Sunday, October 22, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 15

Todays ride was good. The scenery stayed the same the whole way pretty much. It was more or less just putting the time in.

Got to Fernandina Beach. It’s a quaint historic town, with a Saloon claiming to be Florida’s oldest bar. I got here late and it’s sunday. I need to plan my exit. I need to somehow organize to get my bike I a box, a hotel and a flight. I have sent a few emails but on Sunday I’m not expecting many answers. Tomorrow I can carry on the Jacksonville, but I don’t know where I’m going just yet. I may have to take the day tomorrow to work it all out.

I’m in Florida. Mission completed? Maybe it is. ;)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 14

Savannah, Georgia to Brunswick, Georgia

I enjoyed this ride, the roads were narrow, but I didn't feel unsafe at all. Not to heavy traffic, presumably because most people are taking the interstate, so pretty drama free day. It was a long ride, about 140km, and I didn't get much sleep last night for some reason, but I got here without any issues.

Rather than going into town, I stopped at a freeway hotel. I'm surprise how busy it is here tho, cause I didn't even go into town. This is mostly just a place to stop halfway between Savana and Fernandina Beach. I'm looking forward to Fernandina Beach, which is about 120km, and then a short leg to Jacksonville. I have to look into flights, and I gotta figure out how to get a bike box, or ship it home somehow. I'll worry about that tomorrow.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 12 & 13

Day 12 - Charleston to Beaufort, SC

The ride more or less kinda sucked, but I did listen exclusively to The Tragically Hip today. I may have heard their entire library, some songs twice, and for 8 hours it didn't ever get old. Still in mourning.

Beaufort (pronounced Biewfert, not Bofort, I am told) is a very beautiful city. I can always tell as I ride in if I'm gonna like a town, and this place is fantastic. After settling in, I went for dinner and drinks at the Old Bull Tavern. It's a comfortable neat place with great food and drinks and patrons. I struck up 2 easy conversations with Tim, and then Pete, who replaced Tim's empty bar stool when he left. If I ever wanted to expand Premium Springs, I think Pete's is on board. Lol. I ended up drinking all night, and then made my way to another bar that caught my ear with a live band. I didn't get home until 2am I think, my latest and drunkest night yet. :/

Day 13 - Beaufort to Savanah, Georgia

This ride sucked the most I think. Shitty and mostly dangerous roads. I took smaller off route roads to try and avoid the Hwy 17 but I'm not sure I was any safer. All semi trucks and single lane roads with no shoulder. I was scared out of my mind most of the day.

I fell off my bike trying to avoid dyeing, as my clip-ins didn't let my feet out in time, so I finally kissed the pavement for the first time this trip. Hopefully the only.

I wasn't all that impressed with Savanah as I rode in, 'cause the entry in was so bad and ugly. Shitty roads, unkempt sidewalks, overgrown greens. Just ugly as fuck. Once I was settled and walked around, this is actually a very nice city in the downtown core. Expensive too.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 11

Georgetown to Charleston 

I knew today was going to be a long ride, but I had no idea how emotionally taxing today was going to become. 

I took back roads for most the day trying to avoid the Hwy 17 which extended my trip by about 30km at least or more, but I wanted to be safe. I rode about 150km - my longest ever ride. I left at 8:00am and actually really enjoyed the scenic route. I took my first break at about my 112km mark to plug in, recharge, and plan my entry into town. It was here that I discovered the terrible news all Canadians have been dreading to hear - our beloved and iconic rock hero Gord Downie had succumb to his terminal brain cancer and passed away last night. 

It shouldn’t come as a shock, as we all knew this day was coming, but it still seems surreal and even too soon for some strange reason. My entire country is in mourning, as am I. 

For those of you don’t know, Gord Downie is the prolific lead singer of the profoundly Canadian band The Tragically Hip. And for those of you who don’t know, for the last 9 years I also happen to perform in a Tragically Hip tribute band called The Hip Show. So over the years, this band has more or less tattooed themselves on my chest. I have studied, learned, and admired their music intimately.

Embarking on these cycling tours seems a bit odd to most, and even to myself as well at times, but it’s hard to explain what these trips mean to me, in ways that can only be understood by doing it I suppose, but overcoming the emotional highs and lows are a big part of it. Learning of Gords passing came at a time for me when I was already physical and emotionally mostly drained. It was hard to process the news.

