#Bizarre #Travel Journal #5: Sweeet or Soour in Alabama

#Selma, 1965, the #Edmund Pettus Bridge, flash point of the very important #Civil Rights Movement in the US— brave individuals for sure. You’d think we would’ve made more progress in #human rights by now, but racial, social and sexual civil rights are still quite contentious. A little compassion and respect could go a long way.
When you come to Selma to mark the fifty years since those significant events, look to the right as you cross the big bridge coming into town and you will see the #Bridge Tender’s Cottage, built in 1885. It doubles as a B&B and if you are lucky enough to stay there, or get a tour, check out the historic plaques inside.
Walking up the street from the river, (the original bridge is long gone) you might be able to snoop around the old #St. James Hotel— but watch out for Lucinda. Is that lavender you smell? And that barking dog? Well, just don’t try to pet it. Rumors abound of other worldly activities around the hotel hot spot for the paranormal.
Hop back in your car and drive around to view the old antebellum houses common in the South. You may find a For Sale sign on one that calls out to you for that renovation hobby you’ve been thinking of starting in your spare time, retirement, or underemployment.
Hungry? Beyond your normal fast food and its near cousins, Selma offers a few hidden gems. Nothing you might call super fine dining. You will have to slide up the road to Birmingham’s Five Points area for such culinary thrills as the #Highland Bar and Grill, or the #Hot and Hot Fish Club. But if good BBQ is what you are after, follow the chap in the bowler below to #Hancock’s for some great food at unbelievable prices (and tasty, sweet, fried apple fritters).
Not normally considered an international destination, Selma recently hosted a visit of forty or so #Australian Quilters, talented ladies all proper with their tea. They came for hard-to-find textiles with prices that were way down-under. They stayed to relax a few days and catch up on correspondence to wary relatives back home, trying to explain grits and buckeye gravy on biscuits. Just before they left, they were treated to a special haunted tour of the Graveyard, where costumed savants entertained them with stories of famous and very dead former Selmans. For many of the quilters, it was a yearly trek— boarding the bus in #NYC to meander cross country to the annual #International Quilter Festival in Houston. If buses from the northeast to the Deep South, sounds kinda familiar, check out #Freedom Riders.
A chance stop at an old gas station put me back on the trail of the elusive KoolAid Pickles— dill pickles soaked in various flavors (and colors) of the sugary flavored drink. Was that large red jar on the counter filled with pickles, or was it something else? Dog gone it. Pig knuckles, again. Rumors of truck-stop pickle jars lead me north to Huntsville to try my luck in the land of the Rockets.
Huntsville is home to NASA’s #Marshall Space Flight Center, a large, well-endowed museum that lets you get close to all the important stuff. Definitely worth the trip. Supposedly, these rockets are why there are several decent German restaurants in the area. History, check your history. The Step-Father of Rocketry, Wernher Von Braun (after the Father of American Rocketry, Robert H. Goddard) surrendered from the losing side of World War II and ended up at Huntsville’s #Redstone Arsenal. Friends and relatives followed. Hence, the restaurants.
Not to be outdone by all the tall pointy rockets outside of town, a modern church was built downtown with a rocket-like steeple and a huge space oriented mural. You really need to stop by and take a close look.
My pickle search was looking grim when I stumbled upon the bizarre anomaly below in the local Walmart, And believe me, you can always find some bizarre anomalies in Walmart, especially after midnight when they close the ‘other’ doors.
Not the old school version, but it doesn’t take much of leap to get to there. Let’s see. A packet of black cherry and magic, or is it just a really messed-up dirty, dirty martini starter.
The #Pickle Sickle (or pop, if you insist) is a unique treat. Reportedly, they are good for rigorous workouts and voraciously desired by pregnant women. I’m unsure of the specific benefits to either of those groups. You can freeze the sickles, cut the top and push up the delicious…. Most Alabamians claim they were imported from Texas. Only five-calories, sugar-free and, I suspect #gluten-free. I’ve got one in the freezer right now, but I not going to mess with it until it stops moving.
Speaking of ‘not likely to be gluten-free’, it was a pleasant surprise to find the #Blue Plate Café. The South used to be filled with “home cooking” restaurants like this, but those times have mostly gone the way of the horny toad.
Stop in and grab a bite. There are few fine bargains like this to be found.
Blog onto http://outcasts-tlh.com and share some of your #Bizarre #Travel experiences.


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