Without good internet access, I’m not sure where I left off. I think the last entry was when I was in Edison, AL. Just in case, let’s pretend it was and we’ll pick up the trip from there. If it wasn’t, then work with me here, OK?
Edison was a nice little town with emphasis on the little. What few sidewalks they had rolled up at about 6pm. But hey, the cops were nice and even let me put the tent up right behind the police department. The next morning, the dispatcher let me into the office to use WiFi and charge up the batteries. Then it was time to roll on out. Next stop? Abbeville.
I don’t know what’s going on here in the deep south with the American Legion and VFW posts…there aren’t any to be found. Abbeville wasn’t any different. I did find the police station again though. I met the Chief of Police and told him who I was and what I was doing. I mentioned to him that I needed a spot to put the tent up overnight. I learned along time ago NEVER tell anyone you’re looking for a place to camp. If you do, right away they start thinking of firepits, laundry lines and all kinds of mess. Just telling them that you want a place to “put the tent up” is usually enough to get you into somewhere…and it was in Abbeville. The Chief made arrangements for me to put the tent up in front of the old National Guard Armory and even asked the Rec Department Director to take me there.
Trouble is, word never got down to the rest of the force.
About 1am, I heard a horn blowing and someone on a loud speaker type thingy saying, “You in the tent…come out”. Not beiing awake, I lifted the flap on the tent and peeked out. It was Abbeville’s version of Barney Fife. With his handheld 12 cell flashlight shining in my face, he could see me, but I couldn’t see him…that’s what he wanted. He asked the usual questions iin a Barney Fife sort-of-way – Who are you? What are you doing in front of “my” (I swear he said that) Armory? And so on. I made it clear to Barney that I had gotten permission from his boss to be there, but he still wanted to check my ID and call it in for any wants and warrants. Of course it came back clean, but that didn’t please Barney. He ran his flashlight over my tent, bike and the other gear. Spotting a little glass jar on the ground at the tent flap he focused his flashlight beam on it and asked what it was. Being as polite as I could, I told him it was Tiger Balm and was good for sore muscles even if one of those muscles happened to be between your ears.
He asked me again who I was and what I was doing. I swear I came this close to telling him my real name was Abdul and I was scouting out Abbeville. I didn’t though…I gave him the information AGAIN and this time he said “Have a good night” and left.
Never did get to use the “I’m Abdul” line, but I lay awake most of the rest of the night thinking about it. It was one of those moments you know where you think of a million things you could’ve/should’ve/would’ve said if only you had been thinking.
Despite the warm welcome from the Chief, I was glad when the sun finally came up over Abbeville and I could roll out. Next stop? Troy AL. Troy was a good 60+ miles away and I was glad to get every inch between myself and Barney Fife that I could.