Day Seven: Kickback Ranch to Camden, Alabama - Deep South - CycleBlaze

Day Seven: Kickback Ranch to Camden, Alabama

I was up early, in the dark, despite not falling asleep until late. I was tired and took a while to get ready. I somehow had lost my razor, and wasted time unsuccessfully looking for it. If don't find it in a few days, I'll have to buy another one. One of my possibly ridiculous notions is that people are friendlier to me while I'm bike touring if I'm clean shaven.

I rode to the gate at the Kickback Ranch to find that it was locked. There was no way to squeeze around the gate - the security of this place seems over the top to me, but I guess providing a super-safe environment for families is part of their marketing strategy.

I didn't want to take everything off the bike and lift it and the bags over the fence, so I called the main number of the place, and tried to explain to the sleepy-sounding woman that I couldn't get out. After some back and forth, she texted me the code to unlock the gate, and I finally escaped the Kickback Ranch.

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Weather this morning was perfect: Cool but not chilly, and blue skies.

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I rode several miles on empty back roads. I used the pepper spray for the first time when two dogs came out and chased me down the road to a stop sign, which I needed to obey in this case because of actual traffic.

I stopped in Pintlala, a little community where nothing at all was happening early Sunday morning. This was one of the tidier little places I've seen the last week - the elementary school and library looked surprisingly fancy for a tiny Alabama community. Looking on Wikipedia just now, I see that a rich guy who is a big deal in bass fishing lives there (or at least has a place there), and that US presidents and other famous people have fished at his lake in the area. 

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There was a slight uptick in traffic as I approached I-65. I passed some sort of enormous chicken-related industrial operation, and then I was suddenly in the Flying J and Love's Travel Stop zone at the I-65 interchange. I initially stopped at Love's, but I felt it was just too busy to leave my bike unaccompanied even for a few minutes while I went inside.

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Instead I stopped at a smaller convenience store a few thousand feet down the road and was disappointed, but not surprised, to find no vegetarian breakfast sandwich options. So I ate a peanut butter cookie instead.

I continued on to Hayneville, which seemed like a nice little town, with an interesting court house.

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Then it was almost 20 miles on a state highway, AL-21. I hadn't been looking forward to this, since I'm not really a fan of riding on most state highways, but it wasn't bad, at least not on a Sunday morning.

I stopped a few times, once at a church where a service was being conducted. I stood outside for a while and listened to the exhortations of the African American pastor. I couldn't understand much of what he was saying, but it certainly sounded very different than the church services I was forced to attend as a child.

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I also stopped and read an extremely grim historical marker. 

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I exited the state highway onto a series of county roads. There seemed to be a church every mile. Even thought it was Sunday mid-morning, the parking lots of many of them were empty.

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In a couple of cases, there were only four or five cars parked outside.

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Among all the churches, there was an interesting place that I assume has been closed for many years: "Earl Reynolds Disco Inn."

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I left the county roads for twelve miles on another state highway, AL-41S. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was as empty as the county roads.

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Keep Alabama Ironic: Litter surrounding the "Don't Litter" sign. I'm from rural Kentucky, so I suppose I have no standing for criticizing Alabama in this regard.
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It was easy riding to the outskirts of Camden, where I got a room at what my wife and I call a "bike touring motel". Decent, but kind of worn out. 

The older lady running the place was a bit of a character. I assisted her with the internet connection, and also changed the battery in a chirping smoke alarm in my room (she said she was too short to reach it.)

She offered to let me drive her car - surprisingly, a nice, late-model Acura - to go get some food, but I just walked a half mile to the Piggly Wiggly and brought some stuff back to my room.

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Today's ride: 79 miles (127 km)
Total: 476 miles (766 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 2
John EganHey Jeff - Remember my "Yellow Road" category is much lower than every other map out there. So, you shouldn't have been unduly worried about Hwy 21 - and certainly not Hwy 41. For example, the Nebraska State Bicycle Map has the yellow category at 2501-5000. Mine is 1000 to 2499. All of my color-coded categories are seriously scaled down for you.
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1 year ago
Jeff LeeTo John EganThanks, John.

Into Mississippi shortly. I'll see if it's as hilly as the elevation profile on the map indicates ;)

Jeff
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1 year ago