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Day 39: Moulton, AL to Attalla, AL

81 Miles - Battle Mountain Climb; Cullman, AL; Ride Through Rain In North Central Alabama - March 30, 2011

Torrential Rain

Alabama Weather Forecast

Moulton, Alabama

With yesterday's disappointing mileage, all night I thought about having a better ride. In fact, while in bed, frequently I said this prayer, "God, let's go really far tomorrow. Come with me." :)

Torrential rainfall (left photo) pounding on the motel's roof woke me up at 6:15 a.m. The official forecast called for rain in the morning but for it to stop by the afternoon. By 8 a.m., it hadn't rained for 90 minutes, and so I gave it a go.

Now, if yesterday my negative attitude had me thinking the worst about the weather, today was the opposite. I was so driven and determined to ride far that it had me believing the best.

Highway 157 Alabama The sky was dark and gray ...
Alabama Scenery ... and about ten miles in, it began to rain. It was a light drizzle for 15 minutes, then it came down harder.

But I didn't care. I was mentally tougher and had more energy. Unlike yesterday, I didn't eat anything that would slow me down. The rain be damned!

Battle Mountain, Alabama
A blurry shot as I cycled up Battle Mountain in rain.

Waterfall
A beautiful waterfall beside the road.

And then there was a climb.

A local told me I'd go over a place called Battle Mountain, and I'm certain he spoke of this. For about 2-3 miles, I grunted up this massive hill like I was climbing a mountain pass in Colorado. The rain fell even harder as I suffered in "granny gear."

Soaking wet, I noticed drivers in the oncoming lane looking at me. No doubt, I was a spectacle.

Battleground, AL

Battleground, AL

Battleground, Alabama

At the summit was the town of Battleground, and I took cover at a convenience store on the right.

After 15 minutes, the rain's intensity dropped and I went on my way.

Trek 1.2 Bicycle
My bike against a window at Jack's with a bright yellow covering over the trunk box.

West Point, Alabama

Once I was back on the bike, the rain seemed to come down hard again, and my speedomoter and odometer stopped working - a common occurrence when it becomes wet.

Seven more miles brought me to West Point, AL. Again, I stopped to take cover, this time at a Jack's Restaurant.

Well, the rain continued to fall, and after about 30 minutes, I mustered the courage to go back outside and ride. The rain didn't matter anymore, as I was so wet as it was, and Cullman wasn't too far.

Cullman Liquidation Center - Cullman, Alabama

At the time, I didn't realize it, but somewhere on Highway 157 between West Point and Cullman, I passed Cullman Liquidation Center, a mobile home business. I am a big fan of YouTube sensations Rhett and Link and weeks after my trip, I discovered this hilarious and semi-serious commercial they did about Cullman Liquidation. If I had seen this video before, maybe I would have stopped by to say "hi," although I'm sure they get a lot of frivolous communication because of the popularity of this epic and honest ad! :)

If you live in north Alabama and you're looking to buy an affordable home, you might want to check them out: www.cullmanliquidation.com.

Interstate 65 Alabama
My bike on the bridge over Interstate 65.

Cullman, Alabama

The rain stopped for good when I reached Cullman.

Now today's date was March 30, 2011. This was only weeks before a tornado hit downtown Cullman on April 27 as part of the April 25-28 tornado outbreak that hit the southern states, the worst damage happening in Tuscaloosa. Then, in the next month, Joplin, Missouri was hit hard by a massive EF5 tornado on May 22.

Piggly Wiggly Supermarket

Green Powerade

I rested, ate lunch and used the restroom at the Piggly Wiggly on the north side of Cullman, at 35 miles. The skies were dreary, the air damp and cold. I'm certain the average cyclist would not have been riding today, but I wasn't in an average mood. I was determined to make this a longer riding day. Gadsden was the next town with lodging at 45 miles ahead, and I went for it.

By the way, do you know what you get when you mix orange and light blue Powerade? You guessed it. Forest green Powerade! :)

Alabama Scenery
Looking back at a sharp "up and down" I biked through.
Onward I went, traveling east on Highway 278. The road's shoulder was narrow on this two-lane road all the way to Gadsden. Plenty of tractor-trailer traffic whizzed passed me, including a few smelly chicken trucks.
Socks Although the rain stopped in Cullman, road puddles and droplets coming off the front wheel sprayed my shoes. My feet and socks were very wet, and I made a critical mistake: Over my cycling socks were my other pair, my thicker black socks, meaning both socks had become soaking wet.

Thus, I bought a 2-pack of thick black construction socks at a Dollar General in Holly Pond. The dry socks helped, but only for awhile. Near the end, the humidity made my toes feel just as cold as before.

All in all, this was a long, cold and miserable ride.

4999 Miles Somewhere on Highway 278, my odometer started to work again. At one point, I noticed the grand total at 4,999 miles, the total since buying the bike in 2008, but I didn't bother to stop at 5,000. I was too focused on ending this ride and another stop would only prolong it. That was the kind of mood I was in.

Near Walnut Grove, I remembered my overnight prayers about asking God to come with me today. I chuckled and gave a follow-up prayer, "Nooooo. Stay inside, God. There's no point in both of us being wet and cold." :)

Attalla, Alabama
My camera took a beating from the rain and dampness. The lens had fogged up, making a number of shots fuzzy like this one.

Attalla, Alabama

When I reached Attalla, a town adjacent to Gadsden, I knew I had arrived. Relief!

Chinese Food
A plate of food at a Chinese buffet near the motel.

When I saw a cluster of motels and restaurants at the intersection with Interstate 59 in Attalla, I was done.

81 miles. 25 miles of it in rain. This may have been the craziest ride of my life.

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