Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Scenic Alabama US Highway 24 
McFarland Park - on the Tennessee River
Florence AL
Like so many of our RV friends, we have our favorite places, favorite cities, and favorite foods at favorite places.  In many instances we go out of our way to try new experiences, sample new foods, and attend annual regional cultural events.

Scenic Drive into McFarland Park
Florence, AL
That's why every year we look forward to spending time in northwest Alabama and parts of Mississippi, not only because of the friendly and hospitable people, but we choose to have our annual RV maintenance service done on our motorhome in Red Bay, AL.

Entrance - McFarland Park
Florence, AL
Picnic Tables and Shelters located throughout
McFarland Park

Fishing Pier at McFarland Park
Tennessee River
One of our favorites is in beautiful Florence, Alabama - on the Tennessee River, across from Muscle Shoals, AL.  There's nothing better than a couple of weeks of downtime at McFarland Park and Marina after we leave Red Bay.  McFarland Park, a full service campground with 60 sites, is conveniently located to downtown shopping and restaurants, and if we have an opportunity we enjoy going to the University of North Alabama to visit with their live lion mascots, Leo and Una, in their beautiful natural habitat.

Leo and Una - Mascots
University of North Alabama
The University of Northern Alabama has been a well-respected State university since 1830.

Campus of University of North Alabama
Florence, AL
In the past we enjoyed the character of the McFarland Park teepees along the edge of the Tennessee River,  but in the last couple of years these had to be removed after several storms and hard rains made them uninhabitable....yes, people rented these fun places!  While I never had the opportunity to sleep in one, it was on my bucket list.

McFarland Park Teepees - Florence, AL
McFarland Park - Florence AL
Unfortunately, maintenance on the bridge from Muscle Shoals to Florence made it extremely difficult for us to visit the McFarland Park for over a year.

View from Muscle Shoals, AL to
Bridge over Tennessee River at Marina at
McFarland Park - Florence, AL
 Recently we enjoyed returning to McFarland Park to do what we call a "reconnaissance visit".   A short visit told us the park was still a nice place to visit and enjoy the campground facilities, and locals and travelers like ourselves still enjoy the well kept and secure natural park setting as well as beautiful sunsets on the river.   It is also commonplace to see huge barges that continue on down the Tennessee River to other river destinations.

Barge on Tennessee River - Florence, AL
We enjoy the fact that there is so much history in this area since the area was originally occupied by Native American Indians for hundreds of years, and they left historical artifacts before they were forced on The Trail Of Tears to be forcefully re-settled in Oklahoma.  Also of note is that Florence is the home of  the recognized founder of blues, W.C. Handy.

Florence is the home of the world famous FAME Recording Studios.  Such recording artists as The Tams, Joe Tex, Etta James, Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett, Paul Anka, Jerry Reed, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Pam Tillis, Aretha Franklin, Mac Davis and Otis Redding were just a few of the famous performers and singers with FAME Publishing.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Many memorable family vacations have paused while traveling through beautiful Chattanooga, TN,  because there was so much to see when you arrived.

Finally ... Tennessee
Ruby Falls Barn Ads 
See Rock City Ads - Chattanooga, TN

Lookout Mountain - Incline Railway
Chattanooga, TN
Billboards and signs on the side of barns and roofs along the way pointed you in the direction where you might witness the most unbelievable sights in the world.

The Road Leads to Chattanooga, TN
and Lots of FUN!
Remember when you could see Seven (7), SEVEN!!! states at one time!?

Chattanooga, TN
You're definitely flying high - just like the eagles!
Lover's Leap - Chattanooga, TN  
 Since 1932, or around 85 years, such iconic must-see attractions such as Lookout Mountain, Rock City, Ruby Falls, and Lover's Leap (which are approximately 6 miles from downtown Chattanooga) accurately led you to the spot where you became a full-fledged tourist for a very modest admission.

See Ruby Falls - I-24 East
Ruby Falls Zip (Something New)
Chattanooga, TN 
See Ruby Falls
Chattanooga, TN

Definitely a Chance to Expand our Horizons!
See Rock City
Chattanooga, TN
Fast forward, really fast forward, almost 60 years and guess what?!  You can still go make memories at Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls, etc., and there haven't been that many changes.  Perhaps a bit more colorful advertising road signs...but it's just about the same, and it is now an American tourist tradition.   And on a clear day the seven (7),  SEVEN!!! states are still there... no more, no less.  Sadly, those colorful barns advertising Rock City are disappearing and are being replaced with billboards without a lot of character.   A very important note is that the trips with my family was before any Interstates were complete, so we were on a US Highway, and made it without anything but paper maps....sorry, no GPS!

