Sunday, April 08, 2018

Alabama Skyway 2018 Day 1

Borrowing a bit of inspiration from the Bikepacking Alabama Skway, Pondero and I plotted our 2018 Spring Break adventure around some family time and free time respectively. I'm going to regale you of our adventure although nobody really reads blogs anymore. Pondero used Instagram rather actively, but my phone had neither the battery nor the coverage to do the same, so you're going to get a rather 2010 analog version here on der blog.

We met in Birmingham, and his gracious family volunteered to provide shuttle. Very kind (and they are shown in the photo below). What was not kind was our route beginning almost from the first mile with a climb in excess of one mile up Duggar Mountain. I don't like roads with the name "mountain" in them. I went slowly, but didn't get "last" on the Strava segment, so I guess I kept a reasonable spin. It was terrible.

Notice that we're on flat terrain, but that extremely large hills are in the background. Ugh. 

Very steep profile in the distance. I walked.

After our inital climb, we were met with a few more challenges, all of which Pondero passed with flying colors while I grunted up, sometimes on two walking legs instead of on two wheels. My lack of winter conditioning made things quite evident, which is why Pondero is ahead of me in every picture. The gradient up to CR55 at "Grantley" proved particularly miserable. Once we topped the CR500 climb, we were met with a nice spin of rollers, but at least with the opportunity to ride our bikes instead of doing leg presses and adding to our step count. Alabama is hilly.

On top of the ridge, we were met with wafts of smoke, eventually rolling through a section of forest recently destroyed by a tornado. We later learned that the smoke was from controlled burns, but the combination lent an eerie World War I vibe to things.

We started our first day rather late, around 1pm. The two substantial climbs and rollers gave us a pleasant-albeit-challenging to the Alabama Skyway. At the bottom of a gravel descent we found Pine Glen Campground, which was mostly empty, giving us the pick of the litter, all for the fair price of $3. Yes, $3. A little dismaying was learning the the water spigots were all turned off, but the only other person in camp walked over and offered us a gallon of bottled water, which we accepted with gratitude. It made for an easier night in camp, and an extra cup or two of coffee.

Our focus turned to effectively tarping our tents for impending storms. The night began with a starry night overhead- and a passing bright satellite- but later we were buffeted with stiff winds and a lightening show. Pondero and I both mentioned strange dreams, but we also both stayed dry and slept adequately. We survived, and the morning was basically dry.

My Jones mount with Eno tent and Kammock set-up in the background. I stayed dry. That's all that matters.

Pondero's Bantam, but with gear still stored. I didn't take pics of his Hennessy and new, larger tent. He stayed dry too.

1 comment:

Pondero said...

My highlights are similar...rude climb to start, eerie tornado damage, controlled burns, Pine Glen campground, stormy night, freaky dreams, and staying dry. Always good to see the trip from another perspective.

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