TRIP 2014

Update #07 - March 29
Southport, North Carolina
2,728.76 miles (4,366.02 KM)

I am at least a week away from the North Carolina Outer Banks. Once there, I'll be continuing my trip North along the Altantic Sea Coast to the New York City area.

March 16 : Americus, GA to Cordele, GA - 36.02 miles (57.63 KM)

I had a decent night. I left the motel around 8 am. I walked around the downtown area to see all of the changes in the stores. I got to St Johns Anglican Church around 9 am. Got to talk with my friend, the rector. Before the service started, I struck up a conversation with a lady in front of me. She slipped me $5 in a GH. After the service in the announcement section, I got to speak for a few minutes (my 15th church).

I was hoping for the rain to wait till the afternoon, but it was raining when I got outside. It will be a wet ride to Cordele. I stopped at a BK for an early lunch. I had to wait out at a store for some heavy rains to go passed. The ride to Cordele went okay but it was a slow ride because of the rain. At least, the rain lessoned up some before I got into Cordele. I didn't feel like waiting a couple of hours before a church service started. I opted to go to the I-75 area where the motels were. I got a motel room in the upper $20s.

It might be another wet day tomorrow. Instead of riding in the rain to McRae, I might try and connect with a church.

March 17 : Cordele, GA to Cordele, GA - 03.89 miles (06.22 KM)

I had a decent night. I left the motel around 9 am. It was lightly sprinking. I backtracked about a mile and a half (2.4 km) to where the churches were. The pastor at the FUMC wouldn't be in until early afternoon. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. I talked with the assistant pastor. He offered to get me a room at one of the motels near I-75. On the way to the motel, I stopped at a grocery store to get a few things. It is going to be raining most of the day.

Tomorrow should be a drier day. I'll be riding to McRae.

March 18 : Cordele, GA to McRae, GA - 57.21 miles (91.54 KM)

I had a decent night. I left the motel around 7:30 am. The temperature was around 41. The high is only going to get close to 56. I didn't get down the road a mile before I had to stop and do a roadside repair. The head of the bolt holding up the right seat strut had sheared off. I made a temporary fix with a couple of zipties and electrical tape. It took me about an hour to get the repair done and Alice loaded up again.

There were some rolling hills. I got around 22 miles (35 km) in by noon. The rest of the ride to McRae went okay. I got into MRae around 5 pm. I found the pastor of the United Methodist Church. He set me up through a voucher a room at a local motel and also a hot meal at a nearby restaurant.

Tomorrow, I have a little over 40 miles to Baxley. The afternoon high is supposed to be in the 70s.

March 19 : McRae, GA to Baxley, GA - 43.56 miles (69.70 KM)

I had a decent night. I left the motel around 7:45 am. The temperature was around 44. The sky was overcast and there was a chill in the air. It looked like it might rain again. Hopefully, it will not. The high is only going to get close to 70.

It was a bit of a slow ride in the morning because of hills. Once passed the small town of Lumber City, the terraign really leveled out. I got 24 miles (38 km) in by noon time. I stopped for a late lunch in Hazelhurst.

The rest of the ride to Baxley went okay. I got into Baxley around 3 pm. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, there was an offer to get me a room at a local motel.

I'll be riding to Jesup tomorrow. Right before I get into Jesup, I should be passing the 231,000 mile (369,600 km) mark. The high tomorrow is going to be around 70.

March 20 : Baxley, GA to Jesup, GA - 35.89 miles (57.42 KM)

II had a decent night even though the room was a little cool. The heater in the wall didn't work so well so I had to go to the office to get a little floor heater. There was a lot of light coming into the room because there was only a venetian blind but I was able to fall asleep using my sleep mask. I got about six hours of sleep.

I left the motel around 8 am. The morning temperature was in the low 50s. It didn't take too long before the temp got up into the 60s. It was an okay ride because the terraign was pretty level. The only real climb was an overpass over a railroad. I got about 23 miles (37 km) in by noon.

I stopped for a short lunch break at a gas station in Odum. When I was putting in the empty soda can, I noticed that there was a large number of lottery scratch-off tickets. I was curious at how much money had been wasted in the purchase of the tickets. I found out that two of the tickets were winning tickets. I went into the store to get them redeemed. I left the store with $4 extra in my wallet.

