While I rehab a sore hip and ankle from a near fall from my July 4th race, I decided to take a relaxing trip using back road routes from Montgomery to Athens, via Tuscaloosa. Highways 82, 69 (always wanted to take that road), 195, 33, 157, 110, 72. The first part on 82 is a quick scenic drive from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa.
Although I've been in Alabama for near 12 years, this was my first time in Tuscaloosa, I toured the still open wound of the April 27, 2011 tornado that ripped through T-town, lots of evidence of the storm is still apparent. I then drove through the campus of the University of Alabama. Although I am an Auburn fan, the Crimson Tide campus is very beautiful, I could live here if it wasn't U of A ;-) . I tried to stop for coffee at a well-known "Cafe'" near the campus, but it wasn't open for breakfast (?), so I had to get some Waffle House coffee, it was better than expected for my first Awful House experience.
From there I headed to Jasper via Highway 69. This is a beautiful and scenic twisty-curvy roller coaster of a road, just the kind of driving I love, and one of the most beautiful drives I have ever experienced in Alabama. After a quick pit stop in Jasper, and getting a little bit lost, I found 195 and took it towards Double Springs hoping to take a short hike in the Sipsey Wilderness before heading to Athens. I found the same scenic twisty hilly roads on 195, but with a lot more big trucks, so this part of the trip wasn't as good. At Double Springs, I took 33 to head into the Sipsey Wilderness. Again, there were very nice well maintained, lightly traveled roads, very scenic. Lots of signs for camping areas and trail heads, I chose one with some history, popular and close to 33. I only did a mile and had to turn around (2 miles RT), the temperatures were already above 90 (at 9:00 AM), and my hip and ankle needed more rest.
Gateway to the Sipsey Wilderness
|Wheeler Dam & Locks|
From there I headed to 72 and on into Athens to spend the weekend with Grand kids.
Although the driving time is double, it was well worth it. With all the recent closings due to accidents on I-65 this week, I was GLAD to avoid that part of the very boring, but stressful drive to Athens. I might find another back road route to go home.