2020 Tour of Honor – Huntsville Day Ride

As the season is coming to a close, I still have several routes that I have working on the documentation and pictures. So, this one may be out of order on the category listing.

Last week, the bride said I needed to go for a couple of rides to visit a few remaining sites before the year ends. Looking over the dates and knowing when I needed to be back home.

I had thought about a ride to Huntsville to visit a couple of places with Hueys, maybe try my luck as getting onto Redstone Arsenal to visit a whole bunch. Today was going to be a day ride, so it ruled out much more than just riding to Huntsville.

The rain forecast kept switching between 20% and 80%. When we got up this morning, forecast was 20% to 35%. Good enough for me. Coffee, bagels, and I was ready to ride.

I started heading toward Huntsville on US72, but decided to try some different roads once I passed Rogersville. I rode past Brown Ferry Nuclear Plant, then ended up close to Decatur on US31. I made the turn onto Alt-US72 which became I565.

Two years ago, I was able to ask for an escort to lead me to the Huey at the Space Center, then I was out. I had asked since I didn’t want to visit or tour the entire center, just go to the Huey. They had no problems and I met a few nice people. Today, $25, no exceptions. I thought about it for a minute, even thought about trying to get the photo from outside the gate, but they didn’t like that.

I paid my $25 and headed in. At least the money goes to keep the center open. I got the picture of the bike outside the Space Center before heading in. I headed straight to the Huey, got the picture, and headed back out. I waved at the cashier to show that I had been in for less than 10 minutes and I was leaving. As I loaded and got ready to leave, I saw a couple pull in. I gave them the ticket (it is good for all day and didn’t have any indication that a different person was using the ticket). I said that if one of them could get in with my ticket, they just saved $25, if not, they didn’t lose anything. I loaded up and headed to another site nearby.

I had seen that there were two more Hueys nearby according to the map. It wasn’t clear how to get to them, but I knew one was near the RV Park. I followed the signs to the RV Park and rode through with no luck on seeing any Hueys. I rode around to another part of the Space Camp and came to a closed gate. I was about to turn around when I saw a Cobra! This fits into the category of Hueys for the Tour of Honor. I got a picture of the bike with the Cobra in the distance, then a picture closer to the fence with the Cobra.

I road past Redstone’s gates and saw that I wouldn’t be able to get on post, so I didn’t bother to waste my time. I decided to visit the Veterans Museum which is south of town on US231. I missed the exit and had to go to the next exit to turn around. I had been here two years ago and got one picture of a Huey which was being restored outside. Today, that particular Huey is on display inside the museum. I paid my $4 entrance fee and toured the entire place. Vehicles, firearms, clothing, and other memorabilia from the Revolutionary War to current era. I got pictures of the Huey and Cobra which were inside. I also got a picture of the Huey that was outside.

I was ready to head back west toward home. The skies looked like they were getting darker, but not too dark. I headed south on US231 until I got to AL36 and headed due west! As I got to Danville, there is Crossroads Steak and Grill. I have passed this place for a couple of years, but never at the right time to stop and eat. Today, I was hungry and they were open. I had a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich with Onion Rings. This was one of the best Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches I have had since leaving the DC area. The onion rings were not food service onion rings, these were fresh onions which they had cut and battered themselves.

After lunch, the skies were darker. The radar shows that there was heavy rain past Moulton, but the rain was moving to the northeast and should be gone by the time I got there. By 3:00pm, the rain should be all gone and I would manage to miss the rain.

I had 10 miles until I would get to AL157. The rain clouds were north and northwest of me, there were clouds to the west, where I was headed, but they didn’t look like they had much rain in them. As I got to AL157, I thought about going straight and staying on AL36, then come to Moulton from the south. The extra time would give the rain a few extra minutes to get past. I opted to turn only AL157. A few drops of rain on the face shield, but nothing to cause concern. I stayed dry riding through Moulton, though the dark skies to my left kept getting closer. I decided to not make the turn only AL33 which is my usual route through Courtland. I stayed on AL157. Shortly past Moulton, the rain caught up with me. Nothing hard, but I am glad that I had put my phone and wallet in the tank bag and the cover on the tank bag.

Shortly before getting to the junction of AL20 and AL157, I saw a wall of rain ahead. Skies were dark ahead and to the right. I knew I was going to be wet when I got home.

The rain lasted the last two miles until I turned only Wilson Dam Road. The road was wet, but there was signs that it had rained, but it wasn’t right now. As I neared the Singing River Bridge, I could see the sun shining on the hospital on the hilltop. Once I crossed the bridge, the skies were clear and the roads were dry. The last few miles to the house were dry.

Overall, 177 miles of riding and 5 Huey bonus points for the Tour of Honor.