Friday, July 17, 2015

Day 15: Hilton Head Island to Darien

Route: Hilton Head Island, SC to Darien, GA
Mileage: 108 miles

The alarm went off waaaay too early this morning.  Keegan, needing significant coffee intake before functioning, got up at 4:30 to caffeinate himself. I got up shortly after and we got ourselves packed up in record time.  Genia and Marty got up out of the goodness of their hearts at that hour to make us a delicious breakfast to energize us for our second longest day.

But before we could hit the road, we had an interview to do! Brittany Shane, a reporter from WSAV (NBC Savannah) showed up at 5:30am to do a live interview.  It was absolutely pitch black out still, so she used her headlights and a light on the camera to try and illuminate us, but it didn't come out so great.  We did a quick practice run, and then went live at 5:47.  We did a lovely job, however she got word that they lost the feed on their end.  So that was that.  Best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.  But the fact that anyone was even interested in our ride and cause felt very validating---and hey, we have pictures to prove it happened.  No video clip, but the did run a piece online.

We then went back inside, said our goodbyes to Genia (Marty had wisely gone back to bed) and off we went for Day 15! Before we left, they had gone over our route out of Hilton Head and helped advise of a shortcut (not a crazy Google-dirt-road shortcut, a good one!), so that saved us a couple of miles.  After we had taken their route for awhile, Google told us to take a shortcut, and it looked legit.  But we started down the road for a couple of miles and then wouldn't you guess--it turned into a dirt road.  Come on!!  I looked to see how long we would be committing to such punishment, and it was substantial.  So we learned our lesson from yesterday and turned back after yet another Google fail.

That Old Mill Rd seems legit--it is not.

We followed wonderful bike trails out of Hilton Head Island.

It was SO damp outside.  We were soaked before the sun came up.  Actually, even when we arrived at our destination tonight, Keegan took off his socks that had been wet the whole day and his toes were all shriveled and pruney.  So damp.  We were drenched, our clothes felt wet to the touch and our glasses fogged up they were unwearable.  It's been humid but wow, whole new level to ride in.

We made it about 30 miles when my left knee began to ache.  And then it just got worse.  I said I needed to stop and give it a rest, hoping that would help.  It wasn't great, but I keep going.  We had gone over 1000 miles without too much issue from my arthritis, so I can't really complain.  With the humidity as intense as it was, and the physical demand of the ride, it was tipped me over the edge.

We rode another 30 miles before we stopped again.  But in that time we had officially made it to Georgia!  A very exciting feat for me.  My family is from the South, mostly in Georgia.  I have spent my whole life traveling here by airplane.  It's pretty neat to now have done it by bicycle!  Unfortunately where we were riding was nowhere near where my family is, but it's nice to know they are close by, hi guys!

We stopped for food in Richmond Hill (really the only place to stop along our journey).  Can you guess what we ate? BBQ! It was quite good.  We ate at the Smoking Pig.  They had excellent banana pudding (although not as good as my grandma's). While we stopped I iced my knee with a spare ice pack I had.  Can't say it really helped much, but I think it helped to keep it from getting worse.

Otherwise highlights of today include seeing an armadillo, a tiny kitten, oh and we saw dolphins both as we came into Hilton Head yesterday and this morning as we left (Keegan thought they must be fake, because what are the odds...).  We also saw buffalo.  And a mosquito control center.

We had some pretty good bike paths on many of our roads, and even 17 had a bike lane for a little bit!  But then in other places on the 17 we had that same horrible grooved shoulder that was a total waste of space where we couldn't bike.  We got another flat, our fourth of the trip.

Rainbow colored, orange, yellow, green...

Tractor in our bike lane, we needed to pass we were so fast!
Once we got into Darien, we needed to get off of 17 and cut over to where our hotel was.  Google told us to "turn right", at which point we see it is trying to take us down a dirt road.  We didn't even pause...we just kept going.  Yeah right, Google!  So it recalculated and in a couple of miles, it tried again, "turn right".  This time we had to stop, out of pure hilarity.  This time it was trying to send us down a clearing in the trees, not even a dirt road.  We needed a photo!

You're kidding me, Google--this road?!
We then continued on and got rerouted through a neighborhood.  Ok, looked paved, so we took it.  At first, we got chased by a very angry dog (my knee did not like kicking into overdrive).  Then a few blocks up, Google tired to take us down a dirt road that seemed like it just dead ended into someone's home.  Ugh!  We continued and were rerouted.  Finally we arrived at the Comfort Inn in Darien.  Not really your destination location--it's right at an exit for 95 in Darien.  We are surrounded by a Burger King, Taco Bell and some other hotels.  Don't get me wrong, we are extremely grateful for a place to stay, but the location of Darien was chosen not for its beauty, but for it's location between points.  Our buddy Minal hooked us up with the hotel itself, so that was awesome and really worked out perfectly.  When we arrived I checked us in.  I asked if they had a place to store the bike and they said we could bring it into our room.  They gave us a room on the first floor and we rolled 'er on back!

Our first order of business was to shower, but then to figure out what to do for food, since rudely no one had made us dinner tonight ;) There wasn't a whole bunch around, but there seemed to be a Mexican place close by, according to Yelp.  We put in a to go order and Keegan picked it up.  Keegan was less than excited about it, but I thought it was alright and beat going to Burger King.

Then ever since we have both been glued to our computers (doing 2 blogs tonight takes awhile!).  Tomorrow we make it to Florida!!!  Woohoo!  We end in Fernandina Beach, where we will actually take two days off to regroup and have a sort of bike ride honeymoon before the final run to the conference and jump into all of that.  I can't wait to spend time in Fernandina and actually have time for the two of us to relax for a couple of days.  It's been so nonstop.

At times, I didn't think we would get to Florida as planned.  There have been some hiccups along the way, but we've persevered.  I know our fundraising success has slowed as well, but I really hope that we can continue to move forward together and all pull into Orlando together feeling like this ride was a success!! As always, if you care to donate, you can do so here:

Total mileage for today was 108

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