June 15th - Into the Breadbasket

Church at dawn
We stay almost exclusively at churches, and they're almost always pretty at dawn.

We transitioned scenery today. The Appalachian mountains came to a gradual close and have been replaced by farmland. (It's also been a few days since anyone fed us grits and the southern accents have been getting stronger.)

Our evening host was a canoe outfitter that custom built 33' canoes and ran excursions down the Mississippi river. 

June 14th - Oxford and its town square

Our Oxford host
The church that hosted us in Oxford

The forecast called for rain today (which it does every day down here). For some reason, I spooked today and decided to leave the camera packed for the ride. 

We rode to Oxford, spending only 60 miles on the bike. It's so funny to say "only 60", but after days of 70 and 90 mile rides, 60 feels short. Most of the group arrived relatively early and wandered out to explore Oxford. The town had a cute little central square, not unlike Easton, PA's circle. Helen and I split a frozen yogurt to help cool down. 

June 13th - Rebuilding

Painting trim.
A bunch of the group painting trim for the house

Habitat doesn't usually rehab houses. It's hard to tell what sort of shape they're in before taking them apart, and they're often more trouble than they're worth. 

This house was a rehab. Wells Fargo had foreclosed on the house 3 years prior. After failing to sell the failing structure, they donated it to Habitat. 

During our build day, we started replacing the roof, painted trim, and cleaned up the property. 

June 12th - A Whole Building for Youth

Youth room
The youth room we started in. The next few photos take you through the room.

Pictures for today start in the evening because the host set aside an entire building for us. We were in a dedicated youth building, with amenities including ping-pong, a piano, a drum set, and a small theater setup. 

The ride took us across yet another state line into Mississippi. For whatever reason, we never actually saw a state line sign. There was a sign for a Mississippi visitor center, so there's that. To get to the sign, we had to crawl up a highway overpass and onto the shoulder. 

June 11th - Hamilton, AL

Paceline riding
Biking in a paceline. If I'm careful, I can pull out the camera while riding.

Today's ride took us around 75 miles into Hamilton, AL. Early in the ride, we ran into a bunch of friendly old folks hanging out at a gas station. A sign hung over their seats pronouncing "LIARS BENCH". They'd seen B&B come through in past years and were curious what we were all about. 

June 10th - A General Store

Helen having some Gatorade
Refueling in the middle of nowhere

An unremarkable day, all told. Or as unremarkable as any day when you're biking across the country. 

We did run across a bona-fide general store that sold gas, snacks, live bait, animal feed, basic medicine, ... you get the idea. 

I also ran laundry in the evening with the rest of my chore group (there are 6ish of us). We packed up everyone's laundry and got to the laundromat at 7:45, then learned that the laundromat closed at 9. We managed to finish almost everything. I was impressed. 

June 9th - Scottsboro, AL

Dawn at Berry College
Berry's campus is pretty at dawn, too.
Today's ride brought us across the state line into Alabama. Beyond crossing the state line, we changed timezones. I am now in Central time! The ride covered lots of rural roads, and host cities have been getting a little smaller.

June 8th - Deconstruction

Jackhammering a sidewalk.
Tearing up a sidewalk that went the wrong way.

Today was a little odd. We were working on rehabbing an old Habitat house. The original owners hasn't taken care of the house, so Habitat was rebuilding it for a new family. New siding, replaced flooring, new appliances, the works. 

We spent the day working on siding and demolishing the original driveway. A property dispute with the neighbors cost the property street access from the original driveway, so we ripped up the concrete in preparation for a new one. 

June 7th - Berry College

Loading the trailer before dawn
Predawn packing

Today's ride took us across nearly 50 miles of bike trails on a 90 mile ride. Flat trails felt like highway after some of the the roads we've been on. 

We stayed at Berry College today, a smallish college with a huge campus. The building we stayed in was very modern and mixed old-style masonry with lots of glass. They had real beds, too!

June 6th - Helen's birthday

Helen in her birthday hat.
Helen wearing her ceremonial hat.

Helen turned 22 today. We're getting old. The group bought a birthday hat to commemorate the occasion and plan to pass the hat around for those with summer birthdays.

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