Troop 45 Alabama Trip
June 27 - July 2, 2009

Ala2009001.JPG (277668 bytes) We arrived in Williams Hollow Campground right after noon on Saturday, and set up our campsites.  Micah was the test subject for the new camera purchased for this trip.  We put ten people into the two sites, two each in three tents, three adults in one tent, and the SPL in a hammock between two trees.   
Ala2009003.JPG (259784 bytes) Silas does his favorite "angry monkey" expression.
Ala2009008.JPG (189903 bytes) The campground has a beach a few hundred yards away.  After setting up camp, the boys took a long swim while the adults kept a watchful eye from the shore.  The troop followed Guide to Safe Scouting processes the whole trip, especially while in the water. 
Ala2009011.JPG (193897 bytes) A Scout is reverent.  We went to church Saturday night in Tuscumbia, Alabama at Our Lady of the Shoals.  A lady in the parking lot offered to take our photo as a group.  
Ala2009016.JPG (222679 bytes) Each afternoon/evening we'd go to the Russellville, AL Wal-Mart to pick up provisions for the next three meals.  Saturday night we had Cowboy Chili with tortillas, the substitute for Cowboy Beans.  We had the menu change due to a bean malfunction, but it all worked out okay. 
Ala2009019.JPG (339895 bytes) SPL racked out in his hammock in camp, under his rain cover. 
Ala2009023.JPG (171949 bytes) Sunday started out with fresh fried beignets with powdered sugar, country sausage, and fruit for breakfast.   We packed a sandwich lunch for the canoe trip, and that night Silas and Davis put together a steak and Rice-A-Roni dinner. It was different, but good.       
Ala2009025.JPG (231310 bytes) Scouts ready to get on the river around 10:00 Sunday morning. The TVA releases water only on the weekends, so Sunday was the only day we had a chance for any fast water,
Ala2009048.JPG (206774 bytes) The canoe trip was great.  We were on the river about five hours in five canoes.
Ala2009030.JPG (248282 bytes) We stopped several times so the guys could swim in Bear Creek.  The water was cold.  Silas (BSA Certified Lifeguard) estimated the temperature to be about 70 degrees in most places.  Isaiah is doing his George Washington hair imitation.
Ala2009037.JPG (284745 bytes) We had to stop about halfway down river and portage our canoes about 30 yards. You can see the state of the water behind Silas.
Ala2009041.JPG (184460 bytes) Chilling under a rock overhang near the portage area.
Ala2009034.JPG (259232 bytes) Micah and Mr. Huff man-handle their canoes over the rocks at the portage area near Factory Falls. 
Ala2009044.JPG (241710 bytes) There were interesting rock formations all along the river. This jutting rock looks like a turtle head.
Ala2009054.JPG (194497 bytes) Monday started out with a breakfast of Toad in the Hole.  We went to Birmingham and saw the McWane Center.  We packed a sandwich lunch for the trip (food at the McWane Center is very expensive), and ate just before going to the IMAX.  
Ala2009055.JPG (187232 bytes) There were more exhibits than we could see in the three hours before the movie started.
Ala2009060.JPG (246593 bytes) The World of Water exhibit at McWane had a lot of aquariums to see.
Ala2009064.JPG (219458 bytes) A really, really big fish.
Ala2009079.JPG (158513 bytes)   There were several virtual image displays. This is the blue screen for one of them.  Scouts stand in front of the screen, and watch themselves on a monitor.
Ala2009069.JPG (188656 bytes) Here's what the audience sees, which is them playing a virtual drumset, complete with sound.  
Ala2009080.JPG (480976 bytes) Seated in the middle of the IMAX theater waiting for Transformers: Rise of the Fallen to start.  The movie was huge, and lasted almost three hours.  There's nothing quite like a giant robot crashing into another robot when the screen fills the entire room.  After the movie we spent a bit of time at the mall, then picked up provisions at Bruno's, and finished the day with a meal of spaghetti and meatballs.  The boys counted 18 bingo parlors between Birmingham and Jasper as we drove back.  Three of them had giant inflatable gorillas out front. 
Ala2009082.JPG (170577 bytes) Tuesday.  French toast topped with bananas, cinnamon and sugar, and cane syrup. This was a random day, where the boys picked the agenda as we went along.  We headed to Tuscumbia to Mike's Merchandise (seconds and overruns), where we found a lot of cool stuff.  Taco Bell lunch was next, and then we headed to the art museum. 
Ala2009085.JPG (194814 bytes) Tennessee Valley Art Gallery has a huge exhibit of art.  One room was done by visually impaired children, and one room was an exhibit of art done by blind adults who drew what they heard as they listened to music.  Another room was conventional art (see photo at left), and one was a display of petroglyphs found in Alabama.  
Ala2009089.JPG (228414 bytes) The group in front of the gallery.  The Helen Keller home, Ivy Green,  was right next door.
Ala2009093.JPG (200035 bytes) The Scouts spotted an American flag in front of the Tuscumbia City Hall hanging askew, and immediately called out that we need to stop and fix the flag.
Ala2009090.JPG (209533 bytes) After getting permission from city hall, we took down their flags, and repaired the snap swivels that  had come apart and caused the American flag to hang by one end.
Ala2009092.JPG (159352 bytes) Thomas raised the repaired flags as the assembled group stood at attention.
Ala2009094.JPG (135825 bytes) A job well done by Troop 45.  We left the city hall, and went to a really great old hardware store down the street, where they had maybe two or three hundred Case knives on display.  GREAT old hardware store.  
Ala2009109.JPG (236810 bytes) The next stop the boys selected was the Coon Dog Cemetery.  There are 185 champion coon dogs here from all over the country.  All are either Champion, Nite Champion, or Grand Nite Champions. (It really is spelled "Nite".)  The first one buried there was a coon dog named Troop, in 1937. 
Ala2009097.JPG (271266 bytes) One of the many coon dog tombstones in the cemetery.

