Day 30: Tuscaloosa to Eutaw, AL

Me, Kenny and Phil at Starbucks in Tuscaloosa

We woke up at 8am, packed, and headed to Starbucks, where Kenny was already working for the day.  The weather was supposed to hold off until 2pm, so we decided we would make a run for it and try to get to Eutaw before the impending thunderstorms struck.  Kenny treated Phil and I to tea and coffee, respectively, and then we said goodbye and hit the road.

We made it 26 miles before the rain hit us.  It came after a small pit stop at a gas station, one of the only things we saw along the entire route.  I heard thunder in the distance and started thinking about tornadoes.  Tornadoes can form rapidly whenever there are severe thunderstorms, and my imagination fueled most of the energy in my legs for the rest of the ride.  At one point the rain came down so hard that I worried about cars being able to see us.  The water running down my face was burning my eyes, making it difficult to open them.

View of the river on the way out of Tuscaloosa

Eventually, it eased up, and as we pulled into Deirdre’s driveway, the sun actually peeked through the clouds.  Phil and I were both completely soaked – we finally really put the waterproof-ability of our panniers to the test (and they passed).

Deirdre and her son, George, helped us bring everything inside.  After showering, the four of us went to the only restaurant in town for lunch, where we had barbecue (pulled pork) sandwiches.  The population of Eutaw is greater than that of my high school by no more than a few hundred.  Everyone seems to know everybody.

In between lunch and dinner, Nola, Deirdre’s daughter, woke up and joined us, and Ken, her husband, came home from work.  Dinner was excellent – baked pumpkins stuffed with rice, cheese, bacon, apple and herbs, and breaded chicken.  We talked for a while in between dinner and dessert, which was brownies with ice-cream.  The family has great stories about un-schooling (different from home-schooling), what life is like in Alabama, and other people they’ve hosted from around the world.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all of them.

About Sarah

Sarah grew up in Cranston - just south of Providence, Rhode Island - and developed a love for travel, music, and outdoor sports at an early age. She had started bicycling long distances at age 12, as a participant of the MS150 bike tours to raise money for the MS Society. She didn't use her bike regularly until she built her own while studying in Montreal and found it an excellent way to get around the city. After graduating from McGill and moving back to Providence, Sarah started working at Brown University's office of Environmental Health & Safety as the Biological Safety Specialist. She was living 4 miles away at the time, and for the first few weeks was driving to work. She made the switch from driving to bicycling when she realized that she could get to work faster, avoid parking tickets, and integrate a few miles of training into her day. Bicycling was better for the environment and better for her own health and mood. She found that she had more energy and felt much happier once she started biking to work. When her car broke down several months later, she never bothered replacing it. After 4 years of working in Biosafety (and on her master's in Environmental Studies), Sarah left her job to pursue her passion. She has been working various jobs in the bicycle industry since June of 2011, including pedicab driver, bicycle tour guide, bike mechanic and traveling bicycle advocate. In between seasonal jobs, she has done a few long-distance bike tours, which is the main reason for this blog. Her dream is to eventually ride around the world and sail across the oceans.

Posted on 23 November 2011, in Bicycle Touring, Providence to New Orleans. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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