TALLADEGA SCENIC HIGHWAY ON MT. CHEAHA ~ ALABAMA ~ photo taken by Dianna Stover
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Sunday, February 8, 2009

BACK IN THE OLD "HOOD"

We've been finding ourselves riding up to Sylacauga a lot lately to visit and check on Harley's recovering Momma. She's doing really well and we were planning to take her out for lunch Saturday and give her a chance to get out of her apartment. The temperature was going to be in the mid 60's, so of course, we rode up on the Glides. No, we didn't take her out on the motorcycle, but, she does like to tease her neighbors that we've come to take her for a ride.

When we arrived in town earlier than we expected, I figured we'd go hang out at her place while she got ready. Harley had something else in mind. As we passed the street we normally turn on, to get to her Apartment complex, I wondered where we were going. My answer came about a mile or so up the road when he turned his left blinker on. I knew right then what we were going to do. He wanted to ride down memory lane! Back in our dating days and right after we were married, we were stationed in Meridian, MS for awhile, which allowed us the luxury of being able to visit Harley's family pretty often. But, we would always hook up with his best friends, who were married then too, and ride all over these old roads "hang'in out" and drinking beer and listening to loud rock music. In a small town like Sylacauga, this is how young folks entertained themselves. (I'm so glad we survived our youth!)
We rode all around Harley's old "hood" while observing all the changes and growth that has progressed throughout the last 28 years. He was fortunate enough to have motorcycles when he was younger, and it was kind of neat to be riding with him now, while he reminisced and enjoyed his old stomping grounds. I kept my eyes peeled for flying debris, on a count of a story he once told me. Back in that day in time, and being in the south, there were still some prejudicial divisions between blacks and whites, but for the most part, it was pretty isolated. When he was 14, he had a 1974 Yamaha RD 350 at the time, and would love to fly up and down these roads like there's no tomorrow (you could have a motorcycle license at 14 years old then). One day he was flying down this one particular road that was mostly populated with black families. A little black kid who lived on that road saw him coming, took aim, and threw tennis shoe at him. Harley said it hit him square in the chest and it hurt like a M#ther F*%ker! I asked him if he went back and beat that kids ass, and he said it was all he could do, to try to breath again! Besides, he said, that little boy is probably still laughing at the fact that he knocked the shit out of some dumb ass white boy flying down his road! LOL!
We were taking a little stretch break, but after we stopped, I realized that this spot triggered more memories of another story from the "Hell On Wheels" archives. Again, back in the day, Harley and his best friend, who had a souped up Trans AM, came flying around this curve one night and damn near killed themselves on this bridge (it's hard to see, but there really is small bridge here). You can't tell by the way it looks now, but back then, the concrete bridge walls were no wider than the pavement of the road. Today, only one side of the bridge wall is there and it seems much wider. I figured, the way Harley is looking over the bridge at the small stream below, he is counting his blessings that he is still here today. And considering he is the love of my life, me too!

A great spot to ride to if your in the area, is the Kymulga Grist Mill and Park. It's located about 4 miles northeast of Childersburg and being 140 years old, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It's pretty awesome to imagine this old mill when it was still in full operation, filling up rail cars with grain after bushels and bushels of corn went "through the mill".
About 5 or so miles from the mill, you can find a nice place to cool off during the summer at DeSoto Caverns. We were riding in this area last summer when the heat was cooking us at about 98 degrees. We stopped here so we could go into the caverns for a little while and get cooled off. It's a nice place to bring families for reunions and picnics. There is a ton of fun stuff for the kids and of course you have the caverns that provide hours of exploring.

After a bit, we managed to steer back toward Momma's so we could go on an enjoy our lunch date with her. In summary, we had a nice visit and a nice ride. Riding around Harley's old stomping grounds gave him the chance to reminisce over days gone by. I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday than riding around the old hood!

Lady R

13 comments:

Ann said...

That's really cool. Whenever I go back home, the first thing I do is take a ride around my old stomping grounds and reminisce a bit. I think it's good for the soul.

Allen Madding said...

Dang, Harley and I sound like our developmental years are a lot alike. I have several roads down home that have some of those same kind of memories. We are blessed to have lived past 18 years old.

