Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day 13: McClellanville To North Charleston

Route: McClellanville, SC to North Charleston, SC
Mileage: 56 miles

Today was the shortest day of our trip (or at least it's supposed to be!).  We let ourselves sleep in a little (I set my alarm for 7am) but I was up around 6, tried to sleep since I knew I probably wouldn't get enough sleep tonight, but it didn't really work out. And thanks to the Keurig outside of our room, Keegan was up and alive fairly quickly!

Kent and Marsha had stocked the mini kitchen with snacks, so we both had fruit and yogurt for breakfast as we got ready.  We said we wanted to leave at 9am, which meant we left at 10am.  We consistently leave about an hour after we plan to leave.  Always just too many emails to answer or things to do before we get on the bike for the day.  Kent and Marsha came to see us off, and with that, Day 13 was underway!

We decided to give Google's bike directions a go again, hoping to stay off of 17 as much as possible, but we were immediately foiled.  Google told us to turn down a dirt road, in its defense, it was a legitimate (and public) road, but the dirt was so loose, it was like silt.  We were having trouble staying balance.  Keegan was doing an excellent job manuevering us but we were going very slowly.  When Google said "continue straight for 4 miles" we thought--we can't do this for 4 miles!  It will take hours!  So we turned back to find pavement and found the quickest route back to 17.

It was pretty uneventful for some time.  17 isn't very fun, so Keegan focused on navigating us while I
tried to figure out where we would stop.  We stopped for sunscreen once before lunch, it was very hot and sunny out so didn't want to power through it.  We just ended up pulling over onto someone's driveway because they had a patch of shade there.  #addictedtoshade.

Nowhere to ride but the road
We stopped for lunch in Mt. Pleasant.  I had yelped some place to go, and Fountain Cafe was the winner.  We were surprised when we pulled into a whole mainstream shopping plaza.  Mostly because we are used to everything being deserted for so much of the trip.  We were navigated into the back where this little shop was.

We are used to the stairs and questions and "you guys are crazy", but the enthusiasm we got from the folks at Fountain Cafe was impressive.  A nice young man helped us as we placed our order (I ordered a chicken salad and wanted to make sure it was a big scoop of chicken salad because we just burned a lot of calories--and I needed a root beer float).  He was impressed and asked about the ride, so I gave him a sticker to follow along.  He told some folks in the back, and before too long a woman from the back came out to talk to us.  She was so energetic and curious about the ride.  She sat down to chat with us for a bit before she had to go back to work.  Both Keegan and I were pretty glued to our phones during lunch today.  I had several things I needed to edit and attend to, never enough time.  Luckily Keegan decided to order more food (totaling 2 chili cheese dogs, chili cheese fries and a peanut butter milk shake) so it bought me a little bit of time.

As we headed out to leave, our new friend joined us as we were packing up the bikes.  She was awesome--so pumped for our ride (which got us repumped as we entered back into the oppressive heat!).  She asked what stuff we had packed in our bags, "what do you guys have in there, tampons?" Yes, among other things :)  She is probably our biggest non-JA fan.  She is now part of our honorary JA family!

We set back out into the heat and back onto 17.  At this point, 17 was no longer in the boonies and was a major road with stop lights and all.  Google eventually found us a bike path on the next street over, which we took for two reasons: 1) we wanted off of 17 and 2) we were coming up to the Ravenel Bridge that takes you over the Cooper River and into Charleston.  We figured there was a bike path that needed to be approached from just the right way over the busy streets, and for that, Google would know best. And sure enough, Google led us there.  As we approached the bridge, we felt light as air, that's because we were doubling back and headed in the opposite direction for a moment as we approached the bike path--that meant our first tail wind!  It was incredible, and unfortunately shortlived.

The Ravenel Bridge is long and steep.  Someone told us it's the highest point in the Carolinas.  I did not fact check that.  Without any cloud cover and working hard to get over that bridge, by the time we got to the top, I was feeling dehydrated.  Took some swigs from the water bottles as we crossed over, but it was hot out.

The bridge itself is beautiful with a great view.  We go over bridges in NYC daily as we live in Queens and both work in Manhattan (I take the Queensboro Bridge, Keegan typically takes the Williamsburg Bridge to where he works downtown).  They cage you in on those bridges pretty well, I never have a fear of falling off the bridge :)  This bridge, and several other smaller ones we have been on this trip, don't have a very impressive railing.  Sure, you're not going to fall off the bridge, but if you dropped a phone or skidded out--things could fall into the river.  I'm not afraid of heights, but these things cross my mind (especially as I am taking pictures: Don't drop the phone!).

After we crossed, it had been about another hour (although our mileage was not terribly impressive) and it was SO hot.  We stopped at a gas station to refill waters.  I was starting to feel sick, but only just a little.  I am actually shocked we are doing as well as we do.  With the heat index as it is, it is a wonder how we aren't passing out.  However, today, although a very short day in mileage, did not feel exceptionally short.  Especially when we got caught waiting for a freight train to pass.

We arrived at our destination around 3:45pm where we were greeted by Kim, who was a little surprised we were alone.  Lisa, Zander and Liberty had gone out to meet us, but somehow we missed them on our way in.  What a wonderful welcome party that would have been!

They had already begun to prepare us a delicious dinner when we got in.  Keegan and I both showered to get the stink off and then went to join them for dinner.  It was protein packed and delicious. After dinner Lisa had to go to a meeting, and Keegan and I tried to slip in some time to catch up on work and do laundry.  But the kiddos wouldn't have it, so it was short lived.  We joined them downstairs for some peach cobbler that Zander had made all by himself--it was even gluten free!  It was super good, we were mighty impressed.

We may have been full from dinner, but always room for tea.
Before too long the kids went to bed and we tried to keep working.  I still have yet to get any of my work done and tomorrow we plan to leave by 6am.  It will be our longest day at around 110 miles, and with it being so dang hot we want an early start.  We did half the mileage today and it wasn't easy.

So I will sign off quickly and say goodnight!  I'll keep including our donation site link, we get a couple every day, but we're going to need a big push to reach our goal by next week.  Please consider donating, every little bit helps!

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