Sweet Temporary Home Alabama

Bourbon Street New Orleans

Wow. Winter’s here – just like that. People have been warning me about a south-moving polar vortex (or words to that effect) and that it would affect the weather in the Deep South from today onwards.

They were right.


New Orleans was fun, but I didn’t get to explore it properly. The old French quarter was very cool and looked a lot of fun, but the streets were like those of Europe’s past.

Narrow, busy and not set up for parking vehicles.

I don’t like leaving the bike unattended in a city for very long (soft luggage) and I can’t have a beer/bourbon while riding anyway. Money is also a bit too tight to get a hotel, so it was a ride-around explore. Although I did get to see a big Veterans’ Day parade on Canal Street, complete with military swing/jazz marching band. That was cool.

Bourbon Street should be explored at night and on foot and so New Orleans is now firmly on my ‘places to return to and visit properly’ list. Only the old French bit though. The rest of New Orleans looked very concrete-based and industrial, along with much of the Gulf Coast.

The state of Mississippi provided a welcome change in scenery after the array of chemical processing facilities. It is gorgeous there – an often overlooked state for sure. With its undulating hills covered in autumn gold trees, camping last night was a dreamy doddle. Waking up this morning, though, was a shock. The cold has definitely arrived!

Today I was togged-up to the nines (wrapped up warm) and grabbing a welcome hot coffee with every fuel stop. It’s not forbiddingly cold – it’s just like a November day in the UK really (about 8 degC with a slight breeze). To think that I was sweating like a monkey in Mexico just a few days ago is a surreal thought.

Today I’ve pootled through Mississippi and into the proud state of Alabama. Forget spending a year learning Spanish – I can’t understand a bloody word that anybody’s saying here!

I bumped into an old guy in a petrol station car park (gas station parking lot) today – an elderly black guy with stories written all over his face. He is a proper Alabama blues guitar man! Yeah! He used to ride a Yamaha bike, and I think he said he had a Yamaha guitar too (although he may have simply taken his guitar with him when he rode his Yammy bike – not sure what he actually said) but we got talking(ish) and I ended up buying a CD from him. The CD cover sported a younger version of himself, and this guy was a mumbling blues legend.

I can’t wait to get up to New Hampshire, stick this disc into a player and hear his stuff.

Willie ‘Sonny Boy’ King

Anyway, that was really cool. I love Mississippi delta blues, and I’m assuming that Alabama blues is similarly good.

Right now I’m camped in a little clearing off a logging road just east of Montgomery, Alabama. Being surrounded by woodland has taken the chill off and I’ve got me a lovely fire going with a cup o’ tea brewing upon it.

I originally figured that when I hit the cold weather, I’d just pick a course heading north and slog it up to New Hampshire in 2-3 days. However, it can be dangerous to ride solidly for too many hours in the cold, so I’m just going to play it by ear for the next week-or-so.

The next big (and likely emotional) waypoint is the Atlantic coast, which I assume I’ll encounter in Georgia.

Coming up on the 24,000 mile mark!

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