Oct 25 Day 31 A Father of a Day!

We said goodbye to Florence midday. Really a great town with lots of things on the tourist calendar: from mega-golf to a storytelling extravaganza (and lots in between—including all that music!).  After yesterday’s tourist extravaganza, here are a few parting shots:

Just to give you some idea of the intensity of music history and roots here!  We are in Florence/Muscle Shoals (midway-triangle btwn Nashville and Memphis) (obviously I like maps!)

We stopped at  the Alabama Music Hall of Fame- very long list of successful and famous Alabamans in the music industry.  And did you know the first Rock and Roll song was from here??  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0mhgyTgxtw

I like the part about the amplifier falling off the truck.

Can’t forget Sam Phillips the Father of Rock and Roll  (with Elvis, duh!):

Sam Phillips launched Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins,  Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich and many others.  Even in the 50’s and in the South he had no racial biases…only what sounded right (and probably moved right) was what mattered.  He said he was only “looking for that little piece of soul magic.” 
The Golden Country Car, a 1960 Pontiac convertible adorned with more than 500 silver dollars and 17 silver guns….but still not sure WHOSE car it was??! haha

So aside from being the birthplace of Rock and Roll, Florence is also the birthplace of W.C. Handy, Father of the Blues:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGqBmlZR3dc  — recorded BEFORE outbreak of WWI  …wow !

Besides our “tourist” things we golfed and walked.

Look at this cool frisbee golf course in Mcfarland Park…can you see the next “hole/target” way through the trees on the grassy knoll?  And Nick thinks HIS courses are challenging!


Nick’s last (for now) day of golf on the Robert Trent Jones Trail –the Father of all Golf Trails.  At least THAT pin/hole can be seen!

And then we arrived late in the afternoon back at Grand Harbor Marina Iuka, Mississippi

On the way, we enjoyed perfect weather, water and scenery:


Largest boat we’ve seen yet….and, for that matter, hardly any boat traffic of any kind today.

Little islets near Sevenmile Island Wildlife Area (see above feature photo too)                     Good bye Tennessee River!

We are now positioned for the Tenn-Tom Waterway section that we’ll start tomorrow.


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!)