Friday, January 18, 2013

Getting to Florida

Through a turn of events we actually began our Florida tour coming out of Auburn, Alabama where our son is in his senior year of college.  We picked up state connecting roads out of Opelika to take us to US Highway 431 South, which is a superb four lane highway.

The Marquis de LaFayette, passed this way in 1825 on his grand tour of the America he helped to birth some five decades earlier. He was the last surviving general of the American Revolution. He was like a Rock Star of the day.  The Creek Indians participated in the welcome (the Creek War was about 10 years earlier - an extending circumstance of the War of 1812 with Britain - (yet again, the Brits). They held a ball game  in the Marquis’ honor (like lacrosse). The game ran late and traffic held up the wagons causing a day’s delay in his arrival at Montgomery where a special ball and party was planned the night before. Traffic on game day is still a problem in the area. Did I mention that George Washington was with the Marquis on that trip? Well, his son, George W was named after the Marquis’  former boss. The tavern he stayed in prior to arriving in Montgomery is preserved in Old Alabama Town.

Essentially Highway 431  follows the Chattahoochee RIver for most of the route and then bears South West. The town of Eufaula, there on the banks of the River facing Georgia, carries some of the glory of "The Old South" in character of the old homes. I've always liked Eufaula. It was one of my favorite places to stay overnight decades ago when I travelled the South for an Animal Health company.  

I'd usually stop by the Tom Mann fish aquarium and shop for plastic fishing worms in his store. He made one of the early fortunes in artificial plastic worms for fishing.  Tom Mann was a Creek Indian and he knew so much more than most of us will ever forget about the history that passed those river banks. He is dead now. The old aquarium is gone. The store is gone. I miss that.  But the area around Eufaula seems to be thriving. They had some upscale stores South of town.

Keep Eufaula and the upper reaches of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers in mind because they form the Apalachicola River and  if won’t be long before you’ll be reading my posts about the connection this River made with ports on the Southern end. The next blog post will take us from Here to Panama City. Then we will get back over to the Apalachicola River a few days later.
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