Thursday, July 25, 2013

Georgia, Pt. III

After falling asleep during the last forty miles of Mississippi, I awoke later on to Alabama.


Exiting the interstate some distance into Alabama, we drove off the interstate onto Alabama 17, a two-lane highway that led through the small town of York (which actually looked really quaint). To pass the time, Alyssa and I started watching, at her insistence, Finding Nemo, a film which I've actually never watched fully through.

We put on our headphones and watched a good chunk of it, up to the part where Nemo tires to jam the gear on the water intake in the aquarium. I was actually squirming when I saw this, just because I wanted to Nemo to succeed, knowing the danger he was facing. When that rock slipped, I almost lost it.

Conversation ended up interrupting our movie, but we were now in the throes of central Alabama.


Around 4.45 to 5 PM, we reached the medium-sized city of Demopolis. We came in from the west on US-80, and while driving in, we noticed a Walmart (supercenter) and what seemed to be a bustling town in the middle of the ruralandia.

At the insistence of hunger, we stopped at a Sonic. Yes, oh God yes.

Parking the Honda behemoth, Gloria casually began to order food for the four of us.

*orders sandwiches that vary from toaster thingy to a bacon cheeseburger toast thing to chicken fingers*
*reply from employee begins to warp order*
*Gloria gets a little impatient*
*Order received; begins to wait on food*

As we sat in the car waiting for our order, we could see through the windows into the kitchen of the drive-in. People were scurrying around wearing the trademark red/blue visor.

Five or six minutes later, a fair-skinned lady came out, with a packed tray full of the things we had ordered. She came up to the driver's side window, and promptly began to hand the bags over, each one filled with a culinary delight. After all the bags had been given, a mistake was found and we had to call someone to rectify it.

Some back-and-forth followed, but soon enough, we were back on the highway.

Stopping at a light before leaving Demopolis, a blue Buick drove up beside us. Micah, sitting, in the front seat, told us that the guy in the Buick, a young black man, was looking at her. Egged on by us, she looked at him, and he nodded his head up (as in "Hey girl; can I have your digits?").

I swear to God we laughed our asses off.

The Honda was in the empty lane (centre) with the Buick
occupying the lane next to us (where the beige car is at).

I've always been one to complicate things. For instance, I will order "no pickles" and get pickles. Life sucks that way. After discovering pickles on my toaster-sandwich thingy, I casually placed the sandwich on my lap to destroy the pickles. As we drove over a large pot-hole, the sandwich casually "fucked me over" by falling onto the floor and doing the Archenemy's bidding  going underneath the front seat, occupied by Alyssa's sister ever since Newton.

I was disappointed that my sandwich was now a gross thing on the floor, but thanks to Alyssa, we picked it up without having to stop. She leaned over and picked it up for me. Her head was "in the right place", and when her mom saw this, she broke out in laughter.

For ten minutes, jokes about Alyssa giving me head was coursing through the car. It was all in fun, though.

This was followed up by the question of why men expect oral sex. I was asked why guys come to expect it, and why it means so little us when it means so much to women.

I replied that men like sex, and to some, oral sex is not as meaningful as penetrative sex. Explaining that penetrative sex is much more intimate, and that you're not in physical motion with your partner.

It was something interesting to be asked, but I'm not really one to ask.

As we drove to Selma, we saw what appeared to be a huge chicken-shaped car. Wondering what it really was, we pushed the envelope to try and catch up with it. I tried using my camera's 15x zoom, but there was too much shaking for it to be of any use. As we drove past a large creek, we caught up to the truck and saw it for what it really was.

It was an eighteen-wheeler carrying, ironically, chicken wire, under a yellow tarp. So much for our fun photo.


By 5.40, we reached Selma, a town made famous as the starting point of the Selma-to-Montgomery civil right marches.

In March 1965, protesters were beaten and gassed as they tried crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge that leads out of Selma going east towards Montgomery, 50 miles away. They were protesting the death of a 26-year-old black man who had been shot by a police officer as he tried to protect his mother from a police beating.

