Red Bay, AL Part II: Around Town
Red Bay is a fairly small town (Zeller translation - they don't have a Wal-Mart). Red Bay has a nice, Southern, small-town feel; but there isn't much to do. Our primary reason for being there was to have the windows on the motor home replaced. We needed to stay around the rig much of the time anyway during the early part of the week waiting to talk to the service liaison and during the latter part of the week waiting for them to call us over to service; but we didn't want to spent the entire time just sitting around either.
We knew we would have a couple of hours to wait while the motor home was in the repair bay, so we
decided to take a drive to the Coon Dog Cemetery. The cemetery is a little over a half hour northeast of Red Bay off State Route 247.
In 1937, Key Underwood buried his beloved coon dog, Troop, in a grassy meadow that was a popular gathering spot for hunters. Soon, other hunters started burying their coon dogs in the same location. Today, there are over 185 coon dogs in the cemetery.
These guys are serious about their dogs! When asked by a reporter why other types of dogs weren't allowed to be buried there, Key Underwood responded, "You must not know much about coon hunters and their dogs, if you think we would contaminate this burial place with poodles and lap dogs."
Markers range from hand-lettered wood plaques...
...to elaborate, polished-granite grave stones.
After the completion of the repairs to the motor home, we decided to stay in Red Bay a little longer. We still needed to research our next stop, the inland path of hurricane Ike was still a little uncertain, and getting gas had the potential for being a little dicey with many Gulf Coast refineries shut down because of the hurricane. Staying put after the motor home work was completed seemed like the prudent thing to do. It also gave us time to relax after our western U.S. "vacation" this past summer.
thing there is to do in Red Bay is to eat. There are quite a few small
restaurants that many of the locals frequent. One of the local
favorites is Swamp John's. The restaurant is in an old gas station (the
pumps are still outside) and looks like a real dive, but they serve
delicious fried catfish. Catfish is available every day for dinner and
all day on Thursdays. Meals are ordered cafeteria-style and are served
on paper plates.
Another couple we met at the Allegro Campground also suggested Reeve's Fish and Steakhouse for catfish. They are only open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On Thursday of the following week, we headed out to Reeve's. The restaurant is located about 8 miles south of Golden, MS and about 10 miles west of Red Bay on Mississippi Route 25.
The decor at Reeve's has a little (but not much) more ambiance than Swamp John's. The inside is paneled with OSB (Oriented Strand Board - a type of low-cost construction panel similar to particle board), and there are some old photos on the walls. The menu is quite a bit more extensive than Swamp John's with healthier side dishes offered including a bountiful salad bar. Reeve's is a sit-down restaurant, but prices are very reasonable and only slightly higher than Swamp John's.
both had the fried catfish, and, although they do offer healthier side dishes, we had french fries and onion rings. :) Cole slaw and hush puppies were also included. The catfish was great -
piping hot, light, and crispy. The sides were also good.
One day during our extended stay, we went over to Piney Grove COE in Mississippi, a campground on the Tom-Bigbee waterway, to check out campsites suitable for satellite for a possible future stay. We found this COE on our first visit to the area and loved it. Here's a picture of our favorite site in the campground from that 2004 stay in our pre-satellite days in our travel trailer.
As you can see, the park is heavily wooded and the chance of getting satellite is extremely limited to say the least. In fact, we only found one or two sites out of 200+ that might work.
On another day, we also scouted out Corinth Recreation Area campground, a national forest campground, for our next stop. Sometimes we can tell from an aerial view (available from Google Maps) whether or not there are campsites that are suitable for satellite reception. There were several sites at Corinth that looked good, but we couldn't tell from the campground maps exactly what the site numbers were. Therefore, since Corinth was only about an hour and a half from Red Bay, we decided to drive there in person to pick our site in advance.
During the remainder of our stay, we also made a Wal-Mart run to nearby Russellville for groceries, Paul rotated the tires on the Vue, we cleaned the carpet in the motor home, Margery finished entering all her recipes into the computer, and we researched and made some reservations for Thanksgiving weekend and for the Florida Keys. We've learned that the popular camping months in the South are September through March, when the temperatures moderate, so reservations are advisable for popular areas and for holiday weekends.
As we said, we will be going to Corinth Recreation Area about an hour and a half to the east near Double Springs, AL for our next stop. We look forward to getting back to a more natural setting.