If you start at the bottom of the map, in Atmore at the Florida state line, and finally reach this place, Alabama 21’s northern terminus in Piedmont, you’ve done something supreme: You’ve seen Alabama, the state we love for its beauty, its natural resources and its people.

Friday, Aug. 1, 5:39 p.m. — Except for its difficult transition through Montgomery, Alabama 21 alternates between two-lane and four-lane versions. If you drive the whole thing, Florida to Piedmont, it certainly seems as if you spend more time on two-lane roads with minimal traffic and lots o…

Friday, Aug. 1, 9:55 a.m. — TALLADEGA — Alabama 21’s 279 miles have a few commonalities. One of them is the abundance of war memorials scattered around the towns on this highway.

Friday, Aug. 1, 8:34 a.m. — SYLACAUGA — The global reputation of this Talladega County city is based on rock — marble, to be exact. It’s long been called the Marble City because of the overwhelming amount of pristine, white marble on which it sits. (It’s part of the Murphy Marble Belt, 32 mi…

Friday, Aug. 1, 7:46 a.m. — WETUMPKA — The age of the planet is a controversial topic for those who’d rather not tussle with scientists and those who believe the literal story of the Bible. Here in Wetumpka, that could be a flashpoint.

Thursday, July 31, 6:49 p.m. — ROCKFORD — Legend has it that the biggest thing in the modern history of this small Alabama 21 town is Fred the Dog.

Thursday, July 31, 9:46 a.m. – MONTGOMERY – From the Florida state line to the Alabama state capital, Alabama 21 is essentially an idiot-free road. You have to try to get lost, miss a turn, end up going east or west when you should be going north.

Thursday, July 31, 7:51 a.m. — HAYNEVILLE — The barrenness of Alabama 21 as it makes its way north and east toward the state capital is immense. Through Wilcox County and into Lowndes County, this two-lane state highway can be as quiet as a library.

Wednesday, July 30, 2:15 p.m. – BEATRICE – Anniston isn’t the only town along Alabama 21 that carries a woman’s first name.

Wednesday, July 30, 9:56 a.m. — PETERMAN — Up and down Alabama 21 are small towns, some built after the Civil War, others before. Nearly all of them owe part of their history to the railroad.

Towns aren’t people, but they hurt and feel. They also harbor grudges and rivalries. Think Anniston and Oxford, eternal neighbors bound by geography. They’re connected by Alabama 21 and decades of civic competition, sometimes friendly, other times not. If Monroeville is Anniston, it has two Oxfords.

Tuesday, July 29, 12:01 p.m. — URIAH — Turns out that Centennial Memorial Park in Anniston isn't the only war memorial sitting squarely on Alabama 21.

Tuesday, July 29, 9:48 a.m. — ATMORE — Holman Correctional Facility, which houses Alabama’s death-row inmates and its execution chamber, sits just off Alabama 21 a few miles north of Atmore. For Alabamians with only a casual knowledge of this place, the prison — and its death row — is often the only thing people know about it. That issue isn’t lost on Atmore residents.

ATMORE — If Foster Kizer isn’t Atmore’s First Citizen, he’s at least this place’s biggest cheerleader, honest critic and eternally hopeful civic romantic. He moves about his homestead with a graceful ease, slow and peaceful, his three dogs (and one cat) following him from room to room.

One his way north on Alabama 21 from the Florida state line, Phillip Tutor makes a brief side trip to the W.C. Holman Correctional Facility just north of Atmore. Fortunately, he doesn't have to stay.


Phillip Tutor reaches Montgomery on his trek along Alabama 21 from the Florida state line, and in doing so, leaves behind the two-lane country road he's traveled up to now.

The Anniston Star's Phillip Tutor stops in Uriah on his way up Alabama 21 from the Florida state line to Piedmont.

One his way north on Alabama 21 from the Florida state line, Phillip Tutor makes a brief side trip to the W.C. Holman Correctional Facility just north of Atmore. Fortunately, he doesn't have to stay.

The Anniston Star's Phillip Tutor is traveling all of Alabama Highway 21 north, from Atmore to Piedmont. His journey began south of the Florida line, on Florida 97.