My normal walking shoes are better quality with better support. By the time I finished my walk today, my feet and legs were yelling at me. Here it is late in the evening as I write this, and my feet and legs are still protesting the treatment I put them through.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that we probably wouldn't do much today, and we didn't. We watched some TV, did some reading, and worked on the computer. Tonight, Carolyn is fretting about the unsettled weather north of us 75 to 125 miles away. There have been tornado warnings and watches all afternoon up there. Luckily for us, everything is either moving away from us or dissipating. Why is it that the bad weather here seems to occur mostly at night?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Oakman, Alabama: A Proud Past And A Promising Future

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lost Near Jasper

Coker, Alabama

Weather: low 64 degrees, high 84 degrees, cloudy early, then partly cloudy

After I returned from my morning walk and ate breakfast, we decided it was time to get out and see a little more of Alabama. And did we ever see a little more of Alabama. By the time we returned home, it was almost dark and we had driven almost 300 miles. In fairness, I have to say that part of the miles driven were done to take Thomas up to the location where his dad picks him up for their bi-weekly visit. We still drove more than I intended, but it was a full day.

We started out headed north on Alabama 69 in the direction of Jasper. The route led us through rolling and wooded countryside where few people live. If we hadn't known better, we would have thought we were in a state or national forest. Carolyn saw some blooming mountain laurel, and both of us saw a lot of honeysuckle, wild roses, wisteria, and many other types of flowers. Traffic was fairly light, which allowed us to take our time and actually see the countryside instead of having to rush through the area.

We had been through Jasper last year, but we took the time today to explore a little. Jasper seems like a nice town, and the heavy traffic indicated to us that the area is doing well. It looks like a good place to raise a family.

When we left Jasper, the real adventure started. We had decided to take some back roads on our return home, and the map indicated some roads that would get us back. Well, not so fast. We got into an area that had us turned around so much that the only thing I could say about where we were was in the state of Alabama. Carolyn kept telling me I should stop and ask for directions. Telling a man to stop for directions is like waving a red flag in front of him. I don't need no stinking directions, I have a map. Right.

She kept after me until I stopped and asked for directions. Hah! A lot of good that did. By the time the fellow finished giving me directions, I was lost even worse than before. You know the drill - "Go down the road to the railroad trestle, take a right, go up the hill to the stop sign, turn right, then left........". Anyway, I think you get the idea. I backtracked to civilization to the point where I could locate our location on the map, found a route home, and took off. We got home about 1530 hours, rested for about a half hour, then took Thomas up to meet his dad. Then it was back home. That is, after stopping at Cracker Barrel for supper.

I think we'll take things a little easier tomorrow.

On yesterday's post, a reader asked how we got the name and motto of the town or city we use for the Today's Town feature. My response was that we only used the names of cities and towns that we have actually been to. If we haven't been there, we don't use it. The mottos usually come from welcome signs or from the city or town web site. Obviously, we have been to more cities and towns than we have used, but many of them do not have mottos. What's my favorite so far? Hico, Texas: Where Everybody Is Somebody.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Jasper, Alabama: Working People Working Together

Not all who wander are lost.