Saturday, June 16, 2007

More Photos from the First Leg

Here is a more extensive selection of photos from the Mobile-to-Cincinnati portion of our trip. (Click on any photo for a larger view, then press BACK on your browser to return to the blog.)


Hubbards Landing Campground -- where we camped on our first night of the trip. The owners were delightful and very supportive. The Inaugural Ride members had told us they were treated very well there, and so were we.
May 13, Day #2 of our trip. On recommendations from the campground owners at Hubbards Landing, we fill our water bottles at Red Hill Spring, north of Stockton, AL. Water flows at the rate of 60 gallons per minute. The plaque is inscribed: "Dedicated to the wayfarers who, for unknown generations, have passed by this way and refreshed themselves with a drink from this spring, and to those yet to follow".
Coffeeville Campground, outside of Coffeeville, AL. Our campsite was on the banks of the Tombigbee River, and we enjoyed watching a few barges work their way past us, leaving artistic-looking ripples in their wake.
Coffeeville Campground, May 15 -- our tent's mosquito netting works! This interesting bug was on our tent screen when we awoke that morning.

Coffeeville Campground, May 15 -- a crow greets the early morning a short distance from our tent, with the mist-covered Tombigbee River in the background.

Through the deep south, we saw all types of houses. Stately mansions, with land still being worked, well-kept remembrances of the old South.....
.....abandoned reminders of by-gone generations and departed families from a different era......

.... and new lake-side dream homes that baby-boom retirees are building in increasing numbers.

Gainesville, AL was a really cute town. It's outskirts were filled with wonderful, well-kept mansions. It's downtown was small -- you can see that City Hall is almost as big as the small grocery store there. But there were many people out on the streets, and the place seemed alive in its own way. Based on the recommendation of the town postmistress here, we tried some local "Hoop Cheese" from this grocery store.

Throughout most of Alabama, one of our biggest fears surrounded sharing the roads with the logging trucks. Logging is a huge industry there, and these trucks, filled with their massive loads, are known to barrel down the highways. We were able to capture a photo of one making its way at low speed through the streets of Aliceville, AL. And later (below), we found a parking lot with a loaded trailer that I posed in front of to convey the size of these things. But nothing can communicate the sensory experience of having one of these things rush by you at high speed while you are biking along the side of the road!

Being a fan of the Beatles, I thoroughly enjoyed this billboard in Aliceville, AL.

Aliceville was the site of a large Prisoner of War camp during World War II, and was "home" to thousands of German prisoners at that time. A fascinating museum chronicles this time period, and has a tremendous amount of memoriabilia, as well as videos of first-hand accounts by towns people and former prisoners. Ann Kirksey, director of the museum, was very nice and informative, and posed with Joan for this photo as we were preparing to leave.

A fascinating old historic cemetery in Aberdeen, Mississippi had grave stones from as early as the 1830s. One Revolutionary War veteran is buried here. This section held Confederate war dead from the Civil War.

Also at the historic cemetery in Aberdeen, this row of graves were all children of the same parents. They span a period of about 25 years, and each had died at an age that ranged from a few days to perhaps 3 years old. Those were hard days back then, but you wonder what the full story on this was.

Swinging bridge in Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi. Built in 1939. We had taken an off-day at this park, and canoed that day with our friends the Chamberlains on the small river that flowed beneath this bridge.

One of the many turtles we encountered in the middle of the road. We saw this one on May 24 on our departure from Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi.

The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. We paralleled, and crossed numerous times, the Tombigbee and the Tennessee Rivers throughout most of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. These rivers were seen as guiding highways for escaped slaves in the days of the Underground Railroad.

Shiloh Battlefield Park in Tennessee. I've never been one to be particularly interested in Civil War battle histories, but this was a very interesting and moving place.

This sign just struck us as funny. The road ends in a sloping public boat ramp on the Tennessee River.

In the Land Between the Lakes National Park, which straddles Tennessee and Kentucky, there are herds of buffalo in the fields along the road. The next day, in Grand Rivers, we feasted on buffalo steak, a common delicacy here.

North of Grand Rivers, KY, thistle provided bright purple coloration along the road.
Many times along the route, we would just be taken with the picturesque scenery on one side of the road or another. The green, undulating hills here grabbed my attention.

No, this is not a medieval tool of torture. This is a hay rake. We saw many being pulled behind tractors, raking cut hay into long rows so that it could then be gathered into the rolls you see in the fields.

The ferry that operates on the Ohio River between Kentucky and Cave-in-Rock, Illinois is the only means of travel and commerce between the two states at this point along the river. We are standing in Kentucky, looking across at the town of Cave-in-Rock. It was so named for a cave that served as the central point of operation for a band of river pirates here in the late 1700s.

They mean what they say out here!

Mike on the road, surrounded by farm land.

Mike negotiating a hill.....

Water lillies on a small lake, east of Owensboro, KY.

One of the beautiful things about traveling by bike is that you have time to stop and read the roadside historical markers. This was in Northwestern Kentucky, near where Abraham Lincoln lived as a child, before moving to Illinois. Some fascinating stories are captured this way.

Cloverport, KY, June 3. We were invited to camp by the town's mayor on property he owned, right on the banks of the Ohio River. Late afternoon sunlight lit up the surface of the river. It was a beautiful spot.

At the end of each day when we reached our destination, Mike captured the statistics from our bike computers into a log book. Here he is performing the task on June 3 in Cloverport, KY.

Joan on the road, in the rolling countryside near Wolf Creek, KY.

Joan, working her way up a hill. A bend in the road gave me the unusual opportunity to catch her photo from the side.

One of the cattle "stampedes" that the appearance of our bikes caused in the pastures alongside the road. A still photo does not do it justice, but these guys were running at full speed.

New Albany, Indiana, June 5. One of the few times we hit serious rain. We took refuge in this service station. Despite the sign, the manager and clerks here welcomed us to loiter there as long as we needed to so as to wait out the storm.

The bridge over the Ohio River, viewed from our hotel room in Madison, Indiana. A very narrow 2-lane bridge with lots of traffic and no shoulders. We took an off-day in Madison, and so for a day and a half we stared at this bridge in nervous anticipation of it. It had us intimidated right down to the moment we made our move to cross it.

The bathroom in our hotel room in Dry Ridge, KY. Because we only had 2 sets of biking clothes, most evenings we would hand wash our clothes from that day, and let them dry overnight in the bathroom, so they would be ready to wear again the day after next.

During the trip, there were times when allergies bothered Mike, causing some annoying sneezing. Even the road signs seemed to recognize the problem.

Kincaid State Park, preparing to set up camp on June 9. Did all that stuff really fit on those two bikes?

The Harriett Beecher Stowe Museum in Washington, KY. This is the house she visited in 1833 when she witnessed the slave auction of which she would later include a description in "Uncle Tom's Cabin".

Riding down our street toward our home, the end of the long first leg of this journey.

The Welcoming Committee when we arrive home. From right to left, Sue (our neighbor), Dave (our son), and Gary (the man spreading mulch that day at Sue's house!)

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