Early morning start from Charleston gave us this pre-dawn view from the stunning Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River
Just as was forecast, we rode in the rain this morning. But it was less than an hour, and it was a steady but not driving rain and we were on some quieter roads as we left Charleston. It spit again a few times in the early afternoon but, all things considered, we got off pretty easy.
Up until she retired from teaching at Providence College last year, Dee commuted by bike, 7 miles each way, in rain and snow and whatever else Rhode Island threw at her. I, on the other hand, am a fair-weather bike commuter, jumping in my Prius if the temps aren’t climbing out of the 40s or if thunderstorms are forecast. So voluntarily riding in the rain, as it looks like we will be doing the next few days, takes me a bit out of my comfort zone. But the truth is, it’s not so bad. Especially if the days are warm like they have been inSouth Carolina. Our bags are Ortlieb, the best name in waterproof bike luggage, so we don’t have to worry about our stuff. We move along and the rain becomes part of the rhythm and then — if you’re lucky, like we were today — you and your clothes dry out as you ride once the rain stops.
Years ago at UMass, my friend Joan and I planned my first long bike ride. We wanted to ride from Amherst to her sister Ann’s in Simsbury, CT, following the Pioneer Valley. We took care of logistics like planning the route, and I think I bought a paper map and a handlebar bag. Then the morning of our ride came and it was pouring. It poured all day, as I remember. We laughed about that for miles as we rode — all that planning and we never even considered it might rain on us!
At our first rest stop today, Bucks Hall Landing state park on the Intracoastal Waterway
Along with avoiding heavy rain, we got nice breaks today off of Route 17, most of them well marked with East Coast Greenway signs. One such break took us into McClellanville, where we stopped for a snack at Boats ‘n Hoagies and met its friendly owner. That was the only little village to speak of; otherwise we passed miles of not much. There was the occasional antebellum plantation in the middle of nowhere, grand old homes and tree-lined drives right out of Gone With the Wind. Then there were the occasional miles of soft dirt road running through timber forests, complete with vicious horseflies. We would have taken a plantation photo or two but stopping meant risking more blood loss from the flies.
Dee leaving what we shall call Horsefly Alley; not our favorite riding surface but the Konas did fine.
We ended the day riding over an enormous bridge (yay for me!) into Georgetown. After checking in to our beautiful AirBnb and cleaning up, we walked into town. There’s a sort of 1950s feel to Front Street but with plenty of life — a handful of restaurants to choose from, a coffee shop where the owner let us in just as he was closing, a pretty boardwalk along the river. What appealed to me most was that it feels like a real downtown for people who live there, not for tourists. We learned that the city has always hosted industry, from indigo and rice during slavery to shipping, paper mills (it was the home of International Paper’s largest mill in the world at one point) and a steel mill.
Lee and Paul, our AirBnb hosts, moved to Georgetown from Maine and bought this stunning home
The boardwalk in downtown Georgetown. Note the big grey clouds, we hear they are hanging with us through the weekend.
Today marked the beginning of our third week of riding. By Sunday we will have hit 1,000 miles and our fourth state. I never expected this adventure to feel like it was flying by so quickly. We’ve gotten into enough of a routine where we may ride for 30 miles in the mornings before stopping for a rest break and snacks. I remember commuting seven miles to the office this spring and wondering if I could even ride 15 miles without needing to stop. So I certainly feel stronger. My quads have stopped feeling like I just ran a half marathon. My private parts no longer balk at sitting on a bike seat for seven hours. Meanwhile Dee just is strong, as I’ve said; she’s not normal.
We are buoyed by so many of you following along, cheering and encouraging us. It’s fun to share the adventure and feel that we so many of you are right here with us. Thanks for reading!