Day Twenty Nine: Hard Flat One Off the Islands

Distance: 51 mi.

Song of the Day: Peaking Lights: Amazing and Wonderful

7:30AM: Wake to semi-packed bags so I kill time slurping down coffee while Lizzie readies her things. When I biked to Edisto Beach’s Marina yesterday there was no sight of “Cookie” but I chanced upon a tussled fluorescent blue paper inside the unattended store scrawled with: “9AM :4. Bikes??” — and figured we were good to go.

Goal was out of the house at 8:10 to bike 30 minutes to marina, but once 8 rolls around I glance at bike, my front tire is flat. There is a ritual to “inspecting” a tire to identify the cause of the problem, I’m thinking it must have been a pinch flat from hammering into rocks to hard the day before; there’s no time for that, so I fling my bag off, wrest out a fresh tube, fling it down and change the tire far quicker than I’ve ever done before. Once wheel is re-inserted, bike repacked, and the whole thing is pumped with air, it’s 8:23. Crap. We gotta hustle.

So we do! And we make it to the Marina before 9. Captain Cooke, AKA “Cookie” is now in the store with his nephew Brian. We sling a few cushions on boat dock, Rebecca has an injured spine, but even beyond that, who doesn’t want a cushion for a one to two hour boat ride?

I found never never land.

Our route skips between island sounds scattered southeast of Charleston, avoiding open seas. Cookie clearly an expert boatsman. He even let us stop to ogle over dolphins; ogled himself a little when an adult and baby jumped in unison from the miniature bay waves.

Something about Cookie reminded me of my grandfather, Carl. Was immensely comforting.

11:15PM: Depart boat in Beaufort and eat an early lunch at Plum’s, downtown. Soup and sandwich special consisted of a bland gumbo and the kind of sandwich one makes when hungover / lazy and looking to burn through old lettuce or deli items. Didn’t matter much, appetites were high both for food and the delicious view of Beaufort’s sound.

I was unable to locate the statue of a pineapple Cap’n Joe Sizemore instructed me to look for. Sorry to let you down, Joe.

Goodbye, Rebecca and Bob — thanks for taking us into your home, we owe you quite a few eggs & coffee caraffes…

“I was born with a stiff… stiff upper lip”

3PM: Trucking down flat, well-paved, well-shouldered roads at a mighty clip, despite the 95 degree heat. Our clime has now shifted again: large elm and oak trees are adorned with chandelier-like Spanish moss; jet black moats murmur in their dim ancientness; palm trees and oversize ferns splice the impossible tangles of seedlings, vine, holly and buckthorn.

4PM: Enter the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, but the panoply of sights, smells and surroundings is partially refused us due to poor, eroded shoulders and loud truck traffic. On the first bridge passing I see my first gator — A 7 foot beefer, his belly protrudes to each side of back, body pressed into sun and mud creek rock. I motion excitedly to Lizzie but she’s too far beyond and I don’t feel like stopping.

Foot trails splinter off into these protected uplands; I’d like to brave them some day.

5PM: Approach Savannah’s monolithic port, dozens of crate loaders militate against the natural landscape. Industrial materials and paper plants consume whole durations of our cross-park pass, hovering like distant, smoggy fortresses from some Final Fantasy video game. Soon we’re on approach roads into Savannah. Cross a dozen or so train tracks, one can never be too cautious even on dry days, make sure to hit them perpendicular and watch for flying panniers.

6PM: Downtown Savannah emerges around us, downbeat casual street buscle engulfs us as we coast through glint sunset. I find Zunzi’s, Cindy’s recommendation all the way from Jersey, captured in a postcard stuck behind my phone though I did not remember what kind of restaurant it was. Get there to find it’s soul sandwiches — yes puh-puh-puhlease!

Bop around the town a bit. Drink a Session IPA, OK two Session IPAs, hit a bike lane south to meet Cindy #2 and Mike who were kind enough to put us up in spare guest room.

Mike and Cindy are DIY’ers: most of the walls in their house have been rebuilt, including electrical wiring, shelving, etc. Mike had a homebrewed a blonde ale on tap so we had half glasses. It’s Friday, after all.

50 miles in ~5 hours of riding. That builds confidence. That’s the kind of pace that will put us in New Orleans in under two weeks. Emma — if you are reading this I am pleading for you to join us there!