Birmingham to Montgomery
sorry for being so slack on the blog. me and annie have lived a lifetime since my last post. but finally here in jackson mississippi we have found the sneaky bean where i plan to blog away the afternoon and catch everyone up to speed.
i left you in birmingham, alabama. that night in the days inn had made us very skeptical of the city but luckily we were open minded enough to give it another shot because birmingham is awesome! our first couch surfing host, Alabama Joe, was a blessing. he met us at lucy's coffee shop and recommended we go to The Bottletree for lunch. they have vegan/vegetarian options which makes annie smile. but not only did they cater to her dietary needs but the place just generally kicked ass. i ordered an alabama local brew called Good People Brown Ale. it was not bad, but i wasn't too crazy for it. the place is a resturant/bar during the day and a bar/venue at night. we started talking to david, the bartender, and he quickly talked the place up. he told us the bottletree was the little musical haitas of the south. big tour bands like tv on the radio and azure ray have been through. they have air stream trailors set up in the back for the bands to sleep in while they are in town and the crowd is all local and regular. we bought tickets for ourselves for the show that night, Seawolf, and one for Alabama Joe as a thank you.
so that night we all went back down to the bottletree for drinks and music. our bartender friend David was off duty so was able to hang out with us. he gave us some eps of the band he tours with (lead guitar) called The Grenedians. seawolf was not mind blowing but it was a great atmosphere to be in and we had a great time talking to the locals. again we were impressed by how friendly everyone was! people seemed to migrate towards us and were so interested in hearing about our story and what was in store.
Alabama Joe is a med student at UAB so we had to get him to bed early. but he set us up on a fabulous couch and said we could use the shower and coffee pot in the morning. thank you so much joe! you are the greatest.
the next morning we packed up the car and headed south to Montgomery. Annie's mom had sent her ID to the post office there. the one thing that i just cannot get over about the south is how many ghost towns they are. coming from new york where EVERYTHING is prime realestate and no buildings are just left to sit, it is insane how much... abandonment there is in the south. the entire city of montgomery was like a ghost town. the downtown area was full of empty store fronts. i mean this place was... dead. the one place that was open was a hot dog/burger joint called Chris's Famous Hotdogs. we learned it was montgomery's oldest resturant. Gus and Randy were working behind the counter. Chris was their grandfather and the place had been family ownded since 1917! Obviously I had to get a hot dog with Chris's world famous chili. It was perfection as far as a chili dog goes. We talked to the brothers for a while and when we mentioned how sleepy the town was they nodded and agreed, "yep it's been dead since the 80s."
we told them we were headed to Mississippi and planned to camp that night on our way there. they warned us about that particular stretch of alabama and said to be careful. "don't lock your doors so they won't break your windows." this was very comforting. but we headed out anyways.
we decided to camp at Paul M. Grist state park. the park ranger said there were a couple RVs camping but no primitive sites taken and charged us 12.50. the park was beautiful and the primitive camp ground were right on a huge lake. we pulled in to our supposed accomidations for the night and before even getting out of the car we realized it was going to be REALLY dark REALLY soon and were weren't feeling being all alone in on this side of the lake. so we drove over to the RV grounds and parked. HA! these RV campers were the perminant kind. the kind with dish satelittes set up outside and a little "home is where the heart is" flag stuck in to the ground. we then attempted to set up our little walmart tent between two of these RV's, which we discovered was one of the smallest tents ever made... it just barely fit annie. the thought of both of us sleeping in this thing was pretty hillarious. but we continued to set it up anyways and climbed in.
i'd say we probably sat there for about ten minutes. then it got dark and we got scared. i am not proud to tell you all that what we did next was... leave... as fast as possible. so fast that we just yanked the rods of the the tent and stuffed the whole thing in the car and hightailed it out of that place. luckily the parkranger gave us our money back. and i'm sure we gave him some nice water cooler chat for his fellow rangers.
so we started to drive. and drive. with Gus and Randy's warnings in our mind we decided to just drive on through to mississippi. by the time we crossed the border i was pretty exhausted. but it was a long time before we saw any signs of civilization. we finally arrived in Oxford, which is where the University of Mississippi is, and pulled in to a Comfort Suites. unfortunally they had no vacancies on account of some football game going on and we were informed that most every hotel would be booked for the night. so do you know what we did? we slept in the car. in the parking lot of the comfort suites. oh yes. this is a true story. at 2:30 in the morning we were woken up by a giant truck parking next to us. the truck seemed to house some less than friendly passangers so we decided to get out of there. on down the road to a walmart parking lot, where we stayed for the rest of the night. can you believe it? i couldn't when i woke up at 5:30 and realized where i was. ha! off to tupelo.