After driving non-stop for an hour, it was time for a break.
He pulled off into the Alabama welcome center in Grand Bay and got out, feeling the rush of seeing a view he couldn’t see from his balcony. He was greeted by statues of dolphins, octopi, catfish, and other sea creatures. Coming closer, he could see that the building itself a statue of sorts. The walls depicted an ocean scene graced with sea gulls and sailing ships. Each brick was carved so that it formed part of the picture if each brick was in exactly the right place. He reached out towards the bricks. He remembered a news story that said the building was designed to withstand a major hurricane. Supposedly, not even Mother Nature could move a brick without earth-changing effort.
A shiver jerked him back into the waking world. He made his way to the door and walked in. The building felt strangely bigger on the inside than it had looked from the outside. He thought it was probably the high ceiling and the large windows, not to mention the vast open space that allowed the building to serve as a shelter for hurricane evacuees. He went straight for the glass room that held the brochures. There was only so much sight-seeing he could cram into one trip, but stocking up on brochures was the next best thing. Bellingrath Gardens, the USS Alabama, Noccalula Falls, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, if he had any sense he’d extend his vacation indefinitely and go see them all.
He became aware of the clock on the wall. Probably time to get back on the road.
For a while the trip was uneventful. The interstate stayed in built up areas for a long while. He passed Hank Aaron Stadium and the exit for Spring Hill College, went over the Dolly Parton bridge a short while later, and then the scenery transitioned to trees and fields. The trees were basically just trees, but they were trees he didn’t see every single day on his drive to work, so he still found them exciting.