The Warmest of Showers
Swansboro • Wilmington • Myrtle Beach • Charleston
Sept 8 - 12th
So many miles.
You ever feel like you just don’t have time to think? Not me. Looking at things & thinking about stuff®™ is where I am a Viking. These are my two skills that I can do all day. Multitasking is difficult on a bike. I guess singing random old songs that pop into my head from who knows where is another one, but not as productive (no matter how much I try I can’t remember the second verse to that INXS song so it just becomes a loop). This freedom of thought is my daily freedom & swings violently from topic to topic. Happy memories, future plans, recent adventures, deep dark corners, shallow delights, the way things are & The Thing that Should Not Be. This time to think is met with acute contrast to the physical reality of my free time. Every minute of daylight spent not biking is a minute of biking tacked on to the end of the day. When I arrive at where ever it might be I’ll be sleeping I am faced with decisions on how to spend my time. Read? Write? Do I have sunlight? Shower? Wash clothes? Is there time to dry? Straight to bed? Do I have to make camp? Do I chat with my kind host? Do I have phone service? Every little choice is typically one that knocks out another. When I take a day off somewhere I need to enjoy where I am. The reality is I CAN do nothing but I built up my own stressors (like this internet blarg) which keep me busy. Not bringing a phone next trip.
When I set out from the hotel at Cedar Island, where I woke to Adam already gone & a good bye note, my thoughts were of my schedule, my time, & things I wanted. I was (am) breaking my own rule of letting the future get in the way of enjoying the present (Enjoy Your Burrito - Jonah Ray) but I foresaw miserable long ride days, mosquito bites, & not stopping for anything fun all leading up to me finishing in Austin simply to immediately board a plane. That’s no fun. There are two more things I must do before I finish. The first is at the bottom of South Carolina so I will hurry off to there. (I don’t know if this paragraph is conveying what i want but I’m gonna just go with it cause I’m so behind, even Guy Richie made Swept Away.) My thoughts & I make it to Swansboro, into a small bar, then sleep on the porch of said bar under the glow of the 24 hour McDonald’s next door.
The next evening I made it into Wilmington NC. I had found a place to stay that night, and the next three, using Warm Showers, an iPhone app which connects cyclists which I had used once before in Baltimore. Dylan opened his door provided me with a bed, a room, & a shower & later we went out for a few drinks & I got some dinner. I was easily convinced to stay an extra day (against that whole speed plan I had right?) when Dylan mentioned going to the beach. I got to surf at Carolina Beach switching off long and short boards with Dylan & his friend. After a lunch of fantastic sandwiches at Chops we relaxed through the rest of the day & I got a little writing done & great sleep.
The ride to Myrtle Beach alternated between uncomfortable highways & fabulous beach side bike lanes. I had lunch in Surf City at a 50’s diner. I got to John’s house in south Myrtle Beach & was met with dinner & drinks & fun. I had a great time & when John heard about my big riding days & rushed plans he offered a ride to Charleston which I accepted. Sleeping in was great & having the day off to rest my legs was a gift. In Charleston I made some phone calls then went into a bar to write a bit but instead spent the whole time talking to other patrons. That night I stayed at Bryon’s house but due to such a late arrival it was a bit of chatting, then off to bed on a fantastic gigantic couch.
In the morning I started the long ride out towards Hilton Head. Google maps is notorious for directing bikers onto the worst streets, private roads, ally’s, cliffs, ditches, ravines, dead ends, & black holes. Combine that with South Carolina’s apparent tendency to build only sand covered roads as alternatives to their highways & you have a horrible biking experience. I missed seeing my first gator after hoping a fence & riding a few miles of “private hunting road,” whatever that means. Once it started getting late (dark) it was time to throw in the towel so I accepted the ride I had been previously offered. John, my grandpa’s best man, an his son Bill came & picked me up for the last 25 miles of highway onto the delightful island.