Guy in Bayou La Batre Waffle House this morning: You ever seen the movie Forrest Gump? That’s this area right here.
As we were struggling to get our bikes and trailers on a hotel elevator in Orange Beach today, a couple of 8-year-olds waiting for the elevator eyeballed our stuff for a good minute or so before one of them asked, “You guys traveling or something?”
I said Oh yeah, biking from California to Florida, and they let me get on the elevator first, bicycle in each hand. While I was steering the bikes down the hallway on the second floor, they interrogated Tony about our trip, then helped him get the trailers on the elevator. One of them said to the other one, “We’re doing that someday! I don’t care what you say, we’re doing it!”
That’ll make you smile. And wish you could follow up with him in a few years to see if he was still thinking about it, or any of the dreams he had as an 8-year-old. And if he was, I’d have a chat with him about chamois butter and Snickers bars.
Just after noon today we rolled into Gulf Shores, where college kids were on Spring Break and recovering from their hangovers at the Subway next to the pizza buffet we hit. Tony and I got to talking about spring break, and college, and he said if he could do college over again, he’d do more stuff like this, the bike trip we’re on. Huh. It’s funny, if you took my career bar tab at the OP in Cedar Falls, I probably could have biked across America and back on that money.
And then I almost ran into my college self in the bike lane on Highway 182: A group of six college guys were carting a cooler and a couple beer bongs across the street, and they let us pass and smiled and nodded, and I laughed. Ah, to be young and dumb … wait, we still are, right?
We had hurried into Orange Beach today to head to Infinity Bicycles to get Tony fixed up with a new rear wheel, since he’s now put about 100 miles on the wheel with a broken spoke. Somehow, the guy Tony talked to on the phone yesterday, who said he could fix us up with a wheel that would work with Tony’s Campagnolo cassette, had no wheels for sale at the shop today. Not sure what happened there. Our next hope is to make it 53 miles tomorrow to a bike shop in Milton, Florida, where spokes and a new wheel await.
We had wide shoulders and flat roads almost the entire day today, aside from the 100-foot climb up the Dauphin Island Bridge over the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Then we sagged four miles of the ride on the Mobile Bay Ferry. We rode a mile with a student from Mississippi State University, who said he was here on Spring Break. He was doing laps of our route today on his road bike, and I felt a little jealous of somebody just trying to get in a workout, as I just try to keep my legs from quitting for another 550 miles.