Ruby Falls - Chattanooga, TN
Ruby Falls - Chattanooga, TN
Ruby Falls - Chattanooga, TN
Ruby Falls - Chattanooga, TN
One of the memories of the ride to Chattanooga were definitely all the signs along the way!  As a child, do you recall long car trips and the excitement when you arrived at these behemoth roadside tourist places you thought you'd never witness!?  If you can imagine, this was before Walt Disney World was a serious consideration (or the internet .... or smart phones).

See Rock City - Chattanooga, TN
Rock City - On Top of Lookout Mountain
Chattanooga, TN
MORE TO SEE?  HOW?? - Chattanooga, TN

Incline Railway and Ruby Falls - Chattanooga, TN
Rock City and Ruby Falls - (and Coca-Cola)
See Rock City Birdhouse - Chattanooga, TN
Must Be getting Close to Exit 174 - Chattanooga, TN
See Rock City Birdhouse - Chattanooga, TN
Ruby Falls and Ruby Falls Zip - Chattanooga, TN
At the end of our family fun/educational roadside adventure in Chattanooga, we returned to our  Volkswagen bus (not air conditioned) and headed for the next tourist place.  The next adventure was probably the infamous Ghost Town In The Sky, an exciting wild western town near Maggie Valley, where you actually got to see a pretend-REAL gunfight.  Remember this???  Now you're talking!

I-24 to Chattanooga, TN

Note:  The pictures displayed above represents about 120 miles or a fraction of the advertising that we enjoyed along I-24 to Chattanooga. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017


The title of this blog is somewhat misleading because it's all about speed, not sex, but thank you for pursuing your curiosity.  We couldn't leave Indianapolis without a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, aka, The "Brickyard", and formerly the home of the United States Grand Prix, in Speedway, Indiana, home to both the world's largest and second-largest single day sporting event.

Skyline of Indianapolis
Approximately 6 miles west of Downtown Indianapolis
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
aka The "Brickyard"
View of Speedway, Indiana
Since 1909 the Speedway was the first racing facility so named.  

Although there is a seating capacity of 235,000, infield seating raised the capacity to 400,000, making it the highest-capacity sports venue in the world.  The Speedway is so large that you could fit the Roman Coliseum, Vatican City, Wimbledon Campus, Rose Bowl, Yankee Stadium and Churchill Downs inside the 2.5 mile oval.  Since 1911, the Speedway has been the home of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing", the Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway 
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Speedway was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, and is the only such site to be affiliated with automobile racing history.  

Historic Marker at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
As native Floridians we were pleasantly surprised to hear of the beginning affiliation of the  co-founder and first president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May, 1909, was Indianapolis businessman Carl Graham Fisher.   This is the same Carl Fisher aka "Mr. Miami Beach", (1874-1938),  also recognized as extremely instrumental in the early development of Miami Beach, and many Floridians would recognize his name instantly.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
We visited the Speedway facilities starting at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which opened in 1956, and houses the Auto Racing Hall of Fame.  Lots of activity was obvious as there were many race teams arriving and staff was starting to prepare for pre-race activities of the Brickyard 400.  A special exhibit focused on the stellar racing career of A. J. Foyt.

Original Painting of A.J. Foyt
Collage of A.J. Foyt's Career
A room in the museum displayed A.J. Foyt's winning race cars
Also on the property is the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort, which originally opened as the Speedway Golf Course in 1929.  The golf course has 14 holes outside of the track, along the backstretch, and four holes in the infield. 

Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort
The Speedway has transitioned many times through the years which has helped the Indy's reputation as a great track;  from roadsters in the 1950s to the 500-mile race of the Formula One World Championship for 10 years (1950-1960).  In 1961 the final remaining brick sections of the track were paved over with asphalt, with the exception of a distinct 3 foot wide line of bricks at the start/finish line.  The "Brickyard" thus became known for its "Yard of Bricks".

The "Yard of Bricks"
The Speedway and the Indianapolis area is closely tied to Indy car racing, analogous to the link NASCAR has to the greater Charlotte area.

Indy Car Experience (note 2 seats)
Race car drivers have to be in tip-top shape for so many reasons...and I'm not.  A cause for concern was the sign on the Indy race car for visitors to have their photos made in an authentic race car.

You must think about this and what's
best for you - 
It isn't getting in that's hard...it's getting out that may require additional personnel and special attention.  So what do you think I did?