Sunday, June 23, 2013

Out of Memphis and on to Tupelo, Mississippi, birthplace of Elvis. We visited his boyhood home and read many accounts of his younger days. Stopped by the hardware store where his mother bought him his first guitar. Got a first hand account delivered by a woman who worked in the store. Interesting stories.....Tupelo is typical Mississippi but very clean and uncluttered. We enjoyed our visit. 

After a few days in Tupelo, we headed east again and stopped in Birmingham, Alabama. Interesting town with schools and hospitals taking up most of the downtown areas. We visited the Vulcan statue and it provides a beautiful overlook of the city. I don't miss living in the big cities, for sure....

Nashville is up next on our list and we are both looking forward to hitting the music city. I grew up with country western music and am interested in seeing the Grand Ole Opry house...or what it is today anyway.....

Here's our gorgeous campsite in Tupelo, Mississippi, Tombigbee State park with full hookups! The bathhouse was a little rough, but it had two washers and dryers in it and three showers each. We use our coach's facilities and the W/D in the coach but it's nice to know they're there if we need them. Its a small park with only 22 camping sites....

Just another wonderful road between Tupelo and Birmingham. We took Hwy 178 east out of Tupelo, a nice two lane well paved hwy and met up with Interstate 22 in Fulton, Mississippi. This is Interstate 22 which took us into Birmingham.

I find it interesting, as we travel, to see how much open land there is in this country. With spending most of my adult life in So. California, it's amazing how much land is not developed.

We arrived in Birmingham, Alabama mid afternoon and after setting up camp, we decided to check out the City. After so much flatland of Louisana, Arkansas and Mississippi, it was nice to see a few hills again.

One of our highlights was the Vulcan Statue which overlooks the City of Birmingham. It is the largest cast iron statue in the world, standing at 56'. The pedestal it stands on is 123' tall. It depicts the Roman god Vulcan, god of fire and forge. It represents the City's roots in iron and steel. It is also the 7th tallest free standing statue in America.  It was originally constructed as Birmingham's entry into the 1904 World's Fair.

The statue consists of 29 individual cast iron pieces that are connected internally. The statue weighs a hefty 120,000 pounds with the head being the heaviest, at 11,000 pounds! Talk about having a big head!

More history on the statue....When it left the Worlds Fair in 1904, it was shipped back to Birmingham only to be left in pieces in a railyard due to unpaid freight bills. It remained there for many years before being re-erected at the Alabama State Fairgrounds. Unfortunately the statue's spear had been lost during the time the statue was in disrepair. Over the years, Vulcan held many thing in his hand, an ice cream cone, a bottle of Coke and even a jar of Heinz pickles!

Finally, in 1936, the Vulcan was moved to it's present home atop Red Mountain. A new city park was constructed around the statue. He was given a facelift to celebrate the City's Centennial in 1971. Unfortunately, some errors in the facelift caused the statue to begin deteriorating and was deemed unsafe in 1990. He was again removed in 1999 and received a $14 million renovation. After 5 years, he once again took his position overlooking the City.

The preceding three pictures were taken from the observation deck at the base of the statue.

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