The usual start to the morning! Alarm goes off at 5:00am . . .hit the snooze button a few times then up and pack! Breakfast was just about as delicious (not!) as dinner last night! We walked across the parking lot to the gas station/store across the street and did the best we could for breakfast. There were hot breakfast sandwiches like a biscuit with some sort of meat, looked like ham (!?), cheese and once it was half eaten there was an additional ingredient I presume used to be an egg! But I am here to write about it, so it must have been ok! Some days start off a bit better than others! No coffee either!! But again I lived to talk about it!
Today we got off route and took matters into our own hands. The problem at this point with the mapped route is the incredibly long distances until the next place to stay! 70 and 80 miles in between and we just feel if we are going to do distances like that, if we get out on highway 43 that runs all the way to Mobile, we could save a day or two in time.
It is always a little uncertain heading out on your own, but we were going to get back on the route at the end of the day, taking us only one day instead of two if we followed the map. Off we went. Whether we are following our maps or striking out on our own, you just never know what you are going to find! The first town we came across on our new route, I did not expect there to be much of a town at all and when we got there, it was so cute and so very southern! Eutaw, Alabama has a dark side to its history, but that was not evident as the Antebellum homes, shaded by the huge historic trees lined the streets. It was so pretty!
The town was very small but some of the shops looked active and alive! There was a visitor center in town!! Had not seen something like that for several states and we needed a map, so we stopped in! It was so cool. The building was the Probate Court building built 1839 when Eutaw became the county seat. The original books of records were still on the shelves! We were able to pick them up and open them and read them! The script was immaculate, no errors or blobs of ink! How did they never make an error? It was just so cool to think someone wrote in this over 100 years ago and I was holding it in my hands! And we got our Alabama map!! Yay!!
Somewhere along the road we found this interesting field with decorated hay bales in it! Kind of funny, we stopped to have a look at the creative imagination of someone who maybe had nothing better to do! While we were stopped, someone thought we were having bike trouble and stopped and offered to put the bikes in the back of his truck and give us a ride! So many nice people in the world!
Back on the road, we finally reached our alternate highway. It was State Highway 43 that could take us all the way to Mobile if we wanted. We knew there would be more traffic but by taking this road we would get to Linden tonight in one shot compared to 2 days on the mapped route. 43 was ok, there was traffic but it wasn't unbearable. There was no shoulder to speak of, at least not a clean shoulder for us. The pavement on our side of the white line was interrupted by a rumble strip. Annoying but it worked if we could ride a straight line! We were making great time and reached Demopolis, Alabama just about lunch time. Even the name makes it sound like there should be nothing there but Demopolis was a bustling busy little area with a charming downtown square lined by shops! We followed the crowds into a small cafe for lunch, how could that line of people be wrong? It gave us a chance to check our route, have some nourishment and cool off! All 3 accomplished we got up to leave and started chatting with Fred who introduced himself and started chatting. He was a cyclist too, not many of them here in Alabama that we have found! But he gave us some advice about the road ahead and as a result we decided the best place for us to stay was here in Demopolis because of the condition of the only motel in Linden where we were headed. So we did!
Had a delicious dinner we made up ourselves! Walmart was right behind us so we got a rotisserie chicken, a pile of fresh veggies, a beer and some wine and a few cookies for dessert! It was so good! I ate enought broccoli for 4 people!
So 3 months on the road today!! We have done 4,181 miles!! Mike has lost 30 pounds, I have lost about 12, we have made hundreds of wrong turns, eaten our way thru tons of snacks and cookies, slept in, got up early, slept in a tent, in numerous nasty and beautiful hotels, slept on a racquetball court, in the yard of a courthouse, met some amazing and incredible people! what a journey! And its not over yet!
Our first trip two years ago, that took us 3 months and one week and it was 4,200 miles! So we are pretty equal as the first trip and we feel we did so many more moutain climbing and passes! Amazing isn't it?? And we are so thrilled that all of you have been right there with us! It wouldn't be as much fun if we didn't have you to share it with!
Thanks for being there and all your supportive emails and wonderful words of encouragement!!