2014 Tired Butts

Mentone, Little River Canyon, Desoto Falls

 Our overnight driving event took us back to one of Alabama’s most beautiful areas. The hills, roads, and trees this time of year are always enjoyable. So enjoyable in fact, the 18 rooms I had reserved were taken in less than an hour. The best ad I have is telling everyone the trip is so great we have a couple who fly in from Cool, California every year!

 Thirty-five folks made the trip this year. The tops stayed up as the weather turned cool. The first leg had some blast through the Cheaha Twisties while others took it leisurely. For both, this is a fantastic British Car road.

 We meandered up Hwy 9 to Centre and arrived at the Lighthouse Café for lunch in Cedar Bluff. This is a really nice café and hotel on Weiss Lake. Glenda Waters had the food out as quickly as possible for our group. Glenda has fed us on four of these trips now and it is always a pleasure to see her. She had just been involved in a car accident and was a bit battered and bruised. We wish her well in her recoveries.

 On to the Desoto State Park Lodge we drove and settled in for a short while. Folks gathered in the “party room” a bit before we headed out for our second meal of the day. I love the Wildflower Café in Mentone. The building itself is artsy and quaint at the same time. My group looked a little surprised as we entered the building and were led back outside. Our meals would be served in a tent! White strands of Christmas lights, a kerosene heater, and white tablecloths awaited us. Laura Moon and her staff soon had food coming and it really was good. The tomato pie was excellent! Laura has hosted our group twice now and we really appreciate her working us in even though she had another large party the same evening.

 Friday evening found more folks joining the party room as tall tales swapped late into the evening. Even early morning for some! As the sun rose Saturday, there was frost on the ground. I found myself watching the sunrise and taking a stroll in the cool air down a trail behind the lodge and then to the highway. Starting the old MGA was a chore, but finally she cleared her old throat and would be ready later. It was breakfast time! Did anyone notice we really ate way too much and maybe way too often?

 The Desoto Lodge provided our meals for the rest of the trip. That was myself making it simple on myself by feeding via buffets. Deb Headrick and the ladies of the Lodge provided very good service throughout our stay. Saturday morning we split in twain. Newbies followed to see the sights – Sally Howard Church, Desoto Falls, and Mentone. We tried in vain to see the Prince Madoc caves. While we found a few small caves, they were not the ones of Madoc lore. Your guide may have said he was here before Columbus. He was probably wrong since the literature states before Desoto. It has been said I never let the facts ruin a good story. Click Here for info on the caves. The town of Mentone isn’t the same after the big fire destroyed the old Mentone Springs Hotel.

 Our second group scurried down the mountain to Ft Payne. There awaited a glass blowing artisan a members tried their hands at making their very own blown glass Christmas ornaments. Hopefully they will share them at our Christmas party. Next, the group visited the Hammers store. As a young man, the Hammers in Guntersville was a treat to go to. Tools, hardware, clothes, you name it – they had it. The store took up most of a block. The Ft Payne store had soft goods – clothes, bedding, and the like at good prices per the group.

 Saturday afternoon brought the ride along the Little River Canyon. This is still the highlight of any trip here. The colors and views are uplifting. It is a privilege to share this part of our state with folks who live here, but never knew Alabama had such places. I spent quite a bit of time here when I lived near Guntersville many years ago. The time seemed shorter to me than the 3 hours we spent here. The day had some folks licking wounds as Auburn lost a heart-breaker and some folks were happy as Bama snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at the last second. The party room closed early as all readied for the trip home.

 Heading for Andy’s Uncle Joe and Aunt Dixie’s house in Crossville, we got a call he forgot his Veteran’s Day commitment and we traveled on to Oneonta. Hwy 68 is again one of the beautiful fall rides in Alabama. While in Oneonta, we hit the Horton Mill Bridge, which was closed when we visited two years ago, and marked it off the “to do” list. A bit too early for lunch, we soldiered on searching for a suitable BBQ lunch spot.

 BBQ, because I make a promise to Russell each year we will hit at least one BBQ spot. I heard he had a slight tear and his lower lip quivered as we sailed past a spot with smoke billowing from the rear. A suitable U-Turn and we were back to the Bluegrass BBQ in Leeds. How can you resist a sign with a pig and two banjos? A true BBQ place – real smoke, gravel lot, metal rood, wood plank floor and good food.

 Bellies filled, we headed out for the “Pig Tail”. An appropriate road after BBQ! This may be one of Alabama’s longest curvy roads. Once again, we split in twain with some folks attacking the curves while others meandered down the mountain. Either way, this is one fine road! The end of Hwy 25 found us gathering for the last push home. While not as long as last year’s 850 miles, the trip indeed had at least one tired Butt. I was happy to sleep in my own bed.

 Hope you all had as good a time as I did. Thanks for coming.

David Price

 MAP going up <http://goo.gl/maps/UwQ1g>

MAP coming home <http://goo.gl/maps/6ZzoI>

Terry & Georgia’s Photos

Russell & Cathy’s Photos