Day 30: Tuscaloosa to Eutaw, AL
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.
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.