Day 27 – The Long, Long Road to Charleston (November 28, 2020)

Night 27- Summerville, SC

Ever wake up, pack up a tent/bike and hike out of the woods in complete silence with only red-light headlamps on? It’s pretty fun.

But the poor night’s sleep, lack of breakfast, light rain, and nearly 70 miles along a tight roadway is not so fun.

This morning had to start early to avoid any reports of us being places we might not be allowed. With that part over we hit the road a little after 7. The sun was up, but the overcast didn’t care. It was a cold damp day at the start, but after about 6 miles we pulled off at a park to switch to rain gear and use the lav. Every time we would return to the road would come with the biggest groan. The only saving grace was the light traffic.

The reason for this distance? The promise of food and a roof over our heads. Both provided by friends. So we pushed on (but still with reluctant groans).

30 miles later, a distance we have covered over a day earlier in the trip, we reached the first store. A circle-K with a Subway attached.

Sold.

We hung out here for about an hour. Eating, warming up, planning, and anything else we could think of to delay the inevitable. Our bellies full, we pushed on. Now with more rain than before.

I had described this to a few friends before, and only a few will understand, but during our days of marching drum corps you have to participate in parades. Some are quite fun. Some are quite long. But nothing digs into your will more than 2 long parades on cold/rainy days. Maybe you already had practice that morning and you are just wet from sweat? Same thing. Your skin is numb from the cold zapping you of energy. You also have doubled your calorie usage from constant marching and performing. So the first time you get to sit down in a slightly warmer car or in a Subway at a circle K… your eyes tend to lose focus and you just stare at nothing with not much thought. You want to stop and do nothing. Just not moving is a gift. You could probably fall asleep standing up if you were warm enough.

Just as you finally get to rest and your body thinks it’s time to recover… someone says “alright, on to the next”.

This was us today. With 40ish miles left, we cracked on. With no rush, we held between 12 and 15 mph. Turning only at a handful of intersections. There was a lot of the same forests around us with the occasional house or abandoned building.

Then just as we entered the greater North Charleston area, we had an actual hill to climb. Better yet, traffic had picked up. The hill was just a man made earth ramp onto a bridge, but on the other side was a bit of civilization. At the first big intersection, we turned off to a Walmart to get a few small things.

I took first watch of the bikes … same thing as Georgetown. No one cared about us. I don’t mean that in a selfish “look at me” kind of way, but people tend to stare if not ask questions. Nope. Nothing. And this Walmart was just as busy as any other. Weird.

So we took off. 12 miles left. We road past a few things of note. Shimano was the first big company of note and the company that makes all the mechanical parts of our bikes. So that was neat. It seemed like we passed a few Boeing buildings, but knowing how massive some of their facilities are, it could have just been on big building with miles between entrances.

New thing to add to the roadkill bingo card.

Alligator. Not the way I thought we would see our first one on the trip, but it happened. This bingo card was getting quite diverse.

The last 1.5 miles felt like forever with our goal on the screen of my phone, but around some bends and stopped by traffic lights. I’ll admit that by this point I’m hitting my caloric limit. Even the 6 or so snack size snickers bars where burned up faster than I could eat them. Ketosis was coming and it doesn’t feel nice.

We may have picked up the pace a bit because the end was so near, but my legs were about done.

Just as we pulled into the apartment complex, so did a welcome face in a Mini, our first direct instructor in drum corps, Ryan Williams. He had reached out and wanted to buy us dinner when we got close to him. It just so happened that tonight we would also be staying with Noah Alexander and Cassandra Metzger who had only just moved in sometime last week.

The end of a long day with some friendly faces, warm showers, and 2 lbs of BBQ that we promptly demolished. I could ask for little more after waking up in the woods 70 miles away.

As I write this I feel my legs are still a bit beat up, but I know tomorrow will be a lighter 50 miles or so. I don’t know if our muscles are still growing or just getting denser. But it was a pretty funny feeling running just 20 yards to hug Noah at first sight. I like running, but our legs will be quite strange by the end of this.

I’ve offered to cook breakfast for our host this morning. It’s one of my favorites to cook so have a nice morning. Maybe make someone some breakfast and have the kettle/coffee on.

Looking forward:

The next few states are going to fly by with the Florida panhandle being the next long stretch. I can only offer up this screenshot of the Adventure Cycling interactive map. It is also on our website, but please take a moment and scan this next massive chunk of our path for friends who might be willing to lend us a piece of flat ground or help along the way.

We are closing in on the southern tier route and it’s going to be a long one.

As usual-

Follow us or catch up at

Bandofbikes.com

Find us on Instagram

@bandofbikes

@_round_about_way_

@rlmichaud

And for those who want to help but can’t host us, we take donations through PayPal at the moment, but are looking for suggestions for other funding channels.

Buy us dinner, help us find a host, or help pass along our story. Everything and anything is appreciated.

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