Posted by on 18, May 2018 in 2018 - Florida to Canada, Tilly the Tandem, USA


When we were warned way back at the start of our tour about the dangers of America the three things that we weren’t warned about were Hillbillys, Guns and Dogs. Hopefully we won’t have any run in with gun toting people and you know we’ve already had our fun filled evening with the guys from Deliverance which only leaves dogs. Alabama specialises in dogs that eat cyclists and our first experience was a bit unexpected – woof woof and all of a sudden three or four dogs come hurtling our of a garden and before you know it one of them has latched on to our panniers and is trying to pull us over.

No point calling the police, we know what they’ll say “It’s not illegal for a dog to eat your pannier, bike and yourselves sir, it’s just their way of being friendly” which roughly translates into “We’re the laziest bunch of amateur cops you’re likely to ever come across and we can’t write very well so can’t be bothered to fill out any forms to report this and we need to go and get a donut anyway… ”

So when in Rome… Tool up, get angry and get even! Our WarmShowers hosts had kindly given us some Halt – a pepper spray with instructions on how to use, which to paraphrase Corporal Jones form Dad’s Amry was “Wait until you can see the white’s of their eyes then aim for their nose”. They don’t like it up ’em!

So, for our next dog encounter – and there are going to be many – we had our WMD’s all lined up in racks on Tilly. First off we let them have the long range surface to surface missile – Fly spray, this actually does make some of the dogs stop, then we move to defdog 3 and yell ” No!” Which seems to have little impact so we upgrade to Defdog 2 and yell really really angrily (I even growl) and that does stop a few more who look a touch confused. Some of these hounds though are relentless and the best course of action is to get off the bike, stand behind it, draw your .44 Magnum and ask the dog if it feels Lucky. As we haven’t got a Magnum (yet!) We resort to stones and as a last resort pepper spray.

We are now well into double figures on dubious dog encounters and I’m definitely erring towards the pump action shotgun solution.

They aren’t everywhere and it basically boils down to if the house is a tip, or an unkempt trailer, or if the Confederate flag is flying then it’s likely to have dogs with no leash and no fence to contain them and a hunger for pannier!

These dogs have so irritated Linda that everytime she sees or hears a dog she goes to battle stations and makes ready with the heavy ordanance. And it does rather spoil the rides. Guy and Pam told us about cyclists who had been put in hospital that weekend by dogs, nothing illegal about that – which goes a long way to explaining how Americas crime rate is apparently low.

The countryside here is pretty but not spectacular – it’s a bit like Suffolk if someone got a rolling pin and rolled it out thinner. Huge fields, lots of trees and small groups of trailer type houses with the occasional town. The towns are functional – lots of big shops on big roads with cars and very little heart to them, its ok but nothing to write home about (through that’s what I’m doing here!) So after more thought we decided that we’d cycle on to Georgia and then hire a van to get to the Atlantic coast and hopefully away from Dogsville, Deliverance and danger.

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