Saturday, October 31, 2009
Kingsport to Moundville Alabama
October 30 Friday (416 miles)
We rolled out of the driveway at 8:15. Our goal was 8:00 so we almost made it! The trees along I81 were very colorful and we noticed significantly more traffic than usual due to the closing of I 40 from Asheville to Knoxville when the rock slide occurred this past weekend.
The miles clicked by as we listened to a mystery on CD. Jane had not been through Knoxville on I 40 since the construction in downtown was completed…very nice. As we passed through GA south of Chattanooga we noticed the kudzu was still alive and growing and the trees were less colored….they had not had frost yet. We stopped at the Alabama Welcome center for lunch and Ben was remembering when he and George Stevenson came through here on the way to respond to a hurricane for the Red Cross. He remembered all the welcome and rest were closed for the hurricane.
We passed through Birmingham on the Interstate with no problems and set the GPS to find the Moundville Archeological Park south of Tuscaloosa where we had planned to stop for the night. The time also changed so we were able to see the video and a few of their items before the welcome center closed at 4:00. The museum was closed for repairs and we were sorry not to see all their relics. We drove around the area with 20 Indian Mounds which were quite impressive. The tallest one was 60 feet (82 steps) high- nothing compared to the ruins in Mexico but it was still a climb. The Mississipian Indians lived here for hundreds of years and about 800 years ago just disappeared. There was a village here and several others surrounding with a total of over 10,000 Indians who were roughly contemporaries with the Anznazi in Chaco and San Juan River area. Staying here and in Chaco gives you the opportunity to live in the exact locations of the villages. This location is preserved and managed by the University of Alabama. The campground is nice – not large but had water, electric and nice restrooms. It is certainly worth the $12 fee.
We were setting up camp when the guy across the road came over concerned about the tornado warnings…We had been surprised by the 81 degree temperatures this afternoon but had not been listening to the radio. It was also very windy – all signs that should have alerted us to severe weather. I got out my Red Cross radio with weather – cranked it by hand since it dawned on me what the electric cord was I had taken OUT of my computer case – "saying what in the world is this for???" Well it was for the radio…but it uses batteries and the hand crank too so it is always Red Cross ready!
We found the weather alerts but then had to get out the map to find out what county we were in!! It turned out the storms coming through were just to the north of us…but they were all along the MS/AL state line to the north. The temperatures behind the wind were going to be in the 50’s….a 30 degree change!
We had rain – nothing severe. Ben was able to get the local TV station with weather with his homemade HD antenna. We bought a small TV for viewing DVD’s and TV when we could get it and it is a little snowy but sound is good and it is very watchable. Supper over, we have settled down to a quiet evening – Jane writing the blog and downloading photos and Ben watching TV. So far we have not found anything we left at home. Hope it rains tonight – and the weather map shows rain in Meridan Mississippi – about 60 miles west of us…. We will see.