Last winter, we discovered Gunter Hill Park, Montgomery, Alabama, an US Army Corps of Engineers Campground (COE). It met all of our basic requirements for a long stay, so it was tentatively penciled in for this winter. It depended on the weather and our hopes to make it up to Red Bay, Alabama. The weather turned out to be good enough for us to make it happen. We’re glad we have been “winterized” as we’ve adapted to a cooler winter than most “snowbirds” seek when they head to Florida or Arizona for the winter.
We departed Ft. Pickens on 1/16 and stayed at Gunter Hill Park for 10 days until 1/26. Friends highly recommended Fescue Creek Park, it fit our route nicely. We were there from 1/26-3/1/2018. The distances and times are in the caption of the map, which were all about perfect for how Bill prefers to drive. And it’s really about all my body can stand as well! We both have the common age-related lower back aches but it seems to bother me more than Bill – or else I just am more vocal. I can at least get up and move around a little while he is driving.
Gunter Hill COE
We wrote extensively about our stay last year, which you can read here. To recap, what we liked most is it is full hook ups and for us with our America the Beautiful Senior pass, only $13/night! Next on our list is that we can easily get in a five mile walk from our front door. That has become a primary need since Bill’s diagnosis of heart disease. We have been very faithful – for the most part – of getting in the necessary exercise. And finally, we want to see new things! We do try to leave something on the table when we leave a place we like, so when and if we return, we have that to look forward to. And then the bonus was there was great shopping near by, like Whole Foods. We also really liked the church we attended so it was great returning for two Sunday’s in a row. The downside is that there is no place to go hiking. We’ve really missed that this winter. But the five miles a day has become satisfying.
So what did we do? I forgot to mention, how we eat now is as important as that 5 mile a day walk. Everyday, we eat fresh and cooking now takes up more time on a daily basis. Although we do like to make a heart healthy casserole or soup we can eat multiple days. We’ve always said we aren’t foodies – but Bill is particular about his food and has always been. Now he’s even worse if that is possible! (It is – now he’s obsessed with eating a heart healthy diet.)
Our reservation hit a glitch! Once we know we are going to a certain campground, we make a reservation. Our arrival would coincide with a three day holiday weekend, so it was vitally important to get our spot reserved. When we made it, we had our pick of about anywhere. But we are creatures of habit and decided on a sure thing, the same site we had last year, Site 53. A few days before our arrival, the campground host called to say the RV parked on the site had literally burned to the ground. The debris was still on the site and it didn’t look like it would be cleaned before our arrival.
The Camp Host had a site picked out for us, but we knew it wouldn’t work for us. Recently, our In-motion Winegard Satellite quit working so we have used a back up satellite. Last year, the family on that site couldn’t get their carryout satellite to work due to the trees. Sadly, the Camp Host said that was the only site left as it was now booked up for the holiday weekend! In church this Sunday (March 11) we learned that we shouldn’t look at our disappoints as bad news, but as an opportunity to shine! Our Lord has been trying to teach us this time and time again as we face such situations while RVing. We were a bit put out that they hadn’t marked the site off the “calendar” when they saw it was taking weeks to get it cleaned off. Long story short, we ended up reserving both sites, just in case it was cleaned off and the other as our back up. The day we arrived, it hadn’t been cleaned up. Thankfully, we had our other site reserved. As is typical, I drove the car first to the site. I arrived only to see someone else was on it, Site 52! Geez, here we have two sites reserved and both were taken. The GREAT news was that a “walk up” site was just vacated so he put us on it! It worked out as you can see our site picture up above. BUT….
Our big outing was to tour the Capitol of Alabama. Ever since we discovered Capitol (as a reminder, spelled with an “O” means the actual building) tours, we’ve decided to do them whenever we can. Plus we have come up with a way to teach our grandsons about geography. For some reason, our daughter learned all the capitals (spelled with an “A” means the center of government for a state) of the states at a young age. So now we have started them a “scrap” book of sorts as we visit the capitals as well as a map to show where we are and our travel routes. Granted, they are still young but you have to start sometime.
Montgomery, Alabama is the capital of Alabama. As with any capital, there is so much rich history and significance. Here is just a synopsis of what we’ve learned from this website -and I’m using it’s picture as none that I took capture it’s beauty front on:
Located in the heart of central Alabama, the city of Montgomery holds a strategic place in state, national, and international history. A frontier settlement, it became a center of the cotton kingdom, Alabama’s seat of government, and the original Confederate capital. Later, the 1886-87 Lightning Route electric trolley system and in 1910 the Wright Brothers’ civilian flying school brought it recognition as a center of technology. During the turbulent civil rights era, Montgomery citizens played a central role in some of its most important events, including the bus boycott and the Selma to Montgomery March. Today, the city is the center of policy and economic development leading the state’s rise as a manufacturing and technology center.”
The Capitol is on Goat Hill! Really? One commonality to the selection for Capitols is that the land is usually donated or sold dirt cheap to “win” the ability to place the capital in said location and ultimately build the Capitol on it!
The Alabama Territory was split off from the larger Mississippi Territory in 1817. The territorial capital was placed in St. Stephens, a town that doesn’t even exist anymore. Two years later, Montgomery was officially incorporated, and about two weeks after that Alabama became the 22nd state. Huntsville was the first state capital during the constitutional convention, but one of Montgomery’s founders had a vision of his centrally located town as the ideal capital location, so he set aside a piece of prime real estate. A year later the new legislature chose Cahawba as the “permanent” state capital, but the founder was hopeful, so he kept the prominent hill empty, and left it to his goats. Following catastrophic floods in 1825, Cahawba was devastated and the capital was moved … to Tuscaloosa.
Many, many goats lived and died on that hill, but Montgomery was patient. Finally, in 1846 the good people of Alabama saw reason, Montgomery was announced as the new state capital, and preparations were made to turn Goat Hill into Capitol Hill. Luckily for us, that’s a boring name, and so through the years locals have held on to the original.
Not only does it carry this interesting moniker, it is actually the fifth Capitol. You can read the history of each of these here. The tour guide briefly went over it and they didn’t have pictures of each one. Our first impression was a bit disappointing as the legislature no longer meets here. Nor was this is as palatial a building as were Madison or Frankfurt. One common theme we have now learned from the first three Capitols we have visited, they all seem to suffer from total catastrophe of fires!
Click below for a brief slideshow our the pictures of our tour of the Capitol, inside and outside.
We also attended the most beautiful First Baptist Church downtown Montgomery. This is another church we really enjoy and as we are learning, the messages each week really speak to us! It’s all about LOVE and being KIND to others.