Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The trip was uneventful until....

Burchfield Branch Park (COE), Birmingham/Tuscaloosa, AL

Today we travelled from Barren River Lakes, KY to Burchfield Park, AL. Burchfield Park is a Corps of Engineers campground between Birminghan and Tuscalossa. Our mileage for today was 310 making our two day total 685. We left at 7:20 AM and the trip took 7 hours and 20 minutes.

The last few miles were winding down through hills on a narrow road to the river bed, so we were braking pretty hard. By the time we reached the gate to the campground, we were at water level and smoke was pouring out from my right front wheel well. I figured we had overheated the brakes but I was curious as to why it was only one wheel showing the problem.

The smoke dissipated, we checked in, and found our way to our campsite. This was an adventure in itself. Very narrow road, river on the right, ditch then cliff wall on the left. The campsites are not what I expected and different than anything I have ever seen.

Getting into these campsites is like threading a needle. I had to angle the trailer to the right which meant the rear wheels of the truck had to go to the left and the ditch was deep enough to instantly bottom out the truck. After several harrowing tries I gave up and we moved on to another campsite. I subsequently learned that many vehicles in the past had to be lifted out of that ditch. As you can see from the pictures, there is no space to spare in these campsites. Whew!! If you come to this campground, don't go for the campsites by the river.

After settling in and getting a chance to look around, we discovered most campsites had big displays of University of Alabama football party gear. Not only are we coming up on the Labor Day weekend, it is also the weekend of the first 'bama football game (against Kent State) and this is definitely 'bama territory.

The river here is the Tom Bigbee waterway. It basically parallels the Missippi River from Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico and is a major commercial water route. Tug boats and barges pass frequently and recalled to my mind the traffic I've often seen on the Ohio River.

One night on a commercial waterway with truck problems pretty well washed out any potential for fishing.
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