Talladega, Alabama

For every motoring enthusiast and especially those of motor racing, NASCAR, and more, then a visit to the Talladega Speedway and International Motorsports Hall of Fame is a ‘got to do it at least once!’ deal that you don’t want to miss.

There is an abundance of cars from all eras of motor racing within the museum.

There are many cabinets with memorabilia from drivers photos, race suits, flags, helmets, collector cars, you name it! They probably have it there.

Three large connecting buildings house cars that are restored, some are still original and unrestored. There are a few wrecks from one of the largest NASCAR race accidents in history involving 14 cars in 1996. There are dirt track cars, drag cars and midgets. Throw in a few motor bikes just for good measure.

The Hall of fame honors men and women from motor sports with a cabinet holding a trophy and lit description of their racing career. Around the walls are drawings of recipients, spectacular paintings of race cars and outside there is even one of the ocean racing boats, Dale Earnhardt’s tour bus, Richard Petty’s plane. It’s wild!

Do you remember the movie with Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby in, Talladega Nights? The museum also has Ricky Bobby’s Wonder Bread car used in the film! I need to watch that movie again now.

Next we took the tour bus over to the track. Bobby 😂😉 (not Ricky Bobby) was our host and as Bobby drove us around I tried to capture as much information as fast as my fingers could type.

Talladega is the biggest and most competitive track in the US for NASCAR racing.

The track is 2.6 miles long, 188 laps will give you a full 500 mile radius.

During race week it is estimated some 200,000 people would be here between fans, officials, drivers, crew, law enforcement, first responders, vendors, workers etc!

We entered the North tunnel that takes you under the track and into the infield where during a race some 50,000 people can be found camping!

The track has its own care facility/hospital for race days. The garages house up to 62 vehicles. Goodyear has its own building for tyres/tires changing and balancing any of the race cars where needed.

There are some specialty seating areas where you can join a club for a premium price to enjoy air conditioned restrooms, special food pavilion and covered seating with its own tv screens to enjoy the race on the whole track. This ‘club’ sits near the checkered line.

Moving right along and we didn’t get to drive round the track in the bus or get out to experience it.

Around the top of the stadium, in special booths, each team can have two spotters watching the race and feeding info back to the garage.

The track was built on a WWII air base. The two airstrips remain on the infield and are now RV hookup spaces.

Near the ‘front line’ there is a motor home hook up area called Front Runners club, Also pay a premium price for these spots. They have a view of a 4 stories high wall, where cars are going to be hanging on sideways above the yellow line!

There you have it, would lovvvve to see a race there but can at least say we have visited and taken in the sheer size of this famous speedway.

Shake ‘n’ bake!

Kat xo

P.S. there was no Lightning McQueen or Hudson Hornet kidlets 😉

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Stone Mountain Park

We had heard from some Oklahoma friends (Lady Roadrunner is from Georgia) that Stone Mountain Park in Georgia was a place to see. We did some research and added it to the list.

Agarita Annie and Neuces Slim had visited Stone Mountain before the Georgia State match and said it was definitely a must see. They had managed to see it, despite low fog and mist.

Jack and I headed there yesterday under perfect skies. Slightly overcast made it a little more pleasant for doing the walking trail, I didn't get right to the summit as I'd lost sight of Jack for some time and headed back to where he was resting. A great track though, stacks of people of all differing athletic abilities were on this stone track on a Sunday morning with a church revival service resounding from another section of the mountain.

We stopped near the flag poles, reading the plaques and the use of these flags during the Civil War. Many people do not understand the 'rebel' flag. It is history! It is the 'Confederate' flag and had great significance during the Civil War.

 

At the left end of the Confederate Flag Terrace is the Confederate Battle Flag.

At the battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861, the Confederate Commander was unable to recognize reinforcements because in the dust of battle the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy could hardly be distinguished from the Stars and Stripes of the Union forces. As a result, the Confederate battle flag was adopted in September 1861.


Far right on the terrace is the First National Flag.

The First National flag of the Confederate States of America was the Stars and Bars, with seven white stars in the blue field. One star for each Confederate state at the time of adoption this flag was raised over the Capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama, at sunrise on March 4, 1861.


Second from the right is the Second National Flag.

