Tuscaloosa and Moundville - Riding in Circles - CycleBlaze

October 18, 2020

Tuscaloosa and Moundville

Day 18: Sun Oct 18

Berry AL to Moundville AL

Distance: 65 miles

Weather: 54 in am, 80 in afternoon and sunny

Woke up at 7 am this morning and boiled water for coffee and oatmeal.  A Hispanic man emerged from the trailer while I was breaking down my tent and packing. I thanked him again for allowing me to stay in his backyard.  And off I went, Tuscaloosa bound!  

The ride into Tuscaloosa was pretty uneventful except I should not that both yesterday and today I faced a strong headwind heading south.  I wonder if that's wind coming off the gulf and if this will be the new norm over the next week or so. 

In order to get into Tuscaloosa from the north I had to cross the Black Warrior River which is a major river.  

My route across the Black Warrior River.
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The Black Warrior River formerly called Tuscaloosa River after the great Cherokee chief.
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Once i entered Tuscaloosa I rode down University Ave.  All the bike shops were closed today because its Sunday.  I really wanted an Alabama Crimson Tide water bottle.  So, I stopped at a gift shop and bought a little Alabama pin which I strategically placed on my backpack. 

Alabama pin for all Alabamans to see as they drive pass me. It's as if I'm saying, "See I'm an Alabama fan too. Now, please dont run me over! "
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  Then I checked out the football stadium.  I was amazed at the size of it.  It seemed as big as the Tennessee Titans stadium.  The entire field area was gated off so there was no viewing the field.  

The Crimson Tide stadium. Where dreams come true...
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It's kind of cool to think that the best football players in the country end up here and nearly every one of the starting Alabama players end up going pro.  Then I checked out the campus.  The campus itself is very clean and is quite new looking.  In fact most of Tuscaloosa is new looking.  Apparently, Tuscaloosa was gentrified a few years back when a tornado ripped through the city.  Much of it had to be rebuilt.  The University helped with the cost of rebuilding.  This in turn drove up prices and drove some of the riff-raff out.  Heck of a way to gentrify a city!

I also noticed a Federal Courthouse in Tuscaloosa along University Ave.

Federal Courthouse in Tuscaloosa.
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After spending about two hours putzing around the city I started heading south.  

The main road I took out of the city was 69 South.  This was a very bad idea.  I do not recommend 69 to any bicycle tourist leaving Tuscaloosa.  There is literally no shoulder combined with heavy traffic going up to 70 mph.  Extremely dangerous!  I felt like I was bike riding out of a central American city with how close vehicles were coming to me.  

About 15 miles down the road, I stopped at a gas station for probably the 40th time on this trip and told the guy behind the counter that I was biking cross country and politely asked to fill my water bottles.  The man was an Indian man (Asian descent).  Now usually they say something like, "Sure, the waters over there." This guy though proceeds to get me two bottled waters and told me to help myself to a slushie too.  Such a kind gesture!  

My next stop was a mile and a half out of the way to Moundville Archaeological Site.  This is s must see!  There is nothing like it.  It is essentially a large piece of grassland with enormous mounds on it.  These mounds appear to be natural but apparently were built by a native American group of people known as the Mississipians.  That particular site was a cultural and ceremonial center for activity for them between the 12th and 16th century. 

Giant mounds!
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 There is a museum on the grounds as well. 

Moundville museum with nifty totem poles.
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 I would have loved to camp there but unfortunately, possibly because of COVID, the campground was closed. 
So, I continued down 69 South when I stumbled upon the Miracle House of Prayer Apostolic Church and noticed a number of cars were in the parking lot.  The church seems to be an all African American congregation. They are extremely kind people and Bishop McCarter is letting me camp in the backyard.  A couple women from the church came out with a dozen apples, 2 sodas, 2 waters, and a full spaghetti dinner for me!  I kept everything except the apples as I couldn't reasonably carry a dozen apples around.

Dinner, thanks to the Apostolic Church of Moundville! That's no ordinary roll. Its sour dough dinner roll.
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  I am once again floored by the kindness of strangers.  I'm presently in my tent just enjoying feeling full.

A couple random thoughts.  I have about 225 miles till I reach Gulf Shore.  God willing, that will be Friday!  My cycling computer reads 996 miles currently.  I am just 4 miles from a grand which I will reach tonmorow morning.  

Today's ride: 65 miles (105 km)
Total: 994 miles (1,600 km)

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Marylynn WebsterLove hearing about the kindness and generosity of the people you meet
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