We are on our way!
Today is the first official day of our journey to Alaska. We will be leaving at 10am sharp from Renfro Valley KOA, Kentucky. This first day will take us soutwest towards Somerset, with final destination Burnside State Park.
This morning we are going through our belongings to see what we can do without. The journey yesterday was a very hard one. Part because we didn't ride in the previous week, part because we just have way to much stuff, which slowed us down tremendously.
We are very excited that the day has come. It has been very enjoyable preparing for our journey, as well as very strenuous and nerve wrecking from time to time. We are off now and we have faith that it will work out.
We are very appreciative of our sponsors who have helped us and are still helping us undertake this journey.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Miles today: 22, Total miles: 22
A day to remember. While we were packing to go on our first official day of the journey to Alaska, friends and family came rolling in to give us a major send off.
Going through our stuff was the hardest part. What can we really do without? Well, quite a lot it turns out. Although the truth of that statement can only be proven by the next months to come.
Help with packing came from all directions. It was a beautiful display of love and friendship. The girls got another chance to say good bye to their dear friends, and so did we. When time to depart arrived many a tear was shed.
Then off we went, leaving Renfro Valley KOA behind us. It has become a reality, we are on our way.
At the road the Mount Vernon Police and Fire Department are waiting for us. They are escorting us all the way around Mount Vernon. We are very thankful for their help with getting us on our way safely.
The Police and Fire Department went back to town, when we passed the last junction back to Mount Vernon. It is up to us now to keep us safe on the road. We can't say we are all alone now, because we have met the most kind and generous and sincere people on the road today.
We have received space on the road, honking horns for cheers, a person pulling off the road to pass us a couple of eye rinsers as used by motorcyclists, a gentleman purchasing peaches for us from Peach City, where the owners offered us bananas and a bathroom.
The girls have discovered a beautiful rock to have a break on. It turns out to have barnacles on it, which means this rock must have been below sea level at one time, long, long ago.
At one of our breaks a crew of the WKYT 27 tv station from Lexington, Kentucky pulled over to do an interview with us. They have followed us for a couple of miles to get some shots of us in action. As we were told later, it was on the 6 o'clock news!
Everywhere we stop we strike up conversations. People are wondering where we are going and of course why we are doing it. The girls hand out our cards with web address to everyone that is interested in going to Alaska with us. We truly hope we are an inpiration to others, to not give up on your dreams, to live life to the fullest and to do acts of kindness to one another.
Today we aimed to arrive at Burnside State Park. We settled for a grassy field near the BP filling station off of Highway 80. We are to the end of our rope for today. Before setting up camp we sit down for a while and let the day sink in. We didn't get as far as we had hoped, but we gave it our all and we made it further then if we hadn't went at all. A journey of 7,000 miles starts with one stroke of the pedal. Today we have done many.
It is a hustle bustle of traffic here at the filling station. Lots of enthusiastic people, eager to hear about our journey. The girls receive slush puppies. All of us receive many blessings. A man offers us a place to camp at his farm, 8 miles down the road. Although this is very tempting, we decide to stay where we are.
Many pictures are taken of the bicycle. We are used to it's size and uniqueness now, but it sure is an eye catcher.
After setting up the tent and putting our things in it, we have time to rest a while. Amarins, Cheyenne and Jasmine go inside the filling station to enjoy the airconditioning and play a game of Skip-Bo. Jasmine is getting really good at recognizing the numbers. Both Cheyenne and Jasmine are learning how to use the Skip-Bo's to their advantage. Bill and Robin stay in the tent to rest.
Our dear friends Regina and Julio, with children Nathan, Erika, Jonathan and Victoria are bringing us supper tonight. Ham, mashed potatoes, corn, macaroni and cheese and watermelon for dessert, as well as cake to celebrate that today is Jonathan's birthday. Jonathan is the first to receive a birthday card form us on this journey. Do you have a child or grandchild who would like to receive a card? Click here!
Amarins' library friend Wendy, with husband and daughters Destiny and Brandy also stop by. It is an enjoyable reunion.
After this wonderful supper has filled our bellies, it is time for us to turn in and get some rest. Tomorrow is another day...
Click here to see more pictures of today's journey.
Sunday, August 2, 2009 Miles today: 15, Total miles: 37 A filling station is a very noisy place to spend the night. Still we all feel rested in the morning. We have orange juice, coffee and a ham and cheese sandwich for breakfast. We are not really hungry, munching seems to work better, so we wrap the remaining sandwich for on the road. Apparently many people have been watching the news. From time to time people stop by to tell us they saw us on tv yesterday. It is like we have become overnight celebrities. Yet let us remember that we are just ordinary people. We eat, we sleep, we use the bathroom. We make mistakes just like everybody else. We are following our dream and we are hoping to inspire you to follow yours.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Miles today: 15, Total miles: 37
A filling station is a very noisy place to spend the night. Still we all feel rested in the morning. We have orange juice, coffee and a ham and cheese sandwich for breakfast. We are not really hungry, munching seems to work better, so we wrap the remaining sandwich for on the road.
Apparently many people have been watching the news. From time to time people stop by to tell us they saw us on tv yesterday. It is like we have become overnight celebrities. Yet let us remember that we are just ordinary people. We eat, we sleep, we use the bathroom. We make mistakes just like everybody else. We are following our dream and we are hoping to inspire you to follow yours.
It takes us a while to get ready to ride, but once we are ready we are off. Again we aim to get to Burnside State Park. We are only a couple of miles down the road when Bill abrubtly brings us to a stop. We have our first flat tire!
Bill has dodged nuts, bolts, screws, cigaret lighters, knife blades, cell phones and much more, but it is a little piece of wire, which seems to come out of a wire brush, that is stuck in the front wheel.
Amarins and the girls get off the bike and use it as an extra break. We have something to eat and get to strech our legs.
Bill is getting his tools out to get the 'tire flipper'. But it is not there. A police officer sees our struggle and pulls over to ask whether he can help. Yes he can. The police unit has a bicycle squad, so he will get their 'tire flipper' for us to use.
In the mean while we rack up our brains to see what we could use to get the tire off. Amarins comes up with the solution: our tablespoons. They have a flat end at the back that is just right to flip the tire of it's rim. Then the hole is easily fixed. We wait for the cop to return before we are off again. We thank him profusely for his effort. And we are off again.
We are taking the by-pass around Somerset. A nice rolling hill road. With our bicycle clock broken, we only have the mile markers to go by. Cheyenne is learning to add and subtract and Jasmine is learning to count. Both of them have the basic number skills down already, but this puts it in a more useful perspective.
