Wendy and I spent most of last night reminiscing about our days in Boston. Then we joined Brian for some TV, the Vietnam PBS program. At 10 I went to bed.
We met for breakfast at 6:30. Suffice it to say Wendy knows her way around a kitchen. Ham, cheese, scrambled eggs, an everything bagel with butter, and coffee. Before I left she prepared baggies full of pretzels and ginger snaps. I made myself a double decker PB&J. Hugs and a handshake and adios.
The day began with heavy traffic and no shoulder. For most of 13 miles. Then I turned off onto country roads but the heavy traffic persisted. New residential developments were interspersed with run down houses and beautiful saltwater marshes, streams, and ponds.
My route angled me back to Ocean Island Beach. I missed a turn along the way but recovered without difficulty.
My maps indicated that there was a bike shop on Beach Drive so I assumed it was along the beach. I climbed a steep bridge over the intercoastal waterway. A signed warned cyclists to walk across the bridge, but I said “Pshaw!” and pedaled onward. The edge of the bridge is a 2 1/2 foot high Jersey barrier. The view was great but one false move and you’d fall 50 or 60 feet into the water. Eek.
I crossed the barrier island. No Beach Drive. As the Google now told me, when I turned I was on Beach Drive. The bike shop was 1 mile ahead on my route. Argh!
Back over the waterway. Don’t look down. Breathe.
I got to the bike shop and used a floor pump to top off my tires. Then on I rode. I was hot and I had been eating ginger snaps for an hour so why was I obsessing about ice cream?
For the record, my bike gets 2 1/2 miles to the ginger snap.
Despite eating mucho ginger snaps I was bonking. I couldn’t figure out how on a hot day riding a 70 – 80 pound bike into a headwind might not be a ginger snappingly great idea. Also the heavy traffic had me fixated on my mirror instead of my water bottles.
I entered South Carolina. State of the art road design is no paved shoulder and rumble strips. Are you kidding me?
My route took me on US 17, a four lane bicycle death trap. I exited into the state visitor center. I filled my water bottles in the rest room. Then I downed my head with water. Next I found a water fountain with refrigerated water. It tasted amazing. I drank for 20 minutes until by belly sloshed.
All better. Back on the bike I was soon on somewhat less heavily travelled country roads. The drivers were (mostly) taking care with passing me. They appeared to be preferring head on collisions to running me over. I’ll bet alcoholism is a problem around here. I do have evidence. I have never seen so much roadside trash. And so many blue beer cans and bottles.
I found a convenience store and finally ate some ice cream, an ice cream chocolate cookie sandwich. Happy face. I also chugged a liter of cold water. Slosh.
The rumble strip romp continued another 20 miles to Conway. The only motels worth staying in were down a highway toward Myrtle Beach. The highway was like an interstate but it had a wide shoulder. Until it got to a bridge. I contemplated turning around until a big break in the traffic came and I went for it. There was a narrow sidewalk but the road seemed safer. The break ended but the cars gave me a wide berth. I sped down the far side to a Super 8 motel. It’s old but it’s clean and everything works.
I check the temperature on my phone: 89 degrees. And muggy. The headwind disguised how hot it was.
After cleaning my chain, I checked the route for tomorrow. I have three options. A 50 mile ride to Andrews, a 105 mile ride to Chaleston, or an 85 mile ride past the turn off to Charleston. The second option was my original plan but I think I’ll go to Andrews. Then ride to Charleston and the hostel there.
My friend Mike Ross warned my about roads like the ones I was in today. He was right.
78.5 miles today. 662.5 for the nine days.