The Second National, a pure white flag with the 'battle flag' in the upper left hand corner, was adopted by the Confederate congress on May 1, 1863. The Second National was substituted for the First National which, it was thought, bore too great a likeness to the flag of the Union.


In the centre of the flag terrace is the Third National Flag.

Because the Second National flag, when hanging limp, could be mistaken for a flag of truce, the Confederate congress, on March 4, 1865, changed the design by adding a broad red bar across the end. This created the third flag of the Confederacy which was known as the Last National flag of the Confederacy.


Second from left is the United States of America Flag.

 

Now you can see and understand how it all ties in to history and in my opinion, a history that needs to remain told, understood, and never to be forgotten.

Great men fought, won and lost during this time period. The carving on the side of Stone Mountain is a tribute to the Confederate States of America. It was conceptualised in the early 1900's when both Northerners and Southerners were establishing memorials for the Civil War heroes.

 

Inside Memorial Hall (sits directly opposite, with a view to the carving) their is an auditorium with a film explaining the Civil War battles and a huge window with reproduction pieces indicating actual size, references to the 3 men depicted, how it came to be, design competition, the carvers etc.

 

The carving of Confederate President Jefferson Davis (left), General Robert E. Lee (centre), and General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is a spectacular sight to see and you really don't get the scale and depth of it until you have read the information or taken the Skyride up the mountain to fully appreciate the great feat the carvers have produced.

 

The total dimensions of the carved section is 90 feet high and covers an area of a large city block.

The actual dimensions of the carving itself are 76 feet high, 160 feet wide and at the deepest relief section, 42 feet. You can fit two school buses side by side on the back of Lee's horse. I liked the comparison between other well known carvings around the world. It's half the height of the Statue of Liberty but larger than Mt Rushmore and I thought that was big!


Here's some perspective on the stars on General Lee's collar, the buckle from “Black Jack's” bridle, and the mouth of the horse – actual size reproductions. You could fit in the horses mouth to get out of a rain shower, the buckle is as big as a stove, Jefferson Davis's thumb is as big as a couch and Robert E. Lee's head is 15ft tall.

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum's first concept for the memorial was to include an entire Southern army!? It took 60 years (approx 13 actual carving) before it was completed as it was! A widower of a Confederate soldier, C. Helen Plane pushed for a memorial and by 1915 had rallied the Atlanta Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy to contract the renowned sculptor for the project.

Over five decades, three sculptors later (Gutzon Borglum, Augustus Lukeman and Walter Hancock) time, lease, money issues and artist grievances, the carving was finally dedicated in May 1970. The some 420ft 'tallest' outside elevator was eventually completely removed by 1972.

 

The mountain itself was formed by volcanic activity and over time soil erosion has revealed the largest exposed granite rock in the world. It's only taken about 120 million years for it to get like this!?!

The park has the Skyride cable car, you can do a return trip, walk up and take the ride back to the bottom, ride to the top and walk down. There is a train that runs around the base. The Ampitheatre and pond area are beautiful and there are night time laser shows against the side of the mountain. Historic Square has a number of old homes that have been relocated, restored and house a number of antiques, these can be viewed for an extra entry price.

 

Confederate Hall which sits at the base of the walking trail doesn't open until 12pm on a Sunday so we missed seeing inside this building. It sits adjacent to the car park where the original owner Andrew Johnson's house, the Gilbraltar Hotel was when the township was known as New Gibraltar.

 

A beautiful spot to visit and I would recommend it to anyone. I can imagine summer season is going to be jam packed with visitors, it was bad enough on a warmer than usual spring day in off peak. Lots of people enjoy this area that is evident. My tip is if you are going to spend the money to get in, enjoy the rides and historic square then I would suggest picking a time when you can spend the time to stay and enjoy the laser show as well.

Thanks Georgia for highlighting our trip as we left this state.

Kat xo

 

Stampede At South River

This year The South River Shootists hosted the 2018 SASS Georgia State Championship – Rooster Cogburn and the Lady.

The South River Gun Club in Covington, Georgia is a fabulous facility for multiple shooting sports, a club house and great amenities. It was nice to meet Len (president of the club) and Dun Gamblin' as they roamed the range during the weekend.

