Birmingham’s beverage and pastime of choice - Silver Comet Express - CycleBlaze

April 5, 2018

Birmingham’s beverage and pastime of choice

Today is a short day since I originally planned to arrive in Birmingham by train middle of the day and now I find myself heading out into 35-degree temps and what’s this? A headwind. What happened to the tail wind forecast when I looked yesterday?

I leave my heat-filled sanctuary for the call of the road
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The route I take today parallels much of the railroad traffic going through the area. I suspect Amtrak would have used these rail lines coming into town, so that’s what I would have seen (and verified) had I taken the train. But this morning I see life from the other side of the tracks, both figuratively and literally. My route goes through several run-down areas, with collapsing houses, rotting vehicles, and broken glass. Lots of broken glass. So much glass I can tell you Birmingham’s beverage of choice is Bud Light, evidenced by the overwhelming broken blue glass on the shoulders, and the side of the roads, and in the ditches.

I wonder at the broken glass. Clearly it’s not because it was simply dropped or left there. During my ride yesterday and today, I see so much broken glass it becomes a pattern. It seems as though there is deliberate intent to smash the glass. I don’t know if it provides some power to the smasher by being able to control one aspect of their lives, in that they choose to exercise power and dominion over the glass, destroying something in revenge for life that has destroyed so much of their life. Or maybe I’m just overthinking this....

That’s Birmingham’s beverage of choice right there, and smashing glass on the side of the road seems to be the pastime. Oh, yeah, and those BLOODY rumble strips!
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Miles-long freight train rolling through paralleling Rt.78
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I roll into Leeds quarter-past nine. Basically, almost my entire day is on Rt. 78 today, taking me right through this historic town.

In front of the storefront mural in Leeds
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Yes, I did climb that hill on the left, and yes, it was an effort
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I should have known when I made a right turn onto “Mountaintop” road it was going to be an effort to get to the top. And I was proven correct.  Once creating over the top, it turned out to be the most peaceful part of the day’s ride. I had the roads all to myself winding through farms and cow pastures.

I had the roads all to myself this morning after climbing “Mountaintop Rd”
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My day was complete very early today at 12:15. I checked into the motel for the afternoon and night and rest up for my big day tomorrow. At right around 90 miles it’s going to be a full-on day so I’m enjoying the restful view from my room while it lasts.

View from my room as I write this entry
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Today's ride: 39 miles (63 km)
Total: 46 miles (74 km)

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Bennie D. BarfieldLooking forward to CL/SC ride.. When I lived in the Atlanta area(10 years ago) I rode SC twice a week with "the chain gang" with a complete tour taking in CL usually bi monthly.. I really miss that place!!
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6 years ago
Paul MulveyTo Bennie D. Barfield@Bennie - you should ride again! Until yesterday I had never ridden the CL, only the SC. It’s really a nice trail, and I’m happy I could ride the whole thing through back home today. Even with it raining all day today. If you’re camping, there’s a campground at the CL trailhead for $25 night. I didn’t stay near the CL trailhead - I came in from Pell City so it was a bit of a hike to get to the trailhead.
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6 years ago