Coffeeneuring #4

Skin of my teeth, people. Skin of my teeth. I’m not even sure if today’s post really counts. Even if it does, I’ve got to hit Veteran’s day plus both days next weekend.

This isn’t procrastination–we got a last-minute chance to go back home and visit some family, which we gladly took. Packing destroyed last Saturday, and Sunday we drove sunup to sundown. The first weekend of the challenge I just missed.

So, on Saturday (the 9th) we drove a way out of the town we were staying in to bike a new-to-us bike trail, the Chief Ladiga.

The problem? It was freezing. Okay, okay, it was 58 degrees. But I didn’t pack a bike jacket, because when I packed my suitcase it was forecast to be 70. My new bike bag with room for the jacket isn’t here yet, so I haven’t learned to over-pack clothes. Stupid, yes? In my defense, I’m still used to the upper 70s to mid 80s. My brain hasn’t switched to “you might freeze” mode yet. The only thing that saved me was that I still had my neck-cooler (like a neck warmer, but in a wicking fabric) in my bike bag, and it worked well enough as a headband to keep the wind out of my ears. I had forgotten how much my ears hurt on the bike below 60.

Back to the bike trail: I was sure there would be a chance to buy a cup of coffee. I did not count on the rural-ness of rural Alabama and the fact that both of us are unfamiliar with the towns nearby. I mean, we biked through a college campus. What kind of college campus doesn’t have a single place to get coffee?

In any event, it was a chilly overcast day, but the trail itself showed a lot of promise. I’m hoping we’ll be back sometime to cover more of the distance. I can’t quite wrap my head around the logistics of the whole 95 mile length of trail, but it would be fun.

Coffeeneuring 4

Coffeeneuring 4

(The ground was too soft for me to get a close-up, drat it. If you can’t make out the sign, it says, “Biking Good, Rapture Better.” Oh, Alabama.)

Coffeeneuring 4

That’s cotton, not snow. Some of the fields had been harvested already, some hadn’t. It’s pretty, but I shudder to think how many chemicals get sprayed right next to the bike trail.

At ten miles, we finally saw a sign proudly proclaiming that there would be coffee and ice cream in the next town . . . eight miles away. Combining my total lack of appropriate clothing with the fact that the Nuun tablets in my water bottle had gone undrinkably rancid, I called the ride and we turned around.

Fortunately I was prepared for this possibility, so at the trailhead I stopped for fresh water and (brace yourselves) instant coffee.

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I somehow don’t think that instant iced coffee is quite what the challenge meant by “coffee shop without walls,” but it’s the best I’ve got with no time for a make-up trip. I’m also standing right next to my car in the picture, but I promise I carried the coffee packet on the bike with me. (See lack of water, or I would have happily made it at mile ten.) The iced Via really isn’t bad, except that I prefer my coffee without sugar and with milk.

Coffeeneuring 4

20 miles. Not too bad for 1) the wrong clothes 2) no drinkable water and 3) my poor husband being on his mountain bike.