The schedule looked brutal, and in fact, really was. Long mileage days and extremely hot weather. Towns with services in this part of Alabama, were few and far between, and when we did have lodging, the amenities were lacking. From Daphne, to Grove Hill was 93 miles. Mary Jane and Ramona got in the car after 70 plus miles, gasping from the heat and high humidity. Jane, the EFMer, continued to peddle after we high-tailed it to our motel. We went back for her before it got too dark, but she still managed to clock 90 plus miles that day. We passed by Blakely State Park, where the last battle of the Civil War saw nine black regiments of United States Colored Troops fight on the Blakely Battlefield. We also saw Montgomery Hill Baptist Church that contains a slave gallery which gives a historical statement of the social arrangements of a slave-owning society.
Friday we left Grove Hill for Linden, Alabama (a 72 mile journey) The challenge for the support person is to keep the riders in food, water and ice. We have been meeting up every ten miles, but it was so hot that day they were drying up sooner. Additionally, there were simply no restaurants, stores, or facilities of any kind on that road. (And by this point the riders’ “behinds” were complaining that the bike seats were feeling terribly hard . . . in fact, that they were painful!) Lunchtime had us eating PB&J sands made on the back seat of the car, with fruit and homemade caramels for dessert. We were really excited to get to our motel that night. but I think we all agreed, it was pretty disappointing…(stale, musty odors in the room, the toilet wouldn’t flush, no internet, etc.) As we say, “Some of these small town have motels with the bare necessities, minus the necessities!”
After two days of blistering heat, Saturday we awoke to a steady warm rain. The 81 mile route to Aliceville looked much like the previous 150 miles. Remembering the lame lunch we had on Friday we bought footlongs at a Subway shop before we left town and put them in our cooler, which turned out to be a brilliant and tasty plan. Off we went in the rain, and in less than an hour, it was coming down so hard, the wipers on the car were at full tilt. On a scale of one to ten, the downpour was a 9 1/2. Eventually the rain stopped, some of the clothes dried, but parts of their apparel remained sopping wet for the duration.