Friday afternoon. Having had a quick breakfast en route, I get back out on 65 and make my way to Huntsville. It’s a bright, sunny day. Lovely for a drive. The parts of the highway carved out of granite remind me of the places I grew up in Massachusetts. I pass Franklin, TN, and remember someone I used to work with who lives there (as far as I know). The scenic Duck River isn’t all that scenic from the highway. It’s amazing how quickly the drive goes by. In no time, I have located the hotel where I’m meeting my Aunt, and stop to text her. I’m here, I let her know, and going to go entertain myself until you are free. Suggestions?
I wait a few minutes but there’s no reply (she is in class, after all), so I just ask my GPS to find attractions and get rolling. I let it direct me to the nearest “park” hoping for something scenic, but discover quickly that every local soccer field is considered a “park” (while, interestingly, the Big Springs International Park is not). I look for other options and end up at the Huntsville Historical Depot. For the same $12 entry (but a little more time invested) I can get a guided tour. It’s midday on a Friday; I am a guided tour group of one. But the experience is much more interesting for having an expert tell me what I’m looking at and how it all ties together. Midway through the tour my aunt texts back to suggest the Space museum (I’m already invested in trains at present, of course), and to let me know she’s expecting to get out at 2:30.
It’s a little after 2:15 when I get back to the hotel. The sportsbar/steakhouse on the corner is open and air conditioned (which will feel good at first, and uncomfortably cold after a short while), and I get a much-needed beverage and a little bit of something to serve as a late lunch.
When my aunt gets free, I pick her up and we head over to the Botanical Gardens for the afternoon. Afterward we drive into the city center to explore Big Spring International Park (which is probably particularly lovely when the trees are in bloom) and have dinner at Cotton Row.
Afterward we cruise back to the hotel, catching up in general. Despite the effort I made at napping, I am ready for bed early, and fall asleep while whatever movie we’ve turned on is still building the plotline.