Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day 12: Myrtle Beach to McClellanville

Route: Myrtle Beach, SC to McClellanville, SC
Mileage: 68 miles

I woke up and went to go out and have breakfast.  Keegan was still asleep and needing coffee so did not join right away.  Prasan had made some more Indian deliciousness and we also had yogurt, bananas, and Keegan eventually had cereal. After breakfast I folded laundry and got us packed up while Keegan did his thing.  We wanted to get pictures before we left, and luckily the cable guy was there to fix the cable and obliged us by taking our picture.  We then set out!

We decided to give driving directions a go today, seeing as we weren't thrilled about riding down 17 with racing cars and a small shoulder.  So Google' biking directions took us down to what I can only imagine is the tourist section of Myrtle Beach on Ocean Ave.

And then were directed back onto 17.  Bummer.  Oh well, once there we then got another dose of the South.  We passed our first boiled peanut shack!  I don't understand boiled peanuts, but my mom and grandpa used to always pull over to the side of the road to get them when we were kids and used to spend our summers in GA/FL with my grandparents.  So I was tickled by that...we're getting closer!

Google, since we had bike directions on, then told us to go use a bike path that was right on the side of 17.  OOoo, that sounds nice, we thought.  Well, it would have been nice, had it not been winding through trees and covered in damp pine needles and needing to be navigated on a giant tandem bicycle. Not wanting to crash again, we took it really slow.  Keegan navigated us very carefully as we slalomed through the pine trees.

It was beautiful back there, but when given the opportunity, we emerged from the path.  Google then took us through some back neighborhoods, that were actually quite nice.  We then got back on 17 and rode along there for a ways until we got to where I had scoped out for lunch, Bisqit.  Yelp had mentioned it was behind a hammock shop, so we looked for that, and sure enough, there was a whole little village of shops tucked back in the woods there.  So as usual, we unloaded our things and headed in.  Some of the staff noticed us as we came walking in.  One of them even came up to our table and showed us the Snapchat her friend had sent her minutes was of us!  Her friend saw us biking on the road and took a quick video and sent it, joking that it was her and her friend who like to bike.  She then told her friend--"they're here!!".  Such local celebrities, we are ;)

When our server came over, she asked about the ride and we told her--even gave the staff some stickers!  We had ordered crab nachos, burgers, and the most delicious milkshakes ever.  After it had all been brought out, our server told us her manager wanted to pick up our meal for us today to support what we were riding for.  We were shocked, that was so kind!  It was the first time all trip that that had happened.  How thoughtful was that?

We gobbled down our meal and then asked if we could take a photo with the staff.  So let's hear a big cheer for the folks at Bisqit!!

Then we got back on 17 and that's when it got interesting.  We had our second near miss, I didn't watch it happen so perhaps wasn't quite as shaken up.  17 doesn't really have a shoulder, and where it does it has all those grooves to alert drivers if they start driving off the road.  Not terribly fun to ride a road bike on.  Keegan does a great job keeping us between it and the grass (a matter of inches) most of the time, but sometimes we have to come inside.  Like when there were bridges.  And this particular day there happened to be a lot as we passed over several bodies of water.  Well, I think our first bridge we started to hedge in.  Keegan always looks and we had enough time and space.  So we had to come in from the grass.  As we start to do so and just before our bike begins to roll onto the bridge we here a loud "HOOOONK!" by a giant tractor trailer, that perhaps didn't see us or just didn't like us being there.  We quickly yanked back over and Keegan kept us steady as we tried to not lose our balance.  I try to tell myself if we need to bail--bail to the right!  But we regained our balance and continued on over the bridge.  Don't cars/trucks realize that honking at us startles us more and we are more likely to swerve off course?  You can see us.  You are large and can control your speed.  Please don't frighten us and politely go around.  We just want to get over this bridge that unfortunately we have to share, then we will be on our merry way.  Thank you.

This broken bridge should be a bike path!

Given the next opportunity for Google to direct us off of 17, we took it.  Mostly it was through neighborhoods, but eventually we got to an area that was not neighborhoods, but plantations set back in the trees and swamp.  Google wanted us to go a mile or so south, then take a road parallel to 17 before cutting back up. Ok, so we tried it.  It was nice and quite, open road through the swamps and trees.

