Chasing Alabama


Bike Trip Memphis 068
I was born in South Dakota, lucky me. And as a young girl I traveled to most of the Midwestern states – Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. While still in school I added Wyoming and Montana to the list. Then in college ventured out to Minnesota and my aunt and uncle flew me to Washington, D.C. and I visited Virginia and Maryland then too. Eventually between traveling for work and for vacations I made my way through most of the states.

About 4 years ago I sat down and made a list of the states I hadn’t visited yet, and came up with 5: Oregon, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Alabama. My plan was to start using my vacations to visit those states so I could eventually get to all 50 of them.

The summer of 2011 I flew to Oregon to see Portland and some of the coast. And then there were four…

In late summer 2012 Brian and I rode through Wisconsin on our way to (and our way back from) the Horizons Unlimited meet near Barre, Ontario. We rode through the northern part of Pennsylvania too. And then there were two…

So this year I had a long wish list of things to see as I started out on my trip-of-a-lifetime road trip, and West Virginia and Alabama were among them. In late October my Aunt and Uncle and Brian and I went to visit Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. It’s such a historic and interesting place, a crossroads of past and present where the AT reaches its halfway point and rivers converge. And then there was one…

As I ride across the last few miles of Georgia and across the river into Florida, I’m starting to get excited and a little anxious. I know I’m not riding through much of Florida and Alabama is just a few miles up ahead. A three-legged dog runs out from a driveway on the right and starts to chase Brian but is just a bit too late. He turns to go back down into the ditch and toward home but then hears me approaching and takes his second run at a bike that morning. I’m guessing that may be how he lost his back left leg in the first place, to a car chase. We ride up behind an open horse trailer with two horses on board. They are all decked out to haul a wagon today for a small parade in a nearby town, wearing collars and harnesses to pull the small wagon that is being carried on a flatbed by the truck ahead of them. The sorrel horse nearest the back of the trailer turns to watch our bikes, obviously spooked by the noise and alien creature in full black gear and helmet chasing them up the road. The horse looks on high alert and I’m sure he will hurt himself if we pass alongside them, so am grateful when instead we slow down at Malone, Florida and then turn to the north and toward Alabama.

We pass a few houses along the way, rickety and unkempt. There are tall trees and fields of cotton. I can see just up ahead that there is a color change in the asphalt on the road, a telltale sign that we are at the border of either a county or a state, and I know I am here. After 43 years of living and thousands of miles travelling, by car, by bike, by plane…I have arrived at Alabama.

Categories: TravelTags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 comments

  1. Congratulations on all 50 states! I wish you guys had better weather. Stay warm out there.

  2. Michelle, I’m the BMW rider who found you and Brian on LA 22 looking for LA 1. I know y’all weren’t “lost”, just a little “confused”. I was glad to lead y’all in the right direction. I’ll be reading up on your travels. I hope you continue to have a safe and great trip.

    Tommy Z

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