The rest of the ride into Jesup went okay. At the Western edge of Jesup, I passed the 231,000 mile mark. I rode into the downtown area to check out the churches to see if any of the ministers were around. I got connected with the minister at the Presbyterian church. He's only been at the church since the beginning of the year. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, he offered to get me a room at one of the local motels.

The motel was a Potel. It looked nice from the outside but there were problems in the room. There was a problem with the electrical problem with the plug by the bed. The biggest problem was with the bathroom sink. The carpeting was wet. I found out that there was a leak under the sink. I went to the office to tell the owner. He came to the room to check it out. He found that the drain was bad. He took the unit out. Instead of moving me to another room, he just put a trashcan under the hole. There was just two other guests and 31 empty rooms. He told me that he would be back in an hour but he never came.

I'll be riding to Richmond Hill. The high tomorrow is going to be in the mid 70s. Tomorrow is the first full day of Spring. A little after noon today was the Vernal Equinox..

March 21 : Jesup, GA to Richmond Hill, GA - 48.03 miles (76.85 KM)

I had an okay night even though I woke up early again. I took advantage of the free breakfast again. I decided to get on the road around 7:30 It was really frustrating that the owner didn't come back with the replacement part for the drain of the bathroom sink. They could have moved me over to one of the empty rooms. I didn't go to the office for breakfast because I didn't want to possibly eat stale cereal.

I left the motel a little after 8. The high was in the upper 40s. I got about 23 miles (37 km) in by noon. By noon, the temperature was warm enough to take my jacket off. The rest of the ride into Hinesville went okay. Traffic was pretty heavy through the Hinesville - Flemington area. There was no shoulder. A couple of miles out of Flemington, I headed North on GA 196. The shoulder was much wider.

I got into Richmond Hill around 4:40 pm. I checked out several motels. The rates that they advertised on their signs were just for Sunday through Thursday. The weekend rates were $5 to $10 higher. I had a coupon for the motel that I had stayed at last year but this was a Potel and the owner didn't want to honor the coupon. The weekend rate was $10 higher than the weekday rate. I had another coupon for the Travelodge. The black lady at the desk was really friendly. She honored the coupon rate. I got a discount of around $6.

I'm about 12 miles out of Savannah. A friend of mine in Rincon made arrangements for me to stay at the Super 8 at the I-95 junction in Port Wentworth.

March 22 : Richmond Hill, GA to Savannah, GA to Port Wentworth, GA - 31.08 miles (49.73 KM)

I had a decent night. I slept almost 7 hrs straight. I woke up around 6:30 am. There was a decent free breakfast.

I left the motel a little after 9 am. The ride into Savannah went okay but it was a little tricky getting into the downtown area. Along the way, I stopped at a Churchs for some chicken. In the downtown area, I took some pictures of some of the statues in the square. Lots of tourists. The sky was overcast and it was sprinkling a little bit.

It took a while getting onto the Coastal highway (old US 17) and then on to SC 21. I rode over to I-95 to the Super 8. A friend of mine had got me a room there.

March 23 : Port Wentworth, GA to Gardens Corner, SC - 54.12 miles (86.59 KM)

I had a decent night. There was a good free breakfast. I left the motel around 8 am. There was some thick fog so I took my time riding into Port Wentworth. I stopped at the Port Wentworth United Methodist Church. I got invited into the Sr adult Sunday school class. I got to share. Before the service, one of the ladies slipped me $20. I got to share during the end of the service. Two people after the service, slipped me a total of $25. I decided to go on to South Carolina instead of trying to stop for the day.

The ride to the South Carolina went okay. Once on US 17, the pavement to SC 170 was kind of poor. The ride to Beaufort went okay. I got into Beaufort around 6 am. I decided to keep on going instead of going into town and trying to find a church. I got on SC 21 and headed North.

Just outside of Gardens Corner, I found a place to camp out in some woods. I got the tent pitched before dark.

March 24 : Gardens Corner, SC to South Charleston, SC - 54.82 miles (87.72 KM)

I had a decent night. It was a little cold. There was a 20 degree drop in temperature. I had to get my thermal underwear out. I got on the road a little after 8 am.

Once back on US 17, I was really surprised. The ride between Gardens Corner and Jacksboro used to be hellish since it was a narrow 2 lane road with no shoulder and lots of truck traffic. The highway has been much improved. The highway is now a divided 4 lane highway with a wide paved shoulder that is divided by a rumble strip. The shoulder in some places was five feet wide. There was a paved bike path for about three miles.

