We’ve finally come to that point – the last day of our zig-zagging, wandering, hilarious, serious, fun, amazing, wonderful, jam-packed road trip.
I let A sleep in since we really only had one place we really wanted to go. The knowledge of this place is what first put A onto the idea of visiting some of Alabama’s most unusual spots.
Located in Seale, Al on the side of the road (Highway 169, specifically,) you will find the Museum of Wonder drive through museum.
This collection of oddities and artwork is surely something to see. Peeking inside — and let’s face it, you just can’t get a good look from the car, you have to get out — you will see a collection of things removed from children’s throats at the St. Francis hospital in Columbus, Georgia, the world’s largest gallstone removed from a woman in 1972, a two headed chick, and a great many other odd and assorted items, including the very unique artwork of Mr. Butch Anthony, the man behind the Museum of Wonder.
Now when I first read of this drive through museum I showed it to A and she immediately was fascinated by Mr. Anthony and not only his unconventional museum, but his artwork. His style is his own, and as far as we read, he is a self taught artist and carpenter. Seems he can make anything with any materials at all.
Okay, now this is where events get a little well, anxiety filled. We’d looked at the website for the Museum of Wonder and saw the drive through museum, but it also showed photos of an indoor museum, saying it held art, artifacts, and antiques. There was a map that came down from the top of the webpage, and also, when you scrolled over the area that said come visit the museum, a pop up said to just drive up and honk your horn. It gave a separate address than the one given for the drive through museum.
Hmmm. Now I had thought about using the contact page on the website to ask about visiting, but I wasn’t sure what day we would get to Seale, or if we even would. A reminded me that the website said to drive up and honk, so she figured no advance notice of arrival was necessary. And there is no phone number listed on the site.
There was a map of the compound to show you where to go, and believe me folks, this place is way, way off the beaten path. So that morning, I gathered my courage and figured after we saw the drive through museum I would see if I could actually get through my anxiety and do this. The thought of “just driving up” basically to someone’s home and workshop made me just a tad nauseous.
Still, I knew A wanted to see this unusual collection.
I was wishing though, that I had not trusted that “drive up and honk” pop up on the website and had emailed Mr. Anthony in advance. I started wondering if I’d misunderstood. What if I should have emailed and requested an appointment and THEN he meant for a person to just drive up. Besides, WHO in their right mind drives down some long driveway into the woods with nothing to go on but a name painted in white on an old mailbox?
I hastily pulled out my phone to see if I could call up the website – and I did – but it looked all different on my phone. There was no map. There was no “just drive up” message. There was nothing but a bit of information on the drive through museum. Did I dream the rest? Did I dream there were photos of different objects in a room somewhere? Now what if I really WAS intruding?
A is usually the more adventurous one, but turning in at said mailbox, while the gate was open, it was plastered with a huge No Trespassing sign. Furthermore, the sign warned that shotguns go bang and something about anyone stealing would meet said shotgun.
Well, I wasn’t out to steal anything, but…
We slowly drove in and got to a place where you could keep going straight or turn off to the right. The turn off to the right looked fairly overgrown, not overgrown exactly, but you just couldn’t see very far through the trees and brush. The drive before us kept going straight, but I didn’t see anything in that direction either.
I was having serious doubts and A looked at me and she said, “Why don’t we skip this part?” She said she’d seen the drive through museum, she was happy.
People, I turned my little rental car around and got out of there. Now I have read that Mr. Anthony is a super nice fellow, and I’m sure he is, but my anxiety about not finding the information I had previously seen on the website and my even worse anxiety about showing up on a stranger’s doorstep got the best of me.
What if it was a bad time? What if there was nothing to see? What if no one was home? What if I had misinterpreted the website altogether? What if what I had read several months back was no longer valid?
I would like to say that about an hour down the road I seriously regretted my chicken-ness, but I really didn’t. Maybe next time we get a wild hair we will try for another visit – this time emailing to ask questions beforehand.
We decided here that there was really only one way to end this road trip. We desperately needed ice cream and surely we could find ONE MORE odd thing in Alabama.
Oh yes. How about a monument built to honor a destructive little bug?
On to Enterprise, AL where you can see a statue dedicated to the Boll Weevil.
Yes, you heard me. Alabama grew a lot of cotton once upon a time and once upon a time an infestation of the malicious boll weevil destroyed crops. The area was devastated, but forced to diversify agriculturally. So what happened? Farmers planted peanuts. Peanuts were the byproduct of the nasty critters ruining all the cotton. Enterprise decided to honor the weevil for forcing diversity.
Smack in the center of an intersection right in downtown, there stands a statue of a lady (actually she stands in a fountain) and her two hands are raised above her head holding a boll weevil.
The boll weevil monument was a worthy (yet somehow strangely creepy) way to end this road trip. It just seemed fitting somehow.
But what else? Just a couple doors down from this little piece of Alabama history is a place called Milky Moos. Homemade ice cream, folks.
We rolled back to the car under the haze of an ice cream high – the result of a caramel sundae and a banana split — and no, we are not sorry one little bit — and declared ourselves exhausted and ready to get back home to our own beds and our sweet cats.
All I can say is — What a trip!!
A had a hard time deciding just what her favorite stops had been, but she finally settled on the Berman Museum and Old Cahaba. Me? I was just impressed that a girl her age appreciated the crazy trip we’d just taken, and felt proud that not only was one of her favorite places one of the more historical spots, but proud that she is happy to spend time with her mother. That gives me happiness. 🙂
This is a trip we won’t soon forget – or recover from, for that matter!!