The RV park at Desoto Caverns is right up against the theme park. They had assigned me a spot against the fence of one of the attractions but I quickly told them that would not do as I need to sleep during the day which would be impossible with all the noise of the kids. I had already driven through the park and knew where the open spaces were. Luckily, one farthest away and in a location with access to the southern sky for my satellite dish was available. It was level, angled, and easy to slip into by myself. They do have some nice pull thrus as well. They provide full utilities and most spots are level. Being Passport America, the price was right. I enjoyed staying there and the location is excellent.
The theme park was interesting though expensive for what it is. During the week many schools go there. Weekends is for families. It is fun watching the people mice running through the maze from the tower. Walking the wall, the maze, water balloon battle, archery, and the ship to ship nerf ball cannons were popular. The cave crawl looked interesting though I would not want to be trapped in the box with others as some did. My favorite was racing potties and bathtubs. I kid you not. They have motorized battery driven toilets and bathtubs with a whole lot of pep to race around a track.
The cavern tour was pretty good and informative. Indians used to live in the caverns and buried their dead in them. When they found a passing peddler had been staying overnight in their cave and had carved his name on a sacred rock, they waited for him to return that evening, killed him, and left his body in front of the rock as a warning to others. At one time the cave was used by confederate soldiers to mine gunpowder. Of course they had to test the powder so they shot up the cavern and killed many stalagtites and stalagmites. Men! Later the cave was used for a speak easy and still during prohibition. It only lasted about 6-8 weeks due to the fact so many drunken fights broke out and shots fired that it attracted the attention of law enforcement and was shut down. It was known as the Bloody Bucket. Today it is used for tours with a laser light show. It has a beautiful main room and a waterfall. What is really cool is groups can stay overnight in the caverns. They provide a dvd player and screen for entertainment. They provide hotdogs cooked over a campfire at the pavilion outside for them. Guests must supply the pillows and sleeping bags. It seems to be a popular activity.
I went over to Talladega Speedway to tour the Motorsports Museum and track. It was right after a big weekend race so I got to see all the makeshift campgrounds around it and more portable potties than I have ever seen in my life. A few campers were still there and one Tshirt vendor.
The museum was fascinating. I got to see lots of great winning cars and a few that hit the wall instead. I saw Shirley Muldowney’s jacket and the record setting rocket car. They have a tribute to Dale Earnhart in his own section. I learned all about early racing when they raced on beaches, the legends like Barney Oldfield, women in racing like the queen herself Louise Smith who got started out running the local cops. Snicker. They threw in some soap box derby racers where many started out. There was a salute to the wives of racing who were together so much at races that they formed an official group and raised money for charities. The world’s fastest racing boat was there.
I got to sit in a race car. They are rather barren inside since only one person needs to sit in them, well reinforced with roll bars, have switches like you might see in a jet, some have fire extinguishers by the driver’s seat, and the seat is a deep bucket on the floor with wings to hold them in and protect them. The cars come in all different shapes depending on the type of racing they are used for.
Later, I took a tour of the speedway by bus. We saw the infield where you can boondock during the race for $150 per night minimum. The drivers have their own camping section with utilities and a playground for their kids. There are numerous snack bars, bathrooms, a clubhouse, and a medical facility there. During the race, anyone can get free minor medical care there and they have a helicopter standing by as needed for emergencies. They have regular garages for each team. We got to see the finish line and stand in Victory Lane. Very cool stuff. The track turns are scary because they are sooooo steep. You need some speed there or you will slide down to the bottom.
I got in a little geocaching while there. One was planted at a Methodist church that was the beginning of two local well known colleges. Another was at a local emergency service building and was hidden under a piece of the sort of cloth rangers use to camoflauge themselves in the jungle.