Twice we have to merge into traffic to get to the traffic light to turn left. Twice this works out very well. The cars around us mind us well and give us enough space to make the crossings safely.
South of Somerset we pick up highway 27. We will be staying on this highway for about the next one hundred miles. Today we are only going about five miles on it, until we see the turn off for Burnside State Park.
We are riding through the little village of Burnside. At the local supermarket we buy some protein-full supplies and some extra water. We drink a lot of water during our rides. The girls have learned to drink it too.
A couple more miles and we will be at our destination for today. Being so close we think we can make it there and then have something to eat. Not a good idea. We have run out of energy to take us up the little hill to the camping. We need many stops to make it. After one of them, our start is wrong and we tip the bike over. We are all fine and learned a valuable lesson: eat sooner.
We walk the remaining part of the hill and stop at a picnic area with playground. We fill our bodies with energy and rest for a while before we get to the campground.
At the campground we find a nice spot under some shade trees. The park has a playground, which is immediately put to use by the girls. There are several other children to play with, so this adds to the fun. While the girls play, Bill and Amarins set up camp. We will be here for our rest day too.
The park has bathroom facilities with showers and a laundromat. Before we take our showers we line up with our lifeline Barbara to bring us some dry milk, beef jerky and supper. After our showers, we all crawl in the tent for a refreshing nap.
Being outdoors, absorbing new images, exercizing; it all gives a fulfilling feeling. Before we know it we are all asleep.
Picture taken by Jasmine.
After our nap Barbara arrives. She brought all sorts of delights. For supper we are having rotissery chicken, potato salad and coleslaw. There is also chips and watermelon to go with it. For breakfast we will have premade pancakes, strawberries, pear jam and bananas. Since we are staying another day, we can spread it out over the day.
Visiting with Barbara is very enjoyable. The girls received bubblesticks, which can also be used as magic wands, weapons and batons. Barbara told us that bubbles in the winter is an experience by itself. The bubbles will freeze and last for a long time. When we get to Fairbanks, Alaska next summer, we will stock up on some bubble sticks and enjoy that that next winter.
It has again been a good day. We crawl in bed and before we know it the lights are out.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Miles today: 0, Total miles: 37
We start the morning with working on the journal. All three girls have a journal. They will work on it one page a day. The bottom half is for writing, the top half is for making a drawing.
Cheyenne writes on 5 lines about the experiences of the day. This time it is about going to blow bubbles in wintertime. The bottom is for practicing her cursive abc's. At the top she has made a drawing of poison ivy.
Jasmine copies today's date in her journal. She also has a memorable experience written in her journal. That is done by Amarins. At the bottom she practises her block abc's.
Robin is just going to town with the pencils. She is part of the journalling and that is the important part.
In the meanwhile Bill is preparing breakfast: smoked pancakes. They look like pancakes, but they taste like smoke, even covered with pear jam. At least they are nice and hot. It is a new experience.
After breakfast and working on the journal it is time to go to the playground and meet new friends. The girls are having a wonderful time. There is a big sand box with lots of toys, there are swings and a climbing unit with slides. They are having a ball.
While the girls are playing, Amarins cleans up the tent and prepares for laundry. Just your ordinary daily stuff. We need to do it too. Bill is working on the bicycle. Making sure everything is all right for the next day journey.
Burnside State Park is a nice campground. Peaceful during the day, yet a little noisy during the night. Lots of train traffic. We actually thought there was a thunderstorm upon us!
The laundry facility is supurb. Everything is nice and cleand and ready to go. Because tomorrow we are leaving again, we decide to put everything we don't need today back in the trailer. That will safe us time with getting ready in the morning.
For supper we are invited by the Fitzpatrick & Heron families. Hamburgers, hotdogs, baked beans, fresh tomatoes, chips. Again a feast.
After supper it is yet again time for us to crawl in. Tomorrow we plan on getting up with the sun. We hope to leave by about 7am. Destination: Whitley City, Kentucky; about 24 miles.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009 Today 24 miles, Total 62 miles Getting up early was a great idea. Most of the trailer was loaded, so we were ready to go in no time. This was partly due to not having breakfast... As part of the preparation, Amarins laid out our breakfast items before going to bed. Beef jerky, some crackers, bananas, a couple of apples, yummy. Well, it would have been, if a raccoon (or other climbing critter) hadn't climbed in the tree to get it. Lesson here: even though you don't see animals in the park during the day, it doesn't mean there are none! When Amarins and Bill come back from the bathroom, there is quite some comotion at the tent. Cheyenne isn't feeling well and had to throw up. Smart enough she did it outside of the tent. Now this is out of her system, she is ready to go, although not whole heartedly. The hills are rolling. An uphill slope can sometimes be over a mile long. We are getting used to these long hills. It are the first hundred strokes after a break that are the hardest. Once we are past this breaking point we can easily do another 2-3 hundred strokes. Somewhere midway between Burnside and Whitley City, in what seems to be a little ghost town, we are taking a break. A beautiful lawn with humongous trees and even a little slide provides a perfect spot to have a pick-nick.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Today 24 miles, Total 62 miles
Getting up early was a great idea. Most of the trailer was loaded, so we were ready to go in no time. This was partly due to not having breakfast...
As part of the preparation, Amarins laid out our breakfast items before going to bed. Beef jerky, some crackers, bananas, a couple of apples, yummy. Well, it would have been, if a raccoon (or other climbing critter) hadn't climbed in the tree to get it. Lesson here: even though you don't see animals in the park during the day, it doesn't mean there are none!
When Amarins and Bill come back from the bathroom, there is quite some comotion at the tent. Cheyenne isn't feeling well and had to throw up. Smart enough she did it outside of the tent. Now this is out of her system, she is ready to go, although not whole heartedly.
The hills are rolling. An uphill slope can sometimes be over a mile long. We are getting used to these long hills. It are the first hundred strokes after a break that are the hardest. Once we are past this breaking point we can easily do another 2-3 hundred strokes.
Somewhere midway between Burnside and Whitley City, in what seems to be a little ghost town, we are taking a break. A beautiful lawn with humongous trees and even a little slide provides a perfect spot to have a pick-nick.
Picture taken by Jasmine.
This break was exactly what we needed to give our muscles a chance to recover. It is not only a muscle game, as it is also a mind game. It would be so easy to just stop pedalling at times. Hill after hill after hill. The mind starts to wonder what the use of it is.
Then out of the blue a beautiful memory is created. This time by this great place to take a break, the laughter of the girls, the sparkle in their eyes. Then the mind knows.