Tuesday finished with a wonderful meal prepared by Chefs Isaiah and Evan.  We had grilled teriyaki chicken breasts, English peas, mashed potatoes, and a fresh baguette of bread.  

Ala2009110.JPG (176282 bytes) Wednesday started with a breakfast of grits, fried beef smoked sausage, and fruit.  We traveled about 30 miles and hiked in to Caney Creek, about a one mile hike.  John picked fresh blackberries on the way in.
Ala2009113.JPG (325777 bytes) The trail to Caney Creek.
Ala2009118.JPG (156569 bytes) The Scouts arrive at the waterfalls, and decide to swim first, eat our picnic lunch later. We spent four hours there.  Our official water temperature monitor (Silas) estimated the water to be about 65, it was really, really cold.
Ala2009136.JPG (417702 bytes) The Scouts climbed to the top of the falls, and sat in the water where Caney Creek spilled over the rocks. 
Ala2009145.JPG (236706 bytes) Another view of the falls.
Ala2009161.jpg (182101 bytes) View of the swimming area from the top of the falls.
Ala2009164.JPG (223412 bytes) Davis reflects upon his empire.  After visiting Caney Creek, we stopped off at a great old junk store, with several buildings full of stuff.  The place was run by a nice man named Mr. Gilbert, who complimented the Scouts several times for their polite manners and he thanked them for coming by, shaking hands with each one. Dinner that night was slow cooked beef pot roast, cooked in Dutch ovens with carrots, red potatoes, and onions.  The roast was seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, salt, and black pepper.  Hot buttered rosemary bread was served with the roast, and we finished it off with a fresh peach cobbler.
Ala2009084.JPG (277735 bytes) Miss Brenda and Mr. R.B, our campgrounds hosts.
Ala2009083.jpg (289127 bytes) Our favorite sign from the trip, in front of the Williams Hollow camp store. 


OliveGarden.jpg (205778 bytes) Thursday we had a light breakfast of pastries and fruit, and then headed to Tuscaloosa.  After a short visit to the University Mall, we had a great final meal together at the Olive Garden.  We made it back to the Scout Hut at 4:30 Thursday.