I've been in Birmingham now for a week and I'd say things are going pretty well. There were definitely some differences upon my entering this state that made it apparent that I wasn't in New Hampshire anymore. One was a huge Confederate flag by the highway on my way here (not in Birmingham, somewhere on the way) and another was a billboard that said something to the effect of: "If you don't go to church the devil is gonna get you!" Not kidding, there was even a little cartoon devil to further illustrate the point. Also of course is that everyone has a southern accent except me. And yesterday when it was in the 40s early in the morning the other women in the locker room were talking about how freezing it was and that when it gets that cold they wear tights under their pants. I'll say that I've been known to wear long underwear under my pants to work a couple of times, but on those days the temperature was somewhere in the single digits.
Now, aside from those few things - and the fact that they have supermarkets called Piggly Wiggly - I have to say that I have been incredibly surprised by how much a lot of this place reminds me of home. The terrain is similar, the trees are similar, the mountains, the roads; it all could be things I'd see at home. In that sense, it's been quite nice. The problem I've often encountered with going somewhere warm to train is that while the weather is better, the roads aren't so great. Traffic or stoplights or road conditions or no shoulders or any number of things might make it feel quite inferior to riding back home in June when the snow is long gone. But I'm really happy with the road conditions here.
The other day I went out and rode in a state park with hardly any traffic and it reminded me a lot of a road I ride out to Waterville Valley, including passing the golf course. And today I went on a nice stretch of road with little traffic, great pavement and rolling hills while riding by mostly farms and rural houses. It definitely beats the awful pavement, vacant desert and occasional stray dog chasing you that Tucson had to offer.
It hasn't been incredibly warm yet, but that is likely to change quickly. Today was cooler but the temperatures for all of next week and as far as I can tell look to be in the 70s and 80s. That said, it looks like back home the temperatures are going to be in the 50s and 60s instead of the low 40s as it normally would be this time of year, so after escaping last winter, that was horrible, this winter is almost making me feel like I sort of wasted the trip. That said, I'm sure New Hampshire would not be able to help me out with the oppressive heat and humidity that I'm sure to encounter when I get to Texas.
Wow, I am incredibly boring lately. There's really nothing exciting to say. Oh, people like to hear about food, right? This week I cooked up some chicken stir fry with peppers, onions, broccoli and snow peas, and a batch of the famous turkey/pumpkin chili. I've also purchased the ingredients to make some stuffed peppers. I'm sort of improvising those and making that one up so I'll let you know how it goes. Seriously, that's all there is to say. If I could be more interesting I would be, sorry!