Not long after we left the overlook, we took the turnoff for Highway 9, our backroad route to Cheaha. That’s when The Other Ruth (hereafter referred to as TOR) decided she needed a convenience store so she could get her morning coke fix, as in Coca Cola, and while she was at it, use the facilities. Not only is toilet paper in short supply these days, so are acceptable bathrooms on road trips. Clean restaurants and state-operated rest stops designed for such activity are all shut tight. I spotted a Mom ‘n Pop place as we drove through Lineville, but Ruth was unimpressed. Then she spotted a MapCo. “That will do,” she said, so I pulled in.
We were not the only occupants of the Mapco parking lot. Apparently, every motorcycle rider in Alabama who owned a big black bike and a black leather outfit (but no mask) had a case of cabin fever and happened to converge on this particular Mapco right when we did. These guys and a few gals were all lined up, straddling their bikes and revving their motors, when TOR bounded towards the convenience store front door. Having the stronger bladder of the two of us, I opted to remain with the car, but I did slink out for a couple minutes to pour Gracie a small cup of water, all the while keeping a close eye on that Mapco motorcycle gang across from me.