We lost our flag this morning, so Amarins ties a red tanktop to the flagpole. It holds on for a while, but apparently also decides to fly off. We don't realize this, until a car stops in front of us and we are handed the tanktop back. Out of coincidence or not, the man is Greg Bird, he writes for the McGreary County Voice.
Greg would like to take some pictures of us in action. Which is of course fine with us. He will meet us later at the Burger King for an interview. Manager Tayna of Burger King Whitley City has offered us a free lunch. Again the universe is providing. Thank you Tanya.
It is another six miles to Whitley City, but we can already smell lunch. Amarins decides to count how many strokes are in an uphill mile, while we are going in our lowest gear. It takes about one thousand strokes. That is quite daunting. It does put the hills in perspective. "Oh, this is just a three hundred stroke hill. Piece of cake." "This hill took way more than one thousand strokes. What a monster hill!"
When we get to Whitley City, someone runs after us trying to get us to stop. We don't realize it at first until Cheyenne notifies us. Peter Ferrara, from another Whitley City newspaper, would like to take our picture. This provides a great break. We are in the last mile or so, the hardest part of the day. We agree to meet Peter at the Burger King as well.
The sign of Burger King has never looked so good. A chicken salad, a hamburger, macaroni and cheese, combined with turbo coffee and some soda gives us the energy to do the interviews. While Bill is doing most of the talking, Amarins enjoys a pieceful lunch. The girls enjoy the crowns and the paper to draw on. Cheyenne makes the most interesting drawing... a picture of her "regurgitated food" of this morning. Quite a likeness too...
After the interview we go one more mile to the Visitor Center. They are friendly enough to let us set up camp next to the building. There is a little gazebo we can use to park the bicycle on. It is supposed to storm later on today.
Next to the Visitor Center is the library. When we are all set up for the night we walk over there. Bill reads stories to the girls and has them work on their journal, while Amarins has time to update the website.
While we are in the library, a giant thunderstorm hits. We are safe and sound inside. When Bill checks on the tent all is well, with only a couple of specks of water in one corner. When the library closes, the ladies of the library are so concerned about more upcoming storms and us being out there in the tent, they give us the key to the hall way, in case we need to hide for a storm. How very thoughtful.
The evening provides us with more rain, but no more storms. Amarins, Cheyenne and Jasmine play some Skip-Bo. Bill plays with Robin. While we are playing, Greg stops by, to see if we are doing alright. Some other people stop by to check on us too. They offer Bill a ride to Kroger, where he gets us a rotissery chicken for supper.
During supper a lady from the local museum stops by to take a picture of us with the bicycle. We are going to be added to the local museum. Go check it out next time you are in Whitley City.
Bill asked Peter to stop by with some cubed watermelon in the evening. It is about 8pm and there he is. Jasmine has already fallen asleep, but Robin and Cheyenne are still wide awake. Peter did not only bring watermelon, but also a harmonica and a guitar. While we are enjoying the watermelon, Peter is singing songs and playing the instruments. Especially Cheyenne is enjoying it tremendously. She has a harmonica herself and is practising from time to time on it.
For Jasmine we make a little movie, so she can hear it too.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Today 19 miles, Total 81 miles
It is dry this morning. Amarins walks the mile to Burger King and back, to provide for breakfast. Cini-minis, french toast, bacon/egg/cheese croissant, combined with orange juice, chocolate milk and turbo coffee, are a good start to get ready to go. Thanks again, Tayna from Whitley City Burger King for your hospitality.
After breakfast, the tent is dry enough to pack up. The gazebo provides a perfect place to gather our things and organize them.
At 8.30am we are ready to pull out. We drop the key to the library off in the book drop and are on our way. A little loop over main street brings us back to highway 27 south. Today's destination is Oneida, Tennessee. A new state on the journey!
The hills don't give us any problems. We know the drill. Pedal, pedal, pedal, rest. Pedal, pedal, pedal, rest. The drizzle keeps us nice and cool. The girls are wearing raincoats, so they are protected from it.
We are on a roll this morning and arrive in Tennessee by mid morning. Photo-op of course.
One of the people we call from the Tennessee line is Larry, from IMAXradio where we do our radio broadcast every Friday at 2pm. He has a surprise for us. He has arranged for us to stay in the Oneida Guest House, in (you guessed it) Oneida Tennessee. It is a two bedroom suite with a jacuzi bath tub.
That certainly keeps us going! We dodge the mist as much as we can and arrive in Oneida at noon. Another 19 miles bites the dust. We lug our luggage up the stairs and are totally blown away by the suite Larry has arranged for us. Staying in a tent might have changed our perception, but this certainly is supurb. Thanks Larry!
First things first... of course we start off with a bubble bath. How wonderful it feels on the muscles. After we are all clean we have a chance to take a nap in the real beds. It takes a whole lot of strenght and will power to undertake a journey this big. A nap is just what we need. After this rest, we decide it is a good time for supper.
We eat at Preston's Steakhouse. A total western style restaurant. Great relaxing athmosphere, delicious food. We are celebrating our anniversary as well as our first state line.
Back at the Guest House, Bill works some on the bicycle, gets us a new flag for on the bicycle (a Tennessee flag...) and does a load of laundry at a local laundromat. Amarins works on updating the website, but without any luck.
Yet again it has been a day full of blessings and enjoyment. Clean, warm and cozy, we soon fall asleep.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Today 38 miles, Total 119 miles
We are on a roll today! After a wonderful night on a real bed, we feel refreshed to hit the road again.
According to schedule today is our day off, but since we are not going to stay another night at the guest house, we just as well get a couple of miles out of the way.
We jet off around 8am. It is a little foggy when we start out, so we turn the blinking lights on the trailer on. The road is relatively 'flat', so the first 10 miles are behind us quickly.
We don't know what today's destination is, Robbins, Elgin or perhaps even Wartburg. Going thru Robbins shows us no space to camp or a place to refresh, so we keep on going.
Roadworks are ahead of us. They are fixing one side of the road, so it is a one lane road for a while. The road worker says we will be just fine. He even radio's ahead that we are coming.
Somehow patience must have run out, because half a mile before we reach the end of the road works, heavy traffic is coming our way. The shoulder is only two, maybe three feet wide, so that does not give any respite.
To our disbelief, traffic is not giving us an inch. It is a if we are invisible. It is a very scary experience. We are glad when the road works are behind us. Phew.
We actually are ready for a break, but decide to go a little further, to leave the road works behind us as far as possible. Well, a break we are getting... It comes with a flat tire! Number two, and only six road days sofar!
Bill uses a pine log to put the bicycle on, so he can take the rear tire out of the frame.
