Upon taking my leave from St. Augustine, I was saying goodbye to the Atlantic Coast and heading west for the first time on this journey. My plan was to stop near Tallahassee at a State Park that offered glass bottom boat tours. When I called the office I was told that due to the effects of local climate conditions there was too much algae and the tours were cancelled indefinitely. Rather than be disappointed and spending too much time fretting about climate change, I decided to alter direction so as to get into Alabama a little ahead of schedule.
I spent a night in Adel, Georgia. The founder named it after Philadelphia; he dropped the first and last four letters to come up with the town’s name. This was the first night I experienced a wave of exhaustion and an awful headache. I was thankful that my drive the following day wouldn’t be too long and I would be spending the evening with cousins in Auburn.
With Georgia on My Mind and Sweet Home Alabama on my playlist, I followed the country singer, Rodney Aktin’s advice and took a back road. There was little traffic in sight as I drove Route 82 towards Alabama. I did see newly plowed fields of Georgia’s famous red clay, acres and acres of pecan trees and several Civil War markers. Route 82 is also called Jefferson Davis Highway.
Eufala, Alabama is just over the Georgia border. The trees of its street were lined up in full spring bloom, in front of lovely ‘arts and crafts’ homes that were just calling out to sit on their front porches. The downtown, unlike so many little towns I had driven through, didn’t have boarded up windows but seemed to be thriving with commerce. The Carnegie sponsored library was inviting as well.
Leaving Eufala, I drove on to Tuskegee where I saw The Oaks (Brooker T. Washington’s home), the Tuskegee University and the Tuskegee Airmen National Museum at Molten Field. I spent about an hour at the museum which is housed in the original hanger. There is a focus on oral history with the airmen tell various aspects of their experience via 1940s telephones. The planes, uniforms and other paraphernalia bring this otherwise sleepy airfield alive.