Going Nuts in Alabama!

“Found a Peanut! Found a Peanut! Found a Peanut Yesterday”

Children's Song

State 32: Alabama - March 5, 2018

Lori

We woke up at a Walmart in Albany, GA having had an awful night sleep. Around 2:00am, Nate and I awoke to the dreaded sound of a “BANG BANG BANG” on the side of Rosie, and a stern voice stating “If you don’t leave right now I am going to tow you”. I dragged my weary self out from beneath my cozy covers, folded the bed back up, and made my way up to Rosie’s front cab. There, I met a very authoritative security guard who said overnight parking is not allowed at this Walmart, and proceeded to question me in great depth about my reasons for being there. I told him I am on a cross county trip, and I had spoken the Britney the Customer Service Manager at 8:00 pm who had given me permission to spend the night. The security guard responded by apologizing for waking me up, and said, “Make sure you are only here for one night!”.

I always ask for permission before spending the night at a Walmart in order to avoid such encounters in the wee hours of the morning. I really wish Walmart and their security would communicate with each other. This is the 2nd time on our cross country trip we have been given permission to spend the night at Walmart, and then unjustly woken from our peaceful slumber. You can read about the first time by clicking here. After being woken up so abruptly, the sandman shunned the Cross Country Couple, and sleep proved to be elusive for the remainder of the night.

The events of last night were all behind us now. After drinking a glass of iced tea to get the caffeine flowing, we were ready for another day on the open road. We spent the last 3 days exploring Southern Georgia, and we could wait not to see what adventure lie head today! Our first task of the day was a drive 84 miles Southwest to enter the 32nd state on our cross country journey to discover America and find a new state to call home; Alabama: Sweet Home Alabama. This motto is not very surprising, and I actually would have been disappointed if It had been anything else. In 2004, Alabama agreed to pay Universal Records $75,000 for five years rights to the trademarked phrase from Lynard Skynyrd’s 1974 rock anthem. Will our experiences in the state have the Cross Country Couple singing “Sweet Home Alabama” or will we be left singing an entirely different tune? We can’t wait to begin our week of exploration in Alabama!

First item on the agenda was a 3 mile drive West to Dothan, the site of the Cross Country Couple's Roadside Attraction for Alabama; “Peanuts Around Town”. With 50% of the US peanut crops produced within a 100 mile radius, Dothan is the self-proclaimed "Peanut Capitol of the World", and the city even hosts the National Peanut Festival each November. To further propagate the cities claim of peanut supremacy, in 2002 the town enacted a program called “Peanuts Around Town”. Thirty two four-foot-tall fiberglass peanuts were constructed, each were sponsored by local businesses, painted by local artists, and publicly erected throughout the city. That is Nuts! Actually, a peanut is not a nut, but instead is a member of the pea family. What I should have said was, “That is Legume! Anyway… we had seen a similar program using giant cowboy boots in another city we had visited, which you can read about by clicking here. What began as a fundraiser for the revitalization of Downtown Dothan, has over the years evolved into a scavenger hunt and tourist attraction! Now the Cross Country Couple has officially arrived in Dothan the peanut capitol of the world to seek out all 32 of the four foot-tall fiberglass peanuts! I absolutely love, love, love peanuts, so this should be a blast!

Per the reviews, we began our peanut adventure at the Dothan Visitor Center to pick up a complimentary guide describing the location of each peanut. Upon entering the visitor center, we found our 1st peanut, the “Elvis Nut” peanut, which was decked out to look like the king himself! This was going to be a fun afternoon! After acquiring our complimentary guide, we immediately departed the visitor center in search of the remaining 30 peanuts. While walking out of the visitor center, we stumbled across our 2nd peanut. This wasn’t just any peanut! It was a very special peanut! This was the Original Gold Peanut! OOOHH!!! AHHHHH! We drove ½ mile down the road to a TGI Friday's in search of the "Joe Cool" peanut, but the restaurant was closed when we arrived. Bummer! I was able to see the peanut through the glass in the restaurant's foyer with his back to me. I zoomed my camera in as close as I could to snap a picture, which will just have to do. Next, we drove ½ mile further down the road to Sam’s Club. Standing outside of the main entrance greeting customers, we discovered the “Mr. Sam” peanut. Thank goodness the peanut was outside, as I was worried I would have to become a member. The peanuts are pictured below in the order they are described.

