Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Easy day today - only 52 miles, mild, sunny day, gentle winds, gentle hills, very pleasant riding. We didn't rush, given it was such a short day, and took a bunch of pictures, and even so, we got to our motel by 2:30. The only downside was that, being Easter, nearly everything was closed.
We had a nice breakfast in our favorite Talladega restaurant and left at 7:45. Coming out of Talladega, we passed the Alabama School for the deaf and blind, a large school with a separate work center and an equestrian center. Very impressive. We were on Route 21, a 4-lane divided highway with almost no traffic and a nice smooth surface. We soon downsized to our usual 2-lane road, but there was still not much traffic and the Alabama drivers were all very courteous. We passed the DeSoto Caverns Park which we had seen advertised a lot both today and on our way into Talladega on Friday, so we had to take some pictures of that. We also passed some more fields of what looked like it might have been cotton, so we stopped and got a sample to show you.
The first town we came to was Childersburg where we stopped at a gas station and got some ice cream. A train came by while we were eating the ice cream so we didn't get a picture of it, but we took a picture of the railroad bridge. The same tracks appeared and reappeared all day. Shortly after the town of Childersburg, we went over the Coosa River which had a railroad bridge next to the one we were on. The Coosa River seems to morph into a large, sprawling lake called Lay Lake; we saw a little bit of it from the road at one point. Most of the day we passed large farms and bits of forest; some farms had cattle, some had horses, most had wide fields with either sod or cotton or grass for hay. There were some grand houses and some rundown houses, the same mix we've seen all along in the South.
We passed a couple more towns before our destination of Calera - Wilsonville and Columbiana. We were starting to get a little worried about not being able to find any restaurants open, so we got a couple of ham and cheese sandwiches in Wilsonville. We hoped to find something better in Columbiana, which was a larger town and a very nice one, but it was a ghost town - nothing was open and almost no one was about. So we had to settle for our sandwiches for lunch. We got to Calera and found pretty much the same situation - only the fast food places are open. We managed to find a Chinese buffet place (even the local pizza place was closed!) about a mile away, so we added another 2.4 miles on the bike going for dinner. Luckily, though, there is a diner next to the motel which will be open for breakfast early tomorrow.
Tomorrow we'll be camping at Payne Lake in the Talladega National Forest. We think there will be electricity available, but we're not sure about a cellphone connection, so if you don't see an update tomorrow, that's why (either that or we got lost in the forest). Hopefully, we'll be able to connect and upload everything. It may just be pictures of trees and lake, though!