Notes From The Road, Day 3

Our day began a little later than expected due to a serious need to sleep in. We rolled into Muscle Shoals Alabama last night and kept moving into Florence. There was a slight issue finding the hotel and what followed became a comedy of errors.

Where’s The Radisson?

What we didn’t realize is there are two streets with the same name and, well, they don’t connect. This was problem number one. Once we had gone both directions on the street we thought we were supposed to be on, we gave up and tried something different. This time I was at least finding some of the landmarks on the map, so there was hope. We didn’t see any signs or indications there was a hotel anywhere close to the Chuck E. Cheese. With nothing to loose we turned into the parking lot and hidden back off the road, behind some trees, there was a three story hotel. Still no signs. The one that should have told us the hotel was in the background had a covering over it and there was no sign on the building. The lights were on and people coming and going so we crossed our fingers and pulled in.

It seems this Radisson is becoming a Clarion, thus the anonymity. This was an exhausting end to the day.

Continue reading “Notes From The Road, Day 3”

Notes From The Road, Day 2

Today is the day we planned on spending the most time wandering and looking. Alarms set. We slept well.

Bright and early this morning, we packed our bags, checked out of the hotel and headed to a little cafe I had found online. How did we ever travel before the internet?

The Coney Island Cafe has been operating in this same location since 1923. Started by Greek immigrants, the cafe has a set menu posted on the wall.

A pay phone and a picture of Merle on the wall.

I think there have been many a folk to set on this stool, eating a meal, sipping coffee, and swapping stories.

We were greeted with a smile and “Hello” from Sabrina, who also cooked a fine breakfast. Her smile lit up the room.

After breakfast we gassed up and headed north to Laurel. This was only about a forty-five minute drive so we arrived before most of the businesses were open. We also beat the heat of the day so we parked the car and walked around the downtown area.

We saw many of the places and streets seen on the promos and introductions to the show “Hometown.” This town is special to us because it is the town where my Hunter-Gatherer was born.

His mother was born and raised in this house in Laurel, and this is where she came to give birth to her first born. His dad was in graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin and it just made sense for her to be home with her parents instead of living in married student housing in Austin.

In the late 1950’s H.G. and his brother, and later sister, would spend time with their grandparents. He has very fond memories of listening to baseball on the radio, and eating all the good food his grandmother cooked. While I’m sure there was difficulty and strife in the world, to these kids, life was simple and full of potential.

Annie, Mrs. Foley to her students and most folks in Laurel, would warn H.G. and his brother to be careful crossing over these little bridges because Billy Goat’s Gruff lives in the creek, under the bridge and he would get them. The vivid imaginations of two young boys went wild with this information. While they never went in the creek, they always looked very carefully before playing near the bridge.

The Busy Bee was another favorite place for the brothers to visit. Grandmother would give them fifty cents, with which they could occupy themselves for hours. Ten cents would get them into a movie and then they would stop at the Busy Bee for some candy and a glimpse at the “men’s” magazines. Fortunately those magazines then were not what they are today! His saintly “Methodist Grandmother” would have had a fit if she knew that’s what they were spending their time doing!

I enjoyed seeing all this through his eyes once again and making memories along the way. I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of our day in Laurel.

Tomorrow we’ll be in Alabama and Tennessee. See you on the road.