After departing Sam’s Club, we drove 4 miles across town to Sunset Memorial Park in search of the “Quest for Success” peanut. Upon our arrival, we discovered what we believed to be a park, was actually a cemetery and funeral home. There has been a lot of tragic death in my family, and I really don’t like going into funeral homes. I had Nate drive around the outside in search of the damn peanut. No such luck! I guess I was going to have to walk into the funeral home, seek out the mortician, and ask “Can you please direct me to the location of your four-foot-tall fiberglass peanut?”. Sadly, this is not the first time on my cross country trip I have found myself inside a funeral home asking the most absurd questions, which you can read about by clicking here. After all that hoopla, the funeral home stated they had sent their peanut out for repairs, and did not know when it would be returning. Just as well, as I was more than ready to leave!

Next we drove 2 miles across town to a Texas Roadhouse where the "Andy Armadillo" peanut awaited. This was my favorite peanut so far as it even had a tail. Half a mile away, we found “Percy the Peanut” outside of the UPS store. This peanut was absolutely adorable dressed in a brown uniform, carrying a scanner and delivering a UPS package. Next, we drove 4 miles across town to the Wiregrass Commons Mall in search of the “Gone Shopping” peanut. We soon discovered a big problem. How would we find our peanut inside of a massive shopping mall? We decided to go to the mall manager’s office, but were intercepted by security along the way. “YOU CAN’T BE BACK HERE” a loud voice boomed from the end of a long narrow hall. Nate and I looked up, and saw a very large man briskly walking towards us with his hand on a taser strapped to his belt. In a nervous and quivering voice Nate said, “Take me to your peanut”. “MY WHAT?”, the security guard exclaimed. At this point, I took over the conversation, showed the security guard our brochure, and asked if he knew where the location of the peanut inside of the mall. The security guard stated the peanut was located outside of J.C. Penney, and shortly thereafter we finally found the “Gone Shopping” peanut! This is the reason I, and not Nate, is the spokesperson for the two of us! The peanuts are pictured below in the order they are described.

After departing the mall, we drove 3 miles to Landmark Park in search of the "History Nut” peanut. Landmark Park is Alabama's Official Museum of Agriculture, but with 23 more peanuts to track down, we just did not have time to tour the museum. We approached the guardhouse outside of the main entrance, and inquired about the whereabouts of their peanut. The security guard stated the peanut is inside the museum, and would not let us see it unless we paid $8.00 admission. Pay to see their peanut? This was extortion! To hell with the “History Nut” peanut! Nate turned Rosie around and drove away! Next, we drove across town to find the “The Peanut Producer” located outside of the Alabama peanut producer plant. This peanut was clearly highly coveted, as is was mounted on a pedestal, surrounded by manicured landscaping, and even had spotlights to provide illumination at night. Next, we drove to downtown Dothan where we found the “Media Nut” peanut outside of a television advertising agency. This peanut was very interesting as it had an actual video camera pointed at the peanut! A couple hundred feet down the same street outside of the building home to the town newspaper we discovered the “Paper Boy” peanut. This peanut was missing one of his arms, but at least the town newspaper is an equal opportunity employer. The peanuts are pictured below in the order they are described.

We continued our trek through downtown Dothan in search of the “Together Forever” Peanut, which we found inside of the Basketcase Café. Next, we drove to the corner of East Main St, and North Foster in search of the “Southern Gentlemen” peanut, but sadly he was nowhere to be found. Perhaps this peanut took the day off? We continued on to the Dothan Civic Center where we found the “Kiss Goodbye to Cancer” peanut perched high on a ledge outside of the arena. This peanut was painted pink and adorned with a bow to signify breast cancer awareness. On the opposite side of downtown, I found the “Handy Nut” peanut outside of a commercial paint shop called Brakin Wholesalers. From the coveralls to paint brush and paint can in hand, their peanut was ready to go to work. The peanuts are pictured below in the order they are described.

We drove back across town to the Dothan Fire Department to find the “Nuts About Safety” peanut, which was quite the sight to see. The peanut depicted a fire hydrant, and next to it was a Dalmatiann, shall we say “with its leg raised”. There is a small sign next to the peanut informing visitors, “Don’t Climb on the Peanut”, but apparently peeing on the peanut is perfectly fine!

