I know I have your attention with that title. Rightly so since this stop was all about the weevil. Actually we’ve been plotting this visit since last year when we made our test trip to Northern Alabama. At that time, I was a work in progress as far as navigating goes. Truth be told, I still am, but Pat will probably agree that I am muuuuch better. We don’t go down too many RV rabbit holes since I’ve become wiser to the ways of Google maps and directions.
Anyway, the weevil. We were driving along on our way to Montgomery and working on the navigation plan when I saw it on the atlas. Boll Weevil Monument – Enterprise, Alabama. Pat was unwilling to detour 150 miles for said monument, no matter how fascinating it sounded. We made a pact then and there. We’d catch it during the epic journey to Alaska. So here we are at Frank Jackson State Park in Opp, AL and only about 25 miles from The Weevil!
Frank Jackson State Park
Yes, kids, we are finally out of Florida! It took a while I know, but we were biding our time waiting on the rest of the country to opt into Spring. Turns out we were right to take our sweet time with the late cold snap about to overtake us in Alabama.
Frank Jackson State Park was our first stop AF, or After Florida as it will be known from now on. This is truly one of the prettiest and nicest state parks we’ve visited in our travels to date. The grounds are gorgeous, there is a private secluded island, lake front sites, FULL hook-ups, good wi-fi, and this time the all important cable tv. Normally cable is a fun little bonus since we don’t usually watch tv, but with the weather and Pat’s crud, it proved to be a blessing.
You get to pick your spot and we choose a prime one just feet from the lakeside. You could hear the waves lapping when we went in and out the door. Also, just around the bend was a walkway to a small beach and then another boardwalk to the private island. Just lovely.
It was very windy and rainy when we arrived, so we laid low the first day while Pat recuperated a bit. Jackson and I dodged rain and bundled up in the cold to do a few walkabouts and take pictures.
This was my “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” shot of Jackson. He was a good boy and sat still for me to take the shot. The weather was iffy, but the azaleas were definitely convinced it’s Spring.
The lake grasses caught my eye as did the stunning wisteria in a rare sunny moment. I just love the lavender color. And those lily pads – multicolored and catching the raindrops like little tongues on the lake. I had a good thought on the walk. Some days it rains on your lily pads and you just have to get out there anyway.
All Hail The Boll Weevil!
Day 2 at Frank Jackson and we are off to see the Boll Weevil Monument. It was about a 30 minute drive to Enterprise, home of the monument, and I literally clapped my hands together when we first caught sight of it. I’ve just been so taken with the story of how it came to be. This is a story about the silver lining and how a whole community chose to focus on the bright side rather than the devastating effects of an insect pest destroying its livelihood.
The year was 1914 when the Mexican boll weevil reached the area to attack the county’s cotton crops. Prior to that year, the local Ag Agent saw the writing on the wall and recommended planting peanuts. He felt the area’s soil and climate would be perfect for the peanut crop.
Fast forward to 1916 and a local farmer planted 125 acres of peanuts and sold 8,000 bushels the following fall. Other farmers followed his lead and the result was more than a million bushels of peanuts headed to market in 1917. It was a dramatic economic turnaround for the area and according to the Alabama Heritage Magazine, “the absence of cotton was hardly noticed”.
The weevil was credited with the economic turnaround and with that the city council commissioned a statue from Italy to honor the pest. I believe this is the only monument anywhere dedicated to an agricultural menace!
I confess the monument was smaller than I thought it would be. Also pictured myself standing next to it for a beaming photo op, but the monument itself is smack dab in the middle of the road. I had to settle for crossing the street at the light change and quickly snapping the pic as we walked by.
That boll weevil sure is an an ugly sucker! Great depiction of the whole story on the building mural next to the intersection. We stopped by the local historical society store front so I could purchase a souvenir. Really wanted a sweatshirt, but there were none to be had. Settled for this coffee mug and I have no fear!
A Little Game We’re Playing
As an aside, thought I’d share some fun we’re having. It’s called “Where’s my wedding ring”. A little back story here. Pat is on his 3rd wedding ring. #2 entered the picture after he lost the original in the snow in North Dakota a few years after we were married. #3 arrived on the scene after #2 ceased to fit.
Just last year he Incredible Hulked #3 right off during some home repair activities. No kidding – it just split right off his finger. Around Christmas-time he got it repaired and all good. The good news here is that we’ve been doing a lot of walking in our travels and have both lost a few pounds. That has contributed to the wedding ring being a little loose. So, it is now disappearing somewhat regularly. So far it has reappeared in the shower drain and hanging on my giant piece of ginger on the kitchen shelf. That second one took some talent and a while to find. For those of you betting friends, I’m suggesting a friendly wager to determine when it disappears for good. Soon, I say, soon! Maybe my friend Celeste who has been giving us grief about our slow pace to Alaska can head up the contest. Ha!
Anyway, that’s about it for this stop. On to our Montgomery antics next. Happy Spring and here’s wishing you don’t get any rain on your lily pads! See you on the way.