The national weather forecast was showing a huge blob of magenta and red, surrounded by yellow and green, starting to cross the USA map. H was getting concerned. The storm was due in 3 days and we were heading right into its path. We hit the road early and headed for the Florida/Alabama border and straight towardsMontgomery. Traveling north on Rt 331, we saw another ominous color in the sky ahead of us – DARK charcoal and it wasn’t in the form of a threatening heavy rain cloud. As we approached the city limits of the small country town of Brantley, the thick smoke ahead of us billowed and rolled up and across the countryside. Flashing emergency lights pulsed at ground level as more and more firemen and other first responders appeared on the scene. As we slowly crept by the Brantley Recycle Center we were thankful that there were no ambulances at that scene. We heard on the radio later that there had been no injuries and the fire had finally been gotten under control.
North of Montgomery and just outside of Wetumpka, Alabama, in the crook of the Coosa and the Tallapoosa Rivers, are the remains of Ft Toulouse and Ft Jackson, along with the adjoining sad,
campground. History abounds in this
area! First it was the Native Americans
who called this land “home”. Then came
the French who built Ft Toulouse in the early 1700’s. After that it was the British who let the fort deteriorate. Then came General Andrew Jackson and his
American forces who built Ft Jackson near the same site as the original French
Fort. Today, Ft Toulouse is a split
timber replica of the original and the earthen
walls of Ft Jackson are just the
beginning of the reconstruction of the 1814 fort.
The storm threat is getting closer as we push farther north. We’re heading to the northeast corner of the state and the Desoto State Park in Ft Payne. In the 1930’s, the park, nestled atop beautiful Lookout Mountain, was developed in the rustic tradition of the Civilian Conservation Corp. This 3,500-acre park has chalets, cabins, a lodge, a restaurant, a well stocked general store and an improved campground with full hookups and cable!
While the state park is within the boundaries of the Little River Canyon National Park Preserve, the fast flowing waterfalls and the nearby visitor center are ten miles from the campground. Theeleven-mile, winding scenic road follows the edge of the canyon, which at times is 500 ft from the edge of the cliffs to the sandstone canyon below. The 2-lane road has plenty of scenic turnouts and we made the best of all of them to view the white water rushing below us or the dogwood and honeysuckle that clung to the edges of the viewing areas or even the homes perched on the opposite side of this vast gorge. We had to stop and marvel at the mammoth Mushroom Rock that was
The storm is really close! As we pull out early the next morning, the sky is gray but we’re hoping to still be ahead of the impending threat. Neither one of us like traveling on Interstates when we’re
“train”, but we’ve got miles to go this day so we slid into traffic on I 24 and
pointed the truck towards Nashville.
The rain caught up to us and we drove thru the drizzling precipitation,
up around that town, heading to Kentucky.
Now it’s I 65, and the downpour continued all the way to Louisville. Rough roads and ponderous truck traffic beat
at us but we made it across the mighty Ohio River and sighed with relief. It was raining but we made it to Indiana at
It was still raining when we finally arrived at the Versailles State Park, one mile east of the town of the same name and on the over flowed banks of the Laughery River. All of the rivers and fields in southern Indiana and northern Kentucky were underwater and this campground was no exception. Luckily the parking pads were of blacktop and above the soggy, water soaked grass.
It was STILL raining the next morning as we headed for the last push to home. Crossing from Indiana, finally to Ohio we gladly stopped in Defiance to have lunch with our dear, retired NCR friends, George and June. The deluge was really coming down as the constant rush of monster semi trucks chased and roared past us throwing even more water at our windshield as we continued our last leg home.