What you should expect from a long bicycle journey
Bicycle touring for a sustained period of time is a…
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.