I don’t know if it was the fried catfish dinner or the lack of beer (Lucedale, where we stayed, is in a dry county – and yes, there was a lot of headscratching about how that happened and mental notes to make sure it never happens again), but the chainsaw failed to start last night and I slept like a baby since there was no snoring! Yippee!
The extra rest was great and came in handy today since it was the coldest start for me (27 degrees), and the first part of the ride was pretty hilly. My left knee has had enough riding for now, so the hills were no fun at all until the Advil kicked in. The cold was tough, but having sun instead of rain makes all the difference, and we had a great tailwind for good stretches of the ride today, making the 47 miles into Mobile glide by. We passed a lot of plant nurseries (tons of flowers and bushes coming to a Home Depot near you soon), a couple of sod farms, and a lot of open fields. Compared to yesterday’s ride which wound through a National Forest of beautiful long leaf pines, today’s scenery was comparatively boring but the ride was nice because we were entirely on back roads and only got chased but one dog (and even he gave up quickly without meeting Mark’s pedal). Just like yesterday where we rode across basically the entire state of Mississippi without a single stoplight, we had none again today until we hit the outskirts of Mobile.
We crossed a dam at the southern end of a big reservoir which had whitecaps from the whipping cold wind from the north and quickly rolled into the outer parts of Mobile where the speed of traffic picked up and the distance cars gave when passing dropped precipitously. Not at all unpleasant, but I would have liked to ride down along Mobile Bay instead which is the normal cycling route. We did ride past an impressive Univeristy of South Alabama campus (it looked brand new – and very sports oriented!) and then through some beautiful stately homes on Dauphin Street, the “Historical Row,” as we got to downtown and historic Mobile. It’s an interesting city with some really nice and revitalized blocks mixed in with tougher areas, and it seems like a city headed in the right direction to me. We rolled up to the Hampton Inn just before noon and were able to get an early check in which was great since we boxed up our bikes, showered and had a great lunch of burgers and beer.
Mark, dad and I drove to see how they could bike back out of Mobile to start the next leg and it became quickly obvious that there was no good option. It looks like they’ll want to start L6 at the foot of the ferry or just on the other side of the Bay to avoid a lot of headaches (hint, hint!). Dad and I hit the Free Mobile Museum next door to the hotel for a quick walk through and I wish we’d had more time. Oh well. We have obscenely early (6am) flights and I am dreading the 3am wake up tomorrow. But I can’t wait to see Steph and the kids in person. FaceTime has been nice, but hugs and kisses are way better!