TRIP TO NEW ORLEANS, Day 1

February 20 2018

So after a short break, we are headed to New Orleans!

ALABAMA

EUFALA, AL

Manny the bass – erected to celebrate the life of lure maker Tom Mann, originator of the Jelly Worm and hundreds of other well-known lures

20180220_072815.jpg404 East Broad Street. Eufaula AL

TROY, AL

Violata Pax Dove. Migrated here from Florida.

20180220_093418.jpgBehind the International Arts Center, Frank Ross Stewart Hall, Troy University, Troy AL

I can’t remember where this was in Troy – the street sign in the background says Memorial Parkway.

20180220_095153.jpgMemorial Parkway, Troy AL

ANDALUSIA, AL

Apparently Andalusia is the White Shirt Capital of the World! The shirt was erected to memorialize the garment industry Find out about the Big White Shirt here.

20180220_111125700 River Falls St, Andalusia, AL

Farther down the road at a gas station where these three.

Giant leaping deer

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Kiss the fish for good luck

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Classy pig!

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1102 Western Bypass, Andalusia, AL

FLORIDA

PENSACOLA, FL

Our trip justs nips the corner of Florida.

I always like a community art project. The Pensacola Pelicans are at various
locations – most along Palafox. Most of the pelicans are in the historic
downtown district, along north-south N. Palafox St., between Wright and
Main Sts, with a few on side streets. The cyclist is my favourite – I like his snazzy helmet.

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PENSACOLA, FL

Apparently the wheels turn on this big roller skate, and it gets used in local parades. I think the laces might be old fire hoses!

20180220_1425361002 Navy Blvd, Pensacola, FL

back to ALABAMA

ELBERTA, AL

There a number of odd sculptures here, but only the Lady in the Lake and the spider fill my criteria – well worth the side trip if you enjoy the truly odd. Keep in mind the Lady is taken out of the water if there is a bad storm.

For more info, check out Lady in the Lake

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20180220_152531.jpgBarber Marina, 26986 Fish Trap Rd., Elberta, AL

GULF SHORES, AL

Ah yes, there’s nothing like a good tourist trap for finding Big Things. Check out the dental work!

20180220_162951200 Gulf Shores Pkwy Gulf Shores, AL

Octopus getting pretty handsy. The tentacles wind through the building.

20180220_162812.jpg301 Gulf Shores Pkwy., Gulf Shores, AL

Outside The Hangout – restaurant, bar, and live music venue on the beach, with a surfer theme.

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20180220_165550.jpgThe Hangout – 101 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL

FOLEY, AL

There was a veritable zoo at Riviera Stone – Giraffes and hippos and Gorillas Oh My! but only the chicken was larger than life.

20180220_171105.jpgRiviera Stone, 1908 N McKenzie St, Foley, AL

DAPHNE, AL

A Veteran’s Memorial – looks better when the flag isn’t wound around the pole, but we were losing light, so I was happy to get this.

20180220_184829.jpg2400 Old Spanish Trail, Daphne, AL

FAIRHOPE, AL

A bit of a sudden shower, but I had to jump out and get a pic of this book anyway. That’s dedication for you!

20180220_181647501 Fairhope Ave, Fairhope, AL

SPANISH FORT, AL

Definitely fishing in the dark at this point – pretty good catch though!

20180220_191130_LLS.jpg3775 Battleship Pkwy, Spanish Fort, AL

I’m completely out of control now – its so dark we are shining the headlights of the car on things to get photos! Nice dental tools!

20180220_190038_LLS6525 Spanish Fort Blvd, Spanish Fort, AL

Giant paper clip – not the largest (that would be in Kipling, Saskatchewan or Miass, Russia) but still noteworthy.

20180220_190341_LLS6471 AL-3, Spanish Fort, AL

That’s it for Alabama on this trip. Next stop – Mississippi.

