state than I ever realized. In terms of relative size it's only 30th nationwide, coming in at 52,423 sq. miles. But when you're driving it and go a good long stretch of nothing you soon figure that out. I'm quite happy to have Cato along. Not because he's a good talker. Actually I'm so focused on my task that I'm glad he's good company without actually having to be entertained.
Now many of you from Limestone or western Madison county will recognize the lake to the left. A friend told me about it and it took a little investigative work to locate it but it's still there. I remember Hatfield Lake but never went. Walking around the place made me think of images I've seen of the amusement park at Chernobyl. It's kinda eerie seeing it now and imagining its former life during the lazy summer days of one's youth.
In the course of my travels I will see the occasional thing that suits my fancy. Just a single building at a crossroads. A monument to commerce that once was. Not enough to do a big write up. Just a single structure that tells just a tiny part of our past. Occasionally someone will stop and ask what I'm doing. Now, when I was in TV, and shooting something quite obvious (meaning newsworthy) I would find myself fighting off the urge to be sarcastic. Not because I wanted to be mean. No, sometimes I would scratch my head why people would ask what I perceived to be blatantly obvious. But now I see inquiring minds as potential sources of information. And many will at least have some recollection of the subject at hand. The bad thing is much of what I see is left to my imagination. The sign to the right. Edward's Used cars. I found this in Marion. Marion is the county seat of Perry County. Not to be confused with Marion County who's (or is it whose?) county seat is Hamilton. I drove around Marion a bit and found many abandoned houses. I debated shooting those but didn't find them particularly interesting. But the car lot sign was different. No cars. No building. Nothing but weeds and a sign. It's things like this that define Forgotten Alabama for me.
I think this is western Calhoun County but it doesn't show on any map I've seen so far.
The sign on the right is from Gasoline Alley in northern Morgan County. It was known at one time to be the place to go to save a few pennies on gas. I suppose because the county tax was cheaper than neighboring Madison County. I remember many a trip my Dad would take here back in the 1960's to save a few cents a gallon for gas. Now that I think about it I seriously wonder the wisdom in that. I'm old enough to remember gas costing 24.9 a gallon. We would drive from Sherwood Park in west Huntsville all the way here and back. So, guessing here of course, I figure that was a 40 mile round trip. And he couldn't have been saving more than 2 or 3 cents a gallon. So if we were bone dry he would have saved at best about 75 cents. Now figure in lost time (at least an hour and a half) plus gas used to get there and back (around three gallons in the old Chevy wagon) I'm thinking this was a losing proposition. But he was an engineer. What did I know? ;-)