There was a moderate headwind so I only got 21 miles (34 km) in by noon. I stopped at a gas station for some lunch. By noon, the temperature had gotten warm enough so I was able to remove a couple of layers of clothes.

The ride between Jacksboro to Charleston wasn't as pleasant as the morning ride. This was the older section of the highway and there wasn't any shoulder. The hard thing was that there was raised bumps in the white line instead of a rumble strip. There were some sections of shoulder. I had to ride my mirror a lot. I did have to get off the highway once because a truck did not want to go around me even though there was nobody in the other lane.

I got into the Southern outskirts of Charleston around 5:30 pm. I checked out a couple of motels but I opted to backtrack to a Motel 6 where I saw a decent advertised rate.

March 25 : South Charleston, SC to South Santee, SC - 53.41 miles (85.46 KM)

I had a decent night. There was a good free breakfast. It was good having complentary internet access. Purchasing access would have been above my budget.

It took a while getting into the downtown area of Charleston. There were several bridges to go over and traffic to deal with. I rode through the hospital district to the museum row.

A block before I got to the Charleston Museum, there were these two guys on a tandem bicycle. They had the same knitted hats on. The hats were unique and I saw some of them before on an episode of the tv show American Pickers. On the show, these two guys (one white and the other black) lived together and rode on a tandem recumbent. They stopped at the Charleston Museum. I was going to stop at the museum anyway to check out the civil war submarine. It turns out that these were the two guys from the show. They lived in Erie, PA and were just in Charleston on vacation. The guys were homosexual and were very eccentric wearing the same outfits of male and female clothes. They were pretty interesting to talk to for a few minutes.

From the museum, I rode over to the new Ashley River Bridge. There was a bike lane. The bridge was three miles across (5 km) and I rode all of it to Mt. Pleasant. I took side roads with bike lanes most of the way through Mt Pleasant. When I got on US 17, I stopped to check out a couple of sweet grass basket stalls. Blacks have been making these baskets in this stretch of US 17 since 1930. I stopped at the Presbyterian Church to see if my pastor friend was there but he wasn't back from lunch and his secretary wasn't there either.

When I got back outside to Alice, it was lightly raining. It had rained quite a bit through the night and it had stopped before I had left the motel. They were talking about more rain in the afternoon. The sprinkling didn't last very long. There was a bit of a shoulder on US 17. I started the ride through the Francis Marion National Forest. I was going to stop in Awendaw but I only stopped for a break at a gas station. A couple of miles out of Awendaw the sky darkened and the brief rain shower turned to rice sized hail.

I got into McClellanville around 5:30 pm. I rode into town but I didn't find anybody at the churches. It was a long ride back to US 17 because there wasn't a direct way back to the main highway. Between the small village of South Santee and the South Santee River, I found a place to camp out in the woods. I got the tent pitched and everything inside before it got dark.

Acording to the weather report on the radio, the sky is going to be clear but it might be a lot cooler with possibly a strong headwind up to 20 mph. There is a blizzard up in New England. This might be Winter's last gasp.

March 26 : South Santee, SC to Georgetown, SC - 21.78 miles (34.85 KM)

I had a decent night. It was cold but it was tolerable. The temperature must have been in the upper 30s. The high was going to be around in the low 50s. I got back on the highway around 7:50 am. I had to get my extra gloves out but I didn't put the wool cap on the helmet. I didn't get a half mile down the road when I got stopped by a guy who pulled up behind me. He told me that he had seen me South of Charleston yesterday. Before he left, he slipped me $20. I had to stop about a quarter mile further down the road to put some more air in the rear tire.

The ride along US 17 was a little slow because of the headwind and it was tricky because there was no shoulder. There was a lot of traffic going to Myrtle Beach because it was Spring Break. I stopped in North Santee at a gas station to check out their huge chicken called Chicken City. There were at least three dozen chickens living in a large coop that was made out like an old Western town with storefronts, a saloon, church, and schoolhouse.

The ride to Georgetown went okay. I got into Georgetown a little before noon. I stopped to get some groceries and I also stopped to get my laundry done. I got into the downtown area around 1 pm. I didn't want to go any farther today because of the wind. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. There was an offer to get me a room at a local motel. Also, I was invited back to the family meal.

