Tourism Tuesdays October 30, 2018

International writers will motor through state

A football and the White House

Dentons complete Alabama Scenic River Trail journey

Decatur Morgan Co. Tourism unveils new Trail of Tears walking tour brochure

Deadline nearing to enter state photo contest

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website


International writers will motor through state
The Alabama Tourism Department has organized a motorcycle tour of North Alabama for international journalists Nov. 10-15 to promote the region as a scenic destination, says ATD international sales representative Graham Roderick.

David Haynes of Mentone, whose guidebook of 50 loops through the state inspired the tour, will lead six international writers on the 948-mile route. The journalists include; Laura Pagani and Emanuele Fabiano of the Italian publication Mototurismo, Tony McCabe of the British publication The Sun, Hans Tattersall and Arjan Leehouts of the Dutch publication Algemeen Dagbald, and Luciano Palumbo of the Brazilian publication Turismo Etc.

The journey will visit DeSoto State Park, Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in the Shoals, and Cheaha State Park, Alabama’s highest point, near Anniston. The group also will make a pilgrimage to Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and the Curtiss Motorcycle Company, formerly known as Confederate Motorcycles, which manufacturers exotic street motorcycles.

“The writers will experience Alabama in a manner most people don’t know exists,” Roderick said. “From winding roads and switchbacks to covered bridges, this tour will highlight the beauty and scenery of Alabama’s fall colors as well as the hospitality and excitement that is Alabama.”

He said future tours will cover Central Alabama and South Alabama.

A football and the White House
When Alabama Tourism Staff member Dwayne O’Riley was asked to take a regulation sized football and turn it into a jack-o-lantern, he had no idea it would end up at the White House.

The National Travel & Tourism Office asked each state to send a pumpkin or gourd to Washington D.C. to help military families celebrate Halloween at the White House. The states were asked to creatively paint a pumpkin with elements relevant to their state. Alabama’s Tourism Department decided to send a painted football instead.

State tourism director Lee Sentell said, “Let’s be different. Let’s send a football.” “With our heritage of championship football, a football is certainly appropriate.”

The football and four dozen pumpkins were on display for the approximately 4,000 children of military men and women stationed in the DC-Metro area.

Dentons complete Alabama Scenic River Trail journey
From the article by David Rainer on

Adventure apparently has no time constraints for cousins Will and John Denton, who decided to make the 650-mile journey along the Alabama Scenic River Trail recently after answering two questions.

“John was just finishing up hiking the Appalachian Trail, so he had the camping experience,” said 79-year-old Will. “But, he didn’t know if he could paddle that far. I’ve been kayaking for about 40 years, so I knew I could do the paddling. But I didn’t know if I could sleep on the ground.”

Even though John was not an experienced paddler, he was considering a trip down the Mississippi River before Will found a better idea.

“I allowed I had given that some thought, and I might be interested in doing that with him,” said Will of the trip down the mighty Mississippi. “About the same time, I found out about the Alabama Scenic River Trail (ASRT), and I suggested we try that first.”

The two decided to combine their skills to start the paddle about 4 miles from the Alabama line in Georgia.

The fact that Will’s home on Lake Martin wouldn’t be that far away should something go awry also contributed to the decision.

Will had only paddled a few miles of the ASRT, Moccasin Gap just below Jordan Dam to Wetumpka, and had no idea what to expect on the rest of the trail.

“Except for Moccasin Gap, it was all new to both of us,” Will said.

Will loaded up his trusty kayak with supplies for the trip while John, 66, opted for a Verlen Kruger vessel, kayak-canoe hybrid. They paddled across the state line and headed down through the six lakes on the Coosa system.

“It took us five or six days to kind of hit a rhythm and find a pace that was comfortable,” Will said. “We could paddle about 3 miles an hour with no more exertion than if you were walking. We were comfortable paddling at about the same speed.”

The paddlers saw a variety of wildlife during the trip, although Will admitted that John was more inclined to notice because of his passion for hunting.

