Day 39: Tuskegee to Phenix City

I knew it was going to be another relatively short day. ?Around 50 miles. ?(It turned out to be 50.85.) ?I spent another night coughing my fool head off, so first thing I did when I got into the city of Tuskegee was stop at a CVS and buy some cough suppressant / decongestant. ?It seemed to do the trick for the most part.

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You’re fired. Gimme something that’ll stop the coughing.

Today was my last day in Alabama. ?I looked forward to crossing Georgia’s border. ?Georgia is the last state I will ride across before I head over into South Carolina for the finish. ?I’ll spend six riding days in Georgia.


Alabama didn’t want to let me go without a fight . . . but it wasn’t a full 15-rounder. ?It threw some nuisance hills at me, but they were more for show than anything. ?Here’s some things I saw:

At McDonald’s this morning there was the usual Old Guy’s Club holding court.

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Good coffee. Cheap food. No nagging wife.

I sat nearby, knowing I’m just a few weeks away from joining ’em myself most likely. ?They were talking about typical old guy stuff. ?Weather. ?Sports. ?Who’s in the hospital. What aches and pains they’ve got. ?(I could join them?now on that subject!)

The younger guy in the lighter colored shirt dropped in about 15 minutes after I’d sat down. ?What was funny to watch was the old guys who immediately walked away to other tables to get away from this younger guy. ?After all of two minutes of him, I was ready to walk away myself.

He was some sort of sales guy. ?He must have been out on the day they taught “soft sell.” ?His patter was more, “Any?presentation without a?demonstration is a?conversation.” ?(He actually said that?twice.)

In the few minutes I eavesdropped he talked about gold futures, entrepreneurship being the only thing in life that mattered, how much commissions these guys could earn, (“Would you rather have a one time 50% commission from one sale or a lifetime 1% . . . “) . . . and on and on. ? The old guys just wanted to drink their coffee. ?The younger guy just couldn’t see how much he was annoying the shit out of these guys.


Saw a “Road Closed / Bridge Out” sign. ?It also included a “Local Traffic Only”which gave me hope that I might be able to get around whatever construction. ?I’ve found that more than 90% of the time I can get the bicycle places I couldn’t get a car.

This time, however, I lost the gamble. ?The stream / river / whatever didn’t look all that deep, but I didn’t want to take a chance. ?(Plus, I really couldn’t see the condition of the road beyond the other side. ?Hell, it could have been another six miles of sand.) ?It was still early in the day. ?It was going to be a short day. ?It only cost me about 4 miles.

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I stumbled across what looked like a pretty bad fire:

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The fire covered both sides of the road.

Then I noticed a church that was right smack in the middle of the two sides of the blaze. ?Complete with immaculate lawn. ?Grass, nor trees in the church’s yard, nor the church itself seemed to have been affected by the fire. ?I checked dates on the cornerstone of the church and it hadn’t been rebuilt, plus was old enough to have been around long before that fire.

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Made me wonder if the fire had been a controlled burning.


Got a laugh out of the trim job these poor trees suffered. ?Sliced down the right side to let the power lines go through. ?Sliced and blocked on the left bottom to let traffic pass.

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Didja know that shopping carts and checkout stands were introduced to shoppers at Piggly Wiggly?

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The first store was opened in Memphis:

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Clarence Saunders was the guy who opened the first store. ?According to the Wikipedia article the name of the store came from this:

One story says that, while riding a train, he looked out his window and saw several little pigs struggling to get under a fence, which prompted him to think of the rhyme. Someone once asked him why he had chosen such an unusual name for his organization, to which he replied, “So people will ask that very question.”


Phenix City, Alabama borders Columbus Georgia. ?I was ever so tickled to see this sign:

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I was even more tickled to see?this?sign:

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It’s a beautiful border between the two states thanks to the Chatahoochee River:

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I set out for Columbus to get some work done on the bike. ?Ride On Bikes did a great job!

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Columbus is a delightful little town and I going to take one more day off from riding just to hang around. ?(And see if I can’t get this damned cold beat once and for all.)

I?splurged a little bit. ?I’m staying at the Marriott Courtyard.

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. . . and it’s a whole lot more, umm, upscale?than the Motel 3 And A Quarters I’ve been known to frequent:

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This Courtyard is?so?new the road out front isn’t completely paved yet. ?(What is it with dirt roads following me around?) ?Some views of my room. ?I’m feeling like I’m . . . on vacation!

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In addition to splurging (that I really try not to do) there’s something else unusual about staying at the Courtyard. ?I had to backtrack to get here. ?Had to cross the river back from Georgia to get here. ?I hate backtracking as much as I hate sand roads! ?But this seemed like an easy exception to make.

Even more mind-blowing is it’s an hour “earlier” in Alabama. ?It’s in the Central Time Zone where Georgia — just across the river! — is in the Eastern Time Zone.

I’m going to hit downtown Columbus tonight and will post a bunch of pictures in a separate post about the experience.