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Offline Guidedawg

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Baldwin County trip
« on: October 26, 2020, 03:54:38 PM »
This report is short on pictures, but I enjoy reading about other rides and try to return the favor by taking you along on the journeys.

Our annual Widows Sons Alabama rally is held in a different part of the state each year so hosting duties can be shared among chapters and to give members and out of state visitors a new destination.  This year’s event was held in Foley with events at the Alabama Gulf Coast Music Hall.

I planned to ride solo along backroads and grab a new county for the National Register of Historic Places along with exploring some areas I’ve never seen, but it wasn’t to be.

My mother lives in north Mobile County and had a last-minute doctor’s appointment scheduled for the morning I was riding down.  Neither my brother nor sister-in-law could take her, so I devised a way to take care of the appointment and still make the rally (My mother riding on the back of the bike was not an option 😉 )  Instead of leaving Montgomery on Friday morning as planned, I rode the bike to my brother’s house after work on Thursday.



I’ve ridden this route several times but had a few surprises.  The sun went down while I was in Camden and I discovered my night vision is even worse than suspected on darker country roads.  Also, there were two lengthy sections of road construction where asphalt was removed and it was the rougher grooved pavement.  Although that did not slow me down, one impatient driver passed and slung large pieces of loose gravel stinging my legs and arms.

I was not wearing long sleeves, so I was feeling a bit cool as I made my way through Washington County and the dirt road of my brother’s home.

My mother’s appointment was at 9:30am in Mobile, so I was back on the road on the bike right after lunch.  Rather than driving south to Mobile and going over, I backtracked north on I-65 to Stockton and went south from there.  I consulted with fellow forum member Chuck (of Chuck&Susan) on area roads and he told me this was probably the most interesting as most of those in south Baldwin County are flat and have lots of traffic.



The clouds grew darker as expected from the forecast.  I pulled in at Blakely State Park since I wanted to see where it was anyway and stopped to put on my rainsuit pants. I didn’t want to have to find a spot once it started raining since the pants take more time for me.

I didn’t travel far before I pulled off at a boat ramp and donned the jacket.  This may have been the first time I was in gear when the rain hit.  I did remove the jacket somewhere along the way, but left the pants until I arrived.

My path took me onto Alternate/Scenic 98 along the Eastern Shore where I got to glimpse the bay as I rode.  However, it was the amount of debris and tree damage that really stood out.  Discarded building material and furniture are laid out along the road at various parts of the county. 


I moved along from the bay and turned east towards Magnolia Springs.  Admittedly, since I had never been there I envisioned an idyllic community along a lazy river with smiling postal carries traveling by boat.  Instead, it was like every other rural south Alabama town, but still fun to travel somewhere new.

My destination was on the Foley Expressway and my luxurious Super 8 accommodations were on the main strip of 59. There were plenty of motorcycles at both and I took a few different routes between them.

We had some official bidness’ to take care of Friday night involving a lot of motorcycles moving at a quick clip out to some farmland and then some sitting around listening to music at the hall.



Offline Guidedawg

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Re: Baldwin County trip
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2020, 03:56:16 PM »
It was raining Saturday morning so the group ride got off a bit later than planned.  There were possibly no more than 10 bikes or so making their way to Pensacola Harley Davidson.  This may not be the exact route, but it’s the general idea.



We started by traveling north to I-10 where we made the requisite stop for gas and exploration for those who had never been.



At one point we found the East-bound Interstate completely stopped.  After some deliberation, and knowing we had folks waiting, we opted to ride the shoulder. No one honked or shot angry looks (well, I wasn’t really looking at them) but we had no problems getting back onto the road and then getting around the camper accident that had both lanes blocked.

We went to the dealership were lunch was waiting, hung out for some time and then rode along the coast to Gulf Shores.  There had been a stop planned at FloraBama but there was apparently another event and it looked pretty full.  People holding up signs advertising $40 parking is never a good omen, so we kept going.

One of the members of my chapter had back surgery earlier this year so our president trailered both their bikes down. The newer member isn’t quite ready for lengthy rides, so he stayed behind while we did the group thing.  He used the time getting a cover up tat, so he was being productive.

Since two of our chapter members had never been to Barber’s Marina (Yes, that Barbers) and it wasn’t terrible far away, we took them to see Bamahenge and the dinosaurs.






I even touched base with this old friend from my avatar photo

Our crew opted to skip the rally dinner and I had my first dining experience at Paula Deen’s restaurant. Oh my gosh that’s a lot of food!  Somehow we pulled ourselves back onto our bikes for the remainder of the rally and after party.

Offline Guidedawg

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Re: Baldwin County trip
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2020, 03:57:28 PM »
The rally officially ended Saturday night, so I had the continental breakfast while my roommate slept and then I threw the gear on the bike and headed north.  I had plans to meet a friend near my hometown and didn’t want to arrive too early, so I returned to Blakeley State Park.  This time I paid the admission and rode around inside.

I’m not much of a Civil War Buff, but I knew Blakeley was the site of the last “combined forces” major battle of the Civil War.  It was fought the day Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.  There was a battle fought in Texas the next month, but since the soldiers knew the war had ended, it is often considered a “post-war” conflict.

In any event, I rode around the dirt roads and picked up some historical knowledge, saw the battle lines, and lots of people biking, hiking, and otherwise enjoying the park.














(Steeple from a Swiss congregation when this was the county seat, at one time rivaling Mobile in population)



I returned to Stockton and then headed back down south on I-65 before going north again on Highway 43 to visit my friend in Mount Vernon.  We went out on his land and shot a bit, then enjoyed lunch together.  It was an overcast day and I had gotten pretty chilled with my morning riding.  In fact, I put my vest in the saddlebag and wore my rain jacket for the trip from the park to his house.  Before leaving Mount Vernon, I went to a Dollar General and grabbed myself a safety orange fleece hoodie which I wore the rest of the day.

I backtracked back down 43, took I-65 North this time going over the “Dolly Parton” bridge for the second time that day and superslabbed it back to Montgomery where I slept well that night.

Online gulfcoaster

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Re: Baldwin County trip
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2020, 04:13:24 PM »
It was probably the worst weekend of the year to be near FloraBama.  Mullet Toss got moved to this past weekend thanks to Covid.

Offline Guidedawg

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Re: Baldwin County trip
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2020, 09:34:24 PM »
Ah, that would explain it!  We had no trouble driving past; it was just obvious the place was packed with no available parking.

Offline klaviator

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Re: Baldwin County trip
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2020, 06:04:05 AM »

I’ve ridden this route several times but had a few surprises.  The sun went down while I was in Camden and I discovered my night vision is even worse than suspected on darker country roads.


My night vision is pretty good but riding unfamiliar country roads at night is still a bit scary.

Nice report.  I'm glad you had a good ride.