Mississippi - Wow! Not much to talk about. Nice, fine, white sand, empty beaches. Why are the beaches empty? Why can't you drive along the coast without having to stop at every light? I literally was stopped at 40+ lights that turned red just as traffic reached the next light. Only 3 lights in 50 miles was green. Seems like someone needs to figure out how to get the timing of the lights right. Should save lots of money in fuel costs and would cut down on pollution, but that is just me.
I don't know what to say about Alabama. In most convenient stores you can grab a bottle of water, open and drink it as you are waiting in line. In Alabama it is apparently considered uncouth and against the law. In fact the woman behind the counter, the same one that was gossiping with a woman on my side, yells at me for opening my water before I paid for it. First of all, I was waiting for about 5 minutes before I opened it because I had to wait and listen to what Vern and Kate were fighting about the night before in the bar, secondly it was 98 degrees outside and I was VERY thirsty. I also had my money out and was waiting in line behind little gossip queen - it wasn't as if I was walking out drinking it and whistling Dixie. Alabama can only... Ahh crap! I just remembered the postcard I was reading while I waited. The memory of my great aunt saying M I Crooked letter, Crooked letter (etc...) kept playing in my head while "Vern and Kate were drunk and yellin' at each other"... This happened in Mississippi. That Mississippi-Coon-Assed-Redneck-Cow!
Apparently the only thing I did or saw in Alabama was visiting with my Uncle Ron and Aunt Betty.
Days before I arrived I tried to call them, but the number I had for them was disconnected. Since I would be passing by them anyway, I decided to surprise them and go to the address that I had. I programmed the address into my GPS and rode on down the country road to their house. When I arrived at the address I wasn't sure if I was in the right place. With all the houses spread apart on this Country Road it was hard to determine if I was in the right place. I found the address and found a house, barn, a few trees and a mail box with just a number. Fortunately on the side of the barn was their name. I pulled up the grass driveway and knocked on the front door.
Out of the side door comes a wizened old lady that I didn't recognize. As with all things in life, they change as they age. It had been 20 years since I had seen Betty and at the age of 86 she is healthy and able, but she is still 86 years old and her body isn't as straight as it used to be. Ron, is six years her junior and other than bypass surgery (septuple bypass) two years ago, he looks good. Neither of them have lost any memory or seemed addled by Alzheimer's, which was so very nice to see. That was a big fear as I got close - that and that one of them might have passed on in the five years since I had spoken to them.
It was cathartic talking about my parents, past events and other family stuff. What wasn't cathartic was when Ron brought up politics. One of the things that I never realized about him was that he is a staunch Republican and is, well... he has certain beliefs that I believe should have been left behind 50 years ago (or more). Here are a few examples that made my skin crawl.
-Ron claims that Fox News is the only real news that is unbiased and not tilted toward any direction. It is a fair and accurate depiction of what occurs in the US and world and that CNN, MSNBC and network news is biased towards the liberals.
-Another Ron (ism) was that George Bush has been one of the better presidents and that Obama will be like Carter.
-Yet another... He doesn't understand why any white person would vote for Obama and that they should be ashamed of themselves.
That last one was what struck me as the most reprehensible. I don't ever recall hearing him say anything like that when I was growing up. I just don't understand how people can't have evolved past the 1800's. It was almost as if he missed out on the whole MLK-Equal Rights movement in the '60's. Since I can't recall those sorts of comments from him prior to his move to Alabama from Las Vegas, I would have to guess that his beliefs have been acquired since they moved. If that is the case, Alabama is a pretty fucked up place.
I really did enjoy seeing them again, but these thoughts and beliefs are so much of what is screwed up with our country. Everything is exactly what Fox News foments. Nothing but hate and divisiveness from the Fox folks who feed on those that are weak of mind and can't think for themselves. Even now I am getting worked up! If I didn't love my family, I wouldn't have been able to respect them and their house by not saying something rude.
Florida - Pensecola...
I left Ron and Betty's around 730 pm and rode West looking for a hotel for a bit before I decided to just head East to see if anything was there. I hadn't realized how close I was to Florida, so I just continued. For some reason the GPS glitched and told me that there was a hotel somewhere it wasn't, so I had to press on. I ended up arriving at the Motel 6 around 930 in the dark and then have this whacked out front desk chick try to charge me $80 for a room at this little fleabag motel. When I call her on that she tells me there weren't rooms on the first floor. That wasn't a problem for me, but as I went out I looked around and the hotel was empty. I walked back in and mention this to her and she miraculously finds rooms after I point it out. She then puts me in a smoking room and I have to come back to tell her the room next to me is non-smoking room and I can tell because the blinds are open and it is empty.
Shortly after I get settled into my non-smoking, 1st floor, $45 room, the whole place gets crazy. She is having a party for friends in the empty rooms... a party that lasts until 4 am. Nothing like being awakened by the alarm on my bike when these idiots decide they want to try to sit on it and move it. It was so loud that they freaked out and started running around. Idiots!!! It was a good thing that I locked the steering column and put my alarm and lock on this night. Must've been something about this clerk.
Florida - Panama City
Georgia (okay, this is a 4th sign - not part of the 3 states in 1 day)
If this isn't Murphy's Law. It rained for 3 hours, stopped for the next 2 (long enough for me to dry off), then more rain the last 30 min... just to keep me from being dry when I checked into my motel in Waycross, GA on my way to Savannah.