The cowboy range is spectacular. Tree lined berms, shade structures, umbrellas on unloading tables, shade over loading tables. The facades were all done with Rooster and Eula, throw in the odd horse, nitro box, wagon etc. Every range has fine gravel base and the paths down to the ranges are all asphalt making for a pleasant guncart expedition.

The weather cooperated (who'd have thought!?!?) and other than a fine misty shower or two it held out for the whole match!!

Thursday we shot 4 stages of Wild Bunch Posse'd with Cardboard Cowboy, Foxy Filly, Bo Dacious, Doc Kemm, Doc Who, Knot Hardly Dunn, Shamrock Sadie, Three Gun Lady, Silver Pistols, Slippery Stew, Doc Southerly, Kontankerous Tee, Rolan Kraps, and Schofield Twin. We then went our separate ways with Jack doing 6 stages of Black Powder while I spent the afternoon doing warm up stages. A big thank you to Reno Mustang and Dodge City Dixie for letting me rest my guns in your guncart!

 

That night Georgia Gypsy and Pale Ale Rider invited us into their home. Along with some other cowboy's and cowgirl's we enjoyed some great German food by Chef Gypsy. (she is an actual chef!) We thank you both for your fabulous hospitality.

Friday and we are into the main match with 6 stages today followed up with ice cream social, couples and team shoot. A great day, a few fumbles, a miss for each of us but tomorrow's another day as we say. Great Posse, everyone worked, some newer shooters as well – Jack and I, Shamrock Sadie, Knot Hardly Dunn, Double Tap, No Limit, Mt Zion Gypsie, Mt Zion Yellowboy, Maverick Fitzpatrick, Tucker T Fudpucker, Fancy Fillie, Buckshot Collins, Hambone Hannah, Doc Kemm, Doc Who, Dollar Down, Gatlin Glennie and Ranger Law.

 

Saturday comes around and we have the final 4 to do. With that out of the way we had lunch and headed down for the shoot off. An 'anyone can enter' shoot off, Shamrock Sadie and I decided to join the Open category ie: we shot wih the men and if we both hadn't fumbled with shotgun reloads we would have made it past our first rounds!

 

Good fun and it freed up the other ladies to enjoy a shootout. Congratulations to Sue Render and Red River Ray for winning the shootout!!

Back to the motel and it's time to get ready for the banquet and awards. The banquet was held at the Georgia International Horsepark in the Carriage Room. What a beautiful facility with a gorgeous rose garden, bridge, pond and a summer house/pergola – perfect for the LOCAS picture.

 

Had the opportunity to enter the costume contest this time wearing my silver and purple saloon outfit I won first place. Congratulations to all the other winners and spectacular costumes!

 

The banquet had a full service bar and staff attending to a beautiful buffet dinner. The food was amazing.

Into the awards and the match hosts certainly go all out with their awards, prize draws etc. Jack and I won the couples shoot. A buckle with a timber insert laser engraved with the logo etc.

Wild Bunch – I managed a clean match and was the only one who did. haa haa haa cracked me up! So a neat clean match pin, I won Ladies Traditional and Ladies Overall. Jack won Senior Modern, well done man!

 

Black Powder – Jack's rifle played up on the final stage of Wild Bunch which turned out to being a lost firing pin. He went to use the rifle on his first stage of the Black Powder match (thankfully rifle was first) and it wouldn't do anything. Believe it or not he found the pin up on the stage where he last shot for Wild Bunch too. As is the cowboy way, another shooter then says 'here, use mine, here is some ammo' and Jack is able to continue to shoot. Thank you Palmetto Traveller for loaning Jack your rifle. Jack placed 3rd in Senior.

Main Match – Jack finished a credible 2nd place in Senior category! Congratulations to Double Nickle 1st place, Mustang Dave 3rd place, Rooster Ray 4th place and Georgia State Champion and 5th place, Dungannon Gunner! Congrats gents.

 

I won Lady Wrangler with congratulations going to Georgia State Champion and 2nd Place Dixie Pistols, 3rd place Alchemist Belle, 4th place Cotton Tail, 5th place Pinky Pistols! Congrats ladies.

 

Congratulations to Georgia State overall men's Christian Mortician and Maggie Darlin' over all ladies. Christian Mortician and myself men's and ladies overall match champions!

