Our ten month work assignment ended Wednesday. Walt’s home is fixed up and ready to sell, and Amazon is signifying they will need no workcampers until October. I wanted to see the leaves change colors in New England, and with a bit of luck, now we will.
After a semi-tough 200 mile pull we arrived at this lovely, refurbished Corps of Engineers campground just north of Tuscaloosa. Yes, I felt the Eye of Sauron Saban scowling down upon us for each of the last 30 miles. Perhaps the color of the Red Sled made him doubt his instincts: so far, it’s so good.
Deerlick was built on bluffs overlooking a Corps project called Holt Reservoir. Holt does triple duty as a water supply, a recreation resource for fishing and boating, and feeds a hydro-electric station generating enough juice to power 14,000 central A/C’s through a hot ‘Bama summer. Deerlick also provides 46 prime tailgating spots on a dozen weekends every autumn. Those who prefer televised football can watch the Tide roll in Deerlick’s outdoor splendor without the game day traffic and parking woes. The Corps does not ask whether its campers follow Alabama or Auburn, and you know a wandering War Eagle once in a while will slip in and set up his ‘cue pit and big-screen outdoor TV. But I wouldn’t want to be here wearing Auburn colors when them boys take on the Crimson Tide … beer, bourbon, and carry permits mix badly with heated rivalries. But we know it’s happened before, and so far … no fatalities.
Kat and I have driven through Tuscaloosa many times on I-20 or I-59 but have never seen the good side of that city. It exists. The lawns are large and manicured, and nobody leaves a car up on blocks, parks his dead tractor out front, or has a rusty Olds 98 engine suspended from an ancient oak. In many respects Tuscaloosa is a lovely, modern city. The grocery nearest Deerlick is a Publix. It is ten miles away, so be sure to stop there on the way in.
I made the mistake of not doing so yesterday. And today I made the drive. Publix was dealin’ on thick porterhouse beef and cold California champagne. Kat and I are gonna celebrate the beginning of Travel Season 2017 in style. Ah, on the way back Alabama Public Radio played a version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue recorded in 1996 yet new to my ears. Andrew Litton conducted the Dallas Symphony from his piano, and I really like the jittery energy of this version. Yo, this ain’t classical music, dawg. This is big band jazz. I couldn’t find a free recording of Litton’s DSO recording on Youtube, but other renditions abound. You can hear Rhapsodies featuring the original Gershwin piano roll, or the Paul Whiteman band, and of course, Bernstein fronting New York Phil. And without further ado, here’s Lenny! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH2PH0auTUU