May 10:  Bay Minette to Jackson,AL  100.2 miles

The day started early in order to avoid the heat knowing that with the goal of such a mileage on the bike the day would be long.  Breakfast in the parking lot at 6am with the threat of rain in the skies.  The sun was deeply buried beneath the thick thunder clouds so visibility was limited due to the darkness forcing a wait to start until at least 6:30am with bike blinkers flashing red to all approaching traffic from the rear.  The exit onto the highway looked more like a parade of red warning lights, than a group of eager bikers.  Fortunately for all involved, the sun broke through the clouds and chased any threat of storms to the north and away from our path by mid morning.  Flashers off, and on into the horizon we rode.

Bay Minette is a relatively small town so it didn't take much time to lose the four lane highways and enter into rural America.  The first 61 miles were all on either County Road 8 or 1 winding through the countryside up and down the rolling hills -- hills spaced just far enough apart that gliding down one got a rider about half way up the next.  If one sat on the top of one of the hills and looked down the road it seemed as if the pavement had been cut into the landscape in the same rippling effect a whip would if snapped at the ground.  The waves of asphalt go on forever blanketed on either side with forests of pine and oak.  The jasmine are in full bloom so there is a soft white shading throughout as one gazes left or right.

This area of Alabama is very sparingly populated.  Homes are few and far between and vary in degree of quality.  Some are old and reflect the early architecture of days gone by with their small white "slave" homes in the yards.  Today these houses serve as sheds, or guest homes, or just a small playhouse for the family.  When originally built they housed multiple families in their one room.

The forests are being logged so one comes across  wide open land out in the middle of nowhere.  Today this is done with heavy machinery, but in the early days this was a labor done by hand by the slaves. 

Riding through such desolate areas makes the mind wander and wonder what it must have been like to be a slave trying so desperately to escape their peril.  We were traveling in the heat on expensive bicycles, on paved roads, in broad daylight with the comfort of knowing that if help was needed it is but  a cell phone away.  We have a Sag wagon following us with water and food.  They were forced to travel by night in the thickness of the forest, many times barefooted with no possible knowledge of where they would put their head down to sleep or what to eat.  We get our share of being chased by an occasional dog, but not with the fear of being savagely attacked.  As much as we say we are riding the Underground Railroad, we are not.  We are riding through the areas that the Underground Railroad served, but without any of the hardships.  The men, women and children before us were the true extraordinary ones that proved that when there is a will there is a way!

Today's pictures are a little limited due to the need to keep pedaling and the lack of change of scenery. 

Alabama River

Down The Bridge!

The Whip of a Road

Almost There!

Debbie and Rebecca at Red Springs


"Master Sous Chef & Galley Slave"