The rear tire is the flat one this time. This time it is not obvious where the hole is, so Bill takes out the flat inner tube (using the spoon method again) and puts in a new one that we took with us. The girls and Amarins take advantage of the break and have some snacks.
It is getting towards noon and we still haven't found a place to camp. The sun has burned off the fog and it is getting warm, and muggy.
The next town on the map is Sunbright. We are in bigger hills now. What goes down must go up it seems. We've done about 19 miles when we get to a beautiful view. It is a just reward for getting to the top of the hill.
A breathtaking view.
We get to cruise down into the city limits of Sunbright. And there is nothing there, except for some houses. Being ready for a break, we decide to have a pick nick under some trees, when an older gentleman invites us to have our pick nick on his property.
The gentleman is JP Morgan, a basket of knowledge about the area. He is glad to share with us the history of the old homestead. Indians used to travel where we are sitting, on their way from what we now call Knoxville to Nashville.
According to Mr Morgan it is about another 12 miles to Wartburg, a little bigger town with some stores. Since the morning went so well, we think this will be easy. According to descriptions, it is mostly downhill. Two, maybe three uphill parts...
Up the hill and down the hill, up the hill and down the hill we go. Oh, we are so tired. We know we could have pitched our tent in Sunbright and we would have been just fine. We have plenty of food, we have plenty of water. But no, we decide Wartburg is our destination. It should take us only two hours or so.
We now know it took us 3 and a half hours, including an hour break in the enjoyable Pilot Mountain Diner. Here we play some cards and have some protein filled food. The people are very warm and friendly and don't mind us lingering at all. In the diner we meet Jimmy Jones from Wartburg. He offers us his home to stay for the night.
Strengtened from this hour break, we are conquering the last 9 miles with many many stops and goes. But we make it. Close to 6pm, after a 10 hour journey, we arrive at Jimmy's place. When we get there, Jimmy has supper ready. Thank you very much Jimmy!
The evening is spend outdoors. The girls run and play with the dog. They wrestle with Amarins and Bill in the grass. You can hardly tell they've been on a long journey today.
After a pleasurable evening with Jimmy, it is good resting at night.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Today 25 miles, Total 144 miles
We sure slept well, till after 8am. It won't be an early start today. A breakfast of oatmeal and bacon hits the spot. After that we are ready to get on the road again.
When we get out of town it is basically down hill for a long time. A beautiful creek runs along side the road. Big boulders in the creek result in white rapids. Too bad there is not a spot where we can park and put our feet in the creek.
Going down hill almost feels like cheating, but it also feels great. The wind is blowing in our hair, the creek provides a cool breeze. Approximately eight miles on our way we take a break. It isn't one of the better spots, but a big hill is ahead of us, so we figure this is just as good a spot as any.
Just 200 yards further down the road we would have found a much better spot. Under a shade tree, with a view of a lovely meadow filled with yellow flowers. It is part of the journey. We do not know what lies ahead of us, thus we take it the way it comes.
Eight more miles will take us to Harriman. With our late start we decide that that is the town for a big break. We want to make it to Kingston today. Kingston is located on Watts Bar Lake, where the Tennessee and Clinch river meet.
In Harriman we find an Elementary school to have our big break.
The secretary of the school sees us come and invites us into the school, where we meet the principal and the teachers. The teachers just happen to be in a meeting. We get to share about our journey.
One of the teachers, Laura, offers us a place to stay for the night in Kingston. Just what we were hoping for.
We stay at the school for over an hour. Cheyenne and Jasmine are working on projects with natural materials they find. They are so creative. They use what is around them.
Bill goes shopping for water and comes back with his hands full. When a man goes shopping...
Rested from a good break. Strenghtened with food and drinks. Played out... well, are they ever? We are ready to head to Kingston. Only one big hill lies between Harriman and Kingston.
Up the big hill we stop from time to time. At one of the times a couple from Michigan stops and hands out popsicles to all of us. How refreshing! We are not in the best place to have a longer break, but how can we pass this up!
We pass under the I-40 interstate and get to the final intersection before cruising into Kingston. It is alreaady after three and the temperature is still very high. A couple more miles and we'll be at our destination for today.
We are actually on a bike route now. It comes and goes, so we are not quite sure what they have in mind with this road, but it sure is nice to have a lane to ourselves from time to time.
We cross the clinch river...
... and arrive in Kingston, Tennessee. On the sign it says Kingston was capitol of Tennessee for one day in September 1807.
In Kingston we park at the courthouse. While we wait for Laura to contact us we work on our journals.
At Laura's home we rest a while, before we need to get ready for a swim party we are invited too. We meet some of the same teachers of earlier today. The girls are having a ball swimming and making new friends. Randi, Laura's husband, and son Bryson are also part of the fun.
A day where we made new friends. A day filled with joy. A day full of memories.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Today 0 miles, Total 144 miles
We are having our day off here at the best kept secret of Eastern Tennessee: On the lake at Kingston.
It is wonderfully dark in the basement. We sleep in till it's nine. When the girls climb the stairs to the main floor they shout "It's day!"
Laura is in the kitchen fixing all sorts of muffins and bacon for breakfast. A cup of coffee is there to go with it. The hospitality of Laura and Randi is heart warming. The girls play with the dog and play board games with Randi.
Jasmine has a wonderful time. She gets to be dressed up like the little princess she is. A pretty dress, a flower in her hair, new nail polish on her finger and toes. She is soaking it up.
In the afternoon Laura drives us to the lake to meet our friends Raney & Teresa, Tracy & Tami and Rick & Shirley, from Owsley county Kentucky. They have come down for the day on their motorcycles. It is good seeing them. They can hardly believe how far we've come this week.
Later we get to swim in the neighbor's pool. How refreshing after a hot day of doing nothing in particular.
For supper there is potatoes with carrots and a roast. Good food to fill us with energy for a new day on the road. The roast was brought by Laura's teacher friend Emily. Thanks Emily!
After supper it is time to call it a day.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Today 36 miles, Total 180 miles
As we left Kingston we passed the end of the Clinch river as it merged into another river. At this meeting point stood an old fort, that stood guard over 200 years ago as our country was in it's infancy.
We continued along the water route while the morning fog grew heavy. Water droplets formed on Bill's arm hair and glistened as the sun finally broke through. The coolness of it felt great.
We meandered off the main road onto a seemingly harmless country road, according to our map. It turned out to be the road from "Deliverance". The curves and the steep inclines challenged every ounce of our energy. When we finally crested the highest point.... we still weren't there. A break was just the thing. We watched people drive by, all dressed up for church.