“John is a big turkey hunter,” Will said. “He spent more time looking for stuff along the bank. He would call my attention to some things. Sometimes we paddled side by side. Sometimes we were on opposite sides of the river. We were looking for eagles quite a bit.

“On our (Coosa) lakes part of the trip, we averaged seeing about an eagle a day. By the time we got to Wetumpka and Montgomery, we didn’t see any more from there south.”

Will said the biggest interest from friends and family he’s told about the trip, which began Sept. 1, is the numbers of snakes the duo encountered.

“I saw one cottonmouth and John didn’t see any,” Will said. “He saw six alligators when we got to the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. He pointed two of those out to me. He saw a bobcat. We heard a bunch of hogs at night. We saw deer, and we saw a lot of fish-eating water birds. Interestingly, we saw more of those in the upper end.”

Will, a former public health administrator, and John, a retired farmer from the Mississippi Delta, had only a couple of episodes of difficult paddling during the adventure.

“Really, we had one day on Logan Martin when we had an afternoon trying to get to School Bus Island,” Will said. “We paddled into a strong headwind for two or three hours to get to the island, which was a wonderful campsite. It was about our only option to camp on the lower end of the lake because it is all developed down there. Until we got to Mobile Bay, that was the hardest day of paddling.

“When I look back at the pictures I took on the way, the water was as slick and calm as it could be. The water conditions were wonderful.”

During the time on the Coosa section, rainstorms popped up all around them, but they encountered only a couple of light showers. It turned out to be the calm before the storm.

“We didn’t hardly get the tents wet until we got into the Alabama River,” Will said. “We were below Montgomery when we got caught in a storm. The people who had invited us to stay with them that night saw the storm coming and came out in a pontoon boat and towed us back to their house.”

The other significant storm the Dentons weathered was during a stay above Claiborne Lock and Dam at the Isaac Creek Campground lock. Fortunately, they had their tents up when the rain started about 4:30 that afternoon.

“It rained hard until about 10:30 that night,” Will said. “When we got up the next morning to go through the lock, that lock drop is usually about 30 feet. But the drop that morning was only 15 feet because the river was already up 15 feet below the dam. We had that extra push all the way until we ran into some tidal situations in the Delta. We made much better time than we normally would have.

“And I really didn’t have a problem sleeping on the ground. I guess part of it was we were pretty tired at the end of the day.”

The Dentons’ routine was to paddle all day and get camp set up in time to eat and be in the tents before the mosquitoes came out in force at dusk.

“We really didn’t have a major mosquito problem like John is used to in the Mississippi Delta,” Will said. “One time early in the trip, we couldn’t find a place to camp on the upper end of Lay Lake. We finally found a creek and went way back up the creek. We finally did find a place and got our camp set up. The mosquitoes weren’t bad at all.

“Afterwards, John told several folks, ‘We were so far back in woods, the mosquitoes hadn’t even found that place.’”

Will said the ASRT has identified a significant number of campsites on their website at that paddlers can take advantage of, including those on the Bartram Canoe Trail in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

“One of the things that stands out to me is the Alabama Scenic River Trail Association has what they call river angels, like the Appalachian Trail,” he said. “Their names and phone numbers are listed on the website. When we started working on this trip, some of the ASRT people contacted some of the trail angels along the way.”

Denton said two couples on the Alabama River sent word that they wanted the paddlers to stay overnight with a hot shower, supper and bed at their disposal.

“These couples could not have been nicer,” Will said. “The visits were delightful. One lady in Fairhope moved one of our trucks for us, twice. The couple from Selma drove one of our trucks to Fairhope so it would be there when we got there. These are people with knowledge and interest in the trail. It really was one of the neatest things about the trip.”

After a rather leisurely paddle on most of the trip, the Dentons didn’t realize how they would be tested once they hit Mobile Bay.

“Probably the only uncomfortable moments we had were when we were paddling in the bay,” Will said. “Going from Fairhope to the Nelson Shipyard in Bon Secour, we had a dead headwind. I keep my phone on a lanyard around my neck. I got two or three texts that I couldn’t answer. If I had stopped paddling to check the texts, I would have been going backwards. I paddled for all I was worth for about three hours. I slept well that night.

