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|Day 19 North Myrtle Beach Rest Day!!!
|What a day! In the morning most riders spent some time taking care of their bikes. They were pretty gritty from the rainy days. Some were seen hanging around the beach, some even swam and body surfed in the Atlantic. Irwin and John were treated to massages that Irwin�s wife had set up in advance. Quite a few of the riders had dinner together. All in all everyone enjoyed their rest day with the exception of Jim who, after having a spill on his bike, spent most of the day at the doctor�s office getting himself checked out. Good news though, he is not seriously injured and will be able to ride tomorrow!
Heard on the road:
Ambulance Driver: Do you know your name?
Jim: Jim Curley.
Ambulance Driver: Do you know where you live?
Ambulance Driver: What day is it?
Jim: Day 19!
Michelle to Ambulance Driver: Don�t worry it is perfectly normal for him not to know the day of the week.
posted 2006-09-08 | 17:23:15 | article number: 1
|Day 20 - Friday September 8th 2006 North Myrtle Beach SC to Georgetown SC 95 miles flat, flat, flat
|The sun was finally shining as we headed out on the last leg down the East. We welcomed a new rider named Dave and set off for Georgetown SC. For the first 12 miles the roads were pretty busy because we were still in the Myrtle Beach area but soon after we were once again rolling on country roads but this time with the sun shining and at times even a tailwind! Ahh, life is good.
Our first sag stop was at a cemetery which was set back from the road. The cyclists all arrived within minutes from each other. Not only had the weather cooperated but the road had been straight and flat. After the sag we only rode through one town before getting to Georgetown. This was the town of Conway. By now our riders are experts at navigating towns so they crossed through back onto country roads in no time.
The 95 mile day passed quickly and some of the riders found themselves in Old Historic Georgetown in time for lunch. They found a quaint restaurant by the water and were able to see the boats as they ate. When they arrived at the hotel they were treated with a view of the marina. Now we are beginning to feel like an �East Coast tour�.
After route rap we shuttled to dinner at Ryan�s. Tomorrow is yet another long mileage day and most of the riders are tired so after dinner most are relaxing watching TV, reading the paper or even...dare I write it....sleeping. Goodnight.
posted 2006-09-08 | 20:38:29 | article number: 2
|Day 21 - Saturday, September 9th 2006 Georgetown SC to Santee SC 94 miles
|Today I again asked myself, �Where do they find these roads?� We started out the day on well trafficked roads but soon enough we were on back country roads where one wouldn�t even begin to think that that there was a busy road within a hundred miles. We were within one half mile from the sag stop, which was supposed to be at a McDonald�s, when I thought to myself, �We must be going the wrong way. There couldn�t possibly be a McDonald�s here out in the middle of nowhere.� Just then we made a turn and were right smack in the middle of town. Where do we find these roads?
We spent the rest of the morning on these back roads. The people we passed were very friendly shouting �hey!� as we cycled by. There were many churches along the route but not many stores. Some of churches were having cookouts and get togethers.
After the second sag stop the day seemed to roll by quickly. We had a nice steady tailwind. It was just strong enough to give us a gentle push. After a long straight stretch we came to a closed road which bikes could ride down towards a bridge over Lake Marion. The bridge must have been part of the interstate�s predecessor as it ran directly parallel to I95. It was nice to cycle over this huge lake with no traffic. At one point I got off my bike and was able to see turtles sunning themselves on logs floating in the lake.
From here it was just a short ride to our hotel in Santee. Two of our riders however decided to make this a century day. One rider was Jim C. who completed his third century today. The other was Dave who completed his very first century. Congratulations to you both.
Heard at the store after speaking with the gentleman for 15 minutes:
�You�re not from around here are you? You have an accent!�
Most people don�t take that long to notice nor are they so surprised.
posted 2006-09-17 | 00:07:55 | article number: 3
|Day 22 - Sunday, September 10th 2006 Santee SC to Walterboro SC 64 miles
|It is a good thing that today was a short day. It is the first hot day we have experienced since we have been on the road. It funny how 64 miles seems short after two 90- plus mile days!
Since we have arrived down south the roads have flattened out considerably. Today this enabled most of the group to stay together with the bulk of the riders getting in early and being able to enjoy a lunch at Ruby Tuesday�s some others were spotted at Dairy Queen and McDonalds. The end of the ride is drawing near so it was nice to go out for a relaxing lunch with �old friends� that were strangers just 22 days ago.
We are starting to tell people where we have ridden from as opposed to where we are going. It is so much more impressive to say we rode from Maine to South Carolina than we are riding from South Carolina to Florida. Perspective is a funny thing.
