May 13:  Jackson to Demopolis, AL  95.7 miles

Breakfast was once again at sunrise as the day's mileage was to be long.  This time, however, the air was cool requiring jackets and arm warmers.  Quite a change from the hot, humid morning we left Mobile.

After a full breakfast with tires pumped, the group set out down the hill!!!  The wind was slight and to our backs, but while nippy, it pushed us out pass the fast food stops and into the countryside.  Hwy 69 was the road of the day taking us out away from any signs of life other than an occasional trailer, horse farm, or grazing cattle.  Most of the route meandered once again through the thick forests of oaks and pines, or pass hills barren of trees due to the logging in the area.  The constant, however, was the smell of the jasmine and honeysuckle that bordered the roadside.  

The main companions of the group on the highway were the large logging trucks.  Those headed north were empty racing their way to refill.  Those headed south were full of pine trees sheared of their branches.  Both found the bikers a curious sight and gave a wide sweep around to prevent the bike from being pulled in toward the large wheels.  Some drivers honked, some just waved, but all treated each of us like we were friends.  If only all the traffic on the roads were so courteous.

The route basically headed due north for the entire 95.6 miles.  According to the map we passed through a string of small towns, but in actuality, most exist only on paper.  Names like West Bend, or Campbell, or Putnam, or Nanafalia, or Myrtlewood, were probably at one time thriving farming towns.  Now they are an occasional church or dilapidated old general store.   The exception were the towns of Coffeeville, pop. 350 (that just caught a black bear in its city middle according to the headlines in its local paper!) and Linden, pop. 2,424.  Both were easy to spot by the full convenience gas station at the intersections.  

While not directly on our route, we did pass through an area called Hal's Lake. It was so named for an escaped slave from Mississippi who lived by this isolated body of water undetected.  Soon he began recruiting other slaves to his hideout, leading plantation owners to attribute these disappearances to the Underground Railroad. 

One of the difficulties has been finding motels along the way that can accommodate 30 people.  Most that are large enough have been booked for months with construction workers who stay a whole week.  Displacing these tenants for a group of mature women who want to go to bed early just doesn't make it.  So it is pedal longer and harder to the largest city around -- Demopolis, AL.  The town was first settled by a group of political exiles who had been banished from France by King Louis XVIII following the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte.   During the early 1800s cotton was the "money" crop and the home to many  plantations and thus slaves.  With the arrival of the boll weevils and the loss of the slaves, the cotton business in the early 1900s died off forcing the people of the area to diversify and begin with the cattle and dairy farms.  At the same time lumber became the "cash crop" raising the town back out of its despair.  Tonight it is our home away from home!

Common Homestead

Common Sight

Our Route


And It Goes On and On!



And On!!!!

Lunch Time on the Side of the Road




Jennifer and Marilyn at the Sag

Patti to the Rescue

Marilee and Sondra Looking for Those Cookies

Chris and Rebecca Hurrying for Their Lunch