Friday, September 21, 2012

The Second Sunday Drive, Day 33

Parked in front of our cabin
Bluff Creek Falls, Steele Alabama

Everybody movin’ if they ain’t already there
Everybody got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interestin' right about now

                 --Words and Music by Bob Dylan
To hear the Dixie Chicks' version of Bob Dylan's song, Mississippi, click here.

We rose early Monday morning, Labor Day, having spent the night listening to Isaac's rain beating down on the metal roof of our cabin.  I felt sorry for the guys who were tenting.  While Kevin packed up the car, I wandered through the campground and got some pics to remember the place by.  We never made it into the pool, nor did we visit the evening campfire, but we had a good time anyway, and it was now time to head on down the road.

Interstate 59 took us into and through Birmingham, and while I had wanted to photograph Vulcan in all his unclad glory, I wasn't just sure where to get off the highway, so we passed on through the city.  For those of you who don't know Birmingham, let me assure you that the world's largest cast iron statue is not showing full frontal nudity.  He is wearing a blacksmith's apron, but he moons the residential area of the city that lies behind him.  I'd seen the statue, front and rear, the last (and only previous) time I'd been in Birmingham, back in 1999.  At that time, I was attending the winter conference of New Image International, held over the three-day Martin Luther King holiday.  What a time to be in the Deep South.  As it turns out, the Ku Klux Klan held a rally in protest of the holiday, and where did they hold it?  Exactly midway between our downtown hotel and the Birmingham-Jefferson County Convention Complex where we were meeting.  What fun.  What had been a pleasant four block walk on Saturday turned into a harrowing mile-long drive to get around the police barricades.  It reminded me of my college days.
The Pool at Bluff Creek Falls
(Note how wet the deck is--thank you Isaac)

This three-day holiday weekend, Kevin and I drove unmolested through the city, never getting off the interstate, until we decided it was time (past time, actually) for breakfast.  Waffle House is ubiquitous throughout the South, and that's where we ended up, in one of Birmingham's southwestern suburbs.  I mentioned to the waitress that Kevin had never eaten at a Waffle House, and she promptly brought out a WH hat for him to wear.  I think he's still got it somewhere.

After breakfast, we continued on I-59 to Tuscaloosa, where we drove through the city on Lurleen B Wallace Boulevard, crossing the city till we turned onto U.S. 82 heading west.  Tuscaloosa is the home of the University of Alabama--the Crimson Tide--and has many streets named for famous people, not all of them football heroes.  For example, there is also a Helen Keller Boulevard, a Jack Warner Parkway, and a Paul W. Bryant Drive.
Heading west across Alabama

Heading west from Tuscaloosa, we passed miles of farmland, and miles of Kudzu covered landscape.  We crossed into Mississippi heading for Starkville, home of Mississippi State University and MFJ Enterprises, "the world leaders in amateur radio accessories," according to the souvenir mug I have before me.  As Kevin is a ham (amateur) radio operator, I leave it to you to figure out just why we had driven so many miles out of our way home.  As it was Labor Day, we couldn't visit MFJ, so after we found their offices, we checked into the Days Inn on Veterans' Memorial Drive.  What is it with these southern cities?  Can't they just use letters and numbers to name their streets?  As we were leaving the front desk, we noticed the sign advising us that the pool was closed for repairs.  The temperature was approaching 100 degrees and the humidity was right up there with the temp.  A closed pool was not a good sign.
Welcome to Mississippi

We didn't do much in the way of sightseeing while in Starkville, opting instead to stay in our air-conditioned room.  We did, however, head to Stromboli's for dinner, having found the place on my iPhone's Yelp app.  The place was packed, to the extent that we had to wait for a table.  I couldn't help but notice that we were old enough to be the grandfathers of most of the clientele.  Well, this is a college town and we were in a pizza place.  But the owner(?) who greeted us was very friendly, and took our order before we ever got a table so that the wait was minimized when we were finally seated.  And the pizza?  I can say right now that it is bar none the best pizza I have ever had.  Can't say I recommend travel to or through Mississippi, especially not in the summer, but should you find yourself in Starkville, by all means visit Stromboli's.

Later that evening, Kevin and I walked about a block from our motel to enjoy an evening ice cream, then it was bedtime.  We had driven less than 200 miles from Steele, Alabama to Starkville, making this one of the shorter days of the drive.

Hail State
Mississippi State University

1 comment:

hotproof said...

I haven't really followed the Dixie Chicks songbook much, but...WOW.. that "Mississippi"song performance really rocked the joint. I was dancing around the room to that one. Thanks for making reference to that. Trust you both are enjoying your Sunday Drive. I will stay tuned.