MISSISSIPPI

GULFPORT, MS

Because I tried to fit too much into one day, we have to miss the potential sites I had lined up in Mississippi, and only stop in Gulfport. Even then, trying to get enough light on this chair was a challenge.

20180220_20471211451 Canal Rd., Gulfport, MS

A six hour direct trip took us 14 hours with side trips!

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JANUARY 27, 2017

Day 10 -Part 2- Alabama

After crossing the state line between Florida and Alabama, my whining for boiled peanuts finally paid off. We stopped at one of the MANY stores that advertised this treat, and I joyfully waited in line with my alligator jerky, while the clerk filled a container. Meanwhile, my wife has picked up a bag of salt water taffy, another local specialty. Here is the picture of me outside (wife said the peanuts were NOT getting in the car!) trying out this delicacy. The look on my face doesn’t begin to describe how disgusting they were! Think cold, under-cooked lima beans. Why would someone DO THIS to peanuts! Thank goodness for the taffy – at least I had something to get the taste out of my mouth! The Gator Jerky is headed to Canada for friends.20170127_103035

COTTONWOOD, AL

Our first sighting was at the Welcome Center. It’s a pretty nice, very realistic peanut, though not as big as some we have seen.

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Location: 15121 US-231, Cottonwood

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DOTHAN, AL

The next stop, south od Dothan,  certainly looks like it should be in the running for World’s Largest Peanut! It looks like it is on a hydraulic base of some sort – perhaps it sways back and forth during the festival? (Another picture on Google maps shows it mounted on a trailer, and lying on it’s side, so maybe if just folds down.)

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Location: National Peanut Festival grounds, 5622 US-231, Dothan

I LOVED these peanuts dressed up to represent various occupations. This was a 2012 project for Dothan, which claims to be the Peanut Capital of the US (based on the claim that fully one half of all US peanuts are grown within 100 miles of Dothan) According to Deep South Magazine, ‘Dothan’s “Peanuts Around Town” represent either local businesses or personalities. They were first cracked in 2001 when The Downtown Group started a project called “Peanuts on Parade.” The peanut statues were purchased and created the following year, and they were so popular that the group decided to keep selling them. Today, the peanuts are scattered throughout Dothan’s Wiregrass area, and more are in the works.’

These are just a few of the 67 “Peanuts Around Town” – a guide would have come in handy to help us find the other 52! We should have gone into the Visitor’s Center.

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Location: Scattered around town. We found these ones on the west side, on Ross Clark Circle

Schnitzer the Pig was dressed his (her’s?) favourite team uniform, supporting the Alabama Crimson Tide.

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Location: 822 Ross Clark Circle, Dothan

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TROY, AL

From Dothan we swung a little bit west and headed for Troy. This big steer looks like a cousin to Schnitzer the Pig! It’s the mascot for the Pike County Cattlemen, and grazes in the park of that name, except on parade day!

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Location: Pike County Cattlemen Park, 7624 US-231, just south of Troy

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Generally speaking, I really like our GPS. How else could we travel great distances without becoming horribly lost? But for the GPS to work, it has to be fed good information. So why, dear God oh why, was this road given a name? This, fellow travelers, is Alabama ‘s Union Springs County Road 117. Is the county implying that there are another 116 crappy tracks like this one? Why on earth does this get a name at all!!! Cuz now my GPS thinks this is how I get from Troy Alabama to Columbus Georgia! It’s a logging road, barely the width of the car, with wet, soupy, marsh on either side. No where to turn around. No cell reception if we break down. Do you think there are alligators out there? Python? HEEEELP!

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Whew! We finally made it back on to pavement! Columbus, here we come!

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PHENIX, AL

How quickly White Chicken Syndrome abates! My wife laughed when I stopped to get my picture with this one,  on our way through Phenix City20170127_171309

Location: 3211 Martin Luther King Jr (Hwy 431), Phenix City

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So that is it for Day 10. Total distance: 431 km, which feels a LOT longer because of the logging road!

