TALLADEGA SCENIC HIGHWAY ON MT. CHEAHA ~ ALABAMA ~ photo taken by Dianna Stover
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

MILLERS FERRY AND SOGGY TOES

Well, now that you've all had a nice little peek into my head... let's get on with what this blog is all about. Riding motorcycles!

Harley and I took off for a little "road therapy" a few weeks ago, on the Saturday right after New Years. We anticipated a nice leisurely ride to Camden, down in Wilcox County, and then over to Miller's Ferry on the Alabama River. We figured we'd put about 250 miles on the Glides and just spend the day taking in the scenery and enjoying the warm temperature. Our weather forecast called for low 70's and mostly cloudy all day.

There was a small percent of scattered rain possible, but not until that evening. I was pretty smug about getting in some road time. I've been dealing with holiday "stuff" for the past several weeks, and our New Year's Day ride was just a tease. I couldn't wait to spend the whole day doing nothing but riding my motorcycle with Harley.

We scoped out a nice route and got off to a pretty early start that Saturday morning. We left the house about 9:30 and proceeded Southwest toward Camden. We took a short little sprint down I-65 so we could go west on Hwy. 26 over to Hayneville, and then get on Hwy. 21 and ride south to Camden. The roads that lead you to Camden remind me a little of Louisiana with it's swampy terrain and small palms growing everywhere at the base of dormant winterized trees.
Unlike the roads we ride in the northern part of Alabama near the Talladega National Forest, our path today was less curvy and more open to the scenery around you.

Camden is an old southern town in Wilcox County with beautiful plantation style homes, set high on lush green pastures dappled with bearded trees and swampy creek beds.

This land is rich with history and scenery so beautiful, it feels like I've transcended to an era long forgotten. This part of Alabama reminds me of how I imagined the South to be like when I was a child growing up in Iowa. As I ride through here, I think that at any moment Scarlet will come running across the grounds with her antebellum skirts flowing around her as she calls out for her beloved Rhett.

We continued west, on Hwy. 10 through Camden and turned north on Hwy. 5 toward Miller's Ferry Lock and Dam. Along our way, we found a nice little restaurant in Pine Hill called Carolyn's, and decided to stop here for a quick lunch. This was the kind of place that serves hamburgers that taste like you made them at home. The sweet tea was good and the food was even better. As Harley and I sat and ate our lunch, we noticed how the conversations flowed easily among the other patrons, as if we had plopped right down in the middle of a nice family gathering. The numbers of folks coming and going with take out orders reestablished the fact, that this was a very popular little eatery.

With our bellies full and more road to cover, we rode north Hwy. 5 and turned east on Hwy. 28 to get over to Millers Ferry Lock and Dam on the Alabama River. We tried to get closer to the Dam so we could get better pics, but there wasn't an easy way to get there on the bikes. Luckily, our camera has zoom x10, so we can get pretty good shots from far away.
Millers Ferry is a 17,200-acre reservoir on the Alabama River impounded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1969. It has a nice little park area and boat ramp, so we stopped for a few minutes to stretch and take in the river view. There's good fishing for large mouth bass and spotted bass in this area. When we left there, we stayed on Hwy. 28, which took us through Camden again to Hwy. 21 East. Our plan was to head home, back through Hayneville, the same way we came, but as plans go... they change.

Remember when I mentioned that we weren't supposed to get rain until later that evening? Well, as you know, plans change and so does the weather. I started feeling sprinkles that were nothing more than a teasing spit from Mother Nature. I had on my chaps and leather jacket, so this was no big deal. This went on for a few miles when all of a sudden it came into view. About two miles up the road, a huge wall of rain, reminiscent of a big dark curtain draping across the landscape assuring us that getting wet was inevitable. I saw Harley's blinker come on as a signal to me we would be pulling over. We were only about 25 miles away from home at this point, but we felt like gambling. We discussed which direction to take and agreed that the rains were supposed to be scattered and moving north. So, with the Topo map as our reference, we decided we could skirt around the storm if we go back toward Camden, and turn south on CR 59 to Pine Apple. Then we could take Hwy. 10 east to Greenville where we'll pick up I-65 north and probably follow the storm home into Montgomery. Great plan. Oops! Did I say plan?

As soon as we get back on our Glides and put our "plan" into action, I noticed the playful spitting we were getting, had turned into a slow drizzle. Harley was pretty good at reading the sky and has kept us dry and out of storms many times before. I figured this was just another opportunity to outsmart Mother Nature and play a little game of Rain Roulette. Ha! By the time we got to Pine Apple, about 15 miles later, we were getting rained on pretty hard. We pulled into a church parking lot that had a pavilion like carport over on the church's side entrance to take shelter from the rain. We stood there a minute chuckling and chastising ourselves for trying to fool with Mother Nature. We were pretty wet by this time, but I chose to put on my rain gear anyway. I figured if nothing else, it'll keep be warmer while I'm riding wet in the rain. Harley, on the other hand, decided WTF? He was already wet, so he did not. That's my hard core biker. Yeah!

