Day 25 – Thanksgiving on the Road: Easy on the Eyes, Hard on the Shoulder (November 26, 2020)

Night 25 – Myrtle Beach, SC

After our tour of the outer banks, and a handful of ferry rides, we finally made the jump into South Carolina. As time goes, we started the day where we left off. Waking up between a small graveyard and a playground.

The morning was dry an warm. A fortunate combination whenever your tents get rained on just before sunrise. The usual pack up, snack up, and find a bathroom. Thank you McDonald’s for supplying and removing food products on this day. I don’t wish for anyone to be stuck at work on these holidays, but I’m glad you were open.

Turkey day would both help and hinder us, but it all turns out okay.

After a quick stop in Calabash we hopped that dotted line into South Carolina. Lunch would be found in Little River at a food lion. With a storm of scattered showers rolling in and no where to be until 5:30, we hung around for a while. Sitting with the bikes between food lion and ABC Spirits was entertaining enough. We had a few of the normal conversations with some people and one guy who recommended his giving his church a ring if we needed help.

“You’re doing good work” he said as he left. Now, I don’t believe what we are doing on this trip is a bad thing. Sharing our story, hearing tales of our brothers and sisters before us. Maybe stitching together more and more people across the US with a common relationship to us. I’ve spent a fair bit thinking and talking about “kindness” on this trip. If it wasn’t for people’s kindness we wouldn’t have a place to stay aside from rv courts and hiding in the brush. Maybe there is a bit of blind trust and curiosity in what we are doing that pairs with the kindness to invite us in, but no one has shown us hate or malice. Maybe some annoyed or reckless drivers who we inconvenience as we share the road or pass through intersections at a speed they want to be mad about… but that’s a different topic.

People can be kind. And kindness is limitless. You can never be too kind. You may show someone an uncomfortable level of kindness, but that is only because they are not used to how kind a stranger or a fellow human can be.

We can all be kind and it is that which I am thankful for.

Back at it then.

So the rain slowed down but the sky was still littered with dark patches. We will just have to ride it out and duck for cover if we need. We rode for about a half mile when the big droplets came back. A post lunch bathroom run was needed. Perfect timing. So we ducked into a strip mall and looked for open stores. No dice. So we found a Walgreens just down the road. We got ready for the rain and made our way down the road.

Joking with our hosts this evening about the Atlantic coast tour route, it has become clear that there is a reoccurring character which i feel should have a badge or a membership card for. Route 17. The “highway” with some shoulder, no shoulder, 35 to 55 to whatever they feel- MPH limits. It runs a very long way down this coast. Though our guided route doesn’t always have us on it, we keep coming back to it as the fastest route to most of our hosts. So when we leave this road, it feels like a bit of a relief.

… Though not compared to the main strip through myrtle Beach. 2 or 3 lanes per side would be just fine if it wasn’t for the 8 in shoulder and engraved rumble strips. These 1 inch pits are far more jarring than any bumps. A bump you can brace for and react to the drop that follows. These pits just shock you with a drop and then by the time your stable, the next one is there. They also sick 5 inches into your 8 inch shoulder.

If it wasn’t mid-day/dinner time and the off season, this road would have been on my list of “it’s not worth it” roads. The giant animals out front the puttputt courses are only so fun.

With the rain and the terrain, I don’t have any pictures of that spot. Not a safe idea with the phone. Maybe with the GoPro (now officially dead), but not worth stopping for to get my phone drenched either. At one point we decided our pace is sufficient enough to stick to the sidewalks and dodge all the stuff in the way.

As we got close to home for the night, we still had some time to burn when Russell spots a Ferris wheel. “Either that or we sit outside another food lion”… off we went. A sign out front of this fair/park thing let us know what was up. Broadway at the Beach. A mall/amusement park hybrid.. with no closed gate and only a handful of people wandering around this strange environment. Riding slowly we explored more and more. A big upside-down building, countless closed shops for the holiday, beach vibes, and Paula Dean’s. The main start of this place and it had a crowd. Some kind of Thanksgiving dinner special with people waiting for their table by wandering the park.

So we sat, fed the over fed carp in the lake, and watched the crowds move in and out of Paula Dean’s. And here we just saw the sign for Home-made knives. Happy thanks giving to them, I suppose. Everyone has their traditions.

With plenty of time to cover the last 5 miles or so, we took off towards our hosts. Passing by blocks of big name stores, all shut down for the day, it was nice being one of the few out in the area. Keeping right along, we make it to another developed neighborhood of winding roads around various sized and forms of bodies of water. Met by Zander out side, we were welcomed in, given a room to relax in and plates from their own Thanksgiving. Pair that with the couples new found interest in jazz music with Aretha Franklin already playing downstairs… it was a good night.

Happy (morning after) Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you find a new way to be kind tomorrow. I’m always looking for more inspiration.

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