Jet lag beat me, seeing me have a restless night culminating in me being wide awake at four a.m. I think most of the others had a pretty similar experience. I sent some e-mails and planned the route to Montgomery on the motel wifi. It really is pretty cool being able to travel with such a little device and do this kind of stuff. It's something that I've had a vision of in my head whilst on our longer travels in the past, but which has really come of age now.
I had another bit of a roam around in the sunshine while the others ate breakfast at the ihop. Unfortunately the tourist information in Morrow was closed, not unsurprisingly really, it being Sunday. I had hoped to fill the glovebox with maps and things.
We set off toward Montgomery, pretty much immediately missing our turn off because Gemma and Andy were dicking around with the stereo settings. We didn't go too far out of the way though, and needed to stop to put air in one of the tires though. Buying water and getting change for the air, Daz got asked whether he was Australian!
I sat daydreaming out of the window and watching the trees go by as we cruised down the interstate. I saw quite a few birds of prey, I'm wondering whether they were eagles based on their very large wingspans.
Arriving in Montgomery we stopped briefly at a Best Buy store to buy mobile phones. $20 each with $30 of calling credit wasn't bad. I had a bit of a job getting the thing setup with google voice as the mobile site doesn't allow the setup of new numbers. I wrangled with it for a while and eventually managed to get everything sorted.
It being the 4th July we had pre-booked our hotel before leaving the UK. A Hampton Inn right in the centre of town. It was very nice and Gemma and I struck lucky with our room which was massive. They say, "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun", so that is what we did. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and Montgomery seemed deserted as we walked round, the locals obviously sensible enough to stay in air conditioned comfort. Lunch was another belly stretching affair, chopped pork sandwiches all round and pitchers of ale at Dreamland BBQ. Insanely tasty barbecue sauce.
The Capitol building was a pretty impressive thing. Lots of statuary relating to the confederate side of the American civil war. We had a slow amble round the grounds before the baking heat worked up a thirst in us. Fortunately the Montgomery Brewing Company was a few blocks away and happy to provide a few pints of ale to slake it. Or for those that chose soft drinks endless refills until they had to ask for a pause before they swelled up.
As we left the town was getting busy with people arriving for the Biscuit's baseball game as well as the concert and fireworks for the 4th of July celebrations. Daz and I took a wander through the massing people whilst the others freshened up back at the hotel. The band had started on-stage by the time we got back down to the riverfront.
There was a lot of renditions of the national anthem mixed amongst the party tunes, with the whole crowd rising hand on heart. I was struck by just how earnest the people here are. And whether I agree with it or not, they certainly truly believe that they are the land of the free and the home of the brave. It would be easy to dismiss it and take the piss but I'm not going to because the people we spoke to seem very warm and genuine.
I guess the only downside of the party in the park was the selection of beer being limited to American lagers like Miller and Budweiser and the price of them, but that was more than offset by the atmosphere. The fireworks were cool, but I didn't manage to get any good photos unfortunately. The finale was especially impressive.