A wormhole in space. - Two Far 2016 - Florida to Ontario: A Round Trip - CycleBlaze

August 18, 2016

A wormhole in space.

In the context of a trip through the Eastern United States, Alabama is not a small state. It's larger than the majority of states on our route, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, South Carolina and Maryland. Alabama is about 330 miles north to south and about 190 miles east to west. And yet somehow our route has us crossing Alabama twice, but spending only about 120 miles in the state.

The Natchez Trace uses a wormhole to cross Alabama in only 23 miles. This enabled us to visit 3 states in one day for the first and only time on this trip. Because our heads are still spinning from the time warp, we have limited news to report.

Gateway to the wormhole.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Less than a picosecond later...
Heart 0 Comment 0

Actually, there was time during our brief transit of Northwest Alabama to make one final crossing of the Tennessee River. The bridge was under construction. Far from making the crossing unpleasant, we basically had one of the two lanes of the bridge entirely to ourselves while cars took turns going single file first north then south in the other lane. The bridge is a long one because it's crossing the Pickwick Reservoir created when the TVA built the Pickwick Landing dam in the 1930s.

Last crossing of the Tennessee River.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Pickwick Reservoir on the Tennessee River.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The tandem captains noticed a strange phenomenon on the trace in Tennessee. It is almost impossible to accurately judge the slope of the road visually. Sometimes it looks like you are going down, but you legs are struggling on a steep upward grade. Other times it appears the road is going up but you are coasting at 25 mph. You can crest a hill without ever visually identifying the summit.

Apparently this is because there is almost always a 60 foot wall of foliage along both sides of the road. It this green canyon there is no visible horizon to orient the road. In Alabama the trace started opening up enough in places for us to rediscover the missing horizon. In case you are wondering, yes there are hills in both Alabama and Mississippi.

We saw some new bugs and a new crop, none of which we can identify. We guess the crop is cotton, but rather than googling it ourselves, we'll just label it as cotton and let an irate reader correct us if we have misidentified the crop.

Unknown flying bug.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Unknown crawling bug.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Cotton. Maybe...
Heart 0 Comment 0
Close up of the crop that may or may not be cotton. The flowers look pink before they open up, then look white.
Heart 0 Comment 0

We are staying at a house about 4 miles from Tishomingo Mississippi. We rode into town over some steep hills to get groceries at the Sunflower market. While the stokers were inside shopping a stranger drove up and said "I saw you riding on the trace and then again coming into town. If you go down this street and take a right, you'll miss most of those hills on the way back." Then he drove off. He wasn't shopping, he just stopped to give us a useful tip. You gotta love small towns. At least a dozen people we have met have mentioned they passed us on the trace - sometimes at a spot we traveled through a couple of days ago.

A few minutes later another car drove up and the driver rolled down her window. "I saw y'all on the trace. I have to ask, what do y'all do when it rains?"

Since we had received a good soaking yesterday, and received a useful lesson about what to do when it rains the day before yesterday, I was able to smile and say "We get wet, Mam. We get real wet." She returned the smile and drove off.

Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0