Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Finally - since we got back it has been GO GO GO. First my ISP wouldn't let me access Blogger, so I emailed them and magically it started working. Then I had to start working again. Then we had some relatives come in from PA and NY. Then I thought I would get my posts updated.

As a recap, on July 11th we were visiting in Missouri. July 12th and 13th were supposed to be spent working our way home with the original plan including going by way of Kentucky. That change when due to a request by my mom after traveling to Ohio, Ontaria, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri - we were now headed to Georgia. That meant adding Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia to our trip. Try that one on your odometer for size.

See what happened was, the whole family was up in Iowa and Mom got to thinking it would be nice to have her new car before she drives (instead of flying this time) back up there to meet her Grandson after he is born. She also thought that having some help figuring out what kind of car to buy. Since we didn’t really have anything scheduled other than meandering our way back home, why not go to Georgia and see what we could figure out.
Then FabHub says, how long would it take to go through Louisiana on our way?
He said, well, I have never been there and if it isn’t too far out of the way…
I said, HA! Yes it is out of the way!

But then we decided why not?!
So – on July 12th we headed down the road. Did you know you can follow US 65 from Iowa all the way to Louisiana? It is a very nice drive with a lot of it updated to four-lane highway.

The rolling hills of southern Missouri reminded us of home, but at about half the elevation.

Our first stop was for lunch in Ozark, Missouri at Lambert’s CafĂ© - Home of Throwed Rolls! The place is a lot of fun and there is plenty to eat. There were a whole bunch of people there for lunch already when we got there at 11:00.

They had the sidewalk painted all over the place with happiness.

Lambert's has staff walking around offering to throw rolls at you and then someone comes by with some sorghum molasses for the rolls. There are staff members offering deep fried okra as sort of an appetizer, then your food comes and what you ordered comes in a huge portion. That isn’t all of it, there are more staff offering what they call “pass arounds”, fried potatoes and onions, macaroni and tomatoes, and black eyed peas. Way too much to eat again, but the experience was fun!

Further on down the road, probably in Arkansas, we found a forked John Deere.

And other tractors with more traditional life going on, but on the highway?
Gotta love farm country.
That night we stayed in Conway, Arkansas – hometown as we discovered of American Idol Season 8 winner Kris Allen. Nope didn’t see him, just the flag.
We also saw this Toad Suck Daze mural.
The next day we decided to drive until we had to stop or got to Mom’s.

We knew we were in forgein country when we saw this contraption.

Seems to be storage or processing for something we don't grow inWest Virginia.

We stopped for lunch in Transylvania, Louisiana, population about 740 and one eye catching water tower.
There isn’t much to the town, just a few buildings along the side of US 65. The general store has a few bat related items for sale to crazy tourists and is also a small diner that when we stopped seemed to be the place for the local farmers to get their noon dinner.

And for anyone unsure about the use of dinner being the noon meal. We had a conversation in Iowa where my sister reminded us of the old days. In the farm country that I grew up in the work day’s meals are lined out as follows:
Breakfast (early), Lunch (9am), Dinner (12), Lunch (3pm), Supper (late), Snack (after dark)
It seems to be the same in northern Louisiana – a man in the diner told a boy to finish his dinner so they could get going. The boy really looked like his day had gone on way to long already. We all forget as kids how easy we have it in school until it is summer time and the work needs to get done.
Driving through Mississippi went pretty fast. If we had been wandering we would have seen more, but as it was we drove straight through on the Interstate, which meant the only somewhat odd thing that I got a picture of was Wood Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi College.

And that isn't really very odd at all.

Now in Birmingham, Alabama we found something odd.

This is Vulcan.
He was built in 1904 for the St. Louis World's Fair to advertise Alabama and the capabilities of the industries in Birmingham. Vulcan stands 56 feet tall, from toe to spear point, upon a 124-foot pedestal rising to a height of 180 feet and weighs 101,200 pounds. Vulcan is the largest cast iron statue in the world and the largest metal statue ever made in the United States.

After the World's Fair the statue was set up in the Alabama State Fair grounds for many years. Then he was moved to the current location, but that site has been reworked over time until it's current layout was completed in 1999. In the above photo you can see a tower behind Vulcan's tower - that is an elevator which takes people up to an observation tower. There are also stairs inside Vulcan's tower.

FabHub decided to do a little posing at the foot of that tower. He is a super hero! All teachers should be considered heros for the work they do.
On the other side of Birmingham is another statue. Her name is Liberty, but she has a slightly different message. "Give us your tired, your poor, your insurance business.

According to a plaque at the site, this bronze replica, one-fifth the size of the Statue of Liberty, was commissioned by Frank Park Samford as the symbol for the company he founded, Liberty National Life Insurance Company. The statue was cast in Sommerville Haut Marine, France, in 1956 and was placed atop Liberty National's home office building in downtown Birmingham and then moved to its present location and dedicated on July 4, 1989.

She does take a beautiful picture.
After leaving Birgmingham we drove all the way to Mom's in Georgia. It was a long day, but we really didn't start getting tired until the last hour or so.
The next day we went with her to the Toyota dealer where she decided that the RAV4 was definately her choice of vehicle. Unfortunately they wanted a bit more than we all thought was necessary so we left, but not before realizing that the Cash for Clunkers program would be starting in a week. She ended up using her Windstar in that program to get her new car and has since traveled to Iowa. She is pretty happy with it.

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