Tuesday, November 3
Sweet Home Alabama at 12:49, 11:49 Alabama time. I-85 merges with US 29 (low pines, a wooden water barrel on a wooden tower) and I followe US 29 when it leaves I-85 at Auburn. Tuskegee--Jay's Poolroom, gas at $1.909, several beauty parlors, a big old brick church, several brick buildings that seem to be abandoned, a large long abandoned building, part brick and part stucco, more brick houses in the residential section, Southern pillars. Below Tuskegee, US 29 is two lanes either way, trees on either side, mostly pines, an empty highway, a tree farm, mostly unoccupied country, very little human habitation. A large hawk with a bunch of crows that seem to be undisturbed by its presence. Union Spring. Overgrown fields, about waist high. Bread Tray Hill. Georgia 223, a long country road back to US 29.
Georgia Line to Troy, Ala
I got to Troy at 1:55 to stop at the Scottish Inn at 2:10, right next to the Double Ranch, the bar where there was supposed to be an open mike tonight. The bar looks closed forever.
The motel room is shabby but seems to be clean. A large bed, two wall lamps, 2 bedside tables with a drawer and an open space underneath. A small table and a card-table-sized wooden table with 2 armchairs. A small desk with the phone. A waist-high dresser with 3 drawers and apparently missing one, with a TV above it. Then a low table like the kind you put in front of a sofa. A microwave and a fridge with broken shelves but running. A small bathroom sink. An alcove with the standard shelf, hangers, and foldout suitcase holder.
$24.50 of $1.899 gas at a Kangaroo, 12.9 gallons. A taco and soft drink at Taco Del Mar. In the evening, the Double Ranch is open but there's no open mike. So I have a tripleberry Julius at the DQ.
Wednesday, November 4
In 1859, Alice entered the Looking Glass.
Troy to the Mississippi Line
Up between 8:30 and 8:45. Left the motel at 9:20, temp 72, odometer 108703, a featureless gray sky. Eggs, sausage and gravy, half a slice of French toast with butter and syrup, 2 slices of toast, orange juice, coffee, hash browns, a hush puppy at Julia's Buffet.
Down US29 south, 2 lanes each way with a turn lane in the middle, a single line railroad track to my right, but mostly it's once again the standard issue 2-lane country highway, speed limit 55, mostly through country with some small towns, some not so small, a lot of pines, pines, some deciduous trees with not a lot of color, fields, pastures, a brief stretch of hilly country, but mostly it's pretty flat, abandoned shacks falling into the disrepair, 70-80% country.
Past the Green Lord Company and a bunch of house trailers, a lot of trailers (50-100) at Wally Sanders Truck lines, bungalows, ranch style homes, mostly one-story homes. A small brick church with a thin cross on top, no steeple. Luverne, Ala. A big long ranch house with a second floor over half of it. A lot of columns, some of square wood, some of brick, on houses and businesses and the First Baptist Church and the First Citizens Bank, 2-story square business buildings, the Alpha and Omega Church, General Store Hunting and Fishing Supplies (not to mention McDonalds, Family Dollar, Subway, Arby's, BB&T, and other chains), Fred's Low Price Leader, Infinity Gifts, Jayroe's Garage, the St. Charles Motel ($42 and up), Bonus Super Center, The Dinner Table, Jet Pet gasoline, Monarca's Spanish Restaurant. The sun trying to break through the clouds, blue sky to the east. US29 (The Mal Moor Memorial Highway) is still 2 lanes each direction with a grassy divider, pines on either side, clouds breaking up to the south, small patches of blue. Brantley. The same old small houses. 7 or 8 small slender pillars on one house, lots of houses with pillars, quite common, a white house with a blue roof and shutters looks like a doll house, the Beeline convenience store with one gas pump. Andalusia 26 miles ahead. A lot of blue off to my right, north, the sun definitely shining through the clouds, making shadows on the road. It's gone from a gray dismal dreary day to one partly sunny, 80-90% clouds. At 11:00, it's definitely breaking up, blue ahead of me with some clouds, the sun shining brightly, blue sky moving from west to east. Lots of shacks in Gantt, some of which seem to be still inhabited, also some nice homes, a large house with decorative miniatures trees in front of it.
The blue sky moves to the east with clouds in the west. Quite warm, up to 79. Covington. Gitty up and Go gasoline at $1.899, another Mister Mattress Bedding Outlet, Golden Bliss Hands. Due west at 11:48, puffs of cumulus, blue to the west, blue ahead of me. A cabin style house with a propane tank. I'm in Kudzu Alley, the first time I’ve noticed any on this trip. The Solon Dixon Forestry Center. Pines (loblolly?) going up 20-30 feet before there are any limbs then crowned with evergreen needles.
This is just so beautiful, all this wonderful blue sky and cotton puffs, with the green grass and trees, a field ahead. There's nothing special about it but, damn, it's nice. It is just so pleasant. A field to my left just goes on and on to the distance, green then brown then green again, etc.
My first cotton fields of this trip. The Dixie Community Church. A tin roof shed with its roof torn and open but with equipment inside. A cotton field ends at a small church with a small steeple, a tan roof pale brick church.
US31 south at 12:18, temp 81, at Brewton. Art Corn Creek, the Jefferson Davis Community College, the Alco Plaza, empty except for a Family Dollar, Jim Peach Motors, Bonehead Boots. 2 lanes each way with a grass median. Soft rounded fluffy cumulus, more or less flat without towers. US31 runs pretty well parallel to I-65. The town of Flomaton, sounds like some kind of device to keep your toilet from overflowing. US 31 parts company with US 29 and Alabama 113. The sky is almost completely clear now, some small cumulus ahead, larger ones to my left. The ubiquitous railroad track is to my right, with very official looking buildings on the other side of it then square business buildings, the Elite Barber Shop, Central Farm Supply, Greater Escambia Center for the Arts. Below Flomaton, there's a yellow trailer alongside the road with Black Cat on its side. The sky is overcast again, clouds clumpy instead of featureless as it was earlier, small patches of blue to my east and ahead and in the west.
I leave US31 at Bay Minette, taking 287 to 59 north (Fort Mims Highway) to I-65 (Heroes Highway) at 1:30, the temp 81, a sky of mixed clouds and blue, cirrus among the cumulus, a fair amount of clouds ahead and to my right, a lot to my left. About 50/50. The Mobile-Tensaw Delta. The highway is built on pylons over the Tensaw River and Middle River, water between the two lanes, under the other lane, probably under this one, trees and kudzu on either side, more on this side than the other side, Little Lizard Creek. Over the Mobile River. Speed limit 70; I'm doing 60. Pretty much clear blue sky to my left, tiny clouds, cumulus up ahead, less blue sky to my right but still plenty. I get off at Alabama 158 (temp 82) at Saraland, Alabama at 1:50 for coffee and cheesecake at Moka's Coffee. Their men’s room was out of order so I went across the street to the Waffle House for some diet coke and to use their men's room. Back on I-65 at 2:43, the temp up to 81, the sky about the same, a lot of blue, a lot of clouds of various types. On to I-10 at 2:59.