John's first day on the pillion was clear and cool to start with and, while I found running down the the. i85 rather boring, it was new and therefore interesting for John. For a while. We therefore agreed to take the byways for a while but in exchange for more pleasant riding, one goes hungry and thirsty. Services for travelers do not exist in small town America. Actually, they do not exist even for the residents. When one does come to a town with an eating establishment or perhaps two our even three, it had, in the Deep South, better not be on a Sunday! So when we needed a break, we GPS'd it back to the interstate where Mammon doth trade seven days a week and refreshed ourselves. Yesterday's KFC lunch did not touch sides!
We rode through the center of the capital of Alabama, Montgomery, and were impressed by the grandeur of their public buildings. We were also impressed by the accuracy of the Lonely Planet guide's executive summary of Downtown Montgomery: 'dead'. With no obvious place in sight to eat or drink, we retraced our steps a few miles to give John his first USA Walmart experience. It is an impressive place.
Back on the road we rolled past the odd cotton field, but the number and scale of Chinese and Korean industrial enterprises is stunning! No union power down here. Whats a difference that makes to the investment climate.
Our last stop on the road just outside Mobile was really good smelling Italian restaurant, but we just wanted coffee. Well, cappuccino. We got coffee. But the muzak was fifties and sixties, really easy, and we enjoyed Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and music of that era.
When approaching Mobile one is immediately struck by two very large buildings that dominate the city skyline. In fact, they are the skyline. They seem over done for a small city of some 200,000 people; and one that has such a rich fabric of charming homes and old buildings where the influence of the French is so much in evidence. Also, the roads indicate that money has been spent on infrastructure.
We landed at a hotel right next door to the museum where the battleship USS Alabama is moored, and many military artifacts are on display. It is also home to War Memorials for Vietnam and Korea. I am always moved by Vietnam memorials. I guess they resonate with me because of my army service in the late sixties and through the seventies.
After a swim we walked to the Captain's Table restaurant next door where we were well looked after by Lagina and Michelle, who helped us with local information with their delightful Southern accents, charm and humour. The food was good and plentiful and the Muzak just like that we heard earlier.
A pity we cannot stay longer but that is the nature of this trip.