Saturday, February 7, 2009
Today Gadsden AL was celebrating their chili cook off which started at noon. By the time we got up and walked there it was almost 1:00 pm. By then most contestants were already out of their chili so we got to try only four out of the 21 that competed today. Two of them were so hot and spicy we could hardly even taste them. One was made with chicken and not too hot, and the last one we could eat only after doctoring it up with sour cream and corn chips. That turned down the heat some and it was actually pretty good.
After the chili cook off, we drove south about an hour to Birmingham AL. In downtown we drove by the Five Points South shopping area on our way to Vulcan Park up on Red Mountain. Vulcan is the god of fire and his statue here is the largest cast iron statue in the world.
After coming down the mountain we went to see the African Village in America. This is a half acre of yard sculptures, constructed by artist Joe Minter in his back yard, mainly out of found objects and thrift shop finds. It has taken Joe twenty years to build this historical, biblical, geographical, and political memorial to the civil rights movement.
We drove by admiring the village and as we reached the end of this very narrow street, we noticed that it was a dead end with nowhere to turn. So after a few minutes of inching back and forth … and back and forth … we finally got Bella turned around. Then Joe Minter came out to say hi and we got a chance to meet him and talk to him about his project.
Then we went to the Alabama Farmer’s Market which is open 24/7. Even though it’s winter time the produce looked so fresh and colorful. We bought some bananas and apples, and a mango and an avocado.
By then it was late afternoon so we drove south about half an hour towards the place where we planned to spend the night. We heard that Sun Coast RV in Calera AL has camping with free hookups so we went to check it out.
As we got close we saw the Sun Coast billboards that said free camping and free dump station. When we got there, the security guard came out to greet us and confirmed that camping here is indeed free, with electric, water, and sewer. The place is just off the highway, there are about 20 sites, all paved, and very well lit.
We couldn’t believe our luck and are so grateful to Sun Coast RV for having this place available for people who need a place to stop and camp for the night. This is awesome.
We are now almost over our 5g limit on our Verizon data plan and because the Verizon overcharges are so expensive, we haven’t been able to get online every day as usual. This is driving us nuts. Living without internet access is cruel and unusual punishment.
After checking out the Sun Coast RV place, we went to find free wi-fi. We ended up at a McDonald’s at the next exit off the highway and we were able to at least check our email, with a coupon we got from McDonald’s for one free hour of wi-fi.
There was a Walmart right next door, so we decided to rent a couple of movies from RedBox since we won’t have internet access for the rest of the night. Then we went back to Sun Coast RV, hooked up, and settled in for the night.