We left the church and rode slow and cautious for another 15 miles or so, until we got to Greenville. We picked up I-65 and headed north toward Montgomery. Up ahead I saw a sign. Ugh! "Montgomery 42 mi." (Do I need to remind you that we were only 25 miles from home when we decided to turn around and "miss" the rain?) By this time, our hard rain turned into thunder and lightning. Yikes! I saw lightning streak across the sky above us a few times. The next thing I know, Harley's blinker is on again. We had to pull off the road twice and park under an overpass to take cover. We also kept getting foggy glasses and foggy face shield, making it even harder to see.

During one of these stops, I noticed the grimace on Harley's face. I asked him what was wrong. He explained that the long johns he had on under his jeans, have gotten so wet, they were dripping like a river down into his boots. He said it feels like his feet are sloshing. I started laughing about his soggy toes when I reminded him how comfy my rain suit was keeping me. He carries one with him all the time (with booties!) but sometimes, he'd rather put up with the rain than bother with the rain suit. Hmmm. Must be a guy thing. :)

The weather hounded us the rest of the way home and this reminded of Dave's post over at Road Grits Cafe, last Spring called "Ride The Lightning". I was hoping I wasn't going to test the theory of whether a motorcycle rider is grounded or not during a storm. Oh well, so much for scattered anything. We played Rain Roulette and lost. The best consolation prize I could claim was Harley's soggy toes. We still had a nice ride to Camden and Millers Ferry, and ate a good hamburger at "Carolyn's". Albeit, a little more wet than I care to get, I'll chalk it up to just another good day of riding.

Lady R

10 comments:

Allen Madding said...

I remember a trip back from Vidalia where I put on my rain gear and the rain quit, got hot, stopped and took it off, rode back into rain, so had to stop under an overpass and put it back on...can be frustrating at times :)

-Peace

"Joker" said...

I remember coming back from the Metro-West Poker run last summer and the skies just opened up with one of those summer thunderstorm downpours. Wingman was leading and wouldn't pull over. I found out later the reason he didn't is because he had no raingear. I did though, so I wasn't a real happy camper when we finally got to the Boneyard and I had to pull my boots off to dump the water out of them and wring-out my socks.

Yep, I know all about soggy toes! Since then I bought the booties too. If I was by myself or just with another bike or two, there's no way I wouldn't stop to put my rain gear on. I can stand misery if I have no other choice, but I see no reason to when I have some control over it. Of course, I know they'll probably come another day when I'm at the mercy of the leader of the pack when it starts raining. Ya can't be a biker if you can't accept getting "soggy toes" once in a while!

Willy D said...

So, to avoid 25 miles of rain, you settled for about 70 miles of rain. Is that a “redneck” thing?

Rain suit? Have never had one. A guy thing? Maybe. A die-hard thing? Could be. A nuts in the head thing? Probably.

Mastercheif said...

You should put together a book with your pics and stories. Seriously, they are amazing!

Baron's Life said...

Didn't realize how elaborate and enjoyable your blog is. I learned a thing or two over here today and will be stopping by tomorrow to gobble up some more....
BTW..The wife and I have 3 dogs and 2 cats....

Lady Ridesalot said...

Allen... I think that is what Harley's problem is. Sometimes, it's just to darn much trouble, especially if the next stop is home!

Joker... I'm the same way. I want to be comfy. If we're on a trip and plan to continue our riding, that's different. But, a day ride around here, many times we just brave the elements and come on home. Really depends on the situation.

BTW... It took Harley's boots a week to dry out. He burned up our H-D air blower trying to dry the insides. LOL!

Willy... LOL! I almost titled the post, "You might be a redneck...!" But the truth is, it IS all about the ride and the decisions we make while we're out there riding. By choosing option #2, to play Rain Roulette, I had a much more interesting tale to tell. And yes,I think guys in general have more bravado, where good sense should be. LOL!

Masterchief... Papa J keeps telling me the same thing. Who would buy the book, when they can just get on my blog and read. HA! Thanks!

Baron's Life... Welcome! And thank you. I enjoy sharing my riding experiences with others, and I like to keep life's humor at the forefront. December 28th I posted an anniversary blog (1 year, Woo Hoo!) that highlights my favorites rides and trips, if you want to take a gander. See you round the blogosphere.

Dean "D-Day" said...

Yep, must be a guy thing. I always carry my rainsuit but have only worn it once. Most of the time I figure, "WTF?! I'm already wet. No sense in putting it on now!"
Great pictures.

Word Ver: rabbl
Would that be like Southern rabbl?

Lady Ridesalot said...

dean... It must be nice to be a guy. For some reason, guys can break all the rules of common sense and get away with it. Go figure!

Mr. Motorcycle said...

You can't win em all, and you can't fool Mother Nature!
I own no rain suit. I always think about getting one but never do. Then I'd have to carry it in the saddle bags that I don't have either. Hmmmm that's a problem.

Carol's restaurant is what we have by my house. It's a local eatery that sounds just like your Carolyn's. Every town should have one of these!

P.S. The only good rainstorm is the one you see in your rear view mirror.

Lady Ridesalot said...

Hmmmm. I can see your dilemma. Look at the bright side. When your done washing your bike, we're still washing... saddlebags. LOL!

Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with (and not easily fooled!).

I love finding these great little places. The food is usually better and they really appreciate your business.

Ditto on the mirror view!