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Day 17 & 18: North Myrtle Beach – Myrtle Beach – Georgetown, SC

northmyrtlebeach

Day 17: North Myrtle Beach to Myrtle Beach State Park, SC (22 miles)

The night before, I’d cycled into North Myrtle Beach quite late and after a little hunting around, found a reasonably stealthy place to pitch the tent that was probably only 100 metres or so off the main strip. After constant camping for the last few days, ‘the system’ has become a lot quicker. It’s much better, and faster, knowing where everything is in your pannier bags and having it organised so it becomes less of a PITA each time you go set up a place to sleep.

The same goes for packing up camp, so after a few minutes and with some Granola-fuelled energy, a new day on the bike began. As per usual for the last couple of days, I didn’t get very far until stopping. But this time because of the beach. What a corker.

I used to live in Cornwall, and since then the beach and general easy-going coastal lifestyle has been very appealing. For at least a week (since Cape Charles / Norfolk), the route has been just in from the coast slightly, often by only a few miles in more swamp-like surroundings, so seeing the Atlantic for the first time in a while was exhilarating.

Got chatting to these two great folk whilst at the beach: Tom, a chef and Meghan, a waitress who both work at the local grill.

A steak sandwich later (c’mon!), these guys were ultra-welcoming and it was obvious they were very interesting. Tom is into Taoism as a philosophy, and told me about an adventure that he’s always wanted to go on which involves taking a year off work and walking across the country with an incredible twist. Tom, if you’re reading this I hope at some point you make it happen.

After lunch, I filmed an interview with Meghan. See a (very) short career-topic snippet:

(If the video doesn’t work in your email browser click here)

Whilst Meghan’s outlook on career is not something I subscribe to at the moment (perhaps that’ll change with time), her no-nonsense approach to knowing that personally she doesn’t have to be passionate about what she does in a day job, as it’s the time when she’s not at work that counts, was food-for-thought.

These guys were great and after several days of groggy tent-life, positive people with good vibes are uplifting. So it was time to crack on, now being mid-afternoon. Out of North Myrtle Beach, the cycling was on cycle paths away from the road, through the woods in the dropping sun. As good as it gets.

Rocked up to Myrtle Beach State Park around 7.30pm and tried to find somewhere subtle to camp, it didn’t work.

Day 18: Myrtle Beach State Park to just outside Georgetown, SC (23 miles)

Was woken at a horrendous hour by the Park Ranger, and had some explaining to do. He was cool about it though so after a not-as-frantic-as-it-could’ve-been packing up camp, it was time to move on and head towards Georgetown. There was some dark looking rain clouds stirring.

Met Wayne Montgomery shortly thereafter. It was his 70th birthday and he was out for a spin on his bike (Happy Birthday, Wayne!). He started cycling only 6 months ago and is now a total convert after witnessing first-hand the health benefits. He cycles every day now. So awesome, mega-friendly and totally inspiring. It was enjoyable to geek out on bikes for a while and learn some nifty shortcuts from Wayne the iPhone whizz!

Then heavy rain for the first time on the trip. It was obvious it was on the way after waking up this morning. I hadn’t really prepared for it, so had to make a dash for shelter to rummage through panniers for waterproof kit. All kit stood up perfectly to getting blasted by the elements for a while which was a useful test.

 

All in all, two very light days again. Off the bike, so far I’ve been struck by the overwhelming positivity from South Carolinians. On the bike, it’s a while since a big mileage day, and it’s something I’m very aware of (not least for visa-reasons!), so the miles will be picking up again on the other side of Charleston.



Vague Direction: A 12,000 mile bicycle ride, and the meaning of life.
Available now: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com



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13 comments on this post

  1. Chris D says:

    Don’t get down on yourself about mileage – you’ll still get wherever you’re going. Must have been great to be at the shore after so many days. Glad your make camp/break camp routine is easier. Would have enjoyed hearing about the Park Ranger more. Keep peddlin Dave!

  2. I have been following your journey since you first arrived. Enjoy your trip.

  3. Gill says:

    Turning your passion into a fulfilled job must be everyone’s dream, however there are loads of people who don’t have a passion and just fall into a job. They get stuck with the routine and then can’t make a change due to financial and family commitments. I think Meghan has the right idea if you find yourself in that situation – hope that work is bearable and have a fullfilling life outside of it. There must be loads of people though who feel trapped doing work that they absolutely hate and that’s likely to impact on their life outside so that becomes unfulfilling too. How depressing that must be for them. Really looking forward to meeting more folk on your journey and hearing their views.

    Loving your blog – Oh to be on the road with you instead of slogging away at the grindstone – thankfully I do quite enjoy it.
    Fingers crossed the sun comes out again for you. A wet tent must up the weight you’re carrying.

