Trenton GA to Gadsden AL 71 miles with a lot of wind and not many hills
It was a short day on relatively flat roads, but it still took me nearly seven hours of riding to get to Ken Kifer's house. My average speed was barely above 10 mph because I had to ride into headwinds for much of the day.
I left Trenton at 10 AM. I slept till almost 8:30 since I was wiped out from yesterdays long ride and I needed sleep! I had a great breakfast at a Huddle House and stopped on the (long) walk back to my room to buy some tea and bagels. Three real bagels for $1 at Bi-Lo. I'm impressed. Then I rode south on 11 in cloudy weather with occasional very light rain.
At the Alabama border, I mounted my camera on the bike because the rain seemed to be ending. I also 'gained' and hour as I rode into the Central time zone. It was still a dreary, hazy day and the part of Alabama I rode into on 11 wasn't very exciting. It was peaceful though and, when I stopped alongside the road to eat a bagel and rest, the birds were singing and life was pretty good.
As I neared Fort Payne, life deteriorated as the size of the houses got larger. The deterioration was due mostly to increasing headwinds and not the ostentatious display of wealth that contrasted so sharply with the poverty I had been riding through. Alabama still retains some unpleasant vestiges of the 'old south.' Just north of Fort Payne, after riding about 35 miles, I stopped for lunch at a Waffle King. I had the special which was very good. I stopped because the parking lot was full. I got the last empty table which, fortunately, had a good view of my bike. A good place with good people and, definitely, a good cook!
Getting through Fort Payne was a pain, again mostly because of the wind. I was forced to ride on the drops most of the time for the next few hours. From Fort Payne to Collinsville is rolling hills. On almost every hill I ground up to the crest and then had to shift down as I experienced the full force of the wind. I was not enjoying myself.
US 11 parallels the train tracks most of the way through rural Alabama
In Collinsville, I stopped at a food store and bought some apples and a quart of Gatorade. Then I sat outside the store and recovered while eating an apple and a bagel. The folks at the store were friendly and it pleasnt sitting in the shade watching the wind blow! Finally I rode on south into the wind on my final grind to Gadsden. OK, it really wasn't that bad and the wind had calmed down a lot, but I was very glad that I wasn't planning to ride 100 miles today. I actually enjoyed most of the ride from Collinsville to Gadsden, but I was tired from yesterday and from fighting the wind.
When I got to Gadsden, I called Ken and he came to meet me. Then we rode (you expected a car?) up the big hill to his house and had a fine time visiting. Tomorrow he will ride with me part of the day as I head further south on US 11. It should be a nicer day than today, but also hotter.