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JANUARY 20, 2017

Day 3 – ALABAMA

ATHENS, AL

This is the sign outside the Fireworks Outlet in Athens. Of all the simulated  fireworks we saw advertising fireworks, this was the one worth mentioning. The others were faded and tilting. Big things only work as positive advertising if they are maintained.

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Location:  17130 US-72 (Lee Hwy), Athens

This fiberglass boy is an interesting change from the standard Muffler Men. I haven’t been able to find out anything about him, but he sure has a cool pair of runners.

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Location: 16800 US-72 (lee Hwy), Athens

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 SHEFFIELD, AL

This was the first Singing River statue, unveiled in 2012. The sculpture, created by local artist Audwin McGee is the first of several proposed aluminum sculptures created to commemorate the Shoals musical heritage.

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Location: 500 N Montgomery Ave, Sheffield

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MUSCLE SHOALS, AL

This is the second sculpture in the series, installed 2015. Each sculpture is generic – not of a specific person, and they are intended to represent different types of music that were important in the area

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Location: 1918 Avalon Ave., Muscle Shoals

We noticed this large chocolate glazed confection at the Donut Shop in Muscle Shoals. I guess the big donut helps make up for the rather obvious store name.

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Location: 1705 Woodward Ave, Muscle Shoals

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BIRMINGHAM, AL

This is one of the standard variations of Muffler Men. If you think MY hobby is strange, then you want to avoid the people that just research Muffler Men and International Fiberglass figures. On the other hand, if you are fascinated by the subject, check out this site –   USA Giants.com

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GCR Tire Center, 3600 Vanderbilt Rd

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HARPERSVILLE, AL

After Birmingham we made a sharp left and headed east to catch this big amphibian in front of a gift shop called, not surprisingly, The Copper Frog. I’m not sure it is still in business.

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Location: 5756 HWY 280 Harpersville, just west of town

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NORTHPORT, AL

I LOVE this big red dog. He is an impressively large scrap metal canine, sculpted in the early 1980s by Larry Godwin. It now resides on the roof of an art center surrounded by outdoor sculptures such as a big fire ant.

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We chatted with the sculptor of this large ant, Steve Davis, a nice gentleman who moved from the northern US quite some time ago to pursue warm weather and art in Alabama.

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Location:  556 Main St, Northport

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MONTEVALLO, AL

This arresting sculpture at the University of Montevallo, titled ‘Becoming’ is 16 feet tall, made of bronze, and was unveiled on February 15, 2003

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Location: University of Montevallo, at Highland and N Boundary Rds

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CLANTON, AL

We were losing light by the time we got to Clanton – the self proclaimed Peach Capital of Alabama. This is a pretty awesome water tower, painted like a peach, with the addition of a leaf and stem!

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Location: 2675 Lay Dam Ave, Clanton

This peach also got a good score from us. It looks juicy enough to take a bite. Unfortunately we figured out that winter is not a good time to find fresh fruit, even in the south. However when we weigh summer, with holiday crowds and temperatures that rival the surface of the sun against winter and 20 to 30 Celsius temperatures, even with the  lack of fresh fruit, winter in the south still wins!

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Location: Peach Park, 2300 7th Ave S. Clanton

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From here we cut cross country to Columbus Georgia.

A straight run from Nashville to Columbus GA would have taken a little over 5 hours – it took us over 10! Plus, somehow, we hadn’t noticed that we were driving in a different time zone. I think it’s weird that the line runs down the middle of Kentucky and Tennessee before sensibly following the state line between Alabama and Georgia.

Day 3 was 921 km!

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JANUARY 21, 2017

Day 4

COLUMBUS, GA

A quick visit with our daughter-in-law, where we get a home cooked meal, a day off of driving, and a chance to put up our feet and veg in front of a TV. Also, time for a quick repack of the car in preparation of our upcoming,  first-time-in-20-years, camping trip!

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