2009 USA Tour : March 14th, from Louisiana to Alabama
Life On The Freeway
Yes, another day of USA freeway driving through Louisiana, Mississippi and through Alabama. Scenically, nothing spectacular to look at though its always good to see miles of untouched nature even if it does not form a striking image landscape.
About 330 miles, I think, set off about 9:15 am and arrived in Birmingham AL around 3:00 pm and was cloudy all of the way with some showers falling just before Birmingham.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
First, approaching its fabulous classic design building we knew we were in for a treat. First, we wanted coffee and some late lunch, only to find their coffee house closes at 2:00 pm, very strange timing for a visitor’s centre. Later we found this made sense as were ended up being the only ones exploring what must be at least 50 acres of spectacular themed gardens.
Our time was limited so we only explored 3 of them. The first was an Irish Rose Garden. No roses out, but the garden looked more like Tudor England than Irish, yet very well set out. Without any delay we headed for the Wild Flower Garden to what was an outstanding passion of love and nature expressed by its creator.
The Wild Flower Garden did look so Irish with its meandering sluggish waterfalls, burren stone landscapes with mysterious almost footprint like holes in the stone, masses of green ferns, mosses and lichens and even what seemed like authentic remains of ancient dolmens.
Most spectacular of all was the Japanese Garden that was truly another world creation with its bonsai like twisted trees and shrubs, extremely complimentary sculptures, surreal water features crossed by colourful tiny bridges, and a hideaway darkish bamboo garden with a winding river running through featuring weather worn stubs of what seemed like almost fossilised tree stumps. Leaving this dark moment we entered into the light of a beautiful lake filled with the largest and most golden of fishes. The rain started to pour as we reached the pagoda where we sat in shelter as the shower passed, and gave us some moments to reflect on how the place embraced and gifted its visitors with peace and calm.
I will take some ideas for Carrowcrory from here, especially the “gate of heaven” and the final feature of the beautifully toned “celebration bell”.
We shared a wonderful 3 hours here, but it would take a day or two to experience it all here, and this is a gift for all, no entrance fees. They raise good funds from weddings, events and conferences hosted here.
Head For The Hills
Reluctantly, we headed off, 80 miles, to our campsite for the night. Just as we entered the RV the heavens opened and dropped very heavy rain that sustained during our entire journey to the campsite towering high above Alabama at Cheaha Mountain. Thick fog made finding the campsite very difficult but we did find a lovely site to park in, and then it was ti,e to rest through a peaceful night