Day Eight: Camden, Alabama to Butler, Alabama - Deep South - CycleBlaze

April 26, 2021

Day Eight: Camden, Alabama to Butler, Alabama

I slept soundly, and woke up early, but nevertheless got a later start than I would have preferred after a malfunction with some of the electronic junk I'm lugging with me on this tour.

It was easy leaving Camden. Virtually all the traffic appeared to be going the other direction, presumably to the city, whichever it was, where everyone in Camden works.

I took a few photos in town, and on the outskirts of town.

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Yeah, sure.
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This was on the wall of a bar on the way out of town. Sure enough, the house next door had an impressive ham radio Yagi antenna display.
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I left town on country roads, heading north so I could cross the wide Alabama River on a wider, better bridge than a narrow, dangerous one that was on a more direct route. To get to the bridge I had to ride on a state highway for a while. It was fine.

I almost didn't notice the name of the bridge. Fortunately I saw it in time to take this photo ;)
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After I crossed the Alabama River, I made a right turn onto some county roads that were, as usual, pleasantly empty. 

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This was the first day on the tour that bugs bothered me. They'd been strangely non existent until today. 

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On the first stretch of country road after crossing the Alabama River, I had the worst dog chase of the trip. I didn't use my pepper spray, but instead outran them.

A few miles later a different group of dogs came out. This time I dismounted, put the bike between me and them, and brandished the pepper spray. Before I could use it, though the owner yelled at them - and was he also yelling at me?! It was hard to tell. Eventually the dogs returned to their "yard" and I got away.

I was feeling pretty negative about the area when some men sitting in a  parked car in front of a decrepit mobile home called out as I rode past. They seemed friendly, so I turned around and had a brief but pleasant conversation with them. "Be safe, my man!" one of them called out as I left.

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I continued to ride through some very poor communities - many ramshackle mobile homes, but with the occasional well kept brick ranch. And of course, lots of white painted churches, usually in much better condition than the nearby homes.

I took breaks at a few of the churches. My favorite had a smooth, clean bench in the shade.

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I didn't see an open store the entire morning. I had enough snacks in my handlebar bag to last me, but I was slightly concerned about the water situation - Although I'm sure someone would have given me water if I needed. There were also unlocked water spigots outside a few of the churches, and of course I'm also carrying a water filter for when (or if) I ever reach the western US on this trip.

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Bill ShaneyfeltSpectacular picture of this showy evening primrose!

http://www.southeasternflora.com/view_flora.php?plantid=75
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1 year ago
Jeff LeeTo Bill ShaneyfeltBill! Thanks for identifying this. I always enjoy your comments.

I'm actually pretty happy with how this photo turned out. A lot of the time the pics I take while leaning over my bike are not good enough to publish... and I haven't even tried to take too many plant/flower photos on this trip yet.
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1 year ago
Bill ShaneyfeltThanks for the good words! I like to do nature IDs. If I'd had a career that included doing nature walks and IDs, that would have been perfect... But, with a Zoology degree, I ended up as an explosives safety career. I also knew about half a dozen other "safety zoologists."

Not many cycle touring folks seem to notice nature, let alone photograph it, and then post the photos. Thanks for your efforts!
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1 year ago

I alternated riding through some pretty sobering poverty with upscale places like this:

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There were a few dirt sections today. As usual, they were pleasant diversions, although if they'd been wet and muddy I suspect they would have been nightmarish.

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More churches. I didn't bother photographing as many now, since I was getting bored with them.

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I had several more miles of country roads, but I was inching closer to the section I had not been looking forward to - several miles of busy, narrow state highway.

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I turned left onto AL-10. It was eighteen miles to my destination for today, Butler. It was not fun, but I've had worse rides on busy roads on bike tours.

I'd like to find the person responsible for placing the rumble strip in the middle of the otherwise almost-adequate shoulder, thereby nearly ruining it.  I'm not sure what I'd do to them if this fantasy meeting actually happened, but it would not be pleasant.

My motel in Butler was terrible, probably the second worst place I've ever stayed. It's so bad I don't even feel like describing it. One day maybe it will make a funny story.

The motel and its sad denizens (such as the young woman chain-smoking while holding her baby, outside my room) put me in a gloomy frame of mind. Tomorrow I will try to ride off my bad mood, since I almost always enjoy the actual bike riding part of bike touring... just not the end of the days, sometimes.

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Today's ride: 73 miles (117 km)
Total: 549 miles (884 km)

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Bob DistelbergAs a resident of the hilly northeast, I sometimes have trouble wrapping my head around the concept of riding over 70 miles and having less than 2000 ft of elevation gain. :-)
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1 year ago
Jeff LeeTo Bob DistelbergYeah, that was a pretty flat day, haha.

Although when I lived in downstate Illinois for six years, that was the flattest place I've ever ridden. There basically were no real hills at all there on the prairie. Now the headwinds could be horrifically bad there though.
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1 year ago