No dogs today. Except one firmly on a leash, cast in bronze and, therefore, not chasing cyclists (though I swear I saw his nose twitch as I rode past). We saw the hound in question at the Fort Benning army base where he and his master are part of a memorial to the hundreds of “combat canines” killed in action – many of them in Vietnam. Just goes to prove that they can be man’s best friend – just not so much in Alabama.
Yesterday I was decrying the fact that riding across America at an average of 16 mph leaves little time for proper inquiry at the places we pass and that consequently our view of them is impressionistic – urban, hot and dry, windy and cold, dusty, hot and wet, green, very green, very hot, very wet…
Well a little inquiry into last night’s stopover – Columbus, Georgia – reveals a few interesting facts. The last battle of the American Civil War was fought there in 1865 after General Lee’s surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Nobody had thought of informing either the Confederate stronghold or a Union detachment sent to sack it.
The inventor of Coca-Cola, Dr. John Pemberton, was wounded in this battle. Had he died how different – and thinner – America might be. Apparently he developed the drink to try to wean himself off an addiction to morphine which he was taking to ease the pain of his sabre wounds. Little was he to know that a whole nation would become addicted to the stuff. Hell even I’m becoming addicted to it. I rarely if ever touch fizzy drinks (beer and sparkling wines excepted) back home but here I’m drinking a can of his brew every day. It’s refreshing in temperatures nudging the 90s (Fahrenheit) and the sugar “rush” keeps the legs spinning. With only two days of riding left I’m going to be getting cold turkey. Or getting fat.