-Peace

Baron's Life said...

Similar memories in my old home town as well. A beautiful Read

Arizona Harley Dude said...

18 year old boys must all similiar memories. I have been lucky on more than 1 occassion to have survived. But, here I am still kicking and looking for that next great adventure. Oh, and hoping to survive that one also.

Great post!!!

Mastercheif said...

Very nice! Those are some awesome pics of the rail house and tracks!. I'd go hunt for that little a-hole who tossed the shoe and get some payback!

"Joker" said...

Awesome. I love the pic with "boot hill" in the background. Not to sound morbid or anything, but I've always thought old cem's were really cool. They remind me that for everything you see in this country, most of the people who had a hand in putting it there are long gone, remembered only by a slab of crooked granite. The old mill looks like it could be right here in Mass. I forget sometimes that there are plenty of "historic" sights in other parts of the country. Great post.

Word ver: "outiesef" LOL - I don't have an outie thank the Lord. I'm not in the closet either!

Willy D said...

How’s that go? “The more things change, the more they remain the same”.
I’ve tried several times to get my Mother-In-Law on the back of my bike. She’ll have nothing to do with it. But I think she secretly envies her daughter. I can see it in her eyes.

fasthair said...

Ms. Lady R: Love the last photo the most. That smile on your face is just priceless. If that doesn't say I'm having fun I don't know what does. It would be fun to see a photo of the MIL on the back of Harley's bike. I took my Aunt Alberta who was in her early sixties at the time for a short ride once. When I got to the end of her road and I turned left she said "I thought we were just going to go to the end of the road." To which I told her "you said you wanted to go for a ride. To the end of the short street doesn't make for much of a ride to me." Needless to say she loved it. When she passes away her sons asked if I would escort the Hurst on my bike to the gravesite since she had so much fun that day. So I think you need to work on momma H a bit more and get her to go for a ride.

Did you go inside the old mill? I ask because I see the front door is missing. I would have had to go in and snoop.

Guess we are all in a nostalgic kind of mood around here. Great post, thanks for taking us along back in time with you!

fasthair

Lady Ridesalot said...

Ann... Your right. But as much as we like to go back to reminisce, we are glad we've moved on. Kind of bittersweet.

Allen... We think we're indestructible when we're still young. I'm just glad our Guardian Angels worked over time for us then!

Baron... Thank you! :)

AZD... Maybe this is why we get smarter as we get older. Because luck runs out eventually, hopefully we learned something!

Masterchief... He said he was really lucky that kid didn't have anything heavier than a shoe! And if he had gone back, he would have been seriously outnumbered in any altercation. He just never went down that particular road on his motorcycle again!

Joker... It's funny you mentioned the cemetery. After Harley told me the story of him and his friend coming around that corner, doing who knows how fast and almost hitting the bridge, I said, "Well, at least if you missed the curve coming from THIS direction, you can go right on in!" We both laughed and thought how ironic it was, that you see this cemetery as you approach a pretty serious blind curve in the road. Kind of sends a message, don't ya think? I agree with you, and I think old cemeteries are cool too.

Willy D... If it weren't for her hip causing her so much trouble, I can GUARANTEE you that woman would ride on that motorcycle! She's a little spitfire living way beyond her abilities.

Fasthair... see note to Willy D. She would love to ride, but it would hurt too much! She's not able to do much of anything anymore without a lot of pain. She still smiles and laughs at our stories though.

Unfortunately, we did not take the time to go in the mill and look around. Maybe I can do that for another post another day. He's been there many times while growing up, and our task at hand on this day was just riding and reminiscing!

Dean "D-Day" said...

I love old backroad buildings like that.

And yes, when I visit my old stomping grounds, I always feel the need to tool around a bit myself.

Lady Ridesalot said...

Dean... I think it funny how, some places stay exactly the same, while others, you may not even recognize.

irondad said...

I think that little boy grew up to get on the news. Throwing shoes at George Bush, wasn't he?

Lady Ridesalot said...

Irondad... LOL! Harley laughed when I told him about your comment. The little turd hasn't lost his aim!