We drove ¼ mile down the street to find the “Rehab Nut” peanut outside of Health South Rehabilitation. This stop actually featured a 2 for 1 peanut special attraction! One of the peanuts was a Physical Therapist dressed in scrubs, and the other peanut was the patient working to regain his strength on the parallel bars! Next we drove to the Southeast Alabama Medical Center in search of the “Health Nut” peanut. Here is where we hit a road block! This hospital was humongous, parking was scarce, construction was in progress, it was pouring rain, and after driving around the building 3 times, we came to the realization the peanut we sought was NOT on the outside of the building. I guess we were going in! We found a place to park Rosie a few blocks away, deployed our umbrellas, and ran into the Outpatient Center, donned face masks so we do not get sick (flu season), and walked all the way across the hospital to the main entrance. The receptionist directed us down a nearby hall, and tucked away in the shadows of a lonely corner of the hall we finally found the “Health Nut” peanut! Wow, that was one shy peanut! The peanuts are pictured below in the order they are described.

After departing the hospital, we drove across town to Shute Pecan Company in search of the “Shute Peanut”, which we found inside of the pecan themed gift store. It was quite strange seeing a giant peanut in a middle of a pecan shop. Next, we drove across downtown Dothan, to Dothan Power Sports, in search of the “Road Warrior” peanut, which we found just sitting on a ledge inside of the foyer. How fun would it have been if the peanut was on a motorcycle or on a quad? At the very least they should have placed the peanut inside to pull visitors into the showroom. In addition, the artwork on this peanut was very poor, but I do give them credit for the peanut being painted depicting a woman on a motorcycle. We then drove 4 miles across town to the National Peanut Fairgrounds where we found "Farmer Peanut" in painted overalls on the front porch of the Manager's office. The peanuts are pictured below in the order they are described.

After departing the National Peanut Fairgrounds, we drove back across town to the AT&T store where we found the “Noki the Nut” peanut on the grass outside of the store holding a cell phone. Then, we drove to Wesley Manor to find the “Wesley P. Nut” peanut, but he was nowhere to be found. After parking Rosie, we headed inside the nursing home to inquire about their peanuts whereabouts. Soon thereafter we received very disturbing news. Their peanut had been badly damaged and was in storage until repairs could be made. Back across town we went, and found the “Sheriff Sam” peanut outside of the Krispy Kreme. How appropriate! Across the street outside of Friend Bank, we found the “Mr. Trawick” Peanut, which had a very interesting story. Before Friend Bank bought the land the bank now sits on, a man named Mr. Trawick sold boiled peanuts on the property for many years. Even after Friend Bank purchased the land, they told Mr. Trawick he could continue to sell his peanuts on the corner after construction of the bank was complete. Sadly, Mr. Trawick passed away before the bank was finished being built, so the Bank erected their peanut in memory of Mr. Trawick. That is good marketing! The peanuts are pictured below in the order they are described.

Next, we drove 2 miles down the street in search of the “Mr. Fix-It” peanut at Home Depot. We entered the store searching high and low, but for the life of us we could not find that peanut! We went to the customer service desk and discovered his home is right near the exit door. He was quite a cute and handy peanut! Next, we drove across town to Dothan Pediatrics, and found the “Dothan Pediatrics Nut” on the grass outside of the office. For some unknown reason, this peanut was holding a huge box of Altoids. Back across town we drove to find the “Captain Cash” peanut on the lawn outside of the Ameris Bank. Captain Cash is a superhero who makes sure you have the money you need when you need it. However, it appeared inflation and rising interest rates had taken its toll on our peanut superhero, because his nose was broken, and his paint was cracked and chipping. Perhaps the time has come for Captain Cash to file for bankruptcy? The peanuts are pictured below in the order they are described.

Next, we drove across town to Community Bank & Trust, and found their “Classic Peanut” on a brick ledge beneath the bank's sign. This was a lackluster peanut painted gold, and was black crusty, and appeared to even be moldy. Such a sad sight! I would steer clear from this peanut! Back across town we drove, and found the “Ortho Nut” peanut outside of Dr. McFarland’s office. With toothpaste strapped in his holster, this peanut was ready to fight tooth decay and bad breath wherever it lurked. Last but not least we drove to Tuffy Automotive to find the “Military Nuts” peanut and upon our arrival we discovered the military peanut was 4 separate nuts. Each nut depicted a different branch of the Military; Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Each peanut was painted with each branches traditional uniforms. The peanuts are pictured below in the order they are described.

Wow! What an adventure that was, and a great way to explore a city. After a fun but very long day of finding peanuts, we drove across town where we found a Walmart to spend the night.

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