We woke with a clap of thunder and some rain this morning. Many campers had already left. This is a popular overnight stop because it’s an easy on-easy off from the Interstate. We discovered that our camping neighbors are from Boulder Junction, WI. They spotted Auggie tied outside and got to talking to us about doxies (they had had 3), motorhome issues, and their travels. There were traveling with 4 teenage grandchildren, ages 14-19, from 3 different families. They were on a 10 day trip, taking three days to get to Destin, Florida 4 days at the beach, and 3 days home. We met the kids who came out to pet Auggie. They were a nice group of cousins who seemed to be enjoying their trip with Grandpa and Grandma. They have done this annual trip for 10 years with the grandkids. (You meet so many nice people when camping.) The campground continued to empty out as we made our preparations to leave. We had a long drive of 233 miles today, but we couldn’t check in until 4 PM so we hadn’t been in a big rush. Bob saw some rain on the weather radar and wanted to get things closed up before things got wet, so we amped things up a bit. We pulled out of the campground around 9:45 and hopped on I-65. As soon as we got up the ramp, we saw raindrops on our windshield.
Traffic going in the other direction had their lights on so we knew we were heading into some rain. It began to rain harder and then let up–repeating that pattern as we drove in and through the rain showers traveling south.
The highway wove its way up and down and around the hills without a straight stretch in sight as we neared the Alabama border.
Low clouds hung in the trees after the rain ended.
We passed the Alabama Welcome Center where a real rocket stood representing Huntsville and Alabama’s part in the space program.
Clouds started to break up and the sky had more definition in it. Finally, the sky brightened and there was no rain in sight. We crossed the Tennessee River where it had overflowed its banks.
Traffic was pretty heavy being that it was a Saturday, but at least the sun was out. The drive was beautiful with dense woods lining the highway.
We ate our lunch on the road (like we always do) before we hit Birmingham. I-65 took us straight through town on a very rough road, but traffic wasn’t bad there.
Just out of Birmingham, we came upon a traffic stoppage where traffic was at a crawl. My GPS said there was an accident up ahead. We passed where the accident was supposed to be, but there was nothing! Traffic got to moving a little faster at times and then we’d stand completely still for no reason that we could tell.
We noticed the traffic on the other side was doing the same thing. What is going on here? We went on like this for close to an hour, about 15 miles, until we were able to resume our normal speed. Everyone needed to have a lot of patience and not be in a hurry. Like I said earlier, we couldn’t check in until later anyway, so we didn’t stress out about it. We crossed the Alabama River at 2:15.
Our GPS was taking us on some interesting roads to get to the campground. We were 3 miles from the campground when our path was blocked by a train maneuvering on the tracks. Cars were going everywhere trying to get around the train. That was another delay of maybe 20 minutes.
This was getting ridiculous now! We wanted to get there and relax! When the train finally cleared the tracks, we were anxious to get going. We arrived at Gunter Hill COE (Corps of Engineers) Campground at 2:45.
The Corps of Engineers have some very nice campgrounds throughout the country. The campgrounds are run by the Federal Government so we could use our Lifetime Senior Pass. The cost with this pass is $15 a night. We have camped in some COE campgrounds in Florida and our friends, Mark and Jan, had recommended this one to us, so we wanted to give it a try. It did not disappoint. We had reserved site #26 online, so we checked in with the campground host at the gate who directed us how to get to our site (which was unoccupied). Thank goodness! We found it using the map he gave us and were set up in no time.
Our wooded site backs up the Antioch Branch of the Catoma Creek which is part of the Alabama River. We have a nice view of the river. It is a large site with lots of room to park the Jeep. The sites are private and far away from your neighbors.
We relaxed with a cocktail after all that happened on the drive today. I did 2 loads of wash while I enjoyed my cocktail. It started raining again around dinnertime, but Bob was still able to grill some knackwurst under the awning. It continued to rain off and on as pop-up showers appeared. Auggie and I had to wait for a break in the showers to take our walk. We got a break around 7:00, so we headed out. The rain had cooled things off a bit–it was now only 78 instead of 91. We watched some TV and made plans to do some exploring in the area while we are here for 5 days. It is so nice to stay in one place for awhile.