Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Cold Walk in Montgomery, Alabama - Fri., May 5, 2017

An early start was in order because the forecast worsened as the day went on. When we started the walk it was 53 degrees outside, but with the wind chill, I'm thinking it felt more like 38. Bob and I had not dressed warmly enough. It would have helped if we had brought along the scarves that Gina (our sister-in-law) gave us. But we had no idea the cold wind would be so biting.

The Volksmarch started downtown at the Embassy Suites Hotel. After signing in, we exited the hotel, went past the train station, down some stairs, through a tunnel (Riverfront Tunnel) and out onto Montgomery's Riverfront Walk. 

Union Station (now a Welcome Center)

History about the domestic slave trade
The "Riverfront Tunnel" was built in the 19th century to facilitate the movement of cotton and other goods, under the railroad tracks, to the Alabama River. Coming out of the pedestrian tunnel, we were greeted by this view. 
Alabama River - Gun Island Chute
Where we were standing used to be a cotton slide. The cotton slide was used to slide heavy bales of cotton from the streets above to the steamboats waiting below.

A view of the Alabama River
In the park by the river is a beautiful tile mural. But looks can be deceiving. If you look at each individual tile that makes up the mosaic, you will see each tile is its own work of art. Together all the tiles make up the big mosaic.

Mosaic of the state capital

Individual tiles in the mosaic

By the tile mural and amphitheater was an area called High Red Bluff, a strategic bend in the Alabama River during Colonial times. 

Brr! We were really cold. The wind was howling along the river. We walked along the River Walk to a four-story elevator that would take us up to a bridge overlook of the train station. Bob wanted to go up the stairs and I took the elevator.  By the time he made it up all the stairs he was huffing and puffing. I was waiting for him.

From the train station, we headed to Wright Brothers Park. Yes, those Wright brothers, the ones who invented flying. They had a civilian flight school in Montgomery, Alabama. From there we had a view of the Alabama River and a cooperative garden below. 
Mimosa trees in bloom

Mural tribute to Nat King Cole

Wright Brothers Park

A view of the cooperative gardens

Our walk took us over Cottage Hill, then into downtown where we passed the Rosa Parks Museum and Library on the site where she had been arrested, the Davis Theater (built in 1930), and Troy University. 

One of the homes on Cottage Hill
Troy University

A mural depicting the Civil Rights March from
Selma to Montgomery
Tomorrow we are going to the Selma to Montgomery Museum near the Gunter Hill COE campground.
Court Square Fountain
(note the Capital Building bottom left)

Our first view of the Capitol

I love these old jeweler's clocks
Dexter Avenue from the Court Street Fountain up toward the capital is undergoing a major renovation called the Market District. Almost every old building is being gutted and rebuilt. 
Refurbished store

Undergoing renovations
Totally gutted storefronts
As we were walking it was lunchtime and since we are always looking for unique places to eat, we thought "Why not try Chris' Hot Dogs? They've been here 100 years, surely they must be good." (I was thinking along the lines of "Good Dog, Bad Dog" in Portland, Oregon.) Well, this place was not our cup of tea, so to speak. Bob ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. It was two pieces of toast with melted American cheese on it. My Chris' Special Hot Dog was two hot dogs on one bun with sauerkraut, and special sauce. I choked it down. Nothing special here. We noticed a lot of people getting fries and onion rings which looked really good. They obviously knew something we didn't. Two thumbs down on Chris' Hot Dogs. 
The thumbs-up photo was taken BEFORE we ate.
Inside Chris' Hot Dogs - the old seating area
We hiked up and down hills, all over the downtown area of Montgomery. 

In a park, we found a historical marker on Montgomery's Slave Depots. 

It stayed cold! We kept walking, so much to discover. Below are three out of six bas-relief panels in a flag and historical plaza. Each bas-relief panel has its own history marker underneath it. There is so much detail in each display about the history of Montgomery. This display was put up by the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) in 1999. Wow! 

Exploration and Settlement, 1540-1820

Antebellum Prosperity, 1820-1860
The Age of Advancement, 1880-1914
One of these is not like the others

The Civil Rights Movement was born in Montgomery with Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat and move to the back of a bus. Besides the Rosa Parks Museum, we saw Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s church, and saw where the march from Selma to Montgomery passed through on the way to the capital.

Dexter Avenue
King Memorial Baptist Church
Crosswalk showing where the marchers went
By this point in our walk, we had passed Alabama State Office buildings, the Alabama State Archives and the First White House of the Confederacy. 

The First White House of the Confederacy
State capital and state flags display
The state capital was in between tour times so we did a self-guided tour. After all of the ornate state capitals we have seen, this one was so-so. Unique to this capital are a pair of three-story spiral stairways in the original entrance hall.

Beautiful entry door on the capital

Spiral stairway
Don't I look right at home?
Downward spiral
Rotunda with stained glass and large murals
We finished at the capital and continued our walk where we saw Old Alabama Town and the Montgomery "Biscuits" Baseball Stadium. (Montgomery's baseball team has one of the weirder team names, right up there with New Orleans "Babycakes" and the Lansing "Lugnuts.")

Old Alabama Town

Old Alabama Town

[An aside here, it has nothing to do with the Capital Volksmarch: On the last leg of our walk, we saw an auto shop that does oil changes. 

Our Beauty is a demanding princess. She has a computer in her that tells us everything she needs. The first "demand" on our trip was for DEF (diesel exhaust fluid). This message came up when were driving on a Louisiana causeway with no exits for 26 miles, and we were in a torrential downpour. If we didn't put DEF in her tank within 50 miles, she would limit our speed to 50 mph. Really?? So, in New Orleans with high winds, flooded streets, thunder and lightning, we were searching for an auto store that sold DEF. Bob went into a Target store looking for it. I sat in the car and waited. Shopping carts were blowing across the parking lot. No DEF at Target. Then we went to WalMart and braved deep puddles in the parking lot. I stayed in the truck while Bob ran into the store in torrential rain. No DEF at WalMart. We found an auto parts store. Bob ran in and came out with two containers of DEF. In the pouring rain, he poured one container into the DEF tank. Success! 

Anyway, back to the shop that we saw that does oil changes. We stopped in toward the end of our walk to find out if we could bring our truck in in a few minutes for an oil change. Beauty's display had been telling us for three days that an "oil change is required." The answer was, "Yes." We told them we'd be back in 15 minutes with the truck.]

Hurriedly, we walked the last few blocks back to Embassy Suites. 

Hank Williams memorial
Bob looks good with this car, don't you think?
(No, it's not his. We were just passing by.)
Back at the parking lot, we grabbed Beauty and took her for her oil change. While we were waiting, Bob walked over to Tucker's Pecan Store and came back to the waiting room with Chocolate Honey Pecans and Pecan Bark. Oh. My. God. We pigged out on the Chocolate Honey Pecans while we waited. 

The truck was done in an hour. Beauty purred like a kitten all the way back to our campground. I turned the heat on because I was still frozen from our walk. The weather never warmed up all day.

That night we had planned to make a campfire and roast hot dogs and make S'mores. We bought all the ingredients, but it was cold and windy. I didn't want to sit outside. Others in the campground had campfires going. But we would have had to go out again to find firewood. I wasn't feeling it. We cooked our hot dogs in the microwave...not the same as roasting them. Oh, well. 

It's late and we've got a travel day tomorrow. I'll try to catch up to current tomorrow. (I'm two days behind now.)

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