  4. Tony Norris says:

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks again for the email. Still doing great I see. Hope you were able to catch a shower at the State Park. For future info. State Parks allow 2 camping units per site so you may could get a camper to allow you to pitch your tent on their site for free. We now look out for cycle tourist and often have done so while camping in our RV. Usually we feed them dinner and breakfast the next morning. They have great showers and usually on a bike, the Gate Keeper don’t usually question you if you just ride in like you are suppose to be there :-) Huntington Beach would have been more stealthy. I’m guessing that today Wed. you are leaving East of Georgetown toward Charleston? It is fairly flat and easy ridin for the most part and over half is in desolate FM National Forest so you may could have your longest day yet. Don’t know if you get this in real time but depending on traffic and with yesterday’s rain, you should not take the Palmetto Trail but stay straight on 17 thru the NF. I have a question about the Magellan. How is it working out for you or how are you using it? Does it use google maps and give you turn by turn?
    Stay safe.
    Later,
    Tony

  5. Tod Landess says:

    Dave,

    Congratulations on Day 17 & 18. I’ve been following and really enjoyed this last blog post.

    I would love to know what the “Twist” will be if Tom walks across country.

    Although I’m an idealist, a dreamer and an eternal optimist I have to agree with Meghan for the most part. There will be some lucky people in life that will have that perfect job. A job that they love so much it will not be “work” . However, for most of us it comes down to financial choices that will allow us to find the best possible balance between work and play. If we choose wisely, hopefully the overall scale of happiness will be tilted towards joy and fulfillment until we reach Wayne’s age and we can retire and still have our health and our bikes! Happy Birthday Wayne! I would love to hear more about Wayne’s story. Did you shoot any interview video with him?

    I’m glad you got to enjoy the ocean and the beach. As you are now getting closer to Florida, I hope you consider adding my state to your route. You’d get a lot more opportunities to see the ocean. I live in Miami and I’d be happy to host you here.

    Cheers,

    Tod

  6. Deborah says:

    Hey Dave, Love your personal stories about meeting great folks along the way. The Atlantic is special for sure. Wise to take it in. How long is your visa good for? No doubt you’ll make your goal. Loved Wayne at 70 starting a new venture into cycling. It is awesome. Stay safe and keep the posts coming.

  7. dave olson says:

    Yes Dave, do take Tod up staying while in Miami..you really need to see the entire coast of Florida (both ides) and as I mentioned in another email. it will better weather during the next weeks and bring you out on the Southern Tier at a better time weatherwise (one hopes) Best, Dave

    • Tod Landess says:

      Thanks Dave Olson, for the back up encouragement on adding Florida to Dave Gill’s tour. Besides, the really great weather, the beauty of the Atlantic on Florida’s East Coast, and The Gulf of Mexico on the West Coast, I think Dave will have an opportunity to better explore the other half of his premise for the documentary,(“those who embrace something completely unusual.”) Going to Key West with its Bohemian history and laid back lifestyle would be the ultimate contrast to the “rest of America” Also, geographically speaking Dave, you will be able to claim you made it to the Southernmost Point of the continental USA and only 90 miles from Cuba. The High Speed Ferry to Ft. Myers and the ride back up the west coast should be a wonderful transition back to the “rest of America” . Which by the way, you will feel completely removed from during your ride through Miami. Miami is truly unique in that it is of the US but not really American. We are a very diverse city with large Cuban and Haitian Communities. You will truly feel like you have left the US for the Caribbean & Latin America. I may also be able to help you with a place to stay in Key West . There is great camping at several State Parks on the overseas highway.

      Well Dave, I hope you don’t mind our advice. Perhaps, enjoying your tour vicariously through your blog isn’t enough for me as I sit here at my job, day dreaming about my next long bike ride and early retirement and adventure cycling across the USA myself.

      Cheers, Tod

  8. Jim Evans says:

    Hi Dave,
    I’m curious;
    Do you have any insights or ponderings yet between the journey you are on (the people, the pace, the direction) and the vague direction beyond?
    Keep on truckin or pause to enjoy?
    Tek care,
    Jim

    • Dave says:

      Hi Jim, great question to ponder on!

      There’s been a fairly rapid learning-curve on the actual physical journey. It’s obvious now not to focus too much on pure truckin’ – you need to enjoy the actual process of the cycling and try to make it less mile-centric, and then the pace will take care of itself. Wasn’t very good at implementing this mindset for the first couple of weeks. I think a good way of going about a trip like this is to have some key points along the way that you know you’re going to stop and experience and take everything else as it comes. You’re bound to bump into interesting people regardless of where you are so it’s important to embrace these moments rather than miss them due to purely covering the miles. Still working on the direction part – I had a route in mind before setting off, and that’s mainly stayed in tact but there have been a lot of suggestions on where to go (which are quite far off the original route) so that’s something I’m considering at the moment.

      Even in the space of three weeks on the road, especially when you’re ‘in the zone’ whilst cycling, there have been moments of clarity, certainly. It sounds a bit airy-fairy, but those moments have lead to thinking about what was great and worked before setting off on the trip, and what wasn’t which will be consciously avoided going forwards. In terms of the ‘post-Vague Direction’ vague direction beyond, I have an ‘ideas’ notebook that’s filling up daily, so maybe something in there will grow and be ready to be acted on after this!?

      Be really interesting to hear your thoughts on ‘trip mentality’.

      Hope all’s well! Dave

  9. […] a venture into making small affordable houses from pallets. After the great comments from the previous blog post, where Meghan talks about not needing to be passionate about work, it’d be ace to hear your […]

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