I might be riding just to Myrtle Beach or I might go on to North Carolina.

March 27 : Georgetown, SC to Little River, SC - 60.01 miles (96.02 KM)

I had a decent night at the motel. Around 8 am, I got back on the road. I walked across the two bridges. Traffic was getting a little busy. It was a bit of a slow ride. I only made 21 miles (34 km) by noon time. I stopped in Garden City for some lunch. After lunch, I took advantage of every time that I could get off US 17 for a while. I followed a bike path through some woods and rode through Murrells Inlet.

In Myrtle Beach, I got on Bus 17 and then I switched over to Ocean Boulevard. I was thinking that the tourist section of Myrtle Beach was going to be busy but it wasn't. I was amazed at how many motels had rates in the upper $20 and low $30. Once out of the tourist section, I stayed on Ocean Boulevard through the residential section. I finally had to get back on Bus 17. Wherever there was a sidewalk, I rode it instead of trying to ride on the roadway.

I got into North Myrtle Beach around 6:30 pm. I was going to see if there was anybody at the Christian Retreat Center but I was surprised at seeing it closed down. I kept on going to Little River.

I got into Little River at dusk. I saw some activity at the Methodist Church. There were some meetings going on. I was able to talk with the sr pastor. He offered to take me back down US 17 to a motel that I had passed to get me a room. Before he left the motel, he slipped me two McDonald gift cards.

I'm about three miles away from the North Carolina state line.

March 28 : Little River, SC to Southport, NC - 58.03 miles (92.85 KM)

I had a decent night at the motel. The only problem was that the room was really huge and the little air conditioner/heater unit couldn't handle the space. It took a long time to notice an increase in the temperature of the room. I had to dive into the covers to get warm.

I got back on the road around 8 am. Right before the NC State Line, I got on SC 179 that took me to Calabash, NC. I stayed on NC 179 to Shallotte. I made around 20 miles (32 km) in by noon time. I stopped at a McDs and I got a meal using one of the gift cards that the minister at the Methodist minister in Little River gave me last night.

After lunch, I had about a seven mile ride along US 17 to the town of Supply. This was tricky because most of the paved shoulder was taken up by a rumble strip that didn't stay in one location. It looked like whoever was driving the truck that had the machine on the back was drunk. It was really good for me to have that side flag sticking way out.

From Supply, it was about a 15 mile ride to Southport. Around 3:00 pm and about 7 miles out of Southport, the sky really opened with rain. I found cover at a gas station and waited there about 40 minutes for the rain to lesson up.

I got into Southport around 5 pm. I checked out a couple of churches. I found the sexton at the Episcopal Church. They had been without a rector for a little over a month. The sexton suggested that I should contact the police. I had a really hard time finding them because people didn't know where the station was. What was really crazy was that the police was right across the road from the Episcopal Church in the old city hall. The station was closed. I called up 911. It took a long time for an officer to come by the station. He didn't know of a minister in town. I rode over to the fire station to see if they had a minister as their chaplain. They didn't. I rode to the ferry port but it was shut down for the day. There wasn't any place where I could camp out.

I rode back into town to check out the churches again. I found some activity at the Methodist church. They were getting ready to have some kind of show in the fellowship hall as a fundraiser. I got to talk to the minister. He told me that he couldn't help me at this time and maybe he would be able to after the show which would end around 9:30 pm. Even with it pouring outside, the guy wouldn't let me wait in the churh for him. He was a little upset that I had parked Alice on some concrete that had been poured earlier in the day. It was firm already.

I was running out of options. I called up a minister friend in NY who told me that if I ever had any emergencies I should call him. He suggested that I should try and find a motel and he would pay for it over the phone. There was a reasonable priced motel in the downtown area but it was full. Coming into town, I rode passed several high priced motel chains. I backtracked about 4 miles (6 km) to the Comfort Inn. They wouldn't help me since my friend couldn't get to a fax. He was actually in Cleveland visiting his son instead of being in New York. The desk clerk at the Hampton Inn was more friendlier and cooperative. She took my friend's credit card over the phone. She also gave us a different rate so there was a savings of at least $25 on the room.

There is going to be more chances to rain tomorrow. I'm not sure how far I will make it tomorrow.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between April 05th and April 12th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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