Selma-bound

The mention of Selma brings memories to everyone who was a child of the 60’s.  We all remember the events that occured there in 1965.

The miles to be paddled were getting shorter – my longest days were behind me and I was in no particular hurry. The last few days were to be savored and enjoyed.

The river’s character remained the same – no current to speak of, lots of wildlife and no people. I said that I had seen two fellows during yesterday’s paddle but I was mistaken – I hadn’t see anyone. No boats, very few homes – just me and the river.

As I paddled, I noted some old bridge supports on each side of the river. Any remains of the bridge or the road weren’t evident but just past the supports, I noticed an area that appeared to be perfect for camping. Turns out, it was the remains of an old boat launch that hadn’t been recently used.

A lot of ramps in the South are on the honor system and you can usually see a box or a can for money. I couldn’t locate this one’s which suggests that its best days were long gone. Still, it’s an ideal area to camp:

This find simply thrilled me.  I can easily envision sons and dads starting off for a day of fishing.  Those are images of my childhood and ones that I cherish today.

I continued on towards the night’s stop at Beech Creek Marina and was disappointed when I arrived. There were no boats there, the Swamp Restaurant was closed and the water had receded turning the marina into a mud hole.

Hhmmm… not a big deal – there’s always Selma City Marina just down the river.

Selma has several bridges that you paddle under and the most famous of them all is the Pettus Bridge. I got a certain thrill as I paused to take pictures and continue my journey towards a certain end:

Selma’s City Marina was the biggest surprise. The river is pretty much void of anything other than the odd characters or two but when I arrived at the Marina, I was thrilled to see that they had a restaurant and a place to hang my hammock in a thicket of pine trees.

Picture a simple bar with its regulars, a required picture of Bear Bryant, the typcial dollar bills stapled to the walls, beer company pin-up girl posters and not a non-smoking seat in the house.

In today’s franchised world of cooker-cutter restaurants, this place is almost old-school.  I felt at home even though I’ve never spent much time in bars!

First order of business was food and drink. In typical southern fashion, I had the best hamburger I’ve ever had and at least a gallon of ice tea – sweet of course. I’m not much of a drinker but had I been, I wouldn’t have paid for my beer. Everyone and I mean everyone offered me beer and everyone enjoyed my tales of being on the river.

I settled in and updated my daily journals – it proved be good timing since the heavens opened and the bottom fell out. From my dry spot inside:

I moved my kayak to the pine trees after the rain and got my camp organized – and then went back to the bar. I learned that there was a regular, informal Wed afternoon fishing tournament and was happy to see a few vehicles from my home country.

At the weigh-in at 8 PM, I ran into a guy who I hadn’t seen in 32 years. Damn – that sun of a gun had aged and looked 65 instead of 50.  Aging hadn’t impacted his mouth – after 32-years, he still talked too much.

The locals were a great source of information. I learned that Kings Landing where I was going to take out on Friday was closed and gated by the owners. That meant I’d have to consider alternatives.

I thought about the site of the first capital of AL called Old Cahaba but they weren’t sure if the landing there would have water. OK – I’ll play it by ear. Not a big deal – paddle on, adapt, modify, overcome – I feel like a real kayaker now – mothing bothers me anymore.

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