Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Friday, June 2, 2023

Red Bay Again and an Interesting Side Trip

 At Downtown RV Park, Red Bay, Alabama

It has been quite a while since we've been to Red Bay for Phannie's annual service--especially since Colorado is sort of the other direction from Texas. In the previous post, I explained about our paint touch-up combined with a visit with friends in Searcy, Arkansas that placed us within a few hours of Red Bay, and we don't know of any better place for diesel service than Bay Diesel there.

Red Bay hasn't changed much. It's still a sleepy little town, lost in the last century--a real plus, in my mind. Nothing is "woke" here; I doubt if they even know what that is. Restaurants come and go. One has changed to a barbeque joint, and another has changed from Chinese to Mexican food; both are mediocre, unfortunately.

Because of the vast migration of Tiffin motorhomes through their birthplace here, repairs often take a while, even though there is a myriad of non-Tiffin shops to do the work the factory turns down once a coach attains five years of age. We've learned to make appointments and just wait our turn. This is the first time, however, that we weren't able to get an appointment with Bay Diesel within a few days of our arrival. "Two weeks," they said! Alas, they have been discovered. It's okay, though. We had a couple of other things to be done and we really prefer now to go places and say awhile. But we've already written about that.

Luckily, we caught up with Walt and Lanie from our home park in Hondo. They were finishing up some factory work and some paint touch-up, so we were able to visit with them for a while. Walt was kind enough to help me install the new pole that will lift our Starlink antenna up above Phannie's roof:

It was great to toss our backup hotspot in the drawer and get back to Starlink's blazing internet. Thank you, Walt, for your help.

In a couple of days, we bade them goodbye and decided to take a day trip to Corinth, Mississippi--about an hour away and a place we had never visited. Corinth is a good-sized town, nestled in rolling hills and, not known to us, the site of a crucial battle in the Civil War. Back in that time, Corinth was a strategic railroad crossroads between north and south and east and west. The crossing point is still there:

Corinth was originally held by 25,000 Confederate troops under the command of General P.T.T. Beauregard. The Union wanted badly this strategic rail center and lay siege to it for a month in the spring of 1862. Commanding the much larger Union army was Major General Henry Halleck, who said that Corinth was of equal importance as Richmond, the Confederate capital, and he successfully took the city on May 30, 1862. The result was that the Confederate army no longer had access to the rail line into western Tennessee, thusly limiting any successful occupation in that direction. 

After the Union victory, no fewer than six Union generals visited or headquartered at Corinth, including Ulysses S. Grant, whose control of the lower Mississippi River basin was thusly assured for the rest of the war.

This is the Mask House, near downtown Corinth, which served as the headquarters of several Union generals. It has been lovingly restored and donated to the city of Corinth:

The site of General U. S. Grant's headquarters was just south of the Mask house; it is now occupied by the Corinth City Hall:

On our way into town, we stopped at Abe's Diner, a near-junkyard of memorabilia of the last half-century or longer:

We parked in front of a non-functioning parking meter and a hundred-year old gasoline pump. The vastness of the memorabilia, inside and outside, was mind-boggling.

We were seated by Pat, the current owner, on a couple of barstools at the counter; there were no chairs, tables or booths in the tiny place. Pat, a rotund and delightfully pleasant older man, was stationed at the takeout window with an open cash drawer crammed with money that could easily have been purloined by anyone within reach. But such things apparently don't happen in this place. I can guarantee that at least one of the stools was occupied by a patron with a firearm.

Cooking at the griddle was Lynn, Abe's grandson, and his mother, who was dishing up freshly-cut and fried French fries:

Hanging from the ceiling were dozens of license plates, and surrounding the menu were all kinds of currency, and even a Fedex truck hanging by a string.

Pat, wearing a blue apron like that of his wife and son, walked over to us, noticing that Sandy and I had ordered only a hamburger each and no French fries. He seemed distressed by this, pointing to a potato slicer in the corner and telling us the fries being loaded onto most of the other customers' plates were cut "right there this very morning." The temptation was great, but we politely declined, trying to stay as much as we could within the diet regimen Sandy and I have been painfully enduring for more than a year. Pat's face dropped, but he said he understood. Now, I actually regret that we didn't at least split an order of the fries.

Afterward, we drove around town for a while. The museum was closed, but we saw some charming and well-kept homes like this one:

We were out of most everything, it seemed, so we made a Wal-Mart stop that took a couple of hours and over four hundred bucks of stuff--almost none of which was food. This would be a good place to rant about politics, but I have learned that it is fruitless to do so in this blog. There are just some things I will never understand.

Corinth is the county seat of Alcorn county, and I snapped a photo of the courthouse, along with a statue of a Confederate soldier, Col. W. P. Rogers of Texas, a close friend of Sam Houston, whose importance in Texas history is legendary, and whose name is borne by the largest city in Texas. Col. Rogers was killed in the second battle of Corinth, a failed attempt by Confederate soldiers to retake the city from the Union occupiers. I was glad the statue was still there and not defaced, a fate that has befallen many of the historical monuments of the South, as if the history could thereby somehow be vindicated if not erased altogether--another thing I guess I will never understand:

As I was taking the photo, I noticed a gathering in front of the courthouse, including the setting up of some musical instruments. I learned that on Thursday evenings, a local group of musicians would play and sing for the townfolks, who would gather around, chat and listen to the music. I thought to myself, how delightful and ironic at the same time, that the very site of such horrific divisiveness in the past is now a place of peace, good will and friendliness to all who gather there, even in the shadow of Col. Rogers. Here's a link to the show.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should every day.

We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing. 
 ---George Bernard Shaw

"I get up every morning, and I just don't let the old man in." ---Clint Eastwood



  1. Another great blog, makes me wish we had gone with you... great spending time with you and Sandy.
    Abundant Blessings,
    Walt & Lanie

  2. You're too kind. But you have learned well yourself, Grasshoppah! Miss you two!

  3. Mike, you must have a sixth sense in reference to eating establishments. I have to admit that I would have taken one look at Abe's Diner, deemed it too sketchy and passed it by. Hope all goes well with your service appointment!

    1. Well, I found it sketchy, too, but that's the type of place where I find the most interesting people and things about which to write. I would go back again just to have the "ribeye" sandwich, which the owner said he "eats every day."

  4. Mike, awesome writeup on Corinth. I can read your mind and agree on the high prices and politics of it all.

    1. I knew you could, do most of the readers who know me. Have fun this summer, my friend.

  5. Thanks for another great post Mike! Just love them. Now we have to make a trip to Red Bay just to go to Corinth! You know I love history and all the things you wrote about in your blog! Hope to see you soon. Hank and Shirleen

    1. Aw, thank you, Hank. We really miss you two; hope to see you in Colorado this summer!

  6. So happy to have you guys back on the road where fodder for stories abounds. I will enjoy while it lasts, as I know that soon, y'all will be ensconced in your summer quarters. Enjoy every minute!

    1. You are such an encourager, Janice. I am always surprised when readers say they enjoy my nonsense. I think you may be a bit biased, but I don't care; you two are such treasures to us.


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