After we left Howard and Ellen’s, we headed west toward Cullman, Alabama. We rode out a storm and hail in a well-positioned primo Walmart parking spot and settled in to be happy we had half inch hail instead of the golf ball size and lightening that disabled areas right near us. Plus I made a delicious rotisserie chicken/avocado salad. Yum! Thank you, Internets, for the recipe. We will be making that again.
Our next few days were planned for Pontotoc, Mississippi, riding the Tanglefoot Trail. No wonder they call it that, the kudzu is unbelievable in places. I have seen lots of kudzu along the bike trails in Missouri and Virginia, but in Mississippi and Alabama, it is epic. Like if you stand on the trail for too long, it might ensnare you.
Jim didn’t have any luck finding a spot mid distance to park, but we found a Walmart that was perfectly positioned on the trail. We tucked ourselves into the back corner of the parking lot and managed to stay there three nights, hidden by trucks most of the time. The Walmart parking lots are always entertaining with police action, people meeting up and folks coming and going. There was another RV that was there most of the time too. He sort of came and went and we figured he might work there. Of course we bought some stuff too.
The first day, we rode to New Albany, the end of the trail and back, 40 miles. This part of Mississippi has landscape similar to western Georgia, with open meadows and very large trees and sprawling bean fields just beginning to turn colorful for fall. And kudzu, of course. Everything was so quiet. That is one of the nicest things about the trails; when you are away from the towns and the roads, the silence resonates. It’s nice. Some of the trees were monsters!
We ate our sandwiches and some iced tea in New Albany before heading back. Rain was predicted for later in the afternoon and we rode through a brief and refreshing shower but didn’t get dumped on. There was a very nice grocery store in Ecru, McCoys,The Real Meat Market. They took our picture for their Facebook.
When we did get back to the bus, it was super hot and muggy, but the forecasted rain blew in some cool air and came at just the right time.
The next day we headed in the other direction where we were amazed to see even more kudzu coverage. I read up on it a bit and of course it is an introduced plant. The government actually paid farmers to plant it because it was supposed to hold the topsoil down. Now it is holding all the trees down too. It is also edible and good for livestock which probably explains these goats we encountered.
Pontotoc itself is yet another small southern town with a square, a statue and many boarded up storefronts. It is sad to see this all across America.
Some sights along the trail.
Algoma, MS. The little building is the Police Department.
Looks like this RV has seen better days. I always wonder what the inside looks like when I see one like this.
After a solid 70 miles on the Tanglefoot, we are moving on to Memphis where we need to get our refrigerator looked at. It just isn’t keeping the beer cold enough!
More photos on Flickr.