May 8-9, 2008:  Milwaukee to Mobile, AL.

And so it begins!  Rising early in anticipation of a long day of traveling brings mixed feelings of excitement with the normal nervousness of making sure everything needed is packed.  Off to the airport to begin the "sitting" section of the trip.  There is a good omen in the air -- the sun is shining brightly; the flights are all on time; the lines short; security courteous and relaxed.  The  positive energy is abound!  Mobile here we come.

Mobile, AL is located on the Gulf of Mexico.  The French influence perpetrates the architecture throughout the older sections of the the city.  The present day city is the hub of a large port that sees massive amounts of produce cargo going into and out of the country.  Tobacco, food products, oil, all find their ways on and off of the large ships docked in the yards lining the city shores.  But that was not the main cargo of the 1700 and early 1800s.  While tobacco definitely found its way onto the ships, the main cargo being delivered at that time was human.  Thousand of African captives were deposited on the docks only to be sold to the highest bidder and moved off to the plantations of the South to work the land and serve the landowners.  Mobile is the home of the largest slave market in the "free" world!

It is only fitting that this journey following the road to freedom should start at the base of the beginning of the slavery.  Thirty women will begin tomorrow to pedal the pathway from Mobile's slave market to Canada and the land of anti-slavery of the 1800s.  We will follow one of the pathways that the early slaves used in their attempt to escape the bondage forced upon them.  We will travel by bike rather than foot;  we will be free to travel when and where we want to go, rather than hide behind trees or bushes;  we will be well fed, and pampered upon,  rather than beg for food and water;  but we will ride through all the elements, greet hazards (hopefully small) and attempt to trace a part of US history. 

Frankie at Mobile Harbour