Tri-City Ledger -

By Jim Stanton
Guest Writer 

Summer is the time for family vacations


June 13, 2019

When I was growing up it was just about a sure thing that during the summer we would take a family vacation. Most of our vacations were to the eastern United States, normally around Tennessee or North Carolina.

Many of the memories I have of these vacations are more or less regular vacation memories and some are more of a once in a life time memory. One the of the first was when my dad came to Century Elementary School one Thursday morning and checked me out of what I think was the second grade. He didn't tell me why, but it wasn't long before we were on the road to Chattanooga, Tennessee. This was in the early sixties and the then new interstate system had just started so traveling by interstate was done in sections of a few miles.

I remember us going through downtown Birmingham on the way to Chattanooga. I remember it seemed like after getting a little ways north of Birmingham. It seemed like just about every other farm had “See Rock City” painted on the barn roof or either a bird house near the road that had “See Rock City” on it. In Chattanooga we stayed in a large hotel, several floors up.

When we went down to the restaurant to order breakfast the next morning I was allowed to place my own order. Even at my young age I had already heard that they didn't have grits up north, well, to a second grader, Chattanooga is way up north and I remember asking the person that waited on us, if they had grits, I sure was a happy little when I was told, “yes.” We did get to see Lookout Mountain, Rock City and Ruby Falls on this trip, and when we got up in the mountains, we saw a bear or two.

I had heard that the mountains out west were even higher and some had snow on then year round. We actually made a trip out west, and it was a big trip taking almost two weeks to make. We actually went across the southern part of the country to New Mexico and turned north on I-25 to go to the mountains. This was several years after our first vacation and I was now in high school and the interstate system was much more complete by now.

One of our stops was at the Royal Gorge Bridge, this was the Fourth of July week and it actually did snow on us while at this bridge. We went on north and went to Pikes Peak, being from the much lower attitude of Florida our car did run very well at almost 14,000 feet. The car started over heating and dad pulled off on the side of the road, where there was a site seeing stop.

There was nobody there at the time but us and when dad got out to check the car I got out with him, we had the hood up and suddenly a voice from nowhere ask if we were having troubles. Not expecting a voice from nowhere dad and I both almost jumped off the mountain. It was a park range, he took us on up to the summit where we stayed for a little while and then he carried us back to our car.

We made our way on up to Wyoming and to Yellowstone Park. We camped in a campground in the park and while we were putting up our tent a man walked over from a nearby campsite and ask what part of Escambia county were we from, he said he saw the tag and was curious, he told us he lived on the west side of the county near the navy base. This was the first of this type of incident, we were at the restaurant near Old Faithful the next day and the young lady that was waiting on us ask where we were from. I was going to tell her from near Pensacola, FL thinking nobody in that part of the world had probably ever heard of Century.

Before I could say anything one of my brothers told her that we were from Century, all of us were surprised when she said she knew where Century was, in fact she had been to Century before, she was from Baker and had been to football games in Century. I've heard several stories of people being thousands of miles from Century and running into someone who has either been to Century or has relatives in Century, so you never know where you might see someone familiar with this area.

In fact just this past Saturday, we had a family from Ohio stop by the ASHS yard sale who had been vacationing in Destin. His trip to Century was not by chance but planned, they were on their way home and realized that Century isn't that far from Destin, and this man happen to be very familiar with the Alger 100 steam engine and wanted to see it first hand while he was this close to where it is.

I didn't get to hear the entire conversation but I'm pretty sure he said he had rode on the engine when it was operational up north several years ago. The Alger Sullivan Historical Society meets the third Tuesday of the month at the Leach House Museum in Century at the corner of 4th street and Jefferson Avenue, come join us and consider becoming a member.


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