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Piece Of Cake

I think I mentioned that I’m riding my bike from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina to Tampa, Florida but I can’t be sure after getting pelted with rain and hail on the second day of this 500-mile trip. One thing is for sure and that is, it’ll be longer than 500. GPS or Google Maps  knows how to get you lost sometimes. Plus you add miles when you forget stuff back at the hotel or go on missions of mercy.

I’m biking with Rick Horan and both our bikes have batteries which help a great deal when your bike is packed and looks like an RV. But batteries die. And they do when you’re miles from anywhere and it starts to rain.

Rick began having mechanical difficulties after going a little fast before hitting a bump. His tail light flew off and slid under my tire as I was behind him. But I hit the light at an angle. Like a pee-wee from March of the Wooden Soldiers (remember Stanley hitting those things?) it flew into the air off the wooden bridge we were on and…into a muddy creek. Gone.

It was funny but was also the beginning of fender problems for the Rickster. Which we didn’t appreciate until day two.

We rode 34 miles that first day, not wanting to do too much because 63 awaited us on day two. And on the big day, we were a solid seven miles in before Rick’s fender started rubbing against his tire which caused the battery to overwork.  So, by mile 25, give or take, his bike died. He tried old-fashioned pedaling but it was draining. The gas station we had stopped at was three miles back and the next one was 10  miles ahead. And did I mention it was raining?

I biked back to the gas station with his battery and charger. There was no way he could pedal his bike without battery assistance. I left poor Rick on the side of the road and told him I’d be back as soon as I got his battery charged, or at least partially charged. At one point, I called him to check on him and actually woke him up. He was exhausted from the pedaling he did after the battery died.

I finally got what I thought was enough juice in his battery and hustled back to where I’d left him. It was quite the scene. The bike was there and so was what looked like a trash bag—but there was no sign of Rick, until the trash bag moved. He had brought a tarp with him, so he covered himself as the rain poured down and then stayed there until I returned. (See the photo).

We got pedaling again and got to see some cool sights, including a green swamp. Green swamps don’t sound cool, but this one was. Lots of people waved at us, both in cars and from front porches. One lady waved at us from so far away we thought she might be waving to someone else—but then we realized we were going down some road that few humans had ever tried.  A black muscular dog scared us when we turned down some dirt road and it came around a corner, but he was as polite as most Southerners.

And then Rick’s battery died again. And it was near dark. The hotel was 10  miles away.

But it had stopped raining, so I wasn’t too afraid of him electrocuting himself when he plugged his charger into a light pole. And the frigging thing actually worked.

With back-and-forths and more than a few wrong turns, the 63-mile trip clocked in at 76.

The hotel was just outside Beaufort, SC and everything was closed. I didn’t think I’d eat Papa John’s unless there was a gun to my head, but I can say it was one of the greatest meals of my life (which followed one of the greatest warm showers of my life).

But this is what we signed up for. We’re heading for Florida and it’s not like a quick ride to the concessions. Gotta expect the unexpected.

The next day was a beauty and we sailed into Savannah, Georgia, completing a 51-mile day. I’ve learned Rick is a slow eater. Oh, it’ll be a whole column one day. And I’ve learned the butt pain is real and the importance of padded underwear. 

Want to follow the journey? Go to YouTube and search: “Rockaway Times.”

Next stop: nowhere, Georgia.

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