In Mobile Alabama I was beset with problems ranging from very bad roads with no shoulders to a broken derailleur and shifter, as well as harassment from motorists. So I disliked the place from the start. When I arrived in Alabama it was after an exhausting 15 hour ride through the sweltering Mississippi heat, I was nearly out of food, and hadn't had a beer since Nawlins', was out of money, and still very, very far from Mobile.
I had hoped, upon my arrival to find a suitable spot to set up the Field Office and do some outreach and resource gathering, pick up some food and enjoy the place, chatting with locales and finding out what was happening with the veterans' community in Mobile.
I was denied access to the Chamber of Commerce (a first) so I couldn't get a map there. Then I went to the library, but it was such a shady set up, with unsavory types hanging out around the bike rack, I didn't trust the situation. Then I called 211 to get the intel on the feeds (where the homeless get food).
This serves two purposes; the one to EAT, the other to talk to people.
211 was unavailable. (another first)
Dispirited, I went to the nearest "Welcome" center and obtained maps and made my way east, as there are no VFP contacts there, and thus no reason for me to waste time there.
On my way out of town I had to pull over because a giant trailer truck was barreling down behind me, and a pick up truck was coming towards me, so I stopped and got as close to the edge of the ditch (remember, no shoulder) as I could without falling into that brackish, horrid goop.
Neither driver would alter their respective course, and the "big rig" slowed to a crawl as he passed within inches of my duly terrified body, and the pick up truck sped on by.
As the trailer truck picked up speed (I was cursing the entire time) I was stunned at how LONG the thing was, until I felt a push on my backpack and a sudden tug on the bike.
I thought I was done for and I heard the CRUNCH as the truck cleared me and kept on going.
I looked behind me and saw the crushed remains of my beloved trailer, papers and bumper stickers spiraling away into the wind, CD and DVD cases in pieces glinting like drops of digital blood, books torn, cans of food crushed and oozing, mixing in with the precious water from ruptured plastic bottles...
I salvaged what I could, and had to refit the pack and bike rack, sacrificing some pounds of personal items to make room for the VFP literature and to lighten my load.
The positive side to all of this is that I am unhurt, and a little bit lighter, and thus quicker on the bike (stuck in first gear, and did I mention the broken chain?).
So yeah. That was Mobile. I am convinced more than ever now that
CARS ARE ASSHOLE MACHINES.
Please try to donate so I can get another laptop or Android device so I can document all that I am going through and encountering. That being said there is some damn pretty country out here and some good small town folk.
GOD BLESS AMERICA