Nolen Family Vacation 2017: Day 7

Friday, April 21st

Sloss

Sometimes on our vacation we find oddball things to do. Like the time we visited an alpaca farm in New Mexico. This time it was a tour of Sloss Furnace in Birmingham.

But, first, I need to back up.

Remember, in the South nothing starts early. Sloss Furnace is no different. Thankfully, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens do open early. And they’re free.

This was a lovely place and I would have been happy to spend more time here.

The bamboo garden was amazing. It was a whole forest of towering bamboo with trails winding through it.

Bamboo shoot

We came upon this heron in the woods. We were surprised at how oblivious he was to our presence. He just completely ignored us. After about 5 minutes we found out why. He was stalking a chipmunk! While we were watching he pounced and we saw a struggling chipmunk in his beak! He squeezed the life out of it and then proceeded to swallow it whole! Woah.

Blue heron

Koi pond

Japanese Garden gate

Love in bloom (rose garden)

Peaceful stream

I took a million pictures here and will have to process the rest little by little. There was so much to see.

We went from the beauty of nature to the magnificence of industry.

Visitors are allowed to roam the grounds of Sloss. There are some places where you can’t climb or wander, but a lot of it is open and available. I’m amazed actually that it’s legal! All of that metal and rust!

Heart

Underground tunnel.

Nothing creepy about this…

I thought this was a really unique experience. And it was free, which is always a bonus. I love that we had the freedom to roam and explore. Very cool!

It was a good thing we got some walking in because we had a long day in the car. It wasn’t supposed to be so long, but the traffic around Atlanta was horrible. It’s always bad, but they’ve had some major highway issues lately so there was a lot of rerouting going on. Ooooh, it was agony.

To top it off, Tim wasn’t feeling well. The last hour of the journey just seemed to drag on.

But, as always happens, we did make it. Tim and Karen decided to go straight to the hotel and rest while we spent the evening with Nate and Chels.

We ate a yummy dinner with them at a little hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint and then went to the lake to skip rocks. After dark we took their dogs to a nearby park for a walk. It was laid back and low-key, but everyone was tire. Nate had worked all day, Chels is expecting, and we’d put in a long day on the road. We crashed at their place and they spoiled us with breakfast in the morning before we hit the road again.

It wasn’t a long visit, but we knew it would only be a few days before they’d be joining us in FL!

 

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