Travel in the southern United States for free with Megabus

megabus gives free transportationWho doesn’t love free travel? With a new hub in Atlanta, Georgia, Megabus is giving away 10,000 free seats to travelers using their new routes during trips taking place November 16 to December 16, 2011. The eleven cities included in the new route leaving from Atlanta include:

  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Orlando, Florida

To take advantage of the offer, just enter the promo code ATL10K when reserving your seat online.

Alabama celebrates its haunted past with an entire month of events

alabama hosts scary events throughout octoberThroughout October, the state of Alabama in the United States will celebrate its haunted past with a variety of events, including ghost walks, story-telling festivals, and a moonlit tour of Old Cahawba, a historic ghost town.

Here are some of the scheduled events:

7th Annual “Historic Haunts Walk”
Athens, Alabama (Oct 4, 12, 14, 19)

This spooky walk will begin at the Houston Library and includes stories about paranormal activity at twelve local structures. For instance, hear about the girl who fell to her death at Athens University and is still said to wander the halls. Each walk lasts about 90 minutes, with tickets costing $5. For more information, contact Limestone County Tourism at 1-256-232-5411 or

Storytellin’ Campfire Talk: Spooks in the Valley
Fort Payne, Alabama (Oct 22)

This free event takes place at the large pavilion in DeSoto State Park. Sit around a campfire and listen to ghostly tales and scary stories. For more information, call 1-256-782-5697.

Ghost Walk & Fall Festival
Thomasville, Alabama (Oct 23)

The Thomasville Arts Council will be acting out some of renowned storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham‘s famous scary stories. There will also be haunted tours, street dancing, a motorcycle poker ride, a car show, and a haunted house. For more information, call the Thomasville Chamber of Commerce at 1-334-636-1542.

To view the complete list of scary events for the month of October, click here.

Searching for an Airboat Captain, Finding Adventure

Captain Geoff gives airboat tours of Mobile Bay, leaving from the Original Oyster House on the causeway that goes east out of town, past the retired USS Alabama. On the tours, airboaters often see alligators, birds, leaping fish and the natural beauty of the marshy flats. That is, if you can track down the mysterious captain.

Traveling the American Road – Airboating in Mobile

Most arrangements on this road trip have so far been made by smartphone, cross-referencing websites and Twitter profiles, mapping locations, making calls and sending text messages. But no matter how many times I called Geoff’s listed number, I couldn’t get through to him. In search of more information, I walked over to the local tourism office.

Two Southern gentlemen staffed the desk, and no sooner had I said “Airboat tour” than they gave a knowing “Ahhhhh.” Tourists frequently have trouble tracking down the skipper, they said, who spends a good bit of time hanging out at the Bluegill, a bar and restaurant near the Oyster House. (Promising news, I thought, a captain who carouses at local dives!) The consensus between the two: Geoff probably wasn’t answering his phone because he didn’t feel like giving tours.

Undeterred, I hopped in the car and drove out to the Oyster House. I asked the host, who hadn’t seen Geoff lately. Same with the bartender. Just before I got to Bluegill, my phone rang: It was Brittney, who works with Geoff and would like to know when I’d like to go on an airboat tour? Tomorrow, please!

In the morning, it was back to the dock, where, to my great disappointment, there were half a dozen other airboat tourists ready to go. “Are you Captain Geoff?” I asked the man in charge, wearing boots and a Boonie hat pinned up at the sides. It was, and he pointed me to my boat as I wondered how these other people made their reservations. Why didn’t I bump into them on the hunt for captain Geoff? Did they spend the previous day in Mobile on a quest that would end, anticlimactically, exactly the way it was meant to?

I didn’t have a chance to ask: The airboat ride was way too much fun.

VIDEO: 50 state stereotypes in 2 minutes

Enjoy poking fun at other American states? You might enjoy this video posted by our friends at Huffington Post Comedy covering all 50 state stereotypes in 2 minutes and change. From Alabama

Our state bird is the NASCAR” to Wyoming

We don’t have any gay cowboys, alright? Okay, maybe a few gay cowboys…”, no state is left unparodied (read the video transcript here). Lest you think video creator Paul Jury is making snap judgements, you may want to read his new book States of Confusion, chronicling his post-college 48-state road trip.

Have a good sense of humor about how others see your state or country? You might also enjoy this map of US state stereotypes as well as maps from other countries. Follow Gadling and AOL Travel’s Road Trip Across America this summer and see how the states live up to their reputation.

Toomer’s Corner trees poisoned at Auburn University

toomer's corner oak trees poisoned auburn universityAs far as college rivalries go, Auburn versus Alabama is as intense as they come. Duking it out on the football field, basketball court or in the natatorium is certainly appropriate. Furthermore, good old fashioned pranks are part of the college experience. However, poisoning 130-year-old trees is no laughing matter. That’s exactly what happened at Toomer’s Corner on the Auburn University campus. Toomer’s Corner is a site of celebration after Auburn football victories – students throw toilet paper on the trees which, in its own right, is an odd way to treat trees that you love so dearly. Now, however, thanks to vandals, these centenarian trees may be on their last legs roots.

Sports Illustrated reported on their website that police have arrested a suspect. The man was a caller on a local radio station who claimed that he poisoned the trees with a potent herbicide after Auburn beat Alabama in this year’s edition of their annual Iron Bowl football game. The caller – and self-professed tree murderer – said that he poisoned the trees and signed off call with “Roll Damn Tide,” a more aggressive iteration of Alabama’s Roll Tide chant.

Whether you’re an Auburn supporter, a high school student looking at potential colleges or just someone who loves trees, if you had plans to head to the university to see the old oaks in Toomer’s Corner, I suggest you do so in the very near future (or view them on the Toomer’s Corner live webcam). Scientists are, sadly, not optimistic about the fate of the trees.

Let’s support our teams in healthy ways, folks. Paint your faces, cheer until you’re hoarse or tailgate with as much barbecue as you can load into your pickup truck. But let’s not kill anything, human or otherwise. OK?

Photo by Flickr user Robert S. Donovan