Point South, SC to Statesboro, GA
I woke up today feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the long day ahead. I stayed at a KOA campground last night so there were no terrifying night beasts to worry about. I polished off the rest of the pizza I had eaten last night, packed up my bags and headed out. The weather was the usual cool and clammy southern USA morning, it’s going to take me a while to get used to the crushing humidity again. The first few miles I was feeling pretty lazy and lethargic. It normally takes me about 5 miles at the beginning of the day for my body to wake up and get into that sweet, cycling groove but this morning it was persisting. I had a long day ahead of me so there was nothing for me to do but keep on pushing.
At about mile 22 I’m finally feeling my body start to relax into the cycling, It’s like a switch gets flipped in my brain and my legs don’t really feel as if they’re straining for every mile, they just settle into a rut of practiced motion. But then tragedy strikes! Like a scaly thief in the night the Almighty Lizard Trickster himself makes his move. I hear a metallic SCREEEWAAKK followed by the SHHHSSSSSSS of pressurized air escaping from my rear tire. It’s finally happened, after over 700 miles of intense pedaling, I get my first flat.
I pull over to the side of the road, remove all of my gear, flip Forrest over and take off my back wheel. When I get the tube out I see that it’s not just one puncture but two! Rather than use on of my spare tubes I utilize the my handy, dandy patch kit and make quick work of the Lizard bites. I get the tube and tire back on the wheel but I’m having some serious issues getting the whole thing back onto my bike. Now I’ve had many a flats on my road bike but they always seemed to be on the front tire. Getting the rear one back on and threading the chain back through the gears is really messing me up (My Dad can attest to this, he was the one that got it on right when I first put Forrest together). But like he is wont to do in my time of need the Great Turtle Himself provided aid. Enter a pack of awesome cyclists, stage left. They all pulled up on their slick carbon fiber speedsters and, seeing that I was in dire need of assistance, made quick work of my tire problem These guys were awesome! I met up with them again at the next gas station about a mile up the road. I’d probably still be back there, frustrated and covered with bicycle grease, if it wasn’t for them. Thanks guys!!!
I ate an orange and downed a gatorade at the gas station and then set off for the next leg of the day. The road was quiet but had a lot of exhausting up and downs. Two things happened that stuck in my mind. The first was, about 5 miles up the road from the gas station, a guy threw a couple of firecrackers out of his car window onto the road ahead of me. I’m just cycling along, minding my own business when I here a double CRACK CRACK. Maybe I’ve got nerves of steel ever since the night beast attack but it really didn’t startle me as much as it should have. Most people are good but there are always gonna be some jackasses in the mix. The next was a pack of motorcycles that passed me. They all had their bikes loaded down with the same kind of setup that Forrest and I had! Front and rear bags with tents resting in the rear. I wish they would’ve stopped so I could have talked to them a bit and find out where they were going, but, alas no such luck.
New state!! Watch out, Georgia, James and his Bike are coming to town! I stop for lunch at an abandoned gas station after another hour or so of pedaling. My map said that it was still open for business and I had been counting on that to fill my water bottles up but it was not to be. Luckily for me the water was still turned on in the building and I was able to fill them up regardless. I set off after that for the last 25 miles and man was I dragging! The wind had picked up and, of course, it was blowing right at me. By the time I reached the next gas station I was totally spent. I walked into the store, bought an energy drink and a snickers and rested up a bit. Miraculously this infusion of sugar gave me the boost I needed to pedal the home stretch.
So last night I was stressing about where I was going to stay today. The one camping spot in the city was all booked up for the weekend. I had almost resigned myself to another unwanted night at a dingy motel when inspiration struck. There’s an app I heard about that is similar to the cycling hospitality network, Warmshowers. It’s called Couchsurfing and it is built along the same lines. People open up their homes to traveller’s and the expectation is that said traveller will return the favor to the community when they are in a position to do so. I fire up the app and find a host that is currently accepting people. Her name is Jenny and she is awesome! Not even 30 minutes after I had contacted her she accepted my request! She is in Savannah, GA for the day but gave me instructions on how to find and get into her place. Amazing! So that’s where I currently reside. Showered, happy and hanging out with her awesome dog, Boba.
That’s all for now, folks. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike.