After our long travel day Thursday we slept like babies. I don’t think either of us even heard the trains that rolled past nearby during the night. But as RVers, we are so accustomed to railroad noise that we just accept it as part of life. I don’t know who passed the Federal law that says no RV site in the country can be more than a quarter mile away from a railroad track, but whoever enforces it seems to do a darned good job.
Before I get too far into today’s blog, the other day somebody sent me a question about traveling in a B van and staying in hotels, and we were just getting ready to hit the road and I didn’t have the time to reply. Now I can’t find it, though I have searched my mail files. If you are reading this, my apologies for not getting back to you. Please send it again.
Yesterday my son Travis took us on a tour of Tuscaloosa. The city is home to the University of Alabama, and around here football is more than a way of life; for many people it is life. You can’t drive very far down any street without seeing the slogan Roll Tide emblazoned on a car, sign, or the side of a commercial building. And this is where it all begins, Bryant–Denny Stadium on the University campus.
I’m sure that more than a few football fans considered coach Paul William "Bear" Bryant a god. Bryant came to the Crimson Tide program in December 1957 and led the team to 24 consecutive bowl appearances. Today, statues of Bryant and other famous Alabama football coaches stand in front of the stadium.
Bryant once said in an interview that if he ever retired from coaching, he would "probably croak in a week" and added, "I imagine I’d go straight to the graveyard." Those words proved prophetic, just four weeks after coaching his final game, Alabama’s beloved Bear Bryant died of a heart attack on January 26, 1983.
Life changed forever in Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011, when a EF4 multiple-vortex tornado, with maximum sustained winds of 190 miles per hour, tore through the city before continuing on to Birmingham. By the time the tornado wore itself out northeast of Birmingham, it had left behind a path of destruction of over 80 miles long, killing 64 people and leaving $2.2 billion dollars in damage in its wake.
Geli is a nurse and was at work when the storm hit and Travis was at home. Phone lines and cell towers were destroyed and both heard rumors that the area where the other was had been hit hard. It was hours before they could reconnect and learn that both were safe and uninjured.
Even today there are huge tracts in town where the ruins of houses and commercial buildings still stand, awaiting demolition. The symbols and X on the first building were left by rescue workers searching for casualties among the debris. Even today Travis still suffers anxiety attacks when the city conducts their monthly tornado warning siren tests.
Speaking of books, several of my author friends have made some of their books available as audio books and I’m thinking about trying it with my Big Lake books, in addition to the e-book and printed versions. Do you listen to audio books? How many of you would be interested?
Thought For The Day – Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors… and miss. – Robert A. Heinlein