I tried to focus on the last 30km stretch into the city which everyone told me was very dangerous.  I google mapped my route, put my iPod on shuffle the entire Tragically Hip catalogue, and rode on. 

10 minutes into my last leg, with the hip on my headphones, google map girl steered me into a quiet residential street, I thought this was odd, and check the map and it was to cut a corner I guess. About 10 houses in, on a residential mailbox was scribed on the side of it “Gordy”. I did a double take, turned around and checked it again. I couldn’t believe it. So I turned my GoPro to film what I was seeing. It beeped a few times so I wasn’t sure it was recording. I tried 2 or 3 times to get my camera working. It beeped 7 times and stopped. My camera died while filming the mailbox. I still have not looked to see if the mailbox was the last thing on my GoPro. 

I carried on my ride through the residential neighborhood as odd as it was, only to discover google maps sent me on this road in error. It’s a dead end cul-de-sac. Weird. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 10

Myrtle Beach to Georgetown, SC

The ride today was really nice. It as a little short cause there is nothing between Georgetown u Charleston, which is 130km away. I have to make that a full day tomorrow. 

Along the way, I met a local cyclist named Tim, who was kind enough to ask me where I was heading  today. We rode together for about half an hour and chatted about riding various areas, how to get there and what not. It was nice because he took to me to a river with turtles and alligators. I actually got to see a gator, as well as many turtles, who I fed my raisins and nuts to. I hate raisins, but they are in my trail mix. Yuk.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day. Also, a little dangerous. I’ve been worrying about this leg since I decided to go off the ACA bike route. Hwy 17 is a narrow highway and the shoulder is next to none. I rode a part of it today, with extreme discomfort. 

I have found some off highway roads I’m going to take, which is why the ride is going to be so much longer. Please don’t let me become a stat. 

On the surface, Georgetown appears to be a sleepy town, but I discovered a boardwalk in behind all the restaurants, I had no idea even existed. You can’t see it from the road, but it sure makes the town. All the life is behind the brick. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 9

Shallotte to Myrtle Beach

Today was a bit of a shorter day than usual, clocking in only about 80km. I planned a longer day but I had a few delays today and it's started to pour - right around Myrtle Beach ;)

I had gotten an early start, but ever since Jacksonville, NC my rear tire has a huge bubble on the side, causing my bike to wobble a lot. It's a constant fwoop fwoop fwoop. I looked at it, and the bead has come apart, so I knew I had to get it looked at as soon as possible.

Every bike shop I could fine was either closed or too far away, but this morning I found this cool bike shop in Sunset Beach called Island Hoppers Bicyles. What a bunch of nice guys. I showed them my problem, and it turns out I had three tears in the sidewalks of my rear tire. They dropped what they were doing and replaced both front and rear tires and tubes for me. They appreciate the touring guys and do what they can to help get them going asap, so awesome.

I've been following the Adventure Cycle Association's bike route and the route it takes leaves the coast for almost 3 days - which I didn't really want to, and all the forums I read suggest to do the same. While those guys were repairing my bike I asked them why that is, and they said they would never follow that route. I was so happy to hear that cause I worried about the reason a lot.  I wanted to go to Myrtle Beach, Georgetown, Charleston, and Savanah, but the ACA's route would cause me to miss it all. They confirmed I don't need to do that, and even advised me not to skip those cities.

So here I am, in Myrtle Beach. It started to rain and I like beer so I stopped here. It's a very cool city. The roads were a bit sketchy at times, and I presume that's why the ACA advises not to, but I am so glad I ignored that.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Atlantic Coast Cycling Tour - Day 8

Wilmington to Shallotte

I this was my favorite day so far. I started a little bit late cause I didn't get back to my hotel till about 1am last night and I refuse to use an alarm clock in holidays. I left at about 10:30am after I downloaded my maps and planned my day as best I could. This should ideally be done the night before.

I no longer and fighting head wind and the weather was so nice and the temperature has finally cooled a little. Still warm but not sweltering. I still have issues with my left hand.

I blindly followed my cycle route, without ever realizing I there was another ferry to catch. I had to wait for 45 minutes for the next ferry, and the ferry ride was a half an hour long. I missed a ferry by 2 minutes. If I was paying attention, I probably would have made it. It was a nice surprise I suppose cause the ride was so beautiful.

I stopped in Shallotte which doesn't have much here but it was already 5pm and the next town would have been another 45 minutes and I just didn't have it I'm me to keep going.