Day 21: Thursday 4th October : to Birmingham, Alabama

A second night at Don’s and once again I slept well despite over-eating the night before. Up, showered and packed by 8:30am, we said our goodbyes to Don, sad to leave this amazing 77-year old alone in his beautiful home (his wife passed away just 3 months ago, his daughter shortly after). Negotiating the tricky driveway for the final time we rode a short distance to a local diner for breakfast. I opted for a light one, scrambled eggs (more like an omelet) on toast, then Aaron used the excellent “twisty roads” navigation option on his BMW Navigator VI GPS unit to plot a route towards Birmingham, Alabama.

This took us on lots of small back roads, through more countryside although this time with more houses and less forest. After 2 hours of riding we stopped for fuel then continued, the temperature rising as we headed further south-east, topping out at a very hot 92.5F (34C). The traffic also got heavier the closer we got to Birmingham, so we switched to faster route navigation and jumped on the Interstate. About 60 miles from Birmingham, Aaron, riding at the front suddenly put on his indicator and pulled over to the hard shoulder, stopping under a bridge, the only shade for miles. His back tyre was flat. The cause appeared to be a nail and so Dean (who’s a mechanic by trade) jumped at the opportunity to show his skills and fixed it, whilst Aaron sat on the guardrail and I took pictures. Back on the road we continued on to our hotel, the Double Tree by Hilton, where we will be staying for 4 nights. A large part of the car park was cordoned off for motorcycle-only parking, a sign of the expected number of bikes due to stay here for the nearby Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival.

Checked in and showered, we ordered an Uber to dinner, Aaron extoling the virtues of this simple way to get a ‘taxi’ that means no paying or tipping in the car as it’s all handled online. The ‘taxi’ is given the route by Uber, but in this case it took us all over residential downtown Birmingham before the driver quit and used Aaron’s Google maps to get us back on track and on to Jim & Nick’s BBQ place. Here we met up with one of Aaron’s BMW buddies, Steve, and had another BBQ brisket and a pint of IPA. The food was good, but not in the same league as last night, but the craft ale was very good. After dinner Steve drove us to the hotel, so no more uber-related navigation issues.

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