Finally on the downhill road, we stumbled upon an old two story flour mill, purched next to a creek. Bill took the girls down to the water's edge and introduced them to a good baptizing of cold creek water. Jasmine was not to impressed because her shirt got wet. Cheyenne and Robin asked for more cold water in their faces.
Cheyenne and Bill looked trough the cracks in the door to see what treasures lay in side. Upon finding very little, Cheyenne tried to talk Bill into walking through the poison ivy to further investigate. He refused on about 1,000 occasions.
We finally crossed I-75 at exit 62 in Tennessee and were east of it for the first time since we left the Renfro Valley KOA, coincidentally at exit 62 in Kentucky. We stopped at the Dinner Bell and had a great meal. On our way out, the owner and her husband offered to give us our meal (which we accepted of course). After getting pictures in front of their establishment, we reached Sweetwater.
At the Sweetwater duck park we enjoyed the company of some hispanic ladies with their children. They shared their ice cream sandwiches with us and we shared stories of our homes.
Not feeling that we should stay the night in Sweetwater, we moved on and ended up in Madisonville. A couple of miles from Madisonville, a nice young educated couple in their black BMW were stopped and were taking pictures of us. We stopped and chatted and then headed on to town. As we pulled into the Wendy's they pulled in as well. They offered us a meal or a stay in a local hotel. We chose the latter.
Total random acts of kindness by random people on this incredible planet we call earth. So far the generosity (Tzedakah) has been staggering. Despite what we see on the news, this country called America, is full of marvelous, generous people. And we slept well.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Today 17 miles, Total 197 miles
Pride comes before the fall. Sleeping in doesn't make us more awake. Bill put the safety break on the rear tire instead of the front tire. While putting Robin on it and with Jasmine next to it, the front tire rolled and the kickstand fell. And down came the bike. Casualties: 1 => Jasmine had a booboo on her knee from falling over. Out came the badages. Robin was shaken, not stirred.
For Bill it was a difficult trip. His legs were killing him and his butt was sore.
The girls had a good time. They saw a deer crossing the road. We had a long pick nick under some bradford pear trees in Mount Vernon, Tennessee.
We've come to find out that the owner of the house was born in Fort Pierce, Florida, where Robin was born. We got to talk with him and the inlaws who seem to own half the countryside around there. They were very nice. They shared soft drinks and ice from the back of their work pick-up truck.
We stumbled into the KOA in Tellico Plains. Before swimming we did an interview with the Knoxville/NBC tv station. Jerry Owens was a very nice and travelled man.
We spend the late afternoon cooling in the pool, hiding from the 95+ degree heat. Some wonderful people from south Florida trated our kids like their grandkids and let them raid their camper of cool air and donuts. It's wonderful to see people in their early seventies still sucking every drop of enjoyment they can get from life.
We now have a cool breeze as the sun has set and we look forward to some together time...
Tuesday, August 11, 2009 Today 26 miles, Total 223 miles Jasmine found another use for the goggles: to keep the bugs out of her eyes. This in anticipation of us flying down the mountain we'll climb today.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Today 26 miles, Total 223 miles
Jasmine found another use for the goggles: to keep the bugs out of her eyes. This in anticipation of us flying down the mountain we'll climb today.
How we love to look for the moon. Whether it is day or night. It is a central part of our lives. Robin can pick it out at the blink of an eye. Bill often wonders how many ancient peoples and civilizations have looked at this very same moon. And now there is no memory of them for the most part. In this area of the world, the native americans were plentiful. Now they are but a whisper to those that listen and look.
Here is a great example of how the native people have been replaced by a newer civilization. Only after their extinction we begin to appreciate how many great things they had to offer. As we are standing at this spot, we realize that the beginning of the Trail of Tears, was just up the road at the fort. Most people riding this road, called stateroad 68, are clueless of the tragic events.
Frank Murphy Jr, owner of Coker Creek village is admiring the bicycle.
We spent several great hours meandering in the Hiawassee river. On this hot day the cool water felt great to our feet and the girls bodies as they played in the shallows.
We finally arrive exhausted in Turtletown. Our tent is set up right below a deep stream, with a mountain of trees behind us.
We meet a not so local local man, Jersey Jim, whose house burned down about two weeks earlier at about one in the morning. He told us the fire report showed that the fire 'fighters' used six gallons of water in total! Obviously, his house burned to the ground. Jersey Jim brought us a hot chicken, cookies, cokes and water for supper.
Now it is time to play and run around. It is a good spot to camp.
We finally settle in, after the entire town seems to have stopped by, as Bill notices lightning off in the distance. At about one in the morning, a ferocious storm hits. The tent is blowing around like a marshmellow bag in a wind tunnel. After tons of lightning, thunder and rain, we ride the storm out bone dry.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Today 10 miles, Total 233 miles
Jersey Jim provides hot tea while we wait for the rain to surrender.
Waiting for the rain to break, so we can get back on the road to Ducktown, Tennessee.
When it finally seems to clear off, we make a dash for Ducktown. Yet, no luck, rain is upon us again. It finally turns into a drizzle as we are nearing Ducktown, Tennessee.
A mile from Ducktown, we are greeting by an unmarked car with a blue flashing light and what we assume to be a police officer. With no identification, nor uniform or introduction, he informs us that we are breaking Tennessee law. Children are not allowed to be in the rain.
Under escort we make it to Ducktown and we hold up in a motel. As we do not want the wrath of local law enforcement from Polk County Tennessee upon us, we will enclose more of this story in our book.
This same afternoon, Bill hitch hikes 120 miles to Atlanta, Georgia. Where he gets a ride from a friend to Fort Benning, Georgia on Thursday morning. Adam has his ceremony for finishing bootcamp for the US military.
Amarins and the girls are couped up in the motel, trying to stay out of the local law enforcement's eye.
We made it to Ducktown and are safely in a motel. Clean, warm and refreshed.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Today 0 miles, Total 233 miles
No excitement for Amarins and the girls today. We read, play cards, work on mapping skills and nap.
Bill is in Fort Benning at Adam's graduation. He is enjoying the rest of his herd of kids... The meeting of Adam and Bill on the parade grounds after the ceremony was powerful.
Bill hitch hikes back north. After five different vehicles he arrives on 515 in Elijay, Georgia. Walking past the city limits, he sticks out his thumb and is immediately picked up by two police cars. Here is another place where you'll have to read the book to hear the rest of the story, when it comes out. We still have a ways to go in Georgia and don't want to burn future bridges...
At seven Bill finally makes it to the motel where the girls are anxious to go swimming. Bill and Amarins are anxious to get out of this town and out of this county.
