Day 30: Zak Attack Update……looks like he only has two days left! Another 130 miles through Syracuse to Utica, NY. He will be enjoying home soon!
Imagine pulling into your work parking lot after the glorious morning commute and if like most people still half asleep. It seems to be just another day when you notice a man methodically laying what looks to be all of his belongings in the middle of the parking lot. You strategically park the car as far away from this individual as possible and quickly scurry inside, all while intently keeping one eye on him. What you think are nonchalant actions scream anxiety and nerves to anyone else watching this unfold! Shortly thereafter a dirty cyclist approaches the counter and asks “what is with the homeless guy out there”. You calmly respond “yeah I know, I didn’t want to say anything because he was doing….stuff”. The cyclist then admits he is the homeless “stuff doing” individual and explains the situation! It was a dewy morning in Laurel Hill, one that provided plenty of moisture for all of my belongings to soak up! As the sun began to emerge, I used the parking lot of the Dollar General as a drying platform. Deciding to make a small purchase in return for my cozy night of sleep out back (above), I ventured into DG and had some fun with the cashier!
While roaming the DG I met Joel and his granddaughter Ava. After inquiring about my journey, they hopped in the car and drove off. After collecting my belongings I began the trek towards Alabama. On my way out of town an unfamiliar truck pulled up with a familiar face inside. It was Joel offering me a ride back to his house for a home cooked breakfast!!!! After 30 days of transportation purely via bicycle, I graciously declined the ride but accepted the meal invitation.
After trailing Joel down beautiful country roads we arrived at his house where I met his wife Nancy, granddaughter Haylee, and stepson Cliff. These amazing folks opened their home to a wandering hobo and provided me with a delicious meal, while exchanging stories about travel and friends. Another unbelievable act of selflessness from once strangers now friends (above)! An amazing start to the day, thank you again Weekley’s! I can only hope our paths will again cross in the future!
Usage of the word hobo you ask? The Laurel Hill mascot (right) is the hobo and they are proud of it! In attempts to eliminate negative connotation often associated with the word, they make sure to educate others about the true definition.
With a full stomach and a full tank of emotional fuel thanks to my Laurel Hill friends, I made the intense climb to the highest point in Florida, all 345 feet of it!
From there I stopped at the Wetlands Park in the town of Florala for some great views (left). Which state do you think this town is in? Hint: it is not Florida! I was expecting to come across the town of Alaflor on the opposite side of the border.
Heading north from Alaflorala, I made a stop near the town of Opp for some homemade ice cream at Doc’s Country Store. Some quality conversation and tasty treats have me down wit’ this OPP. Had to throw that in there! Perfect lighting let me capture the true beauty of Doc’s (below).
I continued north to my final destination of Troy, about 93 miles from my start in Laurel Hill. My second visit to AL in as many days was a good one! Time for a nap.