12/02/18 Opp, AL

DAY #43

The rain finally stopped and the clouds were slowly breaking up when I headed out this morning.  On the agenda was a full day exploring the area north of the campground highlighted by stops in Selma, and Montgomery, AL. 

It was still a bit foggy when I left, but the temperature was in the mid 60s and there was the promise that the weather was going to only improve.  Not long after leaving, I saw not one or two, but three cardinals on the side of the road.  I thought, WOW, and with a smile on my face murmured, today’s going to be A-OK.

This part of Alabama is trees, trees, and more trees. and the drive up to Selma is no exception.  Once you get over the anxiety of, oh my god, what happens if something goes wrong, It really is nice driving down these back roads.  They’re usually quiet except when you get that one car who comes out of nowhere and wants to go 20 mph over the speed limit, That kind of brings you back to reality. 

County Roads.

 Pictures may be a bit blurred.  I took them through the windshield, while driving and oh yea, the windshield was really dirty.

State Highway.

Driving up to Selma took about 2 1/2 hours and the further north I drove, the clearer the sky became.  It was turning out to be a beautiful day in East-Central Alabamy.  The roads were free of traffic and with the exception of some real real back roads, in remarkable nice shape.  Alabama is a very low tax state and I always thought that meant things like roads and state parks would be a joke, but in reality, they’re quite nice.  I did not appreciate all the garbage on the sides of the road, damn it, it really ticks me off, cmon people, cmon!    Another observation, If you have faith, or want to find it, this is the place to come.  I’ve not seen so many churches, they’re everywhere.

Made it to Selma.

This is the Edmund Pettus Bridge that was made famous in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

Looking at the bridge from the west.

The bridge crosses the Alabama river.

Some glimpses of the Selma riverfront.

Coming into Downtown.

Some of the buildings that make up Downtown

I really like this old Rexall sign.

While there are signs and monuments along with other indicators of the importance of Selma in the civil rights movement, it still feels like an undiscovered find.  I did see a few people walking around with cameras and cellphones at the ready, but overall it was a low key (but very important) experience.

Downtown is still in business, as is along the riverfront (I think).   I’m not sure by the way it looks if it’s been revitalized (along the river) or if its hard core ghetto, it is that much of a dichotomy (I don’t really know what this means, it just sounds impressive).  there was no one around or any cars on the street, but it looked like there were places open for business (closed because it was Sunday) .  These two areas have a “worn at the edges” look, as does the city in general.  There are a lot of old buildings in various degrees of condition and when you cross the tracks (figuratively & literately), some neighborhoods look as though success has passed them buy. 

I wanted to take some photos but I always get hesitant taking pictures of peoples homes.  Sometimes they see you and depending where you are, and who you are, it can become uncool.  Now when you cross the tracks, not as much a concern.  Not saying anything, it’s just the way it is.

Built in 1847, This building has served as a masonic university, Confederate hospital, and Courthouse

After Selma, it was time to head out towards Montgomery.  Montgomery is about an hour east of Selma and fits into the category of “big city.”

I stopped to mail a letter along the way.

Before getting to Montgomery I stopped at a small city called Prattville.  I guess it’s considered a “bedroom community” for Montgomery, but in its day, it was its own little world. 

A nice mixture of revitalized store fronts & old school business’s.  Oops, forgot to include some revitalized buildings but believe me, they’re there. 

For decades the building shown manufactured cotton gins, the implement that removes the seeds from the cotton boll.  Up until early this century the plant was still in operation.

Bye, Bye Prattville, interesting little town. On to Montgomery.  As I said, Montgomery is a big city.  It has freeways running through it, and tall buildings  and an overall look to it of modern America, so for me not a lot to see.  There were a couple of things that I really did want to see.

First, I wanted to see the church that Dr. King preached in, and the Montgomery bus boycott had it’s beginning.

It’s only been 50+ years since the days of the civil rights movement, a movement that fundamentally has changed America.  I was surprised that the church is only one block from the state capital.

 Looking towards Downtown Montgomery.

The State Capital of Alabama.  The street was at an incline.  I’m not sure if it’s the street of me responsible for how this looks. 

When Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederacy, he walked down this street, given Montgomery was the first capital of the CSA.  Ironic that little over a century later, the people he fought to enslave marched down this very same street, with freedom in their hands and hearts, and soul.

And here is the first “White House” of the Confederacy

That was it for Montgomery, I still had a couple of hours to get back to the land of Opp and wanted to do so before sunset. 

Coming into and leaving Montgomery I noticed some changes in the landscape.  It became more hilly, with more fields, but still, lots and lots of trees.  Nice ride back and another day in the books.  This was a very satisfying day for me.

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