535 miles and 4 states in one day from Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochee to Callin’ Baton Rouge. All to the soundtrack of country music, classic rock, and Eco’s The Prague Cemetery. The scenery didn’t have a lot of variation.
First of all, the nickname “Hotlanta” is a LIE. It was anything but hot. I left that city with heater ON.
So, my mother’s always had a fear of driving over bridges. She doesn’t mind so much if she’s just in the car, but she does not like being behind the wheel. This morning, as I left Marietta and drove on the 285-S around Atlanta and then on the 85-S… I drove over the Chattahoochee River. I didn’t even have time to really notice whether or not it bothered me being on that bridge because I was too distracted by my own voice belting out a tribute to Alan Jackson.
ALABAMA (also the name of one of the best country band’s EVER ever)
Then I merged onto 85-S and lo and behold I was definitely in the South. Heater off. As I cruised along the highway the there loomed the shadow of a very large Colonial flag and very religious billboards… and more mega-churches (I passed at least 3 leaving Georgia). The rest of the road was pretty standard highway, I must say.
Then I merged onto 65-S and somewhere between Montgomery and Mobile I stopped for a gas, bathroom, and coffee break. Easiest coffee to grab was at the mom and shop gas station, and it was a whopping $0.76. Buttttt then again you get what you pay for. Also this was the perfect time to rid myself of a very much not-needed (any more) jacket.
Then I went over a couple rivers [Tensaw and Mobile] and that long stretch of bridge (one long bridge for the both) let me sympathize with my mother. For some reason it was just… uncomfortable. I didn’t freak out or anything, but knowing that only cement — and a long stretch of it at that — is what’s holding you and other cars and trucks above a long stretch of water is a tad unnerving.
MISSISIPPI (em-ay ess-ess ay-ess-ess ay-pee-pee ay)
And here we are at the first highway I ever knew: I-10.
Mighty Mississippi? More like marshy Mississippi!!! Actually I won’t traverse that giant river until tomorrow. But Hellooooo A/C!!!
As you drive from Mississippi into Louisiana via I-10W the first thing you hit is a giant bridge that goes over the Pearl River and surrounding State Wildlife Preservation Area. One very, very, very long bridge that takes you over what is basically like one giant marshland with pockets of shimmering blue water.
My first and only visit to this state (before today) was over 15 years ago when I visited family up in Shreveport. Coming from Tucson, I remember my initial reaction was “it’s… sooo… GREEN! Just so GREEN!.” Well, guess what? Not much has changed. It’s still soooooo greeeeeeen!
.And the guy at the Shell gas station was kind enough to remind me of just how gullible I am. I had to go inside to get my gas receipt, and he immediately said “that’ll be $1 extra.” “ummm okay sure” says I. He couldn’t believe I actually believed him. Luckily he didn’t go through with it. He did try to get me again by claiming the restroom would also cost $1. (I managed to leave without spending any more than I had just spent on gas.)
My night in Baton Rouge looked a little like this:
1. check into hotel and look with longing on ridiculously large King-size bed
2. Find “Geaux CrossFit” and join them for their last class of the day: find 5-rep max deadlift.. with good form (new PR at 235#), and then a 12 minute AMRAP of 20 double-unders and 10 chest-to-bar pull-ups (on the thickest pull-up bars I ever did see, got 7 rounds plus 7 pull-ups with just chin-over-bar pull-ups because those thick bars really were a game-changer!). Then… SWEAT. Wow, sweat. And now I remember what “humid” smells (and feels) like. Wow.
3. Shower. Blog. Sleep. Get ready for another long day in the saddle tomorrow. (Good thing I got my boots!)
Getting tan on only my left side!!!
Now it’s time to begin the trek across the desert known as: TEXAS.