Saturday, May 22, 2010

Returning home through Alabama



On a clear sunny morning, we left our friends from the ‘60s in Tennessee -see my last two posts here and here - and decided to get back to Georgia through Alabama. We did not take the big highways so we could stop anytime to look at the scenery and take pictures.

click on any picture to enlarge

Some friends left comments on my last posts saying that the '60s and ‘70s had not been agents for change. But my reply is that if there had been more of us we could have taken responsibility for the ‘80s and ‘90s but we were a minority, even though the media made much fuss about the movement of peace, love and universal good. The “Silent Majority” was the numerical majority in this country and they took over along with the “establishment” and the large corporations. Instead of more understanding, they created more polarization and instead of a lasting peace, more wars. There is more division now - a world study last year found that the US has the largest gaps of inequality between rich and poor compared to all the other industrialized nations – the top 1% receives more money than the bottom 40% and the gap is the widest in 70 years. The ‘60s conservative boomers did not want social change and they won. Unequal societies create more tension, unhappiness and crime. Money is powerful and has been changing the country. It will continue to do so. I read that Karl Rove, President’s Bush top adviser, has helped in the creation of a new soft money organization which has already received commitment of $30 millions. They are seeking to raise more than $60 millions to quietly alter the next elections in favor of their chosen more conservative candidates, using dirty tricks if necessary. So, money and big corporations will continue to be all powerful. But this is not a political blog, just my observations, so let us return to our trip through Alabama. Luckily we left Tennessee before the terrible storms which caused so much flood and misery.

We drove by peaceful country scenes like the one on the little rural road below.


Click on this picture, when enlarged, click again

I stopped for a few minutes to take some pics of the soft bovines looking at me.




Then we rode along the beautiful Guntersville Lake located on the Tennessee River in Alabama. It received its name from John Gunter, an early Scottish settler who was an adopted member of the Cherokee tribe. The town was established one year after the American Revolutionary War ended.




In Scottsboro, Alabama, we went back to visit Unclaimed Baggage Center. We had been there a couple of times and stopped by to see if there was anything new of interest. Their merchandise comes from unclaimed baggage. When the airline cannot track the owners, the baggage is declared unclaimed. You can see more information on this here




Last year I purchased a Chinese watch, with Chinese characters, for $10. It works like a charm. I also like to look at their books as they often have cheap mysteries, bestsellers or foreign books. They also sell lost freight I think because they sell linens, dishes, etc. Here are a few things I purchased there –


Apart from the books all this merchandise was brand new

After driving up a curving Appalachian Road we found a spot to admire a pretty view of Guntersville Lake and took some more pictures.




From our vantage point we could see how long this lake is – the shoreline measures close to 950 miles and the lake is spread over 70,000 acres.




Many visitors come to these clear waters for good fishing, camping or picnicking in the beautiful Appalachian Foothills.




Twenty five miles further on, towards Georgia, we crossed the bridge over the Little River Canyon. It was such a sunny afternoon and we were in no hurry so we decided to park and get down closer to the river.




The Little River Canyon is a National Preserve, part of Alabama’s DeSoto State Park. It is 14,000 acres in size and very scenic. It actually begins at a 45 ft waterfall which has been a landmark for thousands of years. Centuries before European pioneers entered the area Native Americans knew of this fall. During the Civil War both Union and Confederate troops passed through this area.




Many millions of years have cut into the heart of Lookout Mountain to create this canyon, one of the deepest in the Eastern USA. The canyon is about 11 miles long and more than 700 ft deep. It features sandstone cliffs, forests, caves, boulder fields –




crystal-clear waters,




diverse forests, rock cliffs, caves, and boulder fields.




During the late 19th and early 20th centuries a mill was built above the waterfall and the rushing water was used to create power. The Edna Hill Community as it was known then also comprised a store, a church and several homes. But they are all gone now.




