July 31, Tuesday (North Myrtle Beach to Georgetown):
The ride started along a highway with mostly no shoulder. However, because it was 6 lanes wide I felt fairly comfortable just claiming the right lane for myself. It was flat and I was able to do 20-21 mph for a while so cars were only going past me at 25-30 mph faster than I was going.
When I got to Myrtle Beach, the route then brought me over to the Coast so I was on the street that fronted numerous beach front hotels. That was slow but interesting riding. Rain free, too.
Though of course that couldn’t last. Not this summer at least. So it started raining. But that didn’t last forever either.
Going through a small town I had at least 2 vehicles yell at me to use the bike lane since I was in the car lane. What they didn’t know was that the “bike lane” really wasn’t rideable except maybe for someone going 10 mph or less because it was pitted, rough, littered and prone to disappear. At least when they yelled they gave me space which is what was important.
The ride was only scheduled for 36 miles so I decided to extend it to what turned out to be 65.5 miles to lop some off of the next day. The riding was flat with a total of only 950 feet of climb and was fun. The last 20 or so were on country roads, some of which went by what I am sure were plantation homes at one time and some of which were so remote and out of service areas that I would have hated to have had a breakdown there.
At the end of the country roads I was returned to Highway 17 which I had come to hate because of the lack of any place to ride. Because of that and because I had hit my aimed for mileage I stopped and called Ale to come get me. What I hadn’t realized is that I had stopped in a mosquito convention. Although a lot of them lost their lives, I lost a fair amount of blood and ended up with numerous welts. They were in addition to those I had gotten earlier when I got a flat near a stream that bred mosquitoes. That was interesting, changing a tube while fighting off mosquitoes. I got the tire changed but I also made a lot of mosquitoes happy.
We ate in a waterfront restaurant in Georgetown that served way more than I could eat. It also had the bonus of hosting both a 5’ alligator and a large turtle that were in the water directly in front of where we were seated.
August 1, Wednesday (Georgetown to Charleston):
I had Ale drive me to where she had picked me up the before. However, when I again saw Hwy. 17, including from inside the truck, I lost my nerve and had her drive me to where Google had me turn off that road. The next 30+ miles were beautiful country roads that went through a forested area. It was great until I got another flat which created some anxiety because being the second of the day meant I had no more spares. Plus it started to pour as I was changing tubes. Plus my phone stopped working. The touchscreen simply wouldn’t obey me.
I rode until I intersected a main highway and was told which way to turn to get to Charleston by someone who was also stopped by the same stop sign.
Then another ride from hell started because again there was no place to ride and there were a lot of fast cars. It was so bad that while it was available I rode on a decaying sidewalk that never could have been intended for cyclists. The slow riding was worth it to not worry about getting run over. However, even that alternative ended and I had to return to the road.
That lasted a few miles until I saw that Ale was along the road waiting for me. I was surprised because I hadn’t seen her pass me but it turned out that she had approached from the opposite direction.
The timing was good because I was tired of the rain and of being constantly nervous about the cars. And trucks. The timing was even more fortuitous than I had originally realized because as I walked the bike to the truck I saw that I had yet another flat. That would have been a real problem because I had no more spares and my damp phone wasn’t obeying my wet fingers’ attempts to get it to do what I wanted.
The solution was easy. I put the bike on the rack, got into the truck and said that enough was enough. When I saw the roads ahead of us, especially heading into Charleston, there was no way I wanted to be on a bike.
The ride ended at 38 miles, 377 feet and 16.6 mph average which wasn’t bad given some of what I rode through.
Ale and I spent the afternoon exploring Charleston, much of which is really very pretty. Green, large yards and well maintained homes. We ate lunch in the Historic Marketplace area and walked along a long stone pathway that was on the water on one side and bordered by numerous huge, beautiful mansions on the other. Many were 3 stories and most had impressive verandas.
This was a bittersweet day for me because it was my last day with Ale. She had to fly home the next day for her daughter. I have already told her, numerous times, how much I appreciate all of the help and support and friendship she has given me, both this year and on the 2 previous rides. I will miss you Ale. Thank you!
I picked Patty up from the airport so she can help over the next couple of weeks. Thank you to you too, Patty.
August 2, Thursday (Charleston R&R day):
This was my first rest day since Philadelphia which meant 14 straight days of riding even if a couple weren’t quite as long as I had expected. After getting a late start because Patty is still on west Coast time we went to see Mission Impossible to avoid the rain and then had dinner in the old part of town. Included were 2 dozen oysters at $10 per dozen during happy hour.
August 3, Friday (Charleston to Ridgeland):
What a day. First, Google Maps wasn’t talking to me. That took me about 15 minutes to solve. Then it started raining. Then I got a flat. When I took the tire off I saw that the tire had gotten cut. I put a piece of tire between the cut and tube but saw that air was still escaping through the cut. I could see it because there was so much water that there were bubbles. I was concerned that the new tube would blow up but couldn’t call Patty because my phone wasn’t working at all. I managed to ride back to the house – we were staying at an Airbnb – and used another of my spare tires to fix part of the problem. The other part wasn’t solved because I need a working phone. We spent the next couple of hours at the Apple store getting a new phone and getting it set up. That didn’t include while we sat in the truck waiting for downpours to stop. Downpours, not just rain.
We then started following the bike route but I abandoned that idea because of the roads I would have had to have ridden on in the rain and the traffic. Plus it was getting late.
There was nothing about the drive that made me regret that decision. I simply couldn’t have ridden through some of the rain and I wouldn’t have ridden on some of the highways even in good weather. Plus, I won’t ride in a lightning storm. I obviously took advantage of an option that a self supported rider wouldn’t have. I can say that is another reason for having a SAG.
After a great Mexican dinner, we drove around Ridgeland some, though given its size, that didn’t take a lot. We did encounter these hungry critters who gladly ate the chips and rice that we threw to them.
I can only hope that tomorrow is better. But if it isn’t, I will be motorized again. It really is a shame because as for the riding itself, I am in better shape and the roads are flat. But I intend to minimize the risks as much as I reasonably can.