When I left Walterboro I only planned on going as far as Holly Hill, about a 35 mile ride. The first town I came to was St. George where I found a library so I could check the weather. The skies were clouding up and heading my way and the library also gave me a good place to be if it rained. After about two hours the clouds passed and it looked like a good time to grab lunch. I found a Subway on the other side of town and munched down. I rode back toward the library to pick up Rt.15 to continue on to Holly Hill.
The sky stayed cloudy all day and I stopped a few times to duck out of some light rain. Churches make great places to stop and rest in areas where private property dominates.
When I got to Holly Hill I realized it was a lot smaller than I thought. Their library was a small house that was closed by the time I got there. There wasn’t much going on in Holly Hill, nor were there any places to stay the night. I decided to move on to Eutawville about another ten miles away. I would have to chance the weather from here on. I had threatening skies all day and now they were getting worse.
I’ve been riding the white line all day and was happy to reach Eutawville alive. I checked the GPS for lodging and there was one place to go. The Yankee Clipper Motel was about a mile away. I checked my odometer and went another mile. I passed a restaurant and bar and a marina. No Yankee Clipper Motel. When I passed the bar there was a fella sitting in a chair in front. He had long gray hair and was talking on a cell phone. I thought I’d ask him about Yankee Clipper.
When I pulled in he directed his attention to me. Seeing that he was on the phone I quickly asked him where I could find the Yankee Clipper Motel. “This is the Yankee Clipper.” he said as he stretched out his arm and spanned it at the bar. Being the very sharp minded person I am, I instantly realized that my GPS was outdated more than I thought. “It’s not the Yankee Clipper anymore.” he added in his southern Carolina accent. I asked what happened to the motel. There was supposed to be a motel according to my GPS. “There is a motel. The owner is inside. I’ll get ’em for ya!” he said while ignoring whoever it was still waiting on his cell phone. Buck was the gentleman’s name I later found out. He only had one good eye with the retina still attached. But he was happy to help.
Buck came back out of the door with the owner right behind him then singled me out for him. The owner, John, listened as I explained myself and my needs for a place to stay the night with almost no money. In the end, John had me in one of his little comfy cabins behind the bar. Yankee Clipper was now known as Fishtales, owned by John and his wife Jane.
For the first time in many, many years I found myself sitting in a bar with the jukebox playing Hotel California by the Eagles and sipping on a Coke that was on the house. There were about seven patrons sitting at the bar with me and in no time I was yuking it up with the friendly beer drinkers. It didn’t take long for the word to get around about this guy riding a bicycle around the country. One very polite woman dressed in a hospital work uniform came over to me from the other side of the bar. Almost timid, she told me she wanted to congratulate me. “Congratulate me for what?” I asked. “For what you’re doin’. I think it’s a great thing you’re doing.” she replied as she held out her hand for me shake. We talked a bit more and I thanked her for her supportive words and then she went back to her side of the bar as though she had just been blessed by the pope.
After a few Cokes I had to take a potty break. I walked into the “unisex” restroom and locked the door. I had two options. The toilet or the urinal that was full of ice. I chose the toilet. When I came back out I yelled over to Jane and John that this was the first bar I had ever seen where the ice maker was in the restroom. Jane immediately broke out into laughter. John paused for a second trying to figure out what I meant and then laughed with Jane and a few people at the bar.
The place emptied out just before 11 PM and I was ready to go to sleep. I no sooner got my stuff in the cabin when it poured down rain. It lasted through the night and into the morning. I slept well in the large bed and an air conditioned room. There were no towels and I was too tired to go back ask for one, so I skipped taking a shower.
In the morning I woke early and packed my bike and headed over to the restaurant across the street in the rain. I had $5 in my pocket from Matt who sat next to me at the bar and kept telling me how his wife was going to kill him for being out so late. I bought myself breakfast for $3.95 and waited for the rain to let up.
On my way to Orangeburg there was a few light showers that evaporated off me while I rode. I stopped at one church under a carport in the back with a picnic table under it and waited out a short rain.
I arrived at Rt. 301 from Rt. 45 and took a break at a convenience store where, across the highway, was an old rusted car high up in the air supported by two poles. I grabbed a picture on my way down Rt. 301.
About a half mile down the highway I had my second loose dog. I was concentrating on the white line when I heard a single bark. I looked up and saw a brown Chow charging straight for me from a row of trailer homes along the highway. He was coming fast! I grabbed my air horn and made a quick snapshot look behind me to see a car just far enough behind me that I could shoot across two lanes of the four lane highway and get to the median for a second glance to see where the Chow was. I didn’t hear the car slam his breaks so I figured the dog stopped. The timing would have been perfect if the dog pursued after me. Another quick look behind me confirmed the dog didn’t cross the highway. The expression on the dogs face looked like he couldn’t believe I just called his mother a bitch.
Now that I was on the other side of the highway I headed back to the convenience store to figure out how to get past this roadblock. Enter Alex. An older black man with a cap on his head, sitting in his pick-up truck. I asked him if he was going to go down Rt. 301. He was headed in the opposite direction. I told him my predicament with the charging Chow and he volunteered to carry me past the gatekeeper. We loaded my bike in the bed of his truck and I rode in the back with it. “Just let me know when you want out.” he yelled out the window. I gave him the OK sign and away we went. As we rolled past the trailers I didn’t see the Chow anywhere. I waited until we were far enough away that the Chow wouldn’t see us unloading. I gave Alex the signal to stop. I unloaded the bike and thanked him for going out of his way for me.
I made it Orangeburg after a very tiring 38 miles and now that my report is handed in, I’m going to sleep and count Chows.
Yesterday’s mileage: 54
Total mileage: 1,765