Monday, September 5, 2016

136: Labor day barbecue

This farm looks like a spa for the animals
Riding on a holiday is usually great. The roads are clear - everyone is either sleeping in or off at the park or hosting a backyard barbecue. So we started out early today and had clear sailing for miles through the countryside. I remember the same thing when we left Seattle on Memorial Day - gosh, was it that long ago? - and we rode all through the city with hardly any cars on the road.

The downside of the holiday is that restaurants may be taking a day off, so options for meals are limited. This would not be a problem in a large city, but out in the hinterlands, people really do tend to roll up the sidewalks in the small towns. So we arrived in Ardmore, on the border of Alabama and Tennessee, and did not have a lot of choices. There were the usual fast food joints, but I was wanting to be part of the holiday and just couldn't work up any enthusiasm for McDonald's or Taco Bell. I wanted some barbecue!

We asked some local folks if they knew of any restaurants other than the fast food places, and they said, "oh - probably not open today!" But they mentioned the Fried Tomato Buffet, and when I called, they said they'd be open until 3:00 today. So that's where we headed. But right before we reached that spot, what did we see?  Whitt's Barbecue!

So we got to have our Labor Day barbecue picnic after all. While we enjoyed our pulled port sandwiches in the little dining room, one party after another came in to pick up ribs, or barbecue, or a chicken . . . to go! So there's the dirty little secret of the Tennessee/'bama border community - THEY BUY THEIR BARBECUE! As a Texan by birth, I have to confess this seems sacrilegious. I said as much to one of the gentlemen waiting for his order. I said, "I can't believe that you're not out there with the grill, drinking beer and basting your ribs" And he said, "I don't drink beer"! Maybe that's the problem: no beer drinking, no reason to do your own barbecue!

Anyway, we didn't have a very long ride planned, and it was very hot, so when we got to Pulaski we pulled into the drug store to have a little break, and that is where we got our nickel Cokes! Indeed, a sweet little serving of Coke for 5 cents. You just gotta love that small town tradition.

By the way, we rode for a period on Stateline Road, which runs on the border between Alabama and Tennessee. And guess what's growing out there - corn and soybeans! Yup. Down here, it's getting quite dried out, so I guess it's about ready to harvest. The corn cobs are barely hanging on to the stalks, so when the combine comes along they get knocked off and go into the hopper and the stalks are shredded for silage. But until that happens, it's sort of bleary, riding past these vast fields of burned-up looking corn.
Seriously dry corn

We also finally saw another crop - cotton - while we were riding in Alabama. So that's something.
In those ol' cotton fields back home . . . 

The day's report: Huntsville to Pulaski, 52.1 miles/6632 to date

Our route back to Tennessee


  1. seems like you traveling about 90deg off the direction you need to be.

  2. Sometimes you have to sort of sneak up on your route! Having achieved the Natchez Trace today, we are all about heading southwest now.

  3. Hope we can ride together in Texas!

    1. Stay tuned. We will be going through Fr Worth and would love to have you ride along.


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