Tomorrow the group has decided to get up early and get on the road as soon as it is light. They want to ride in the cooler hours and also have a bit more time to spend in Savannah. It is hard to believe that we will cycle into our second to last state tomorrow.
posted 2006-09-17 | 00:09:57 | article number: 4
|Day 23 - Monday September 11th 2006 Walterboro SC to Savannah GA 71 miles
|Tonight�s hotel is right by the waterfront in Savannah Georgia. The ride that brought us here required a bit more concentration and focus than the previous days. Good thing Shane had had some safety talks and impressed the importance of riding within one�s abilities. All the cyclists were cautious and everyone arrived at the hotel safely.
We passed a wildlife refuge and paper mills on the way into town. Some of the riders hopped onto the trolley to see more of Savannah. Down on the waterfront we watched the giant freight ships pass by. They had stacks of containers ten high! Looking out of my hotel window I thought I was seeing a building pass by!
All the riders decided that they wanted to go out together in the city of Savannah instead of the buffet we had planned on going to. They had a great dinner at the Chart House and spent on of the last nights of the trip reminiscing of the past few weeks.
We still need to stay focused. There are still 2 days to ride!
posted 2006-09-19 | 17:40:41 | article number: 5
|Day 24 - Tuesday Septenber 12th 2006 Savannah GA to Brunswick GA 74 miles
|We headed out around 7:30am from Savannah towards Brunswick. The traffic was building coming into the city but, after passing some construction in which the drivers were very courteous to us, we were on a part of route 17 that had less traffic and a better shoulder.
We passed by several interesting places and even had sag stops at a few. The first stop was at a gazebo off the road to the right. The riders had a laugh at the signs across the street that told of all the nearby attractions. There were so many that there were two signs and one practically covered the other.
A little way down the road the cyclists visited the �Smallest Church in America�. It was getting warm so Shane set up a water stop here. A few miles after this we cycled past a huge field in which many different types and color fire engines were parked.
After passed these attractions riders had just a bit further to go to get to our final sag of the day. It was held at the Welcome Center in Darien Georgia. The Welcome Center was very welcoming indeed. It was beautifully situated right on the boardwalk on the Altamaha River.
Just a long bridge over this river and a few miles later and the group arrived at our last overnight stop in Brunswick Georgia. At dinner we could already begin to hear the murmurings of �goodbye�. But we still have another riding day to go! The riders are determined to make the most of it.
posted 2006-09-22 | 18:42:14 | article number: 6
|Day 25 - Final Day!!! September 13th 2006 Brunswick Georgia to Fernandina Beach Florida 64 miles
|Today started much the same way the first riding day did with the exception that it was not raining. There was however a bit of hesitation in the air as our riders set out on the last day of the journey. Just 64 miles and the ride would be complete. For most a long ride from New Hampshire, or even Maine, all the way to Florida. For the others it was still the last day of a long ride. By the end of the day the story was no longer just about the ride but also about friendship, camaraderie and time spent with others.
The riders started coming into our final destination in Fernandina Beach Florida at around noon. As many were packing there bicycles up outside the hotel and others were waiting for a shuttle to the bike shop, some riders were drinking champagne and celebrating their accomplishment. Some of our cyclists had guests meet them at the end and it was fun meeting them. Bob�s wife was there as well as Bill�s wife. We also met Bev�s niece and her husband as well as Irwin brother and his wife.
Some of the riders went up to see the beach after they had either packed up or dropped off their bikes. Others just wanted to visit with the family they hadn�t seen for a while and some could be found in the bar celebrating a trip well ridden.
At 6pm we met for our final dinner together. This dinner was bittersweet as all the riders received a parting memento and were given a chance to say their final farewell to the group. Some of these farewells were funny (Paul found something funny to say about everyone), some were quite different (Roma�s props were pictures of her grandkids) others were just plain touching (Bob telling us how much fun he had) but they were all told a story of a group of people who hardly knew each other 25 days ago and would remember each other for a very long time.
I would like to add that it was a pleasure sharing this group�s trip with them. This was the sixth long distance bicycle tour that I have been on. Each time I leave with the feeling that the people who participate in these rides are a breed apart from the rest of the world. I always feel as if I learnt more about perseverance, patience and camaraderie on each trip and come away with the sense that one can accomplish amazing things. This trip has proved no different. To everyone, goodbye, good luck and may our (bike)paths meet again!
posted 2006-09-22 | 19:18:45 | article number: 7