Charley ride across America 9. Bye Alabama, Birthday and lesson learned


Day 15 feb 11. 60 miles 6:40. First 4 hours hard cold rain, then strong wind and ice crystals blowing. 

Running total 673

Dear family and friends,

Yesterday there was too much rain to get the phone out for a picture of the Welcome to Mississippi sign, so either I get it from the western border or not at all.

Another state down, and what I noticed:

The roadkill changed to be mostly horseshoe crabs, mixed with Mardi Gras beads. Even on the bridges the “bike lane” was littered with those beads. 

The roads went from beautiful bike lanes the first day to either a two lane road with no edge or an edge comprised of the white strip, a foot of pavement, the foot wide rumble strip and another foot wide paved area often covered with sand. It was like that for many miles. I chose to ride on the white line as the far right Sandy side made it too hard to control my bike. The rumble strips are dug into the pavement almost an inch deep the size of a building block, so nothing you can ride over for more than a moment.

They take Mardi Gras seriously in Alabama, with parades the first three weeks of February and even have a school holiday. I saw busloads of people dressed in costumes heading to some parade.

Today’s ride was different than yesterday’s. Today started with rain for the first four hours. Not a mist, but a steady rain. Then the wind came, blew out the low clouds and also blew little ice crystals at me at 20 knots.

It was only 49 degrees at the start, so the rain made it cold. I kept warm enough, working hard pedaling, except my hands got so cold that when I stopped at Waffle House for a second breakfast, I couldn’t make my fingers work the snap. So I ate the first half of my meal with my helmet on. I left a wet seat and a puddle, but they were still kind to me.

Had to go sixty miles today to properly space out the hotel stops. I’m tired.

When I went to the bakery the other day, I heard two women, seemed like old friends say that they should get together and have coffee sometime.

It brought to mind a lesson I’ve learned and I present it today, since today is Jim Ewing’s birthday.

Jim passed on in year 2014. He was first my mentor, and that relationship turned into a great friendship.

Jim and I spent many hours together working on developing a training business for CPAs we called Nextwork. We would sometimes get so lost in our development ideas that we would have to stop and ask each other “ what in the hell are we talking about?” Followed with deep laughter.

The business model didn’t work out and after a couple of years we pulled the plug.

Once the business was over, we no longer had a purpose to spend time together any more, so we would have lunch or hang out occasionally, but much less time together.

knew he was really busy with his consulting and his work with the FUTURISTS group he belonged to and didn’t want to take too much of that precious time.

Once Jim passed, his wife Barbara told me that Jim really wanted to spend more time hanging with me, but knew I was too busy.

We both “Knew”, didn’t we?

I’m hoping I don’t “ Know” so much about friends in my future!

Happy birthday Jim, and thanks for one more (hard) lesson.

Love to you all,

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