Except for this small hickup, the people of Tennessee have been heart warming and welcoming. We look back on a great journey through beautiful country and a group of very independent people.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Today 24 miles, Total 257 miles
We are loaded and ready to jet out. Hopefully the bit of fog will give us cover to get out of Polk county, without more police interference...
We made it to North Carolina. We can breathe freely again. It is like a fresh breeze comes over us. We already feel much better.
Using pinecones and sticks, the girls have made deer. From left to right: Robin, Cheyenne, Jasmine
At Peddlers Village we meet a swarm of wonderful people from all over the country who are taken by our bicycle trip and our courage to live our dream. We receive meal and drinks from Terri at the Peddlers Village Market. We make many great contacts from Florida to Alaska. It is a great blessing being there.
During another break, Jasmine finds another pinecone and decorates it with English Ivy. It is also a deer. She'd love to take it with her, but we leave it behind between a couple of daisies, only to take a picture as memorie.
Wow, stop! A giant piece of copper wire has gotten stuck in our chain. The way the chains run, it got stuck in the triple chain set of Jasmine's stoker kit.
At the No Name ice cream parlor in Murphy we are treated on an ice cream by Larry and his daughter Heather. We have met Larry a couple of times today. Once when we had the wire stuck in our chain, Larry offered his help. Next at the McDonalds, where they saw our bicycle parked. Thanks for all your generosity Larry! We hope we can return the favor. Remember our offer. We'll be there when you need us!
In Murphy we meet a very large family of a Mt Airy, NC state trooper, who feed us, put us up in a motel and provide us with some money to take care of other needs we have. They ar just one of the many people who exemplify the acts of tzedakah.
At today's close, we are swamped with the emotions of this day that began with fog and ended in a great sunset after a storm.
Saturday, August 15, 2009 Today 24 miles, Total 281 miles At 9.30 am we leave Murphy, NC, rested and fed. Today we are heading to Hiawassee, Georgia. There we have to go to a bicycle store. The bicycle has a couple of problems that we just have to take care off. The weather is beautiful. After an evening storm, the air feels refreshed. The sun is out, but there are still some clouds. We enjoy the clouds. They provide us a nice shade from time to time. We take the road through town and stop by a mailbox, before we are finally really on our way. Highway 64 is a beautiful wide road, relatively flat. Eventhough it is warm, the first part of the trip is a breeze.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Today 24 miles, Total 281 miles
At 9.30 am we leave Murphy, NC, rested and fed. Today we are heading to Hiawassee, Georgia. There we have to go to a bicycle store. The bicycle has a couple of problems that we just have to take care off.
The weather is beautiful. After an evening storm, the air feels refreshed. The sun is out, but there are still some clouds. We enjoy the clouds. They provide us a nice shade from time to time.
We take the road through town and stop by a mailbox, before we are finally really on our way. Highway 64 is a beautiful wide road, relatively flat. Eventhough it is warm, the first part of the trip is a breeze.
This changes as soon as we leave Cherokee County and go into Clay County. Here the road narrows, the shoulder gets narrower too. This wouldn't have been a problem, had it not been for the rumble strip. By putting in the rumble strip there is not enough space for us to ride there comfortably, without being shaken to pieces, or having the trailer rumble continuously. A pity.
The rumble strips that take away the opportunity to safely ride your bicycle on the shoulder.
The absence of a nice shoulder throws us off mentally. We are not only fighting to get up the hills, but also to stay safe out of traffic. We stop from time to time to let traffic go by and make it eventually to the top before rolling into Hayesville, NC.
We stop at the McDonalds to enjoy some cool air. We meet several high school students who seem inspired by our journey. Bill gets to talking with several people, one of them Dwayne Phillips who offers us a place to stay. His place being five miles further than we want to go for the day, we choose to decline. Little do we know that we'll meet again later.
We have arrived in Georgia.
It is another eight miles to Hiawassee. We cross into Georgia in the middle of the afternoon. State number four. On our left we see Lake Chatuga from time to time. It has gotten late on us quickly. The girls are ready to be there and so are we.
The view of the lake is gorgeous. It disappears behind the houses from time to time, but Robin is keen on spotting it again and again.
The lake at Hiawassee, as we cross the memorial bridge.
Just before we get to Hiawassee, we see a couple with two children on the other side of the road. The children are waving, so we wave back. Bill decides to stop so we can talk with them for a while about what we are doing. The grandmother of the little children is there as well and she knows all about us already. Turns out that this is Dwayne Phillips' mother and brother with family.
Dwayne had called his mother and given her our website. Knowing that we'd be coming thru town soon, Mrs Phillips and her son David and family decided to come out and look at us.
After a nice talk, we head on to the bicycle store. At 4pm we finally get there. Lyle and his wife, the owners of Spin Lite Cycling, were already waiting for us. While Bill and Lyle get into fixing our bike, the girls travel the store on little bicycles.
Diane and Lyle in front of their Spin Lite Cycling bike shop in Hiawassee, Georgia.
We still need a place to spend the night, but calling the campgrounds doesn't provide us with a place to stay. There is a car show in town, so the campgrounds are basically all full.
A new customer comes in the store. Hey, he looks familiar. It is David Phillips, offering us a place to stay at their pavillion at the lake. Again, a campsite has been provided for.
Since it is going to take Bill and Lyle a while to fix the bike, Amarins and the girls load all the camping gear in David's car. He takes us to a beautiful spot on the lake. Plenty of space to camp and friends for the children to play with.
The girls play with twins Zoe and Eli. Amarins is seting up camp while talking with Debbie, David's wife. The evening meal we get to share with the Phillips family. Dwayne and wife Lisa also stop by and bring a delicious cake for dessert.
Bill has still not returned with the bicycle. It is taking a long time to fix it. David goes over to the bicycle shop and eventually picks him up to bring him home. It is to dark to ride the bicycle home.
Sunday, August 16, 2009 Today 0 miles, Total 281 miles Knock knock, breakfast is ready. Mrs Phillips has breakfast ready for us. Bacon, sausage, eggs, wafels, strawberries, coffee, orange juice. Who wouldn't come out of bed for that! Well, Robin actually. She decides to roll over and to enjoy this morning of sleeping in.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Today 0 miles, Total 281 miles
Knock knock, breakfast is ready. Mrs Phillips has breakfast ready for us. Bacon, sausage, eggs, wafels, strawberries, coffee, orange juice. Who wouldn't come out of bed for that! Well, Robin actually. She decides to roll over and to enjoy this morning of sleeping in.
