Ok…toes are wiggling…fingers are moving…brilliant! Didn’t freeze to death! Happy day! Let’s pack up and get the heck outta here!
Another brisk morning. When will this cold snap ever go away? As we were making our way towards Pensacola, we notice a familiar bike pullout in front of us. It was a blue 08’ KLR so we pulled up beside him to wave hello at a stoplight. Turns out that he’s read about us on ADV so we pull over to the side of the road and introduce ourselves. Once again like dogs sniffing each other’s butts, we all do a onceover on each other’s motorbikes. Sallad was his username, a young lad, was on his way to school. Told us if he had known we were in the area, he would’ve definitely let us stay over at his place for the night. Wish we had known that. I really liked the aftermarket foot pegs on Sallad’s motorbike and he told us we could get it on eBay for $20 bucks. Sold! All I have to do now is figure out where to get them shipped. It was great to have randomly met up with Sallad and be recognized from our ride report on ADV. For a split second we felt like celebrities.
Sweet Home Alabama was the tune I was singing in my helmet when we crossed the state line. Alabama…we’ve heard that there’s a bit of racial tension down in these parts. Don’t know how the locals will take to a Chinaman motoring around with “one of their own”. TheRidingLibrarian in Fellsmere once told me this: “Down there there’s an unspoken respect for Orientals; like Harley riders have for BMW’s”. Well, there’s only one way to find out if this is true.
Amanda’s motorbike was due for an oil change so we stopped at Daphne, AL to look for a Wal-Mart. At some point our line of communication was distorted somewhat. The original game plan was to drain the first bit of oil into an empty Monster Energy Drink can and then let the rest drain into quadruple-bagged plastic bags. Instead, Amanda tried to use the empty can to transfer the oil, while it’s draining, into the bags. It was a mess. Needless to say, we got the job done and hope never to do it that way ever again. Live and learn.
As much as I would like to be spontaneous and go by the seat of our pants, I tend to prefer doing a little research if the resources are available. Our usual routine when we enter a big city is to ask Mr. GPS to find us a public library. Free Wi-Fi and internet accessible computers! This way we both get to go on the internet and not have to wait on one another.
|Lunch time! Our first Checkers experience.|
|Taking the time to research brought us to Airey Camp in De Soto National Forest where it was free to camp.|
The campground had clean outhouses and running water, which is very rare for a campground that didn’t charge a fee. There was one other RV camped here so we chose a spot up on a hill to give them some privacy. We took advantage of what little daylight we had left by gathering wood and gigantic pine cones that were the size of footballs for campfire. I was also very excited to use our newly acquired pocket saw. A few moments later we see a ratty-looking white Cadillac pull up and a scraggily Caucasian male gets out of the car and walks towards us. He starts talking to us and right away I can smell the alcohol on this guy. He starts talking about how the military does covert exercises in the area and if you manage to spot a soldier hiding in the bush, he would give you $200. By this point I was partially ignoring what he was saying and was focusing on sawing a big chunk of wood. Amanda on the other hand was eating it all up, which made him stick around and talk more. He told us he camped here last week and moved down the road a few miles or so. He was definitely a squatter the hunters warned us about the other day. My instinct told me this guy was a sketchy dude and that we shouldn’t reveal too much information about ourselves. It didn’t help when he offered to help me chop wood with his enormous bowie knife he pulls out of his car and says “You see, I ain’t kiddin around.” He told us he was going to return later tonight to “check up on us” just before he drove off. Great. We considered camping elsewhere, but Amanda thought it would be too risky to ride at night in these parts. So she walks over to the RV, introduces herself, and tells them about our situation. They had no problems with us setting our tent next to the RV. They were an elderly couple and had a boxer dog. The man was ex-military and had firearms stored inside the RV. Not sure if I felt any safer camping next to this guy, but it sure was better than the alternative.
Exxon Valdez 2
Sleeping with one eye open.
Shhh! Can that be him?