After a rest day in Mobile, I was ready to go again. I hadn’t done much exploring, but was successful at knocking a few things off my to-do list which is always good. Crossing Mobile Bay is done either by going under a tunnel or taking a decent diversion north to cross a bridge and then back south again. Neither Dustin nor I felt confident in me going under the tunnel and so he offered to give me a ride over. With my non-purist stance on touring I accepted and so we packed his truck up and he took me through the I-10 tunnel and dropped me off at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. We said our goodbyes and I went off to explore. Cars have to pay $2 to enter, but cyclists can get in for free although going onto the USS Alabama itself would have been $12, more than I was willing to pay.
After leaving the memorial park, I took US-90 over the rest of Mobile Bay and found myself in the town of Spanish Fort. I saw a bike shop by the side of the road and so popped in to pump my tyres up, well at least my rear one. I had noticed a gash on my front tyre and while I have a spare tyre with me, my goal is to at least get back to Orlando on this one. If I can do that, I can have done my loop around the country on one front tyre which I’m quite impressed by!
The bike shop was having a sale on Cateye products and as my rear light had been non-functional since getting bashed up by my helmet for about 5 months it seemed as good a time as any to replace it. I also spoke to the guy in the shop about Topeak pumps as Walt in Austin had mentioned being able to get his replaced by his local bike shop even without a receipt. The manager of the shop mentioned that he was too small a shop to do it, but seemed hopeful that I might be able to find someone to help me out when I get to Orlando.
The rest of the ride through Alabama saw me on roads with minimal shoulders that I’d not really recommend to ride along. The way I went was a bit shorter than the ACA route and it probably finds roads that which still don’t have a shoulder, but make up for it with fewer trucks. Having said that, as has been my experience for the previous almost 8 months, most of the drivers gave me plenty of space.
Just before I got to my destination for the day, I crossed the bridge over Perdido Bay and left Alabama to re-enter the state where everything began, Florida. The shoulder immediately re-appeared and while I’ve heard criticism of Floridian drivers in most states that I’ve been to I was glad to be back. I headed down nearly to the Gulf and arrived at Susann’s place, my Warmshowers host for the night. After introducing myself and getting cleaned up, I was whisked out to a New Years Eve Eve party down near her sister’s place where I met lots of lovely people and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Bridge to Florida