Back to Bama’ For The Alabama Tandem Weekend (ATW)

After a two-year hiatus, we’re headed back to the Alabama Tandem Weekend (ATW) in Eufaula, Alabama.  The weather looks as though it will be perfect for spring cycling and many of the names we’re seeing on one of our favorite, no-frills tandem gatherings are familiar ones.

We were first introduced to ATW in the spring of 1998, at Fairhope, Alabama. A quaint little down on the Gulf Coast just east of Mobile, Alabama.  We made fast friends with Philip & Donna from Chattanooga, Tennessee while sharing stories over some Killian’s Red at a gulf shore bar.  It was a great time, to be sure, and it was also the first of many rallies that we’d attend.

For the next several years, George Bacon hosted the annual ATW gathering at the University of Auburn in Auburn, Alabama.  While the roads were a bit iffy on occasion and Mr. Gatti’s Pizza was, well, Mr. Gatti’s Pizza, ATW was it was: our annual spring tune-up rally where friends reunited and caught up on what had happened over the winter while riding on lovely rural roads around Auburn, sitting in the Hospitality Suite atop of the University Inn, or while enjoying a great meal at one of the neat little college town restaurants.  Although, our visits always seemed to end with a final visit to Cheeseburger-Cheeseburger.  After what must have been five or six years of visits to Auburn, George moved ATW closer to home in Trussville, Alabama just outside of Birmingham for 2004 & 2005.  The riding was much more challenging and by the second year George had hit his stride with a great Saturday lunch stop next to a lake and some really great BBQ for dinner at the hotel.

After that, we lost touch with ATW as it may have had a bye-year before moving to Enterprise, Alabama for 2006 & 2007.  We did not attend for those years as it was just too far of a drive.  In 2008 & 2009, ATW moved to Anniston, Alabama where the ride became a point-to-point two-day trip along the Chief Ladega and Silver Comet Rails-to-Trails bicycle / MUP path, which just isn’t our cup of tea.

So, it is with great anticipation that we look forward to this weekend’s tandem gathering in Eufaula, Alabama in the hopes that this will be the beginning of another multi-year run of this very special spring classic for those of us here in the Southeast US.  Let’s see, yes… we’ll need to leave in about 2 hours to make the 1pm start.

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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4 Responses to Back to Bama’ For The Alabama Tandem Weekend (ATW)

  1. TG says:

    Day 1: Great time meeting up with friends early in the season before, during and after the ride poolside, at dinner and hanging around the motel. Dinner at the River City Grill was actually quite good, with great service and very reasonable pricing. The city of Eufaula is also quite interesting as it bills itself as the Bass Fishing Capital of the US and we’ve arrived in the midst of the Pilgrimage. The roads were, well, South Georgia shake & bake intermixed with two-lane highways supporting big truck traffic. Not ideal and, yes, I did say South Georgia. While the weekend is anchored in Eufaula, Alabama, the rides routes immediately head across the state line into Georgia; interesting.

  2. TG says:

    Day 2: The day’s ride began with sunny skies and temps in the high 50’s and saw us once again heading across the Vandiver Causeway to Georgia for a 62 mile loop ride. Our first leg to us to Florence Landing where we found a small fair in full swing, replete with Kettle Korn, Meat Skins, deep-fried Oreo cookies and several other less than healthy food products. After sampling some of the local fare and a win for Eric Osgood in the ‘Cake Walk’ event that netted a 9×9 pan of very rich brownies, we headed east for our second stop: Providence Canyon. Providence Canyon is also known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon” as it features massive gullies, as deep as 150 feet, caused by poor farming practices during the 1800s. As you can guess, today’s route wasn’t exactly flat with some 2,500′ of climbing. Our third stop was the city of Lumkin and 4-Corner’s BBQ for lunch before making the final, non-stop 27 mile leg back to our motel in Eufaula.

    Many of the teams congregated around the pool after the ride to socialize over some cold brews, jello-shooters courtesy of the Knechts, Rum cake fresh from Jamaica from the Strauss-Kofsky’s and the like. These are some of the moments we relish the most at tandem gatherings and it’s one of the things that has always made the Alabama Tandem Weekend somewhat special. Our no-frills agenda next had us heading over the Cajun Corner for dinner, Dutch Treat. Very good food, as before, and of course great dinner conversation. We then gathered back at the motel lobby for a memory game of sorts. Our wonderful hosts, Steve & Wendy Baxter, added a bit of fun and competition to the event by telling us before we left for the day’s ride that we’d be quizzed on some of the sights and signs later that evening. The winners would receive a pair of Adirondack chairs that Steve Baxter had made for the event.

    All-in-all, another great day.

  3. TG says:

    Day 3 – We had to leave early due to some other commitments back home, but it looked to be another great day… sunny and quite a bit warmer than Saturday. Linda Wood worked with Steve Baxter on Saturday night to re-work the Sunday route so that instead of repeating Friday afternoon’s 25 mi lollipop loop into Georgia, it would take our friends through some 35 miles of Alabama roads to the south and west of Eufaula.

  4. Pingback: Alabama Tandem Weekend: The 2011 Rally That Got Away… « The TandemGeek's Blog

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