Day 26 – Home is Where Your Bikes Are (November 27, 2020)

Night 26- Georgetown, SC

This one might have to be a bit on the brief side as we will be in a bit of a race as soon as the sun rises. We finally had to duck away somewhere and we have our longest ride to date ahead of us.

The day started out great. Zander was up with coffee around the same time I wandered downstairs. Sitting in the kitchen I watched their two cats play king-of-the-hill for the kitchen island. At one point I moved out to their back porch to make a phone call home. As I came back in, pancakes were coming out. We talked about Zander’s travels and how he went from world traveler to starting a family back close to his own family. We found out he listened to some of the same podcasts we did and dug a little more into some of the recent topics.

Yeah, there is usually a lot of talking. I’m not sure how to make it more interesting to read about or how to make it as interesting as it was to take part in these conversations, but here we are. Great discussions over breakfast are what I live for.

With the day warming up, it was getting close to time to leave. We knew we were aiming for Georgetown, but decided to let the final destination fall into place as we arrived.

That would prove to be a bit of an issue later. For now, the sun was warm, the day was fresh, and we had ground to cover.

Zander had mentioned a few spots down the road that would get a little hairy, but we would be riding along 17 alt this time around. With a stretch of properties that had low speed traffic for getting on and off 17, we simply wove on and off as often as we could. A bike path led us along for a few miles towards an airport and then stopped.

Back on the road for a bit and then another, WAY MORE FUN, bike path can out of the pine forest growing between houses on the other side of the 4 lane road. There was a lady there who we had seen on the bike path much earlier in the day. We hadn’t said anything to her, but she became our pacer … bike. This path wasn’t the tightest, but it was quite twisty and had a few patches of pine needles that made us ease up on the speed. But here our pacer was burning down the trail and warning everyone ahead of us. With some solid speed for what seemed like an hour, we eventually broke off from her. At that point Russell and I both took a breath and acknowledged how fun that was and how our bodies were hurting. We may have gotten a bit carried away and not noticed how jarring some of the path was on our backs/calves. So we hung out on a side road for a bit.

The next patch was a long one. Highway speeds, long stretches, those awful rumble strips, and a vanishing shoulder. Maybe it was only a bit quieter because of the holiday … who’s to say. It wasn’t my favorite bit, nor was the bridge with the only real wind of the day. This bridge would drop us right into Georgetown, but our day wasn’t quite over.

Strange thing about Georgetown. While there was plenty of foot traffic, not a single person even acknowledged our existence. This may have been the first place we arrived at that people didn’t care about what we were doing. We don’t need the attention, but this was the first time this trip that we seemed invisible.

We hung out at a historic site and started looking for a home. After 30-45 minutes, we had an idea for a target, but no one was picking up their phones. Holiday, Friday, weekend, yeah. So we took off for a McDonald’s to grab food out of fear we might not get to cook. Good thing too.

We reached [redacted Park name] to use the porta-potty off to the side. I called our last resort, the sheriff’s office. I’ll give them credit, they honestly tried to find us options and understood that 17 alt wasn’t a safe road at night. With light fading, [unnamed deputy] told us there were some parks nearby that he couldn’t tell us us we could stay in, but with no where else to turn… “out of sight, out of mind”. Thank you sir, we appreciate the actual effort and understand your standpoint.

With that slight nod, we remained at [redacted Park name] and waited for full darkness before tucking away into the woods. Off to the side of the side of a side path, well away from cameras, human traffic, or lights, we set up camp. Ready to get up before the sun and remain out of mind.

Admittedly, as I stand in a parking lot typing this up, we both recognize that we definitely went over the top with stealth this time. Not a word, never breaking a twig, covering all bright colors… I don’t think I heard anything but squirrels all night.

So with all that in mind and not the best sleep, we head for 2 friends in Summerville area. 74 miles away will be our longest ride for this trip so far. A bit rough to pace out, but we will manage.

I’ll leave you with this. If you are out and about, down on your luck, maybe your car broke down in a barren place or you are experiencing some kind of homelessness … what do you do? You have to sleep. You have to stay safe. When the local churches, fire departments, and sheriff cannot help you … what would you do? We don’t want to break any laws, but if not being in your home past dark is unlawful, you can see how being homeless is as good of an example of a catch-22 kind of situation as I have ever experienced.

We are going to find some breakfast for this long ride. I look forward to friends and a shower. Have a great morning everyone.

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