“There were a lot of things that I will remember. The difficulty of the last two days was memorable. The only whitewater we had was at Moccasin Gap, but we had whitecaps on Mobile Bay.”

On the 34th day of the trip, the Dentons paddled from Oyster Bay to Fort Morgan to complete the adventure. Will said he is proud of the accomplishment, but he doesn’t want people to focus on his age.

“I really don’t think my age has any bearing on it,” he said. “It’s a function of what kind of condition you’re in. I’ve got friends older than I am that are in better shape than I am. Some folks tend to slow down when they get to some magic number and don’t stay as active. I just paddled 650 miles, so, yeah, I feel good about that. Being gone 34 days, if my wife (Charlotte) had not been supportive, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I’m glad I did it. I feel good I did it.

“I would tell anybody who thinks they want to do this trip that they can’t do it any younger than they are right now.”

For the complete article please see

Decatur Morgan Co. Tourism unveils new Trail of Tears walking tour brochure
Decatur Morgan County Tourism has released a new brochure taking visitors on a walking tour of the forced removal of Native American tribes from tribal lands as they passed through Decatur, Ala. The unveiling of the Decatur Trail of Tears Walking Tour was held at 5p.m. on Fri., Oct. 26 at Rhodes Ferry Park Pavilion in conjunction with the kickoff of the 23rd annual Trail of Tears Conference and Symposium.

Fueled by President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Trail of Tears was the forced removal of Native American tribes from tribal lands in the southeastern United States to reservations in Oklahoma. The Tennessee River comprised a portion of the journey for these Native Americans. The Decatur Trail of Tears Walking Tour provides a glimpse of the tragedy caused by the Trail of Tears and reveals the bravery and resilience of the people who traveled it. Roughly 2,300 Cherokee moved through Decatur on their way to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. These groups had been forced to walk from their tribal lands in Georgia, Tennessee and North and South Carolina. After reaching Chattanooga, they were packed onto barges to travel down the Tennessee River. Their river travel was halted at Decatur due to low water levels, and several of these groups were forced to stay overnight in Decatur and travel by railroad to Tuscumbia where the river deepened.

The Decatur Trail of Tears Walking Tour is a part of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Sites featured on the self-guided walking tour include Rhodes Ferry Landing, Decatur Railroad Depot, the Dancy-Polk House, Old State Bank and the Rhea-McEntire House.

The new brochure highlights six sites and contains a detailed historical account of each site and the role it played in the forced removal. In addition to the historical account of each site, the brochure provides a handy map for visitors to use in mapping out their walk and a section of the brochure is dedicated to other sites on the walking tour which contain sources and artifacts that pertain to the history of the city of Decatur.

“The Decatur Trail of Tears Walking Tour interprets the events during the 1830s, when American Indians were removed from their homelands by way of North Alabama to Oklahoma,” said Decatur Morgan County President and CEO Danielle Gibson. “The informative brochure offers a glimpse into a way of life for American Indians during these heart-breaking conditions.”

Deadline nearing to enter state photo contest
From the article by Tom Smith on

Wednesday, Oct. 31, is the last day to submit entries for the Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest.

The contest is a joint project between the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Alabama Tourism Department, and the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.

The photo contest is open to state residents and visitors, but photos have to be taken in Alabama.
A total of 10 photos per person may be entered in the categories that include Alabama Bicentennial, Birds of a Feather, Bugs and Butterflies, Coastal Life, Cold-blooded Critters, Nature-Based Recreation, Shoots and Roots, State Park Adventures, Sweet Home Alabama, Watchable Wildlife, Waterfalls and Young Photographer.

For the complete article please see

“Partner Pointer” for the tourism industry website
Is your event recurring? If so, here’s how to submit your event. Begin by entering the start date, end date, and time of event. Then, select “Repeat Event.” Choose “Weekly” plus select every week or every two weeks; or choose “Monthly” and select the day of the month the event repeats. Finally, finish creating your event by adding a detailed description, photos, and video and submit the event for approval.

Need to update your page? Go to today.


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