A steep scenic drive runs close to the canyon and allows visitors to stop by and admire the splendor of this canyon in a series of overlooks. We did not take this drive. We walked on a trail along the canyon for a while before returning to our car.



When we arrived home we saw that one of the little squirrels in our yard had eaten all the bird seeds.




He was showing no sign of remorse as he kept munching on a sunflower seed and letting me take its picture.



43 comments:

DJan said...

What a wonderful find from the Unclaimed Luggage store! And I see you bought the Musicophilia book, which I hope you enjoy. And yes, that rascally squirrel not only doesn't look remorseful, he looks positively FAT and happy! Another wonderful post, VB. And the trip home looks like it was just lovely.

Darlene said...

As always your photos are simply beautiful. I feel like I have had another journey through a part of the U. S. that I have never visited. It looks so tranquil and pleasant.

The birds may not be happy that the furry tailed critter ate their seed, but you got some fantastic shots of the little guy.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

I have never traveled to Alabama,and never would have guessed that there was such a beautiful river valley. The rock looks as if it has been turned on its' side in the river, with the edges sticking out. I love that you were able to take your time and explore. That is my favorite way to travel.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

I have never traveled to Alabama,and never would have guessed that there was such a beautiful river valley. The rock looks as if it has been turned on its' side in the river, with the edges sticking out. I love that you were able to take your time and explore. That is my favorite way to travel.

Deborah said...

For once I'm not coming in at the tail end of the comments!
Another wonderful mini-travelogue, complete with all kind of interesting information, history and points of view. The countryside looks stunningly lovely, something I had not imagined would be the case.

Musicophilia is a fascinating book, as you may have found out by now. Your other finds are terrific - you would be a lot of fun to travel with, I think. Enjoyed this very much, Vagabonde. Thank you!

DianeCA said...

The photos are wonderful. I never did more than just pass through Alabama, hmmmm next time I will have to explore it a bit more. I also thought the squirrel was so cute. European squirrels are a bit different than North American so this guy made me feel nostalgic. Hope your journey home is a safe one!

Dedene said...

It was nice to see more of Alabama. We have friends who live in Augusta, and have visited them once. They took us up into the Appalachians.
I agree with your musings about the 60s and 70s and the change we should have made. Some things did change even though those things might be hard to see.
Great photos of Mr. Squirrel.

Linda said...

I love peeking over your shoulder as you travel along. The pictures you paint with the camera and your narrative are always wonderful. My favorite is the close up of water in Little River Canyon. Perhaps that is because it's hot and dry here. What a gorgeous place. The trail photo reminds me of the Natchez Trace. There is something primal in walking in someone else's footsteps.

I'm glad you were gone before the storms - I was wondering about that. Not too long ago, Georgia reservoirs were drying up and now there is too much water in the Southeast.

Couldn't agree more regarding corporations, the bane of American politics. That and corrupt public "servants". Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" regarding disaster capitalism speaks has this view and argues that Milton Friedman's free-market ecomomic revolution was neither free nor a revolution. It was always an insidious plan.

Hope you got busy when you arrived home - the squirrel seems to be saying..."about time, I'm running out of food here!"

tasteofbeirut said...

I am not surprised about what you said regarding Karl Rove and that stealthy lobby; money rules, it always has and it always will; didn't Dick Cheney say it so well "Our lifestyle is non-negotiable" so if millions of people suffer in third world countries and even here so be it.
Reality is sad that is why it is best to enjoy beauty, the way you are, taking photos of that cute squirrels eating your seeds and lakes and streams and odd stores like that unclaimed baggage store! How fun! I enjoyed it all immensely.

Zuzana said...

These are such gorgeous images accompanied by great narrative. The quality of your photographs is postcard like.
Driving is the best way to travel, particularly as one makes the drive an adventure.
I miss the Appalachians, I recall their incredible beauty when I lived in NC.;)
xo

dot said...