 

The Top 20 also received a pin – for me, 14th overall.

Thank you again to all involved with the match, volunteers, sponsors to the match, etc. Stampede at South River was a great match and I would recommend it to anyone! It's a must do match!

Kat xo

 

Georgia On My Mind

Tuesday we hit the road travelling through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and into Mississippi. We made an overnight stop at Olive Branch and today are hitting the road for Georgia.

As Elvis crooned across our airwaves yesterday Jack said we would make a stop at Tupelo to Elvis' birthplace and Museum. Yippee!

This morning we made the stop in Tupelo, Mississippi to visit the Museum. No photos are allowed in the Museum which features times during the Depression when times were tough for Vernon and Gladys Presley. There are many photos, memorabilia, clothing worn by Elvis and more.

Elvis Aaron Presley was born January 8, 1935 (his twin brother was stillborn) in the tiny little two room 'shotgun' style house at this very site.

The small church Elvis and his family attended was a block over on Adams Street. When the church needed to build a larger facility it was used as a house and later purchased by the Museum in 2008 and relocated here to its current site on the house and Museum grounds.

 

He grew up with the church services and the gospel sounds that would set Elvis on a path of music, beyond the weekly gatherings around the radio listening to the Grand Old Opry.

It was Reverend Frank Smith who taught a young and shy Elvis a few guitar chords. He was encouraged to perform during services, often with his parents. The Reverend would walk and play which statements attribute this to Elvis performance style.

Also noted in the Museum was that Elvis used to entertain himself with simple toys and Captain Marvel, Jr comics. Speculation maybe? They also suggest his signature hairstyle and perhaps the TCB (taking care of business) lightning bolt could have been attributed to these comics.

 

In 1938, the family lost their house when Vernon was sent to prison for forging a check (cheque) where he served 8 months of a 3 year sentence. Gladys would work to keep food on the table.

As Elvis continued school, taking his guitar with him at times performed for friends. His teacher entered him in a state contest where he placed 5th.

In 1948 the Presley's moved to Memphis. This became a turning point in Elvis' career where he began performing with other boys who played music. He still had the intention of being part of a Gospel quartet.

In 1953, he paid $3.95 to make his first recording 'My Happiness' and 'That's When The Heartache Begins'. Then if you have ever done a Sun Studio's tour in Tennessee, we all now what happened after that and how Marion Kesker had saved the recording and later Sam Phillips produced many of Elvis' recordings.

The grounds to the Museum are spectacular with plaques of information during the years of pivotal moments, a bronze statue depicting a young Elvis in oversized overalls and a meandering walk both wheelchair accessible by way of ramps and paths or stairs to the top of the property to another statue called 'Becoming'.

 

This stunning statue shows a small Elvis and as a mature, larger than life flamboyant style as he had become.

 

Onwards and we cross into another state we have not visited – Alabama. We will pass the Talladega Super Speedway. Now comes to mind, besides NASCAR races of course, is Talladega Nights – Ricky Bobby, shake and bake – a very funny movie. We will make a stop here on the return trip to the Motorsports Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame!

 

From Alabama winding through the Talladega National Forest, we continued East heading across the border into Georgia.

 

We found the range, then the hotel and we are ready for an early start tomorrow. We missed the registration as we forgot we would lose an hour!

Kat xo

 

The Flying Fortress

To aviation enthusiasts around the world, some of the WWI and WWII planes are the jewel of the crown when it comes to modern warfare. They were the forefathers in air defence and you can't mistake their distinctive sound, gleaming metal and intriguing nose cone art that made them what they are.

This weekend in Oklahoma, such beauty of the skies is visiting the Wiley Post Airport. The B-17 bomber known as “The Flying Fortress” was produced by Boeing in Seattle, Washington. During the years 1935-1945 some 12,000 were produced, with 4,735 being lost during combat.

This morning whilst shooting with the Territorial Marshals, we were just about to start stage 5 in the Saloon when I heard the sound of her go overhead and I ran out to see where she was. I yelled to Jack and we watched her almost hanging in mid air like a model as she cruised across the skies.

