Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tour A La Bama

The first reaction that most people had was something like, "are you crazy?". I would usually then explain that we would get up super early and ride before it got too hot, and that 70 miles a day isn't that hard on a bike, especially when you've nothing else to do but push the pedals and eat. Cool, clean hotel rooms are a luxury that make the heat of the day all the more tolerable, and we would spend a number of hours basking in the chilled air of someone else's power bill. Was this convincing? Maybe to some, but to others we must have seemed a bit masochistic. But, as you can see from the sequence of photos below, it was clearly the bikes that went crazy...

With a little good fortune and a lot of good food we made our way from Lookout Mountain, TN to Destin FL, in about 6 days. Day 1 was a beautiful ride out Hwy 157. Rolling hills, beuna vistas, and fajitas for two when we arrived at Weiss Lake, AL.

Susanna, Roller Coaster Road, Day 1

Days 2 and 3 we followed Hwy 9 from Centre to Wetumpka. We awoke on our first morning on the road to local news stations warning of poor air quality for this to-be the hottest day of the year. No problem. We made a short jaunt from Centre to Heflin, about 50 miles, and found respite and barbecue near Interstate 20. We went to bed, planning on getting up super early and trying to knock out a bunch of miles before lunch the next day. 6:00 am and some Hardys biscuits got us to Goodwater before lunch, about 50 miles. We found more awesome barbecue and tried to loiter in the A/C as long as possible, but the magnetic pull of the road got us rolling again by 1:00. As we rode into Wetumpka, we were both finishing our first ever centuries and the weather that had been building behind us all day was just beginning to break. We walked to the closest Mexican restaurant between breaks in the rain, and toasted to sore legs and sweat over some more fajitas.

Typical Hwy 9 Scenery

Fed up with chicken trucks and rednecks in mudslingers, I picked up an Alabama Atlas and Gazetteer on the morning of day 4. Now it was time to get lost on some county roads. The weather began building behind us again, and by noon we were hiding from lightning at a dog kennel in Downing. The first storm passed and we found ourselves trying to ride through sand in BFE, AL. By the end of the day, we had waited out another storm at some random church and had been invited in for a Wednesday night Bible study. We graciously declined and headed into Troy in a light drizzle and dwindling light.

Sand Road

Opp was our next destination, and our fifth day on the road would prove to be that of our muscular discontent. We were quite fatigued this day, but only had a quick 50 miles on roads less traveled. Opp was our favorite town, we ate steaks and seafood at a quaint little restaurant and, so that we could drink a beer and play some billiards, became members of the local club "Regis' Four Sons".

Fun with Fatigue

It was in Florida on day 6 that we finally got caught in a giant thunderstorm with no shelter. We found a low spot near a culvert in the road and huddled together hoping the lightning would not see us. It didn't and we made our way to Niceville, having our first and only flat tire on the way. We celebrated with some more seafood on the sound and some redstripe while picking which sail boat we would buy for our next adventure...


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