Troopers waiting for demonstrators walking over bridge.
This is looking west towards Selma, on US-80

Two more marches occurred; the third march saw the entire route walked by some 300 demonstrators.

As we drove in from the west, I expected to see a large city, with a population of at least 50k. What I saw instead, was a typical medium-sized town that you see along highways. It was bustling no doubt, but it hadn't exploded in growth the way I had imagined it in my mind. I never had the urge to look the town up, and so I was disappointed when it failed to live up to my imagination.

We weren't in Selma for too long as it was just a way-point on our trip. One thing we did was stop at a Raceway station, which lacked soap for its customers. I ended up using rubbing alcohol to sanitize my hands (and also discover small cuts).

I mentioned to Alyssa that on the way back, I'd love to cross the bridge where "Bloody Sunday" had happened. She told me off, saying that we weren't stopping. I replied that we didn't have to get off, we just needed to drive over the damned thing.

Turning onto US-80 just south of the city limits, Alyssa saw a large brick sign with "APOTHECARY" written on it. Alyssa, who is into paganism and related things, assured everyone in the car that on the way back, we were going to stop and pay a visit to this apothecary. 

*[internal screaming]*

To Montgomery!

Driving on US-80 was uneventful to say the least. The highway is criss-crossed with small county roads every few hundred feet. Along the way, we passed an Alabama Air National Guard base. You might ask, "How did you know if you were driving past at 75 MPH?"

A dead giveaway was the enormous F-16* models outside an administration building.

Three large-scale models of planes used(?) by this Air NG.

Driving on what seemed to be forever, we finally reached Montgomery. It was now 6:20-6.30 PM, and the sun was beginning to set on a long trip that had taken us across four states in eleven hours.

As I mentioned before, the Honda was equipped with satellite radio. Driving through Montgomery, we were listening to station out of New York City, the most liberal-gross city on the East Coast.** With one earbud in, I heard something that made me feel. It was Macklemore's "Same Love"!

I sat there listening to it, and remembering the first time I had heard it. I mentioned the song to Alyssa's mom, who was now leaning forward in her seat.


Driving east from Montgomery was again a sight for the mind. Flat lands became rolling hills that were dotted with farms and small towns. As we made our way towards Georgia, and our terminus of Columbus, we continued east on US-80 for the remainder of our trip.

Ten or fifteen miles from the Alabama-Georgia state border, we got caught up in a slow-jam on a two-lane portion of US-80. 

We were the last car in a line that was behind a slow-moving white cargo van. For about two miles, we went maybe 20, 25 miles, going up hills and turns. At one point, we tried to overtake, but the line of cars was too long, and the hill we were driving up gave no view of oncoming cars.

When the two-laned road widened in the center of a small town, Gloria floored it, following the other cars in the line that drove past the van. As we overtook, Gloria yelled something in the neighborhood of "drive faster, motherfucker", at the driver.

The road continued on as a four-lane road, and within minutes, we emerged from the Alabama woodlands into metropolitan Phenix City.

US 80 and US 231/480/AL-8/AL-1, Phenix City, AL

Driving through Phenix City, I asked when we'd be in Georgia. Like Mississippi, I was told that we wouldn't enter Georgia until we crossed a river. I was antsy to leave Alabama, because honey, I can.

Soon enough, the lovely Columbus in our sights. Ah.

Bye, bye Alabama! 3rd Ave. at US-80, Phenix City

Crossing over the bridge, the sun was inching below the horizon. Our trip was done. Thirteen hours of driving, we'd made it our destination. All that was left now was to meet Alyssa's family, and wonder if they were as bad as I thought they were going to be. ¡Ay Dios mío! 

In Georgia, Part IV, our first night in Columbus. 

Coming to the ESF, July 26

  • *  "F-16..." I have no idea what the fuck those planes were. I'm no military avionic enthusiast.
  • ** "NY... liberal-gross city" I actually like New York. The idea of it, anyway.
  • *** I only remember seeing a single model airplane, but it might have been there was three models somewhere else along the length of the base. The screenshot is from March 2013.