After we had unpacked and got changed, we headed for Wiley Post to see the 'Madras Maiden' in all her glory. She was produced in 1944 but didn't make it to combat with the 381st Bomber Group in England. She was bought and sold at various times and eventually purchased by the Erickson Collection in 2013 in Madras, Oregon.

From the Liberty Foundation website – '….restored to her combat configuration and painted in the colors of the 381st Bomb Group,mane sporting the Madras Maiden nose art, N3701G flies today to honor our veterans, educate current and future generations as to the high price of freedom and to preserve our aviation heritage.'

She is flown today by pilot, Connie Bowlin who not only flies this beauty but has also flown the famed Memphis Belle on many tours.

We have heard that the original Memphis Belle is soon to be installed in the National Museum of The United States Air Force in Ohio that Jack and I had visited back in 2016.

 

As we waited in line with anyone from 4 year olds to a B-29 veteran, we boarded the B-17 for a look and wondered at their cramped conditions in the bomber. An engineering and flight marvel that we were so pleased to see.

 

Sensational! Hoping to see her in the skies again tomorrow during Wild Bunch and capture it on video.

Kat xo

 

Happy Mother’s Day

To all the Mum's and Mom's out there may your day be filled with loved ones, phone calls, pressies, flowers or heart felt messages. Like my little spur of the moment poem for my Mum, Heather.

To my Mum,

I may not have always been the perfect child

And at times I know I was driving you wild

Over the years I have respected you more

For all that you did for all of us four

For my three I am extremely lucky

Not as many trials as you had ducky

I know we did not always see eye to eye

And more than once have made you cry

But for me the black sheep

Who utters more than a peep

Loves you dearly

Not only once yearly.

 

Boom! Beat that Golden Child! Hee hee hee……..love you too Chris! Lol!

Joee aka Kat xo

 

Can’t Beat A Good Match

The Great Spaghetti Western is one of those annual matches that are just a super, fun time, cowboy match that strives to give everyone a great experience.

It had been raining Friday but by the time we arrived at the range it had stopped, leaving it particularly damp, slippery and muddy but then we've had that the last 3 matches so I guess this weekend shouldn't be any different, right?

 

Saturday and Sunday turned out to be beautiful days with plenty of sunshine and a temperature increase into the 80's.

Ready, set, go! The match started with the pledge, prayer and the beautiful Abbey Hayes singing the National anthem. Seven posse's started into 5 stages with a bang. Saturday we did stages 6 through 10.

In the afternoon we did side matches including the super stage. Great fun using 4 pistols, 2 rifles and 1 shotgun. What a hoot that is! Jack and I both ended up winning the men's and ladies for that.

Then it was drinks time with friends and dinner on the range provided by the Cowboy Church. Things got a little bit crazy but we all had a great time and that's what it's all about!

 

Sunday and I'm feeling a little seedy but it's time to get into the last 5 stages (1 thru 5). Jack and I had a great posse to shoot with – Aint Dunnit, Cat Daddy Carson, Colorado Jackson, Whiskey Kid, Panhandle Cowgirl, Silver Sam, Shakie Tex, Lil Magill, Brazos Belle, Crooked Bullet, Lamesa Kid, Choctaw Al, Kansas City Sneed, Oklahoma Dee and Forty Dog Kid.

 

Lunch, LOCAS photos and awards ensued. Complicated Lady took the advantage at the LOCAS picture time to pass the Number 1 pin along to Pistol Packin' Pami.

 

Smokin' Limey loved her shirt that I had surprised her with when I gave her Cadburys chocolate (she likes the Aussie version better than the pommie and US versions). I got the Union Jack flag fabric when I was back in Australia (of all places) and thought of her straight away. Suffice to say she absolutely loves it.

 

Jack came 1st in Silver Senior's with Lefty Wheeler 2nd and Texas Mean Gene 3rd. He finished 13th overall.

 

I had a good match, finished clean and 1st in Lady Wrangler with Calamity Di Bar 2nd, Honey B Graceful 3rd and Okie Fenokie 4th.

I managed 3rd overall and 1st lady. Congratulations to Rusty Remington taking the top honor's!

 

A huge thank you to all The Texas Ten Horn's, once again you have put on a great match and with the addition of the new range's it flowed perfectly. Thanks for having us!

Kat xo