Oct 24 Day 30 Rock n’ Roll

By now you know we’re in Florence, Alabama which is the reputed birthplace of the blues and just across the river from Muscle Shoals where many big names like the Rolling Stones, Cher, Aretha Franklin, The Osmonds, Little Richard and more recently, Alicia Keys have recorded hit songs. Literally hundreds of hits have been created with the mixing board above and it continues to be used.

The interesting thing about this river cruising is you can easily crossover from boating to land exploration at the drop of a hat. Today we rented a car and decided to do some touring. Nick agreed to good naturedly go with the flow and visit the spots of interest Barb wanted to see (seemed only fair since he’s playing golf on 2 of the four days we’re here!). First there was the dirt pile…..

Actually this is an Indian mound similar to the one we saw earlier this trip in Moundsville.

 Which was followed by a 20 minute drive to a rock pile…..

Actually this is a rock wall (and you only see a small part here) built by the guy on the left over the last 35 years to commemorate his great, great grandmother who was the only native American woman who returned home after the trail of tears in which Native Americans in the South East were rounded up and forced to march to parts west of the Mississippi as part of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Each rock marks one of her steps home. It is the largest unmortared rock wall in the US and the largest memorial to a Native American woman.

…and then a 45 minute drive to a cemetery on “Coon Hound Road”. 5 minutes into it, WAIT…Nick realized it was not A cemetery on Coon Hound Road, but a coon hound cemetery! Nick had been doing so well, but reached his limit and was not up for a long trip to a doggy cemetery specializing in coon hounds…famous ones, but dogs. Instead we went bypassed that one and continued on the route to some other cool spots celebrating the musical history of the area:

The Rolling Stones recorded Brown Sugar in this building.


Check it out…Cher in 1969 in front of that same building. Notice the façade is blank (but see the number in the window?).
…and then the album cover from record she made there. Notice the name of the record “3614 Jackson Highway”…..the building owners thought that looked cool so they added that address façade later!

and at FAME:

Editor’s Add-On Pic: Yes! We walked through the doors! Maybe there’s some hope for us!?!
B outside the FAME control room right where the hits were made!

the birthplace of Helen Keller (another famous local). 

Birthplace of Helen Keller. Small building to the right is where she spent 2 weeks, at the age of 6, under the supervision of Anne Sullivan, her tutor, and had the “water” breakthrough . At the insistence of Sullivan, Helen’s parents actually rode her around the town for hours before moving her there so she would believe they were far away in order to stop the cycle of spoiling and indulging!

We also went to see the lions at University of Northern Alabama. It’s the only university with a live mascot living on campus. In this case it’s in an actual lion compound. (no lion picture as he wasn’t out!) 

3 thoughts on “Oct 24 Day 30 Rock n’ Roll”

  1. So, Maldens, throughout all of this marina bopping, you keep saying the perfect size has been 30 feet to fit into smaller slips. How much larger length and width can you go and still fit in the “sailboat” size slips you mention? What is the typical length of Looper vessels? And would carrying a pair of collapsible bikes be a good idea, or would dealing with Ziggy be an issue? Plus, you could only go downhill if you were Nick. 🙂
    Looks like you hit perfect weather down in Bama. Let me know the vibe when Saturday rolls around and it’s time for Roll Tide f’bawl!


    1. I keep harping on the size thing because when I call ahead to look for marina space, the call generally goes….” Oh, I don’t know, we’re full, how big are you? Oh 30’? No problem, we’ll fit you in!” I think 30’ x 10’ is pretty much the limit. I don’t see any larger boats tucked into the sailboat area unless there is a complete slip available, ie, no sailboat on one leg of the horsehoe. Maybe they don’t want to be, but there’s only so much space. Hopefully the trend continues.

      That said, there are some huge boats on the river. We have seen boats up to 100’ although those can’t get into every marina and there are plenty in the 50′ to 60′ range. The “typical” looper boat seems to be a trawler somewhere between 35’ and 45’ much like those we charter in Desolation Sound, but there are all sorts of vessels. Raised pilot house boats seem popular too and most people like to drive “inside” even if that means a completely enclosed flybridge. B and I like to “be in the wind”. Many like to keep the length below 40’ so they can easily tuck into some of the little anchorages off the river. There are two spots where you would ideally like to have a 250+ mile cruising range to be safe. We don’t, but we’ll solve for it.

      Yep, lots of people are carrying foldable bikes. So far we’ve not regretted not having any, but we’ll see (good point on the hills!). We’ve been easily able to walk to get provisions, use a free courtesy car at the marina (they let you use it in two hour increments) to go to the store, or rented a car for the day to tour around. We have yet to inflate our SUP and have not used the dinghy a lot (and not at all to get the dog to shore for the bathroom which is one of the main reasons why we got the dinghy in the first place).

      We are still barely into this 6,000-mile trip (our 1,000 miles from Pittsburgh to Paducah don’t count as part of the Loop) so many more things we’ve yet to learn.

      We missed the chance to go to the HUGE Alabama / Tennessee game last week. Apparently, there are hundreds of boats in the unofficial “Vol Navy” (Tennessee Volunteers) that congregate on the Tennessee River outside the stadium in Knoxville on game day. Supposedly it’s a madhouse. Was a few hundred miles off our course and we heard several people say they avoided the area because of all the boat traffic.


  2. By the way, I thought cruising carefree through the BVI’s was fun, but I think what you’re doing, seeing and mingling with local folk from all over, has to be even more entertaining. I live your life vicariously, but hope to check off that Do The Loop on my Bucket List sooner than later!


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