Then we approached where Google wanted us to "Turn right".  We barely even paused to consider it as it was a dirt road, chained off and posted with Private Property.  We decided to keep going and have Google reroute us.  Well there was nothing out there, so Google recalculated: the next option added 6 miles to our trip.  So we stopped, weighed our options, and decided to give the road a try.  It looked like a decently packed dirt road, not gravel.  So we rolled the bike under the chair, I hoped over and we started down the "road".  Immediately--and I mean immediately--as we started down the dirt road, then mosquitos just swarmed us. It was pretty incredible.  It was like they just dive bombed us.  I was trying to brush them off both myself and Keegan.  We had only made it about 1/4 of a mile before we hit a giant puddle/mini pond in the mud that we would have to trudge through.  We quickly reevaluated and figured this may be the first of many puddles and these mosquitos may do us in before we get to the end of the road--so back out we went to take our 6 mile detour around.

As we turned back and reapproached the "road"

The detour was actually quite lovely.  Quiet, straight roads, no one around.  We sang, swerved through the road, had a good ole time.  We were still itching from some mosquito bites though!  At once point, we kept seeing these crazy giant bugs running across the street and couldn't figure out what they were.  Then we noticed they weren't bugs at all--they were small crabs!  You could see their one big claw.  Still don't know why they were there.  Someone Google "swamp crabs". We also saw our first gator of the trip.  It was just chillin' on the side of the road sunning itself.  It was at most 2 feet from our ankles as we passed by.  Turns out, gators are much less terrorizing than country dogs.  It paid us no mind and we rolled right by.  We imagined being chased by the gator at 27mph....

We reemerged from the swamp. We were overdue for sunscreen but there was nowhere to stop.  We just stopped at someone's mailboxes and leaned the bike as we reapplied. We were close enough to the trees that the mosquitos quickly attacked.  Good thing we have multiple sunscreens--we both quickly doused ourselves and got back on the road.

We are staying at another Airbnb place for the evening, and after our experiences in Sunbury, had the forethought to ask the host what was around before we got there so we didn't end up with another string cheese dinner.  There really wasn't much of anything on that road, even the gas stations we passed were pretty pathetic.

But they had said there was a Dollar General (similar to Family Dollar) right before we turned off for their house, so we stopped there for some supplies (and bug spray!).  Our hosts were kind enough to offer for us to join them for dinner, but we still picked up some snack just in case.  Keegan waited with the bike as I grabbed snacks.  The employees and customers were all intrigued by our ride and asked lots of questions--JA awareness!

I thought perhaps a large citronella candle on the back of the bike would help....
There was a storm quickly moving in.  We already outran one storm today (truly, we did, it was coming and we pedaled out of its way!), but we took a moment to sit outside and have a lemonade.  Interesting country folk stopped to talk to us, and just as we were getting back on our bike, one of the employees walked out headed to her car, and without much affect at all, yelled back to the employees inside "Dog coming in!" as a dog wandered into the store.  She was totally unphased by it.  It may not read as funny as it truly was.  We laughed about it the rest of the ride.

Finally, we pulled up to the long dirt driveway of our hosts.  We were first welcomed by the cat, Ferd (although I hope it's spelled Furred) who rubbed himself all over and wanted some pets.  Then our gracious host Marsha welcomed us in.  She set us up in our room, it was so wonderful.  They even had a full spread just outside the room of snacks, a mini fridge and a Keurig (Keegan was so happy to have coffee at his disposal).  We were so happy to be here and inside from the horrible humidity, heat index 110!

We showered and rested.  I was so exhausted.  It really is hitting me.  People think I'm some superhero, but I'm not.  I have JA and I am exhausted.  I had to take a nap before dinner.  I even awoke feeling sick, probably dehydrated.  But around 7pm Marsha came to ask about dinner so we got up and headed down stairs.  We met her husband Kent and their granddaughter who is in town visiting and had an absolutely delightful meal with them.  You wouldn't even know we were at an Airbnb versus any of the other homes we have stayed at.  They welcomed us in like family and fed our tummies and spirits.

Kent and Marsha even sent us with some honey they harvested from their own hive here on the property!
After retiring for the evening, I only got through several work emails before just exhaustion took hold.  It was a methotrexate night so I knew I needed my sleep, and I turned in.  So now we are up and it's time to get packed.  Writing this blog always takes so darn long, where does the time go!  Today is another short day, so that is good, but then we go into multiple 100+ days.  I'm a bit nervous for those, both about the body, but more so the sheer amount of time it takes to bike.  I have had ZERO time to work and have multiple projects that have to get done in the next few days, so it could mean some sleepless nights.  Hopefully we get in early enough today and I'm not so exhausted that I can bust some out.  Keegan is plugging away at his work but between writing these blogs, planning our route and packing, doesn't seem to happen.

Today starts lucky Day 13!  We have tipped over into the $8000 range...but remember our fundraising goal is $14,000!!  We only have a week left before we arrive in Orlando.  So if you were waiting to donate, no need to wait!  Help our efforts today! :)

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