Roger McCulley tries to bike 50 miles every day, rain or shine.
He prefers the shine.
With his 9-year-old granddaughter, Emma, in tow, McCulley didn’t quite hit 50 miles on the Chief Ladiga Trail on Thursday morning, but with the weather cooperating for seemingly the first time in months, McCulley said he didn’t want to pass up some quality time with family.
“This is perfect, sun is out, not too hot,” said McCulley, standing in the packed parking lot at Mike Tucker Park, where several people appeared to be getting a head start on the three-day holiday weekend by enjoying some recreation. After another wet spring, and unusually cold winter for Alabama, many in Calhoun County are looking forward to what promises to be a sunny, three-day holiday weekend.
Temperatures are expected to hover in the mid-80s today through Sunday, cooling off just slightly in the evening, and with little chance of rain, according to the National Weather Service. It means Mother Nature is unlikely to interrupt folks who’ve planned a Fourth of July picnic or barbecue, or to gaze at some evening fireworks.
It wasn’t just folks biking and walking on the trails who were getting off to an early holiday start Thursday. Much like at the Ladiga trailhead, parking was hard to come by at Coldwater Spring park in Oxford, where several families gathered in the afternoon to dip their toes in the water to try to beat the heat.
“We have some family up from Odessa, Texas, and they were going stir-crazy in the house,” said Linda Munford, who was resting in folding chair on the bank at Coldwater while watching her grandson swim. “We got the week off, and we don’t get much of a chance to take the kids swimming, so this is perfect.”
Talladega resident Bob Rushin said Thursday he was on his way to Oxford Lake with his 9-year-old great-granddaughter when he and his wife decided to show the girl, visiting with her family from Florida, the swimming park.
“We’re hitting all the spots today,” Rushin said. “The weather is perfect.”
Bobby Watkins, who runs Crystal Springs Lake in Wellington, is hoping a big Independence Day weekend will make up for what’s been a very slow season for the recreation destination on Alabama 204. Although the park opened in mid-May, he said the constant rain has pretty much washed out business. But if Thursday’s crowd was any indication, this weekend should alleviate some of his early-season woes.
“We’re usually pretty packed on Fourth of July anyway, with people wanting to picnic,” Watkins said. “I think a lot of people are just sick of sitting indoors all day with the rain. I think it’ll be a good weekend for us.”
Then, it might be back to business as usual. According to the Weather Service, temperatures are expected to hit the 90s by Monday, but a chance of thunderstorms could hit Calhoun County for the rest of next week.
Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.