David Freeze: A calmer ride Thursday
Editor’s note: Salisbury native David Freeze is cycling from Mobile, Alabama to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Post is chronicling each day of his ride. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I started Thursday morning in Linden, Alabama, once called Screamersville. I got two accounts as to why. One was that there were so many noises coming out of the woods at night that the name seemed appropriate. The other was the town went through a lawless phase including a gunfight between the sheriff and a criminal. Now they just about close up the little town at 7 p.m.
I got up this morning worried about my tube and pump situation. I couldn’t get my pump to work correctly while changing the tube the night before, and I am just about out of CO2 cartridges. With that, I was taking a chance heading out today. I was only headed through one town that had any services. All the rest were almost non-existent and would provide little help if I ended up with another flat tire.
Jefferson was the first town, and it had a convenience store but I don’t think it was open. On to Coatopa which appeared to have vanished. Epes was up next, and even though it had 200 citizens, none seemed to be moving as I rode through.
On to Gainesville and a much nicer time. I had spent most of the morning on State Road 28 and County Road 21. I rode into town and was greeted by a man coming out of the food store who told me about the convenience store. Neither the food store nor the convenience store looked like one. I was out of fluids and ice and needed both. Ophelia Houston was playing checkers when I walked in, and evidently she was winning. Her partner appeared to be getting beat and was protesting loudly. I got drinks, ice and some snacks and talked with Ophelia and her playing partner. It was the nicest stop I had all day as I passed through so many lightly settled areas. Gainesville is loaded with Civil War and Revolutionary War history and is also famous for the first Morgan horse.
On through Warsaw, which didn’t even bother with a sign, probably because it didn’t deserve one. Then Cochrane had a fire department and picnic area, but nothing else.
The road today was only hilly a few times, and it was much easier on me, especially with the concern about another flat tire. I saw lots and lots of logging trucks, but often there were times that seemed like I had the road to myself. Just before Cochrane, or the sign for it, I was pedaling up a hill and knew that a truck was patiently waiting for me to top the hill before passing. It was a couple in a nice truck pulling a big boat and they rode beside me for a while after asking where I was headed. When I told them Canada, they immediately stuck a wad of cash out the truck window. The guy said, “I know that will be expensive, here take this.” I didn’t take it but was very moved that they offered.
Thursday included riding through woods that look a lot like North Carolina. I saw lots of beautiful cattle farms, especially in the higher country.
I am spending the night in Aliceville, Alabama, after a total of 84 miles. I plan to wash a few things while I wash myself tonight. Then I will work on putting together a schedule for the next couple of days. I want to go to Tuscaloosa on Friday to a bike shop and ease my mind on the equipment issue. A visit to the University of Alabama stadium might happen as well. Then I will head for Fulton, Mississippi, and then on to Tupelo, birthplace of Elvis. Next, I will visit the Shiloh National Battlefield and plan to spend some time there. Not sure how all of this will pan out, but I am going to work on it tonight.
To those of you who have been checking with me by email, I will answer back as quickly as I can. I am just glad that you are following along on my adventure. Back tomorrow with some idea of how I will spend the Fourth of July. I’m already celebrating our wonderful country with each day on the bike.