Next morning riding across the state line, I was greeted by a heavy downpour. The beautiful mountains and vast cotton fields looked as if they were covered with fresh snow. What a treasure! Eventually, the morning rain turned into afternoon heat, and the gorgeous, shaded 125-mile-long trail became a shoulderless highway in direct sunlight with triple-digit temperatures. The suffering did not end until I reached my destination: Birmingham. All told, the trip was 185 miles and just shy of a 10,000-calorie burn. After that, I was anxious to get back onto something with a throttle.