Monday, September 08, 2014

Seeking southern skies





Yesterday we arrived home from a glorious nine days along Florida's Emerald Coast, which translates to "I've got about 1000 pictures to deal with."

I promised myself I would just do a bit at a time, so today I am sharing a few snaps from our drive down south. It's a good long ways--upwards of 12 hours!!--and so we knew we'd want to break it up to make the drive as much fun as we could and to sort of bring in that vacation spirit. I put our route into roadtrippers.com to check out the interesting waypoints nearby and then Neil helped me narrow it down to two.

Our first stop was in Nashville at the full-scale replica of the Parthenon. We timed our arrival so we got there are 6 am just as the sun was rising and it was so beautiful!



As you can imagine, our little obsessed-with-Greek-mythology children were in absolute heaven!






































Since we were there so early, we didn't go inside, but there's supposed to be some nice art gallerys and a full-scale replica of Athena Parthenos (this is where the scene in the Percy Jackson movie was filmed).
 It was a lovely morning and a welcome stop! Perfect for stretching our legs and getting some of the wiggles out.







































Our next stop was considerably longer: Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, AL (a National Historic Landmark).  We arrived here about eight hours into our drive and we were soooo excited to stop! Good thing we were happy about getting out of the car because this was the hottest, most humid interlude of our entire trip!
 Yeah, it was really really hot.






































I love this photo. It might get framed on my wall.

 Abs taking her own photos--the girls are preparing PowerPoint presentations for their class and I wanted them to take some of their own photos.






































So remember when I said that the girls were thrilled about the Parthenon? Their excitement was NOTHING compared to Neil's at the blast furnaces! Seriously, he was in heaven!






































I was chuckling when I went through these photos because 99% of them showed Neil pointing at something and lecturing to his attentive audience. We took an hour-long self-guided tour with a guidebook but Neil was easily the equivalent of our personal guide! I always tease him about how he goes into "lecture mode" when he's really excited about explaining things, and a couple of times during this trip I raised my hand and said, "Professor, what about..." and he would start off explaining out of habit before he even registered what I was doing. Hah! The best part is that our kids are totally riveted by explanations of where the coal goes and what the hopper car does next and exactly how hot the molten metal is when it exits the furnace and runs along these conduits here...









































I won't give you all the explanations--just enjoy the pictures. Apparently this is a very popular wedding venue--they had a brochure about the four different sites around the furnaces that you could rent for your wedding (they also do scheduled pours for field trips or classes) and Neil was showing me the brochure and the lady in the gift shop looked at our kids and said in her SUPER heavy Alabama accent, "About time you make an honest woman out of her!"  We weren't quite sure whether she was joking or not so we decided to just laugh and move on.









































One last interesting tidbit--almost everything was outdoors but then we got to one giant shed area that had padlocked doors that were standing open with people moving around inside. So we went in, assuming that it was part of the tour, and were sort of wandering around checking things out. At one place there was this table set with all kinds of old-fashioned dishes, food, servingware, etc., and the kids were like, cool! Let's eat! and I was like, nope, not our food, but you can sit down at the table and I'll take a picture of you pretending to eat...and then this guy came over and said, excuse me, but we're actually filming here, so you need to leave the set. Then he pointed out the guy nearby in really freaky green makeup and told us that they were filming The Young Frankenstein and we looked around, and sure enough, there were all kinds of camera and wires stashed all around this giant echoing shed crammed with machinery! Pretty cool. (And freaky because it really was like the set of a horror movie when you added in the scary-looking green guy.)


 Anyway, a very fun little interlude and very informative! We packed ourselves back up in the car and drove the remaining four hours until we hit the beautiful beaches! Which means there's a lot more posting to come. :-)



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