About 25seconds after you leave Chattanooga you are already in Alabama. When I crossed the state line I had a little Leonard lined up…
It's not lost on me that every member of the audience is white...but it's still a good tune
I was taking the scenic route down the 72 heading for Huntsville. I didn’t know much about it outside of a little red label on my map “US space and rocket centre”…bingo!! Who doesn’t like space stuff? The very idea of putting enough rocket fuel under your ass to take you out of our atmosphere and into zero gravity, then to plot a return course that plummets your through the atmosphere threatening to burn you up on re-entry….all of that equals awesome!!
And it was...but first a gripe. La Quinta hotel…my 4th hotel visit (not including my burn recovery time)…was just a waste of time. If you have wifi…..great…if your wifi is broken, tell the customer BEFORE he gets his shit all set up in the room. They were kind enough to offer a half price night for the inconvenience but really…the only reason I got the room was so I could update the blog and do so communication. Fail on both parts…but an air-conditioned nice sleep was pretty good. In the morning I set out for the giant rocket you see when you enter from the east.
I won’t write much about it, took a million pictures…I did go and see another Imax (again bundled with the ticket)…Hubble…and it was awesome. No 3d bullshit, just a true dome Imax screen, just like back in Expo 86 (whoa…that’s old). It really set off the rest of the trip through the museum....
|space camp headquarters...they have an adult camp which would be awesome to attend|
|All stealth planes look cool...this is the a-17|
|You see this rocket from the highway and it looks huge, you see it up close and your neck crinks and your jaw drops...it is MASSIVE!!|
|space food!!! Tastes like lucky charms marshmallows|
|The sky drop ride with the rocket in background, it looked tiny in comparison when you stood back and looked at them together|
|This is if I remember correctly the largest rocket ever fire....don't quote me though there was a lot of info to take it|
|One of the original Apollo reentry pods|
|Look at it...we can build this monster (they can build it) but we can't figure out how to feed hungry people|
|I took this for Abe (Toledo tornado) who is massive lego fan - what an amazing build.|
After strolling for 3-4hrs through all the exhibits and wishing that my brother was there to share the sights that filled my pupils…I fire up the van and headed south. I was rolling on highway 31, it was gorgeous and the miles just ticked by. Now I can’t actually find the route I took on my map as I skirted Birmingham and ended up in Pell City. If you look on a map you might scratch your head and say “Umm Bri…that’s east not south”. Well you’d be right….but the van was running funky and something in my head said “Head for Talladega in case the van needs some work”. I found myself at a Walmart just outside of Pell (I think) and there, while piggy backing some wifi from the at&t store I met a guy who needed a boost. He is a diesel mechanic but after we got him started he put his ear to the van and most mostly concerned about the amount of heat it was throwing off. He suggested take off my bug screen and to have my thermostat checked when I could. Then we talked about camping, he lives at a local campground and he pointed the way…I wasn’t sure if I was actually going there or not but I appreciated the referral.
Sometimes I don’t always see things for what they are when I look at them and when I dropped into the Walmart parking lot to sleep I took notice of all of the vehicles facing away from the store front, it seemed a bit bizarre to me…but didn’t realize why until the morning. See I parked facing the store…it just seemed like a good spot to park…until 5:45 in the morning when the sun released its fury on my upper bunk windows. By 6:15 I was already up and cooking to death…by 7am I had lost 5 lbs in water weight and had to get the bus moving before I died.
I ended up heading towards Talladega in the hopes that I may find some racing of some sort around there. I have been looking since Kentucky but seem to always be a day behind…Talladega short track was no exception to the rule, they raced last night while I was at the Walmart just a few miles away…and the big Talladega event runs 2 times per year in April and October. Here is a stat..Talladega itself in a 3500acre facility, that is used by crowds twice a year. The rest of the time they do testing, rent it out to clubs etc…but 2 times a year for this facility is an amazing under-usage of such a great place. Nowhere is faster than Talladega…and yes I did see Will Farrell's WonderBread race car used in Talladega Nights.
I took a tourist moment and took in the Motorsports museum and a drive to Victory Lane…if I was wishing my brother was with me at Huntsville…I sure was missing my dad at Talladega. Talk about some historic cars and moments!!
|It was super hot out!! Victory Lane is just in the infield of the raceway. I joked that it was no wonder they sprayed each other down with champagne...they must be cooking in those race suits while on the track let alone standing around afterwards|
|It would be a cool thing to see those stands filled with 175000 fans, 43 cars lined up, 750 horsepower on tap, cars made to fly through left turns at speeds the average driver could never comprehend (200+mph), margins of victory to the thousands of a second....yeah you might be all "f'n redneck racing sucks" and you might be partially right...but it's that part of you that's tuned out by the sound of steel and fire rumbling in the heart, gasoline in the veins and a true respect for the men and women of racing|
To clarify I’m not the worlds biggest Nascar fan, my fantasy fancy of racing is 24hr racing, those cars are awesome. And sometimes Nascar can be downright left turn boring…but no matter what kind of racing you like. If you like racing, you like cars and there is so much old school history with Nascar you can’t help but to be taken back by their neat collection of crashes, victories and vehicles from go-karts to dragsters contained within.
|good fit, the next guy wasn't so lucky. He had been working on his stomach extensions and they worked well enough they that he stopped dead half way in and had to work on getting back out|
|One of the best parts about drag racing, when you are there watching it is coming away covered in black freckles that land on you after drifting into the crowd on a cloud of smoked rubber|
|awesome modified trans am|
|Ricky Bobby- let me just quote the late great Colonel Sanders, he said, "I'm too drunk to taste this chicken"|
After Talladega I picked out Cheaha state park as my spot for the night…and as I drove up the side of the Talladega mnts reaching their highest point of 2407ft (don’t laugh)..something strange happened with the van…