It’s been four days since last I wrote. Will I remember anything important? Did anything noteworthy happen? I merely cycled for a day, and then relaxed for several after.
Friday I wasn’t at first expecting to make it to Ward’s place on Sullivan’s Island. It would be my second seventy mile day in a row, and my legs were the most tender of things that morning. But then the thought occurred to me that, well, I won’t be setting up my tent since I’ll be staying at Ward’s, so I can take my time, and I have a light if it’s necessary that I cycle in the dark. Why should’t I manage the full distance into town given the circumstances? The ride, however, was excellent, even with my belated start, and better than I had any reasonable expectation for it to be, most especially taking into consideration the previous four days. Headwinds were minimal to nonexistent most places along the route, much of which was through the Francis Marion National Forest—a subtropical coniferous forest where nearly all the trees of which, I just recently learned, are only twenty-seven years old as a result of the destruction that Hurricane Hugo in 1989 brought. I found it to be a pretty place, what little I saw of it, and a pleasant, quiet ride. There was very little birdsong in most parts, sadly, and much of the undergrowth had obviously seen controlled burning fairly recently.
I arrived about six pm, and Ward took me out to dinner. A generous gesture for which I am humbly thankful—as well as for the room at his sparkling home.
The next day was spent relaxing, blogging, organizing, photo editing, and watching the thunderstorm from the comfort of his screened-in porch.
The day following that I spent stomping around in the rain, wandering from creperie, to coffee, to lunch, to the Karpeles Manuscript Museum where I met Michael Keane (more on him later), to coffee at Black Tap, to the NotSo Hostel to visit with the lovely and entertaining Fallon, to dinner at Leon’s, then finally back to the hostel to visit with Fallon some more and procure myself a ride back to Ward’s. It was a lovely day despite the nearly entirely uninterrupted downpour of rain, and the several large reservoirs of water that formed along certain curbs on certain streets in order that rude drivers in their speeding cars might splash unsuspecting pedestrians. I think if Ward had not given me an umbrella to use the day may have become rather unbearable in a hurry. Great, and generous thinking on his part.
So. This Michael Keane guy. What’s up with him? Why was he at the museum? How is it that I came to exchange names and stories with him? Well, if one happens to be traveling and stops off to look at some old things in a big, eye-catching building, then leaves, and upon leaving notices a large hiking pack outside the entrance, and said person is on his own kind of adventure, he is likely to stop and talk with the owner of the large hiking pack, and this is exactly what happened. He was a rather eccentric character, this other traveler, and it’s hard to say whether this is a result of his long, solo travels by foot, or if those travels are a result of his own, inherent eccentricities. Probably, like so many things, both. His mangy, white beard was stuck out at all angles as though he had recently been electrocuted, as was his shoulder-length hair, which was rather thin and wispy, sort of like a dream, or an old memory. He did not sport a mustache, however. His pupils were contracted, rather tiny specks—I’m not sure at all why, as it was overcast and raining outside—and his metal rimmed spectacles were slid quite far down his nose. He’s walked the Camino de Santiago a few times, and currently is looking to create an American Camino, with, potentially, the help of the Knights of Columbus, which is why he’s out here now. He’s quite obviously a devout Christian, and recognizes that pilgrimage is something that many do at least once in their life in Europe, but there is no proper pilgrimage trail here, in the States. Of course, this is the “New World,” and not a saint has stepped foot on the soil here, nor is one buried, at least to my knowledge, so where to is a pilgrim to pilgrimage? He’s through-hiked the Appalachian Trail as well, but doesn’t recommend it. Currently, being in Charleston, he is on his way to Canada having started in Saint Augustine, Florida. And, lastly, Mr. Keane has written a book titled Walking to Hell and Back, which is, from what I gathered part story and part informational guide on walking the Camino. I may purchase it, as walking the Camino is something I’d like to do some day.
Decided to hang around until Monday to wash clothes and enjoy the single day of exceptional weather. Cycled the couple miles to Fort Moultrie—an historical fort dating from the Revolution where the British first attacked at South Carolina. The initial version of the fort incorporated palmetto logs and sand into its structure, and, with the victory, inspired the state’s flag and nickname.
Rode up and down the beach, took loads of pictures and, generally speaking, simply enjoyed the fine weather. It was nice to just relax and not give a fuck that the wind was blowing at 30 knots, or whatever, and I could just stand or sit in it as I liked, and let it course over my skin and through my hair and enjoy it. Thank the Lord.
Cycling today was easy. Shockingly so. No wind. I made crazy-good time despite leaving late (late is really starting to become the norm now), and even made it to the A.C.E. Basin before their offices closed. This has enabled me to adjust my plans some, as I had plenty of time to explore (though not nearly enough to do the Basin justice—that would require a day, at minimum) and even put a few more miles in afterward in my search for a spot to make camp. Now I’m in a field under a pine tree just off highway 17, my favorite highway (though, not nearly as bad as 701). I’m too happy to have adjusted my plans as Thursday is looking thunderstorms, and the less of that to ride in the better.