After breakfast everyone is getting ready for church. We get to go with the Phillips family to their church. it was established in 1876 and the service is held in the original church building. Bill gets to share his experiences in Israel with them.
We have lunch in the pavillion. The girls are playing in the sand with their new friends Eli and Zoe. It is a very peaceful day at the lake.
David and Debbie are getting the boat ready for a trip around the lake. The children are dressed in life jackets and are ready to go. It is a very nice day to be on the lake. Many boaters are on the water. Whether it is for waterskiing, fishing are just cruising along.
All the kids are in the front of the boat, enjoying the wind in their hair.
Again we are sharing wonderful experiences with a delightful family. Life is good here on the lake with new friends. Too soon, the evening comes upon us and Bill has to go back to the Spin Lite Cycling bike shop to get the bicycle.
It is a good thing we left the bicycle at the shop. Lyle has been working on it even more and made several improvements.
For all the hard work and the improvements and problem solving, Lyle has not charged us a dime. We can call him when ever we need him. Again we are very thankful for the generosity we receive. Thanks Lyle and Diane.
With the bicycle in it's best shape ever, we feel confident about the next day to ride it to Clayton, Georgia.
The Phillips family gathers, as evening falls over Lake Chatuge. Tomorrow we will head out again. Thanks for having us Phillips family!
Monday, August 17, 2009 Today 28 miles, Total 309 miles It is sprinkling in the morning, but we decide to pack up and go anyway. It is very tempting to stay another day. It is such a relaxing place to be, with so many things for the girls to enjoy. There are only two hills between Hiawassee and Clayton... That is if you are not on a bicycle, pulling a total of 600+ pounds, people included. The mountains, yes that is what they are, are steep and long and seem everlasting. Another curve, another hope that we are to the top. Crushed again, we still need to go up and up and up. We hit a wall today. Our muscles have left us, we don't want these mountains anymore. We give up pedalling for a while and resort to pushing it around the next curve.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Today 28 miles, Total 309 miles
It is sprinkling in the morning, but we decide to pack up and go anyway. It is very tempting to stay another day. It is such a relaxing place to be, with so many things for the girls to enjoy.
There are only two hills between Hiawassee and Clayton... That is if you are not on a bicycle, pulling a total of 600+ pounds, people included. The mountains, yes that is what they are, are steep and long and seem everlasting.
Another curve, another hope that we are to the top. Crushed again, we still need to go up and up and up. We hit a wall today. Our muscles have left us, we don't want these mountains anymore. We give up pedalling for a while and resort to pushing it around the next curve.
And we do make it to the top. It is a long rolling top, with not a lot of cruising, but we surely do enjoy the cruising we do get.
The Appalachian Trail, a hiking trail from Georgia to Maine (or vice versa), crosses our path. A perfect place to stop and rest.
At the trail we meet new friends. Anita and her husband, with their children Oliver and Mamie. The girls make friends immediately. They run and play and are having a great time.
While exploring the trail and playing together, Jasmine gets stung by a yellow jacket. While running away from there, she trips over a branch and falls head first on the trail.
It is a sad experience on the trail. But accidents do happen and we deal with them and move on. Bill takes the chain off of Jasmine's stoker kit. This way she doesn't need to pedal.
It is still another 16 miles to Clayton, but the mountains are not as strenuous anymore. It still takes us a lot of energy to get to the top of each of them, but we have a secret weapon: Cheyenne. When we are almost to the top, we ask her to pitch in and off we go. Like a steam engine we chug up the remainder of the mountain. A super job Cheyenne!
At the Lake Burton Grocery we stop for refreshments, before we attack the final miles to Clayton. For Jasmine we decide to take a motel for the night, so we know for sure she will sleep well. It doesn't hurt that the motel has a swimming pool and tv too...
For supper we go to a mexican restaurant. It is within walking distance, which is actually quite nice. The food is delicious. We talk with several other couples that are eating there. One of them lives across the South Carolina border, just a mile or two off our route.
With the wall we hit today, we are looking for a place to stay for a couple of nights. We tell them we'll probably stay in the Sumter National Forest and sit back and relax. They offer us a place to camp at their home! We exchange phone numbers and directions and have a goal for tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 Today 12 miles, Total 321 miles We sleep in, have a continental breakfast, enjoy the swimming pool and then finally start packing. A local reporter will stop by at 10am to hear our story, so we decide to take it easy. It is only about 12 miles of mountains today, so we can afford to start late. At 11am we are finally on the way to South Carolina. There are some steep hills, but not too long. We get to cruise from time to time. With the knowledge of resting the next couple of days, it makes it easier to get up the mountains. We make it to the Hiawassee river with relative ease. On the other side of the river lies South Carolina. A good place for a pick nick.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Today 12 miles, Total 321 miles
We sleep in, have a continental breakfast, enjoy the swimming pool and then finally start packing. A local reporter will stop by at 10am to hear our story, so we decide to take it easy. It is only about 12 miles of mountains today, so we can afford to start late.
At 11am we are finally on the way to South Carolina. There are some steep hills, but not too long. We get to cruise from time to time. With the knowledge of resting the next couple of days, it makes it easier to get up the mountains.
We make it to the Hiawassee river with relative ease. On the other side of the river lies South Carolina. A good place for a pick nick.
Amarins takes Jasmine and Cheyenne down to the river. Cheyenne is the leader of the pack, Ms Explorer. This is pure enjoyment. Cheyenne and Jasmine explore the river side. It is as if they are in the jungle.
Our bicycle is still a curiosity to many. This time Whit stops by and is interested in our story. Jasmine decides that he is a perfect target to climb.
Wilt and Jasmine pose in front of the truck he is using for his business.
With a long climb ahead of us it is hard to pack up and go again, but we do and off we are. We decide to take it 50 strokes at a time, with shorter breaks in between. This works very well. The steepest part is behind us, we are in the Sumter National Forest now.
Cheyenne has discovered something blue in the sand as we take a break at the Sumter National Forest. Their curiosity peaks. With rocks and sticks the grils dig around the blue item. It turns out to be a small blue bottle. A true archeological find...
Cheyenne and her find.
With a new treasure on board of Cheyenne's handle bar bag, which is getting rather heavy, we take the last miles. The scenery again is beautiful. The trees give us shade and coolness. Before we turn off the main road we decide a popsicle is in place at the 'Two Redneck Chicks' place on the corner.
It is after 3pm when we roll onto the property of our new friends. We also find out their names. Scott and Katie, with their five children, Sarah, Howard, Martha, Pollie and Mary Eunice. A home full of activity. The girls feel right at home.
Scott is making fresh peach and blueberry slushies. Jasmine is right there on his side to help. Cold and delicious!
