May 14:  Demopolis to Eutaw, AL  56.7 miles

A leisurely start was in order today.  No need to rush out at sunrise when the distance was about half of what we had been doing the two days prior.  Around 8 o'clock after a breakfast compliments of the motel, the group headed down US 80 with all the logging trucks, Wal-Mart semis, and dump trucks through a "bit" of construction limiting the width of the shoulder by about two feet.  Normal highway shoulders are 2.5 feet!!  Fortunately the route quickly turned onto a lesser used roadway toward Livingston.  The pavement was new, the shoulder grass-like, and the trucks once again respected our presence.  The air temperature was cool, not cold, with a slight overcast to the sky making it the perfect riding scenario.

As we work our way north we have been generally following the Tombigbee River.  The origin begins near Birmingham, Al and flows down connecting with the Alabama just north of Mobile. This river has provided a means of transporting commerce from the interior to the sea for many years.  One of the bridges we crossed today was built with funds received from an auction of roosters!!  600 roosters were donated to the people in an attempt to raise the necessary funds!  Helen Keller even sent one!!!  You never know which idea will work and which one might get ridiculed.  There is never a bad idea!!!

We will be leaving the river proper and follow the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway that connects the river with the Tennessee River far to its north.  This waterway was built in 1984 but dreamed of starting in the 1700s.  It allows water traffic to traverse from Tennessee River to the Gulf of Mexico and back.  Statistics:  234 mile long, minimum of 300 feet wide, minimum of 9 feet deep and only 10 locks.  Not a mode of travel for the fleeing slaves, however.  They were restricted to the swamps, forests, and a run through open land to safety.  Once again we are following the path, but not truly living it.  Fortunately, no one needs to repeat that part of history!

But to today's adventures.  Once again the countryside was full of pine and oak forests with the occasional clearing where logging had already occurred. Without really realizing it we were slowly climbing up out of the river valley and onto the ridge overlooking the landscape.  The trees seem to carpet the earth with the sight of a road or two, a farm or cattle land dividing the patterns into designs of nature.

We are in the land of antebellum homes.  Many have been preserved and stand to show the elegance of days long gone.  The original owners were the "holders" of the people whose life's path we now follow.  As one rides by these stately homes it is only too easy to dream of what life must have been like during the times before the Civil War.  Wealthy plantation owners, poor servants, cotton fields everywhere -- oh how this area has changed.  The cotton fields are gone; the wealthy have moved on or lost their fortunes; the poor are still poor; but the people that remain are the friendliest around.  The sight of a group of women on bikes brings the locals out to greet us and chat about what we are doing.  The local newspaper sends a reporter, the waitress in the diner is all excited about so much business, the local cop cautious us about the traffic, the area corrections officer tells us about his family and how he could never do what we are doing, everyone wants to meet us.  Even the local dog gives a bark!

Tonight we are in Eutaw.  The town long ago was prosperous and thriving, but those days have passed many moons ago.  Now one sees a dying town with locked up store fronts and abandoned garages.  The motel sits by the interstate -- otherwise it too would be dead. The towns people are still very proud of their area and brag about the 23 antebellum homes still around.  One proprietor of a home wants us to visit for a sunset cocktail on her veranda.  Unfortunately, we don't ride in the dark and her home is outside the village.

An Antebellum Home


Hawkins Overview

Meadow Flowers on the Roadside

Kodak Moment

The Moment!

Sue & Lois on the Tombigbee River

The Tombigbee

More of the River

And More!

The Swampland

Lois, Kathy, Marilee, Anne, Sondra at Eutaw City Limits

Group Lunch in Eutaw

Our Friendly Waitress

Anne & Sondra at Lunch

Downtown Eutaw, AL

City Square, Eutaw, AL