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!