I enjoyed your pictures very much. Some of the places I've been to, like the Little River Canyon. I've always wanted to visit the Lost Luggage store but never could get my husband interested.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful and lovely shots !!Simply nice and fantastic !!You are a great photographer !!

Vicki Lane said...

The backroads are my favorite way to travel. Your pictures are beautiful and I'm glad to learn about Unclaimed Freight -- love that watch!

The squirrel picture is great!

Friko said...

Vagabonde, I really wish I could come with you on these trips.
Where does your courage and enterprise come from? Long experience, i suppose.
Please, let me climb into the car with you.

Virginia said...

I am so thrilled that you went through my lovely Alabama and your photos are just WONDERFUL. Thank you for them. I still hope that we will meet face to face in the very near future!
V

Virginia said...

OH I'm thrilledl that you went through my state and found it so beautiful . I must say, your photographs were terrific as well. Please come back and pass through Birmingham so we can meet face to face!
V

Marguerite said...

Looks like you had a great trip home! The scenery is beautiful, especially Guntersville Lake and The Unclaimed Baggage Store looks like fun. And I just love that chubby little squirrel. So cute! Merci beaucoup for the fabulous tour, cher! I really enjoyed it!

Elaine said...

What a beautiful drive through Alabama. I especially liked the shot of the country road. The shots of the squirrel are great. The color of the flowers make a gorgeous background, and the squirrel looks to be giving you the evil eye--perhaps feeling that the feeder wasn't quite as full as it should be.

Paty said...

it must have been a very lovely trip! your photos are incredible! i love the ones with the squirrel... I saved them and gonna use in my computer as wallpaper.

Marcie said...

Spectacular scenery. Love how you've taken us along with you on your travels..

Ginnie said...

You have seen more of the States than most residents ever will in their lifetimes, Vagabonde. Your posts are so educational about places I've never even heard of. It's quite amazing to me. And you really are a photographer at heart...a real traveloguer. I love what you do so well.

Zhu said...

See, this is exactly what I want to see in the US, and how I want to travel there!

I haven't been to the US much except for quite a few road trips in NY State (and crossing the country by Greyhound to go to Mexico a few years ago). My French friends are always surprised I don't spend all of my WE in NY because we are so close. Sure, I want to go sometime... but what I truly want to see is the "other" USA, all the small town and this endless stretch of road. Beautiful inspiring pictures!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Bonjour mon amie, La Vagabonde! Merci pour être venue chez moi; quel honneur parce que je vois vos commentaires partout, mais je n'ai jamais pensé que vous me rendriez un visite....merci, et votre monde dans le Georgia semble amusant et intéressant! Vos photos des autres endroits aussi me donnent l'envie d'y aller pendant les grandes vacances! S'il vous plaît, passez quand vous voulez à Castles Crowns and Cottages....vous êtes bienvenue!!

Bonne journée, Anita

Kenza said...

Bonjour chère Vagabonde,
A chacune de mes visites sur ton joli blog, je sais que je vais faire un magnifique voyage! Et encore une fois, cela est confirmé!! Merci
J'adooore la maison-écureuil...
Très belle et agréable soirée

PS: Je t'avais laissé un message pour te donner le mode pour signer tes photos... Tu peux toujours m'écrire sur: theaujasmin.kenza@gmail.com

lakeviewer said...

You're inspirational! I never saw much of Alabama before this spread you provided. I dabble in political commentary as I see the need. And yes, like you, the more English I learned, the less Italian I spoke. I lost a great deal, and through posting and reading blogs I'm getting back a part of me long buried.
I see we have so mutual visitors.

Elisa said...

Bonjour amie,
Merci de ton passage par mon blog et de ton petit mot.
Bienvenu à mon univers....
À nous lire
Elisa, Argentine

Pamela said...

My dear Vagabonde,

I really enjoy this post, and I must say I totally agree. Those cows were actually looking at you! and the sunglasses with the 2.5 power at the bottom : I need those!! No words for the squirrel, just adorable.

sablonneuse said...

