I woke up bright and early in Mobile, Alabama, then promptly rolled my ass over and went back to sleep. Luckily I had a backup alarm set for a half-hour later, and I was up this time. I took a look at my blog from the night before and realized that I was either 1) drunker than I thought I was or 2) extremely tired. I honestly think it was option 2 this time. I literally fell asleep on the keyboard. So I made a few edits, roughed out my thoughts for that day and packed up.
I was a bit sad to leave the Malaga Inn. Great location, nice room, amazing bed. Easily a place that I’d come back to in the future. But I was still racing Fred and he was set to land near Mobile later that day. So off I went at about 7AM. I cruised east and touched a toe down in Florida to check that particular box, then headed back into Alabama to head north east. I’d hit my southern terminus for the trip.
I enjoyed a good bit of the morning ride on the rural back roads before dumping onto an interstate headed up towards Montgomery and then over to Atlanta. I’m not a fan of the interstates, but this storm is just not giving me much leeway in terms of time. And the interstates give me a bunch more options if conditions just become undriveable.
So we passed into Georgia. I believe this is the second state that didn’t give me a good opportunity for a state signage photo (the first was Kansas, due to the darkness). The interstates don’t help with this task, due to speed and stopping on the shoulder.
Regardless, it was about this time that I got the call from the Malaga Inn to let me know that my Kindle had liked the place so much that it decided to stay behind. It wished me well, she said, but it just wanted another hurricane and a po-boy. I sympathized. So I called my secretary and set her the task of retrieving my wayward property, while I went to Best Buy in Auburn, Alabama to pick up a replacement. Hooray. Luckily the call came in just as I was stopping at a Waffle House for a late breakfast, just down the road from the Best Buy, which had exactly one kindle in stock. 30 minutes later I was full and Best Buy had exactly zero kindles in stock. Job done. Back on the road.
I got to Atlanta just in time for…insanely terrible traffic. I don’t know why. It was early afternoon on Monday, but it was jammed everywhere. After I eventually remembered that I can use the carpool lane things got a bit easier. Until the carpool lane became a toll road, that is, dumping me back into traffic. I tried to figure out if my FasTrack is compatible with their PeachToll (or whatever it is. It literally uses the “peach” emoji as part of it’s name, so I just called it AssTrack in my head every time I saw the sign). I couldn’t get an answer while I was riding, so I just stuck it out in traffic. I was surprised at how quickly I’d come to take rural light traffic for granted, and how disorienting it was to be back in an urban environment. I don’t understand why we seem to want to live like this. Shit was so much more pleasant rolling through Arkansas and Kansas, even in more populated areas. The whole megalopolis thing is really dumb.
Whatever. I was free of Atlanta pretty quickly, which is where I met Fred. This storm was apparently huge. Even though Mobile was fine when I was there and the center of Fred was hundreds of miles behind me, storm bands had already passed over Atlanta and (spoiler alert) up into the mountains of the western Carolinas. This started a long slog through sudden downpours, followed by extended periods of just enough drizzle or rain to keep my visor closed. All the way through South Carolina and up the hill to Asheville, NC.
The downpours were something else. It would be dry and fine, then you’d see a gray curtain across the road ahead. There would usually be a line demarcating the wet from the dry. Once you pass that line…BOOM motherfucker! I’m raining at you! It was like a fun game where your friends throw buckets of water at your head as you try to run an obstacle course and keep from getting hit from behind by other blinded contestants. I love that game! The first time I played it, I didn’t know exactly what was coming. So I hit that line with my visor up and my suit vents open. This was a mistake I didn’t make again. I didn’t get too wet, but my glasses got covered in rain, as did the inside of my visor. So when I buttoned up the helmet it was like looking through a foggy kaleidoscope. Not so much fun at 70mph. I got that sorted out by ultimately taking off my glasses and storing them, then peering through the cracked visor at a sliver of road until I could find a safe place to get things sorted out.
Once that was done, though, it was smooth sailing, if a bit damp. The suit held up to the deluge admirably well. My electronics seemed to have survived, too. I couldn’t use my phone at this point due to the rain, so I had Melissa book me a room in Asheville as I rode. I made it up a final push through the mountains from Greenville, SC, through a true deluge as Fred hit the Appalachians, and to a cozy hotel here in town. Uber eventually showed up to take me to a tasty dinner and a few beers, then back to the hotel for an early-ish night. It was 7pm to me 3 days ago. 9pm to me last night. But tonight I’m supposed to act like this same time is 10pm. And tomorrow morning, 6am will be…nope. I don’t want to even think about it.
And as for the drought, we’ve clearly just been missing the easy answer. All we need to do to solve all of California’s water woes is to just run a hose from Asheville, NC to California. The water that fell on me just today would keep us in pool and lawn water for a decade. Genius!
I’ll post some photos once they get uploaded from my phone. Not much to see from today, sadly.
Starting Mileage: 56915
Ending Mileage: 57480
Daily Mileage: 565