On day two of our trip, we got hit by such hard rain storms in Florida, that I couldn’t see but just a few feet past the hood of my F150. We traveled from Falling Waters State Park to Oak Mountain State Park. Originally, the plan was to spend the night at Talladega National Forest, but that never came to be.
Armed with a GPS and two cell phones with GPS, we could not find the entrance to Talladega National Forest. I’m ranking Talladega in the same group as things that are unexplainable such as crop circles, UFO’s, and the pyramids. Of course, I asked for directions at two gas stations and no one knew what I was talking about even though the gas stations were located on the outskirts of the national forest. Go figure. Of course, we couldn’t find a map either so from now on, I travel with maps as well.
A dirt road that went on forever was the choice given to us by the GPS. Immediately, thoughts of Friday the 13th come to mind. This stretch of gravel road that lasted for miles, eventually winds its way through abandoned houses that had graffiti painted on the outside walls like KKK, “we are watching you,” “we see you,” and large eyes painted on the front wall of the house. Yes, I took out both guns and placed one on my lap and the other inside the door panel. For one of the few times in my life I had a lump in my throat and was concerned for our safety.
After about forty minutes later, we reach a fork in the road and I chose the right, only to end up in front of someone’s home. Two trucks were ready to leave. As luck would have it, one person was lost as well and the property owner was going to lead him out and promised the same for me. His directions to the campsites seemed convoluted so following him was the best choice. The fact that his dogs in the front yard were chasing my truck down the road, barking, and trying to bite the tires or fenders should have been my sign. My smile disappeared quickly when “our leader” decided he should lead by driving 40+ mph hour. I am towing a trailer and this is a dirt, gravel, bumpy road! Now I became worried again because I had to travel through that spooky road once more and images came to mind of pickup trucks blocking the road. Fact is, I asked for directions on that road and the driver of the vehicle was rude to his wife in front of me. Two other cars that drove by weren’t any friendlier, so my anxiety had its foundation.
Well, luckily, nothing happened. Maybe it was just teenagers having fun with a can of spray paint, maybe it wasn’t. Either way, we’re on the road again and about an hour and a half later, we reached Pelham where Oak Mountain State Park is located.
It was nearing dark, but there were plenty of sites available. I found the $40 charge excessive for a campsite considering the most I have ever paid for a campsite is $35 at Estes Park, Colorado with a view of the snow capped Rocky Mountains. But, we had to call it a day, a stressful day and this would be home for the night.
There is plenty to do at Oak Mountain, including golf, and while the park seems great, I am not a fan of it when it comes to camping.
For one, I like privacy when I camp. There were no walls or bushes to block your view of the surrounding campers. I should have asked for the most private campsite available, but the camp host at the entrance gave me one smack in the middle of everyone. At the far end, there was more privacy and right across from the restrooms, so that is your best choice. Considering the steep price tag for a night of camping, they could have done a better job with the bathrooms and the “club house” that reminded me of the last scene of Jodi Foster walking through the house in Silence of the Lambs. At least there was WiFi and washer/dryers.
Regardless, what made the stay better where the Alabamians. Very friendly, many walked up to us just to say hi and look at our tiny teardrop camper. Of course, I was surrounded by multiple million dollar rvs but it just goes to show how humble everyone was. And, there was not one motor home that did not have Crimson Tide banners, rugs, chairs, etc…
Being surrounded by hardcore Crimson Tide fans meant I might as well join them in drinking lots of beer, and I did. First time I have ever walked my dog with a buzz. The buzz helped deal with the rain as well. We pushed our gazebo against the back of the teardrop so we can cook and eat somewhat dry.
It took all day to travel a couple of hundred miles, but tomorrow would be another day.