The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sep 02 Day 13 - The Old Spanish Trail - Selma, AL

While I'll admit Selma, Alabama is a bit off the Old Spanish Trail I might argue the point there are bound to be a few old Spaniards lurking about, myself included. But of course that would depend on who you believed regarding our family's ethnicity, my Uncle Estace who was crazy as a mouse in a box of rocks or Mom who was certifiably loony in her own way. He claimed we were part Mexican while she insisted we were Spanish. Hispanic not being as common a term back then as it is today. Ergo any trail I choose to follow could be called the Old Spanish Trail, eh? You buying that? No? Mmmm...

Before leaving the happy folks at the Best Western this morning I spent a considerable amount of mental energy attempting to integrate the Mississippi map with the Alabama map. Some of the squiggly lines matched up while others simply disappeared so in a moment of frustration I decided to let the insane GPS people show me the way. Besides, casual use of the integrate word might well be left alone for another time in another locale. 

The GPS seemed to work well enough until I was deep into Alabama land cruising through some little back water town that time forgot and found myself on a very mysterious 1-track street going nowhere. I suspected  the GPS person had wandered off the straight & narrow and it turned out I guessed right, I came to a stop sign at which I noticed a faded one-way arrow painted on the old tarmac pointing directly at me. To my left about 30 or 40 feet away there was a blind tunnel situated in a sharp curve I couldn't see into. To my right I could see well enough but no way in the world would I chance a left turn. It was one of those moments when the only option was count down from 5 and go, fast enough to outrun any high-rollers coming from the tunnel but slow enough so as not to wheelie. It worked but in reflecting, had I to do it over I would have turned the bike around and retraced my route out of there.

I continued riding through the Alabama country side generally enjoying the views and eventually I came to Union Town. It's another little out of the way town with old southern homes surrounded by neighborhoods long past their prime. It was interesting to imagine what the place must have been like in the teens or twenties of the last century. 

Times were mighty different in those days and I stopped to take pictures wherever it seemed non-invasive to the people living there. I'd liked to have recorded more but somehow I felt it would have been an invasion of privacy so I settled for just a few.

I remember when these were in Portland. I'd forgotten all about them.

This was sort of the main drag. Not much seems to have survived.

After leaving Union Town I continued on letting the GPS chart my course. The destination I'd entered was the bike shop in Auburn so that was where it was taking me. I figured with two days to get there I'd continue to do as I had today, stop at places & take pics, then whenever I wanted I'd find a hotel and hang it up for the day. The weather had moved away from the threat of rain to simply overpowering heat and humidity that must be off the scale. Even the locals I talked to said it was way higher than normal.  

I soon came upon the Alabama Catfish Feed Mill which I'd seen when I came through this area a few years ago. I don't recall if I stopped for pics back then but today the traffic was sparse and I was able to pull into their plant. I know, I know, photos of an Alabama catfish food plant is about as exciting as a 1950s Soviet agricultural equipment show but it was all there was.

A mile or two down the road I caught sight of what must be the reason for the catfish food operation. Catfish farm ponds were along both sides of the road, presumably there to supply all the grocery outlets and restaurants throughout the south. 

Catfish Agribiz. Izzat great or what? 
I suppose they don't let you swim in the ponds
Pretty exciting stuff, eh? Catfish. I love 'em!
The high level of humidity helped me decide maybe Selma would work as a place to stay tonight so I checked to see what the local motel situation was like. The usual players were present except for my new favorite, La Quinta which was another 40 miles further. Phoee with that I said and checked into the Holiday Express. It's nice enough although a bit pricier than the others and frankly I can't see why. 

For dinner I scooted over to the nearest Burger King for take out, then stopped at the Family Dollar for more Gatorade. The green one. Also picked up a bag of Sour Cream & Onion Potato Sticks. I can't begin to tell you how gawd-awful those things are, they're so salty my lower lip's starting to smart. Plus they cost a whole buck!

This is Jennifer, she's very tolerant of old biker guys. She also thinks it's great that she's going to be famous after appearing in my blog. Uncle Estace didn't have a thing on me. I wonder if he could hold a camera steady?

See ya tomorrow.


1 comment:

  1. You're only 88 miles from Birmingham and the Barber Motorcycle museum.


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