What you should expect from a long bicycle journey
Bicycle touring for a sustained period of time is a…
Day 19 – Just outside Georgetown to Buck Hall Campground, McLellanville (41 miles)
After bedding down a few miles outside of Georgetown, the first thing I came to when setting off on the 17 was the bridge over the river into Georgetown. A cracking day, quiet traffic, perfect breeze and a quality river vista. That’s what we’re talking about.
I hadn’t had breakfast so stopped in Georgetown to grab a bite to eat, but didn’t leave for a while as there was a web-streamed seminar that I’d been looking forward to. After leaving a couple of hours later, the road quickly switched from town-suburbs through an industrial landscape to through-the-forest. Highway 17 cuts right through the Francis Marion National Forest. There was a moment when it was a case of cycling along the same road for 58 miles, the lengthiest single-road so far. With light dropping, the sun shining through the trees and woodland was an inspiring sight. It’s become obvious in the last couple of weeks that light i.e. when at it’s most aesthetic, is clearly a motivator and aids getting ‘into the zone’ no end.
Stopping off at a service station around 6 miles outside of McLellanville, I bumped into (yet again) some great people. It was the night of the biggest rollover in history on the US lottery, so the queues of people buying tickets was huge and there was an excited atmosphere and discussions of what people would do with the half-billion dollars.
An elderly retired couple, Joan and Richard, who were queueing at the service station too, recommended staying at the campground they were at, around 5 miles away. They made it quite clear that it was a stunning location, so without hesitation I set the GPS and was on the way. It didn’t take long to reach Buck Hall Campground, which true to word, was indeed stunning, based on the shore of Bull’s Bay.
Day 20 – Buck Hall Campground to Mount Pleasant, walking distance from Charleston (28 miles)
Late to wake, I began cooking some breakfast and chatted to Alan who was staying in the campground. Alan is an organic farmer and grower from Weaverville, North Carolina, who was taking a few days off to relax in and around Buck Hall (as it’s his off-season), kayaking and riding his motorbike on the trails. His story was one of risk, entrepreneurship and opportunity. In his mid-twenties, after having the vision of an opportunity, he quit his job in landscaping to try to become a self-employed organic farmer with his wife, and it paid off as he’s been doing it for the last 30 years.
See a very rough snippet below:
Chatting with people like Alan is always inspiring. The non-traditional, potentially risky route in his work was intriguing. It was fascinating to talk to him about how he and his wife recognised an opportunity, went for it and have since sustained it, now getting ready to hand business over to their son. And their plans for retirement which involve 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 comments on taking the risky route to follow your passion. Two contrasting views which are both really interesting.
Loaded with ample food-for-thought after that chat, Alan went off-roading and I began cycling. I was never going to get far on a 2pm start! But luckily it wasn’t a problem as Charleston was only 28 miles away. After another great cycle through the forest, the landscape began to get more urban and soon turned into the suburbs of Charleston.
Wow, Charleston. What a place. After dropping the bike off at a crazy-cheap motel in Mt. Pleasant, I went for a walk (what a novelty!) over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, which is a jaw-dropping design and is the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere. Add to that the approaches at each side and it must take about half an hour to walk across but is quite a sight!
Day 21 – Rest-and-see day in Charleston (0 miles)
Currently writing this from Charleston, after exploring the French Quarter around East Bay St. Charleston has been voted loads of times as “the friendliest town in the US” and it’s clear why. In the next entry I’ll sum up time spent in Charleston but it’s amazing so far.