2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip-Part 14

22 Dec

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Day 14 – 7/25/2021

Leaving Birmingham this morning, I headed south 30 miles on I-65 to visit the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum located in Calera, AL.  This museum actually utilizes two restored railroad depots as part of their displays.  One served the Southern Railway line and the other served the Louisville & Nashville (L&N) Railroad, both of which were moved to this location over the years.   The museum has restored steam locomotives, and other rolling stock, that are used to take visitors on short excursions, during the year, letting them experience real 1900s train travel.  

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Both of the ‘Heart of Dixie’ museum’s depots display antique railroad artifacts, photos, and memorabilia relating the history of the railroad’s influence on the Shelby County area dating from 1890 to 2005.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Another 60 miles south on I-65 I wanted to visit the Maxwell AFB Air Park located in Montgomery, AL but the park was on the base and was closed to the public without a special pass.  So, I headed downtown to visit several places on my list.  The first was the Old Alabama Town, which is a collection of 50 restored 19th and 20th century structures that show how the early pioneers of central Alabama lived and worked.  This is an amazing attraction!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Next was the Hank Williams Museum, where this small store-front museum displays original artifacts and memorabilia from the singer’s short life.  The centerpiece of the museum’s displays is Hank’s 1952 Baby Blue Cadillac convertible.  The car is surrounded by many of his guitars, costumes, and photos as visitors are serenaded by some of his famous songs.  Brings back a lot of memories for me. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It wasn’t far to where I stopped to check out the Riverfront Park there in Montgomery.  As it turns out, this is a wonderful city owned and operated recreation compound that provides an amphitheater for musical and other events, a baseball stadium, a riverboat for rides on the Alabama River, and the restored Union Train Station shed.  This compound is a great place for locals as well as visitors to enjoy a day at the park. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I drove past the Capital Building on my way to visit The First White House of the Confederacy.  It is said that President Jefferson Davis and his family lived in this house during the time Mongomery was the capital of the Confederate States of America (1861).  The capital of the Confederacy was moved to Richmond, VA later that year.  The house was built in 1835 and moved to its present location in 1921, where it was restored for use as a museum, and has been furnished with many original mid-1800s period Jefferson family pieces.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Just down the street I ran across ‘The Alley’ and stopped to take a photo of that unusual entrance.  It appears that some creative folks have renovated the buildings on either side of this alley and now have all types of upscale boutiques, stores, restaurants, and bars for people to enjoy during their leisure time.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I wanted to visit the Hyundai manufacturing plant there in Montgomery but they had discontinued their tours because of Covid-19, so I headed east 40 miles on I-85 to visit the Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site located at the Morton Field in Tuskegee, AL.  This site honors the African American pilots who fought in the air for their country during WWII.  Morton Field was the home of the Tuskegee Airman Museum I visited on a previous road trip, but it has moved or closed, as I couldn’t find it at the field on this trip.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Continuing east 45 miles on I-85, across the border, I stopped to visit the National Civil War Naval Museum located in the Rotary Park area of Columbus, GA.  This large museum has the remains of two Civil War ships, the CSS Jackson Ironclad, built in 1864, and the USS Hartford, built in 1858, plus a large selection of scale model Civil War ships and ironclads.  The museum also displays a large variety of original Civil War uniforms, weapons, and a host of other artifacts, and memorabilia.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

By now it was time to find my motel there in Columbus.  I entered the motel address into Greta (my Garmin) and she took me right to the motel.  After getting checked in, I recorded my day’s activities.  Then I heated up my leftover St. Louis Spareribs and enjoyed them for the third time.  That’s what I call stretching a good thing as far as you can.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

One Response to “2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip-Part 14”

  1. divoran09 December 24, 2021 at 11:10 am #

    Very fine and wonderful.

    Love you,

    DiVoran

    Like

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