Tag Archives: Alabama

Mini Road Trip to Alabama

12 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis


Last week our daughter in Florida came to visit us in Western North Caroina and we took a mini road trip to Alabama. When we stopped at the Unclaimed Baggage and Freight Store in Scottsboro, Alabama on our road trip last summer, I thought she would enjoy exploring it as she is a serious bargain hunter. Before we arrived at Unclaimed Baggage, we made a stop at the Lodge Factory, just over the line into Alabama from Tennessee. The people who work in the store are super friendly and always seem to be happy. Their smiles are worth the stop!


Check out the kitchen tools on the statue


Here is a little from their website. If you use Lodge cast-iron, you should visit their site.

Originally named The Blacklock Foundry after Joseph Lodge’s friend and minister, the company gained success until May of 1910 when it burned down. Just three months later and a few blocks south, the company was reborn as Lodge Manufacturing Company.


The drive to Unclaimed baggage from the Lodge store was uneventful  except that we gained an extra hour of shopping time when we crossed from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time. Here is a short excerpt from their About page.


In 1970 Doyle Owens headed to Washington D.C. with an idea, a borrowed pick-up truck and a $300 loan to pick up his first load of unclaimed baggage. Selling the contents on card tables in an old rented house, the venture was an instant success.


We walked into the huge store with seemingly endless rack of clothing. Our daughters face had  look of someone who is overwhelmed. Sensing her confusion, I suggested she start looking at hats as she loves collecting them.




Her “finds”

Our stop for the night was Huntsville, Alabama, home of the US Space and Rockert Center, the Redstone Arsenal and Marshall Space Flight Center. Husband and I had only driven through the city on our road trip last year, so we were looking forward to touring the next day. As a bonus, our daughter would be able to pick up some background information as well as absorb the culture of the area for the sequel to her award-winning novel , Jessie.




We chose an early start the next morning for two reasons, first to buy tickets for the daily bus tour and second to see as much as possible before the oppressive heat was in full force. We were successful at snagging tickets but not so much at avoiding the heat. It was a hot, humid day and neither the buildings nor the bus had adequate air-conditioning. (Tip: Don’t visit during the summer!). The Rocket Center had some interesting exhibits as well as hands on activities. Husband and daughter took a go at attempting to land a Space Shuttle.



Rebekah crashed in a spectacular manner. Her dad landed successfully but “ground control” had some serious comments about his landing skills.

We marveled at the cramped conditions ithe early astronauts endured n the space capsules . Rebekah slid into a Mercury capsule but it was so tight, she didn’t slide all the way into it. While she was in , several people approached and we urged them to take a turn inside. They all backed away with panicky looks on their faces.



I think our favorite stop on the bus tour was at the ISS payload building.  We were able to view the command center which is staffed 24/7 to communicate with the station. We were fortunate that one of the staff came out and gave us an interesting talk about the work of the ISS ground communications team.  There were several children in the crowd and they asked great questions.



As we were leaving, husband snapped a picture of our daughter in a space suit. It was a fun day, even with the heat . Rebekah was able to check off another item off of her Space bucket list. She toured Johnson Space Center a year ago and holds an annual pass to Kennedy Space Center. Next on her list is Greenbelt, Maryland and the Goddard Space Flight Center.



As I said, this was a mini road trip and the next morning we were headed home to our beloved mountains and cooler temperatures.


PS: I forgot to mention that our daughter, Rebekah is participating in a promotion that is giving away a copy of The Magnolia Table cookbook by Fixer Upper star, Joanna Gaines as well as a $25.00 Amazon gift card. Click below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


19 May


Judy Wills


Growing up in New Mexico, there wasn’t a lot of water around – no swimming pools (except at the public ones), no ponds or lakesides, no oceans, etc. So, consequently, I was not really familiar with boats of any kind. That really didn’t bother me too much I had a lot of other interests.

If you have ever lived in government quarters – as we did on any military base where we were stationed – then you know that, when you leave that posting, you are required to have those same quarters absolutely immaculate! Better than when you moved into them! And there would be an inspection of those quarters by an official inspector. If they found anything wrong – you were required to “fix” it before you were allowed to leave the base.

We had lived in quarters on Tyndall AFB, Florida for five years. That’s almost too long, actually. Our usual moves were about every three years. I told Fred that we needed to leave soon, because I was beginning to put down roots – in a government duplex!!

He was finally given orders to relocate. So then the work of packing up and moving out began. After the movers had taken our belongings away, we started cleaning the unit. We had always thought we could do that ourselves, rather than hire someone to come in and do it for us. So I set Fred and the girls to cleaning, and I thought I would tackle the kitchen. I had planned on the weekend to do the entire kitchen. Unfortunately, the stove was so old that, in taking it apart and cleaning it – it took the entire weekend just for the stove!

By the time we had finished, we were exhausted.
Now….you may think there is no connection to cleaning and boats…but wait….

page1image16592 There was a gentleman who worked in the Weather Station with Fred, who LOVED boats! And especially sailboats. Not being able to purchase one for himself, he had contracted with another gentleman from Alabama to care for his sailboat.

It was a 33-foot Hunter that would sleep six people. It had a full galley and full shower. It had a small auxiliary engine to get us in and out of port. It was set up for ocean voyages and was one-person configured. Whenever the owner wanted to “play” with it, he would call and come down and retrieve it. That usually only happened once or twice a year. The rest of the time, our friend could take it out whenever he wanted.

And that’s what happened with us. He had offered to take us out for a sail, on the last day we were in town. And so we did. I was a bit confused when we motored out of port, thinking “what does this have to do with sailboating?”

But then he cut the engine and unfurled the sail. It was the most wonderful thing – so very quiet, and peaceful, and RESTFUL…just exactly what we needed after all that cleaning.

He even let our 8-year-old handle the wheel for a while. She loved it!

We’ve never purchased a boat of our own – never felt the need to. But it was an experience that we savored and have remembered all these years.

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