As we studied the map in an effort to select our next stop, we found Lake Martin in East Central Alabama near Alexander City. It only seemed appropriate that The Martins should spend some time at Lake Martin while on the road. Our plan was to go there for a week and take day trips to Birmingham and Montgomery, both of which were a little over an hour away. The drive down the state was beautiful. We were lucky to be in the south during springtime. The greens of the trees, fields and grass were various shades of electrified neon. The azaleas were budding with brilliant reds, pinks and whites. The trees that weren’t green popped out of the landscape with splotches of white or pinkish red. The entire time we were driving to Alexander City I kept thinking I need to find an app on my phone that would help me identify regional flora and fauna. I would like to tell you what kind of trees and flowers I’m trying to describe, but if I say much more I will look extremely ignorant.
Wind Creek State Park is the largest state operated campground in the United States with 626 sites. A few days after we were there we learned that of all those spots, there were only 18 waterfront spots with water, power AND sewer. We were lucky enough to land in C24 which backed into a small cove across from the Park Marina. The park spans 1,445 acres along the shores of scenic Lake Martin which is a 41,000 acre reservoir perfect for fishing, swimming and boating. In addition to campsites, the park also had a fishing pier, hiking trails, boat rentals, horseback riding trails off of the equine camping area, cabins, and a sandy beach swimming area.
After we had settled into our spot we became very lazy with relaxing camping activities like lounging in the hammock, fishing off the banks, walking the trails and tending a campfire. We spent a lot of our time gawking at our neighbors camped out on the point across the water from us. There were four trailers of families that met at the park to spend the week together. One family had a giant lab/pit bull mix that loved the water. The family tied a rope to the dog’s neck and the other end to a green kayak. Then they put a kid in the kayak and threw out a bright orange hunting bumper to the middle of the cove. The dog would swim out to snag the bumper and back to shore while the kiddo enjoyed a free ride in the kayak. We worried along with our neighbors, Archie and Linda, that the dog would drown but the hound never tired. It was very funny and ingenious of the parents (wear out the dog and entertain the kid all at once).
I’m sure you can understand that this quality entertainment caused us to quickly lose all desire to spend time back in the car. We decided to cancel our plans to visit Birmingham or Montgomery. We are only on our third state, and I’ve already thwarted my goal to visit each state capitol! (We did drive through Birmingham on the way to the park and through Montgomery after leaving the park… so I’ll say we technically visited each city).
Since I am married to one of the most loyal and fanatic Texas Longhorn Fans in the universe, it is not surprising that we showcase some U.T. gear at our campsite. When you see the Longhorn emblems on the flag by the door, or on the chair by the fire, or on the license plate covers decorating the bus and car – you know what team we support. In Alabama, this isn’t the most popular position to brag about. All the Alabama fans still vividly remember when they rolled tide over Texas in Pasadena during January of 2010. We were there and I do remember all the Alabama fans being so gracious to us as we exited the Rose Bowl Stadium in a slightly different mood than we had just one year previously.
It was this rivalry that helped us snag a freezer full of crappie while we were at Lake Martin. A park host named Tommy that lived up at the top of Loop C noticed our team regalia one evening, so he stopped over to introduce himself and give us some grief. After we visited for a short while, Tommy had already invited Mike to go fishing out on the Lake and gifted us with a bottle of home grown apple pie moonshine. He and Mike ended up fishing one full day and brought home two limits of crappie. We fried a batch for dinner that night and they divided the rest for their freezers. The next day Tommy fished alone but came by our spot in his boat on his way back to the marina. Mike helped him get the boat on his trailer and clean his limit from that day – and we ended up with half the day’s catch in our freezer again! Since my birthday is a 24 we figured spot #C-24 would be lucky, and we were correct.
We did drive over to Auburn one Sunday afternoon. We took the dogs and walked around the campus which is very charming with red brick buildings and lush landscaping. The actual town is a tiny community of only about 6,000 inflated ten-fold by the university population. The campus is undergoing lots of major construction and capital improvements. It was obvious they had a recently winning sports program, since most of the money was being pumped into athletic facilities and student athlete housing. We saw the famous oak trees by Toomer’s Drug Store that were poisoned by an opposing fan. Turns out our timing was good because they are schedule to be cut down in just a couple of weeks. We had a snack and some drinks at a cute sidewalk café and then drove back home just in time for sunset.
We loved our time at Wind Creek State Park but we left one day earlier than scheduled to get down to our next stop at Gulf Shores ahead of some severe weather predictions.