Day 36: Reform to Brent

What a physically and mentally taxing day. ?The route, nearly 70 miles today, was filled with these:


1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 3/4s, mile-long, mile+-longs, and even one sumbitch that went on for?three miles. ?I’m honestly not sure what’s worse: ?a three mile climb or lots of 1/4 mile climbs that once completed, you dip back down and do another one. ?And then another. ?And another.

While not the Rockies by any stretch of the imagination, these hills, coupled with wind, and nearly 90 degrees, will just beat you to death. ?I spent a?lot?of time “on break” today.

That’s the physical side. ?The?mental?side was due a lot to this:



For most of the route today there just wasn’t anywhere to ride except in the traffic lane. ?Especially through Tuscaloosa today.


As in any bigger town / city, there’s more traffic:

I took that shot right next to the University of Alabama. ?I was headed onto a long bridge . . . with absolutely no place to ride except in the traffic lane.

When I’m riding on the line / in traffic, I’m concentrating on what’s going on behind me. ?I’m listening?hard?to approaching cars. ?I’m to the point now I can predict — just from the sound of the car — when a vehicle is going to be all the way over to the left to completely avoid me or they’re going to stay right in that right lane. ?And?maybe?swerve over just a little bit. ?It’s unnerving.

I?still?don’t understand why states east of Texas think it’s perfectly ok to ride a bicycle on highways (65 to 75 MPH vehicles) and have no place for the bike to ride. ?Yet, it’s “unsafe” for a bicycle to be on an Interstate with a minimum 10 foot breakdown lane.

This morning was my closest call yet in getting hit by a car.

I’d left Reform headed east on 82. ?For the first eight miles 82 was a two-lane road because of construction traffic. ?The traffic behind me was, of course, also heading east. ?And because it was 7AM, we were all staring into the sun.

There was no breakdown lane for me to ride in. ?I had to be in the traffic lane. ?There was no other route for me to take than US 82.

A woman had been following a truck and she wasn’t paying attention to what the hell she was doing. ?She swerved slightly to the right, saw me at the last minute, hit her brakes. ?I heard the brakes, I heard the tires squeal, and watched her veer sharply to the left to prevent mowing me down.

It wasn’t a good situation for anyone.

(No, it’s kind of hard to take pictures of something like that.)

Not a mile later, I had three dobermans decide they wanted to attack. ?This was my closest call yet in getting bit. ?They were close enough that I could have reached out with my foot and touched them, but I assumed I’d draw back a footless leg in that case.

Like the other dogs, I just stop the bike and talk to them. ?Like all the other dogs, they get really confused when they hear a human talk. ?”Wait a minute, you’ve got . . . round legs? ?But you sound like a human? ?WTF, dude? ?We’re?sooooo confused.”

Like I said: ?it was a mentally taxing day, too.

Right after the car almost hit me, but before the critters tried to eat me, I stopped for breakfast. ?(Wasn’t going to tempt the Hunger Pains Gods again.) ?Saw this sign across the way:


Well, according to Genesis 1:15:

God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. ?God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.

So if God created the day . . . how could it be evil?

I thought I’d lost Beauregard the other day. ?Beau is my hat:


I’d been toting a ball cap from the very start. ?I decided to give Beau a break. ?I strapped him to the front of the bike and put on the ball cap. ?Figured I’d wear the cap until either (1) my ears sunburned or (2) the cap got blown off. ?(Beau?can’t?be blown off due to the chin strap. ?That’s the reason I gave him a rest: ?I was getting tired of the chin strap.)

At one point a couple of days ago, I had to move Beau to get to something underneath. ?I stuck him on the rear rack . . . and forgot to strap him back to the front when I took off. ?When I remembered — a couple of miles later — I stopped the bike and whipped my head to look for him.

Miracle of miracles, he was still hanging in there.

Lost the ball cap today. ?As expected, a gust of wind just blew it off. ?I was headed down hill at quite a clip. ?Wasn’t going to go back for a $3 hat. ?A stop at a Dollar General got a couple of replacements:


Glad to still have Beau with me.

(I’ll have to name the ball cap now, won’t I? ?How about Festus?)

Saw this:


It’s named after Lurleen Wallace. ?She was George Wallace’s first wife, Alabama’s only female governor to date, and the only female governor in US history to die in office.


She was the governor while I was a kid living in Alabama. ?I was at a hospital visiting my mom . . . and who should walk in but the Governor of Alabama. ?I have no idea why she came over to talk to my dad, but he introduced me. ?I couldn’t have been ten years old at the time. ?She seemed pretty nice to me. ?I can remember being, well, as shocked as a kid could be, when she died.

Back on the subject of being able to tell which car is going to?not?move to the far left to get around me, but stay as far right as they can.

Almost without fail, those dumbass pickups with no muffler, making as much goddamned noise as a 747, will be one of those, “Hey, y’all, watch how close I get to the guy on the bicycle!”


Y’all know having a truck like that simply tells the rest of us you’ve got a one-inch long dick. ?When erect.

World’s smallest car dealership?


Per my new end-of-the-day routine, I was never so tickled to get off that mean old road:


I was starving, but I didn’t want a burger or pizza, either.


Tomorrow: ?back to the literal beginning.