"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Time in 'Bama!

Cheaha State Park
Childersburg, AL
Desoto Caverns RV Park

It was a stormy start to the day as we drove to Alabama.  On the way we'd be driving through Jasper.  When we lived in Upstate New York we had some very good friends that we camped with and our boys were in Scouts together.  Our son, Brennan, was good friends with Joey.  After "Joe" (he'll always be little Joey to me :-) finished his time in the Marines, he settled here in Alabama, just north of Jasper.  It's been several years since they visited us in California so of course we had to see him.
We chose a nice BBQ place to meet up at.

Steve, Me and Joey

It was great to see him again and catch up on everything he's been up to.  Love this "kid"!
Since we were going to be hiking Mt. Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama, we stayed at Cheaha State Park.  The part has full hookups, but has seen better days.  It's a shame more attention isn't given to some of these older state parks.  The campground road is in pretty bad condition.  It was a very pretty site and ours was large, level and easy to get into.
Not a great picture, but that is the lake below us.
The problem was, there was supposed to be free wifi.  There is all kinds of new towers on top of this high point which is right in the park.  They did not tell me that the internet in the park was no longer working and that if you needed to use it you had to go to the store.  Since Steve needs to work, this wouldn't work for us.  He struggled through Friday but we decided to cut our stay short and head out on Sunday.
The view is 365, but not the prettiest with all these cell towers.  Funny that just below is the lake and campground, yet we could get no service at all.  Not even boosting.

This is again, a drive up high point.  A short drive from the campground and store and you're there.
Another beautiful observation tower, café and grounds built by the Conservation Corp.

W little walk through the parking lot and you are there.

We did enjoy the views from the observation tower.

                      Marker for the state park.                          Veni Vidi Vici, highest point in Alabama.
 Just a little further down is a nice restaurant and hotel.  The view here is spectacular.

We did a little geocaching in Talldega and learned some about the Riders of the Methodist Church.
In sparsely populated areas of the United States it always has been common for clergy in many denominations to serve more than one congregation at a time, a form of church organization sometimes called a "preaching circuit".  In the rough frontier days of the early United States riding horseback worked especially well in the service of rural villages and unorganized settlements.

 While looking for the hidden geocache, I looked down in the fencepost that was missing it's topper.  I found something, but it wasn't the cache. A tiny nest of eggs.  Maybe a hummingbird?

These had some very old graves and some of the huge Magnolia trees grew into the fences.

This spot in town was commemorating an old battle that took place in 1813.  They were doing some restoration work so the springs in the well are not flowing at the moment.
Across town is the Talladega Motorsports Walk of Fame.  I'm not a race fan, but the park was very pretty and nicely laid out.

My sister's fave.  Had to send her a picture of Jr.

Later in the week we had plans to meet up with someone Steve used to work with that now lives in the area.  We had dinner with Wayne and Kathy.  They were just closing on a lake house and invited us to come over for dinner later in the week when they got the keys.

 Some of the flowers still blooming are these gorgeous wild Hydrangea.
Pulpit Rock was one of the trails we wanted to hike.  We had an opening in the weather so off we went.

It was a fairly short hike.  Some rocks and roots as usual for this area, but nice.

The famous "pulpit" sticking out over the cliff.

That's the lake we are camped at below.  So close to the cell towers, but yet no service.

A geocache hidden up top.

Pondering at the Pulpit.

Hurley wanted his picture taken at the top too.

Off we go as we want to get to one more hike before the storm comes in.


This park has some amazing stone structures.  There are several cabins (like the one below), larger chalets, a hotel and a smaller hotel/conference center that would be a great venue for a wedding.
Best Cliffside view from this stone cabin.

Off to Bald Rock which has a ramp from the parking lot all the way to the overview so it is wheelchair friendly.  Not something you usually see for this distance.

On the way down we decided to have a light dinner at the restaurant and enjoy the view.

Mid-week we drove off about an hour away closer to where Steve's friend, Wayne's, new home is.  We have great internet here.  This is also a first for us.  Staying at an amusement park.  Desoto Caverns is a very small park combined with what they are really known for, the caverns.  We had W/E, $22 a night/Passport America.  Large, shady spot. This is a small family owned park.  Even funnier was the small campground was smack dab in the center of the amusement park. Not off to the side or behind, right in the middle. This meant we got to listen to the amusement park music over the loud speakers between the hours of 8 and 7.  Nice.  Overall, it was a pretty place and we would be leaving before Memorial Day so there aren't many people camped here or at the amusement park. 
The park across from us.

Our really pretty spot, #3.

We took a drive around some of the small towns outside of Talladega.  I wanted to stop at an old gas station for a drink.  I like to read all the historical placards on the old buildings.
 This one cracked me up.

It was a nice, sunny day with lower humidity, when we drove over to Wayne's new Lake house.  Gorgeous!! This house is was already built and decorated in a very whimsical décor.  Very cute.
View off the back screened deck. The owner made and painted this beautiful fish table.

The flag was made from several boards and uniquely put together.  There were so many cute touches all over the house.

The chandelier was also made by the owner.  They are old wine bottles hanging from a wine rack.
The paper towel holder was made from a fishing pole.

We had a great enchilada dinner and drank our wine down on the pontoon boat.  So relaxing.  Steve even caught a large mouth from the dock.  What a relaxing time we had. Thank you so much for the invitation, the great dinner and showing us your beautiful new home!

Bo and Buddy.  They weren't thrilled with posing for a picture, but they were the sweetest dogs.  Had we brought Hurley along, he'd had loved playing with them!

It was a great time in 'Bama!


  1. This looks like so much fun! If it's okay with you and Steve, we would love to coordinate a weekend to come meet you guys and do some outdoor activities! Where would you be heading to around July/August?

    1. Would love to have you both visit us! I'll send Ryan our rough itinerary and see what works for you both.

  2. That campground in the middle of an amusement park sounds really interesting!!!! Glad you got some good hiking in!!

    1. It was a cute place and ok for a couple days mid-week.

  3. What views!! The nest and eggs were a treat.

    1. Very nice views. Not sure how that bird fit down that tiny fence post.

  4. Loved the picture of your nature-cache that somehow found you, while quietly waiting in the fence.

    1. I felt lucky to see that sweet little nest. I'll bet no one else did. Wonderful things you can see when you look where most don't.

  5. Another short 'hike'. Maybe you need to park the truck a little further away so you get more steps in for the day :-) LOL Do all of the state's highest peaks have a location marker? Nice photos of your hike up to Pulpit Rock.

    1. Most states high points are supposed to have them. The one in GA didn't as the observation tower was built on the very top (unless it was inside the closed room that we weren't able to see). Most peaks of significant height will have an elevation marker too. We laughed at parking further away!

  6. Wow...it didn't take long for them to get the new governor's name on the signs in Bama!

  7. Meeting up with people we haven't seen in a while is one of my fav things about this lifestyle!
    Would never have considered there was so much to see in Alabama - guess we will have to stop and check it out next time, instead of just driving through!

    1. I agree. It is great to see friends that you otherwise might not see much or at all. I think that just about everywhere has something special to see or do. Something historic, a hike, café or a just an old cemetery. We love talking with the locals too and hearing their stories of the area.

  8. What an interesting area. Congrats on another "state high point"!

    1. Thanks. Strangely, the High Points have not been the challenging hikes so far!

  9. For me one of the best things about this lifestyle is catching up with friends. Nice lake house your friends have, loved the ceiling tiles, reminds me of the ceilings in many of the older building in our old home town.


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