Day 26: Barricaded by the Dam

Distance: 47 mi

Song of the Day: Arthur Lyman — Brazilleros

Written by Lizzie. Song of the Day chosen by Kyle.

8AM: Lizzie wakes to the smell of coffee and finds Kyle and Russ chatting over cereal and french press in the kitchen. Coda the ever-friendly lovebug nudges Kyle with repeated requests for head pets while Butler the grumpy bulldog stares from the floor with half-shut eyes, somewhere between annoyed and asleep.

The conversation runs along the cultural conflicts Russ witnessed in the middle east during his service and Lizzie, the current author, not yet drinking coffee at this point in the story, attempts to follow along but mostly pets Coda. We relocate to the “man cave” which houses the computer.

10AM: We plan our intended ride, clocking 50–70 miles to Francis Marion Park near Charleston and South Carolinian coast. Permit rules complicate the matter: the exact location and hours of ranger station are unclear; plus we both woke up stiff from two long days. Lizzie, the author, believes we rode a century the day before. Aunt Rebecca in Edisto Island, who forms the pretext for tomorrow’s island detour, texts “Where are you? Want me to come pick you up today? You’re so close!” With relief and excitement I accept her invitation a day early.

Russ owns and restores motorcycles and cars. Refers to them as his “toys”.
1966 Pontiac. This is Kyle writing in the caption, by the way. Lizzie left the cars out entirely. Not that I know anything about them. But readers may care. And restoring a car from the 60's from the ground up (it was once an empty chassis) seems like a major endeavor.

11AM: Finally hit the road towards Blacks Camp on Lake Moultrie’s shore, a good halfway point between Russ’s home and Rebecca’s home. We wave goodbye to Russ, the dogs, the car, his generous guestroom with the hookah and Dallas Cowboys bedcovers, and head southeast. After a few twists and turns, in addition to reapplication of sunscreen, we find an amazing back road and take it all the way to a lunch spot in Manning.

1PM: Manning, South Carolina, another cute main street downtown, we sit down at the Calla Lilly Cafe behind what appears to be the town’s entire police force and half the population. This must be a good spot. Kyle eats a club sandwich with potato salad, unsweet tea, and a snicker’s cake dessert of some kind. Lizzie has a semi-regretful egg salad sandwich, pretzel bites, applesauce, unsweet tea and a coconut-key-lime-cake-dessert. Full and cooled down, the table next door asks where we are headed and hearing our tale of Ruby’s ‘rescue’, show us a photo of a baby robin they are in the process of rescuing before release. Husband relays anecdote about baby robin poop releases in a “sealed bag” designed so the mother robin can discard from the nest and not attract predators. Makes a joke about how he wishes a few other folks’ poop came out in a sealed drop of some kind. Wife rolls her eyes and wishes us well.

3PM: We arrive at a dead end. Highway 260 runs into Lake Marion. If we were contractors or security, we could make it across the dam but being The Public, there is no way for us to cross this dammed (heh) lake except to bike 45 miles around it. We drink gatorade and talk to the local old guys in the shop just to see exactly what kind of security we would be up against at the end of the dam — it seems legit.

Lizzie calls Rebecca and gives her the news that the route necessitates amending. After some back and forth, while a terrifying red-faced duck threatens her with body language and beak language both, we are backtracking and taking a left turn for another 15 miles. Detour!

5PM: Family reunion! In the parking lot of a closed bank of downtown Summerton! We dismantle our bicycles and semi-securely Tetris them into the bed of a pickup Bob borrowed from a nice neighbor. Rebecca refuels us with oranges, yogurts, air conditioning, and updates on everything Lizzie’s missed on her side of the family for the two hour drive to Edisto. When we make our way over the bridge and onto the island, Kyle is thinking “we could totally bike this” and Lizzie is thinking “this is a paradise jungle look at that tree and that one and that one.”

8PM: After exploring the picturesque home Bob and Rebecca have made on Edisto Island, showering, and eating think slices of cheese while watching the sunset from their dock, Kyle and Lizzie reflect on how good our fortune to spend a day healing amid this fantasy land. We eat squash, asparagus, beans and rice, followed by homemade carrot cake and a single chocolate. Island perfection.