What fantastic scenery! As usual your commentary is interesting and informative. Thank you so much.
As for your 'political' comments, I thoroughly agree. If only the love could have spread into the 80's and 90's it might have overruled the greed for money and power which has resulted in widespread corruption.

claude said...

Bonjour Vagabonde !
C'est ce genre de éripmles que nous faisions, mon Chéri et moi quand nous allions en vacances en camping-car.
Tu as pris de très jolies photos de très beaux endroits.
Il est apprivoisé l'écureuil ou quoi. He is so cute !
Ce matin je vois Quinou l'écureuil roux passé dans ma pelouse, je frappe au carreau, et s'arrête , s'assoie et me regarde, mais pas le temps de prendre une photo.
Mais je l'aurai, un jour !
Je vois que tus as réussi à mettre google translate.

Nadege said...

J'ai lu votre commentaire sur le blog de Dedene. Je vais essayer de trouver des blogs de Francais qui vivent aux Etats-Unis et ecrit en Francais, mais ca va etre dur. Je me souviens avoir essayer d'en trouver il y a 2 ou 3 ans mais sans espoir.

sil said...

Wonderful read and images! It was nice traveling with you :) Thanks for sharing.

Dedene said...

Si tu vas aller à Augusta, je te donnerai l'adresse de nos amis qui parlent très bien le français.
Le monsieur est un prof de français à l'université.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a lovely back road trip. So much more peaceful than the big highway. Guntherville Lake is beautiful and I had no idea it was so large.

Gorgeous photos as always. Hope you have a great Memorial Day.
Sam

Vagabonde said...

DJan, Darlene, alwaysinthebackrow, Deborah, DianeCA, Linda, tasteofbeirut, Zuzana, Dot, Unseen Rajasthan, Vicki Lane, Friko, Virginia, Marguerite, Elaine, Patie, Marcie, Ginnie, lakeviewer, Pamela, Sablonneuse and my Carolina Kitchen – I enjoyed reading your comments and I appreciate them very much. Thank you for stopping by and I will for sure return the visit.

Vagabonde said...

Zhu, Castles Crowns and Cottages and Elisa – merci pour votre passage sur mon blog. Vous êtes les bienvenues ici. J’espère que vous reviendrez.

Vagabonde said...

Kenze – merci de ta visite et ton message. J’ai aussi trouvé un site qui me permettrait de mettre mon nom sur mes photos mais avec tous mes voyages et déplacements je n’ai pas eu le temps de le regarder. C’est gentil d’avoir pensé à moi.

Vagabonde said...

Claude – Tes coms sont toujours très sympas. Je vais aller lire tous tes posts sur ton voyage en Allemagne.

Vagabonde said...

Nadège – merci d’être venue sur mon blog et d’essayer de me trouver des blogs en français. J’ai besoin de parler ou écrire dans ma langue natale pour ne pas la perdre.

Vagabonde said...

Sil - Welcome to my blog. I appreciate your comment.

Vagabonde said...

Dedene – We used to drive often to Augusta but now that our daughter has finished her schooling we do not go there anymore. Thanks for your comments – I am always pleased to read them.

bowsprite said...

you are such an amazing photographer! and storyteller! and observer! and blogger! (ok...i could go on...)

bowsprite said...

on money: we see what happens when we base our reality on something so unreal. This is real: Nature, heathful food, water, air, good health for our bodies and our planet. Being good neighbors. With each big disaster (bubblebursts, crashes, blow outs, spills, etc.) I hope we learn and more towards REAL.

Snowbrush said...

My sister loved in Guntersville for a couple of years, and my father's parents hailed from a cove near Bridgeport, Alabama, which is a little ways southwest of Chattanooga. I still have relatives in Trenton, Georgia, but the old ones who I was close to died, so I doubt if I ever go back. I sure used to enjoy visiting them though. Lookout Mtn loomed over their house so that you couldn't see the sky from their front porch windows.

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