We set up camp in the front yard, relax, refresh and replenish. The children are having a great time together. Playing, wrestling, dressing up and deciding on who sleeps where.
After an enjoyable family meal, the kids are somewhat settling down. At 9pm it is finally getting quiet in the house. Time for the grown ups to share a moment together. Time for Bill and Scott to plan some home remodelling...
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 Today 0 miles, Total 321 miles It sleeps so well, knowing that today is a day to rest and that tonight we don't have to get ready to leave. Ahhh. Just this thought gives us rest already.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Today 0 miles, Total 321 miles
It sleeps so well, knowing that today is a day to rest and that tonight we don't have to get ready to leave. Ahhh. Just this thought gives us rest already.
Bill and Scott have left early to pick up some materials. Bill is looking forward to putting his skills to good use. When the men are back, Amarins is going to work with Katie, to update the website. Updating the website takes a lot of time, but it is so rewarding to see the end result. Even more rewarding is the enjoyment it brings to our readers.
The two younger children, Polly and Mary Eunice, are staying at grandma's house. That leaves only the older three plus our girls. A house full of playing, wrestling, fun and laughter.
Cheyenne and Martha are enjoying the jungle rope to slide down on. It takes quite some team work to bring the hook back to the top to slide again.
In the afternoon Scott and Bill take the crowd to the river. What a blast. Cheyenne is going down a class 2+ rapid. Bill almost doesn't dare to look. Sarah, Howard and Martha are taking good care of Cheyenne. The explain exactly what she needs to do to stay safe, and what to look for. What an experience.
As evening drawes near, the neighbours come to the Magley household for a cook out. Again it is a feast in good company. Amarins has helped Katie make a peach cobbler. With the left over dough Jasmine makes her own little cobbler. Katie helps with weaving a beautiful top.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Today 0 miles, Total 321 miles
As Katie is going to work, the men are already working on the big project: jacking up the roof of the garage. A couple of LVLs, muscle power and power tools will do the job.
With the kids still asleep, Amarins is roaming the kitchen, deciding on what kind of breakfast to prepare for eight hungry children and two grown men. She decides on Dutch style pancakes, boiled eggs and the different kinds of fruit that is available.
One after the other the kids wake up and take care of their breakfast. The older ones take care of the younger ones. A family working together is a beautiful sight.
With full bellies, it is time to tackle the day. Step one, setting up a tent. Step 2, putting the biggest ever stuffed rabbit in it, then adding some quilts.
The morning rolls around with pleasure, delight and in the enjoyment of new friends. The playground behind the house is very popular with the littler ones.
Bill and Scott have finished their project. It looks really good. You can really tell that the roofline is more straight now. Both feel very good about the accomplishment. Now it is time to get into the river! Within no-time we're all ready and loaded.
We set up camp at the beach. Cheyenne is already on her way to the big rapid, with Sarah, Howard and Martha. Curious about how they float through it, Amarins takes Jasmine to a little rock island near it. The three family dogs are in for a swim too. Polly gets to go with Scott.
Robin and Mary Eunice are playing at the beach. With Bill's help they are building a giant sand castle.
We are having a wonderful time at the river. It is so peaceful and yet at spots so brutal. Wanting to be part of the rapid excitement, Jasmine asks Scott to take her through the rapid. With life jackets on, they go once, and again and again! Robin decides it is her turn now. Life jackets get swapped and in the water they go. She held on as a little monkey, but once is enough for Robin. Another experience richer.
Tired but very fulfilled we end yet another day. It has been a great experience being here. We feel rested and ready to go back on the road. Tomorrow we go just a little way. To a campground north of Westminster.
Friday, August 21, 2009 Today 13 miles, Total 334 miles Bright and early we are up. After an attempt to sleep in the little tent with the big girls, Cheyenne ended up sleeping in the house again. Jasmine and Robin slept in the big tent with us. We won't have breakfast in the house this morning we are going to the Redneck Chicks. The entire Magley family is taking us out for breakfast. It takes less time then you think to get 12 people ready. Bill and Scott are putting the bicycle in and on the pick-up truck. It is a little under two miles of loose gravel, so we choose to ride by car to the restaurant.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Today 13 miles, Total 334 miles
Bright and early we are up. After an attempt to sleep in the little tent with the big girls, Cheyenne ended up sleeping in the house again. Jasmine and Robin slept in the big tent with us.
We won't have breakfast in the house this morning we are going to the Redneck Chicks. The entire Magley family is taking us out for breakfast. It takes less time then you think to get 12 people ready.
Bill and Scott are putting the bicycle in and on the pick-up truck. It is a little under two miles of loose gravel, so we choose to ride by car to the restaurant.
At the restaurant we fill the tables and have a delightful and sturdy breakfast. There is enough to choose from for each and everyone. Our last meal with these great friends we think...
On our own again, we travel further southward. We don't want to overdo it and go only 13 miles to the Chau Ram campground. When we get there, Scott has already reserved a campground for us!
We set up camp right next to the playground. A little creek is running along side it. Enough water for the girls to play in. They are turning into water rats!
It is still before noon. We have never set up camp this early before. We talk about what we are going to do the rest of the afternoon. Play cards, work on our journals, take a nap. Then we see a familiar car. Katie is stopping by with Mary Eunice.
Knowing that Amarins' pants had worn to shreds, Katie decided to stop by an outdoor store to see what she could find. A perfect fitting pair of pants, exactly Amarins' style. Lightweight and quick drying. Super! Thanks Katie.
Katie invites us back home. A great idea. What takes us 20 minutes by car took us almost one and a half hour this morning. Back at the Magley home we get ready to go back to the river. It is a wonderful place to visit. Everyone is happy.
This time we go to the lagoon. A combination of rocks, rapids, a miniature lake with underwater island and a beach fits everyone's wishes.
Jasmine is wearing a life jacket and walks into the lagoon. Amarins is going to swim with her. The experiences in the river in the previous days have boosted her spirit. She is ready to swim on her own. And off she is. From the beach to the little island, and back again. Her face is glowing with contentment.
With another afternoon of swim pleasure it is time to say goodbye to the river. Back at the house it is time for the true princesses to appear!
The cat, the dog and Robin's blankies are put in the washer for a desperate cleaning. When they finally come out, it is time to go back to the campground. Scott and Howard are waiting there for us. They brought supper from town. Rotissery chicken, chicken legs, potatoe salad, cole slaw. Being outdoor sure makes everyone hungry. Although it seems that we are hungry all the time...
Filled with good food and great memories, we go to bed with the sun. Tomorrow it is time to make some miles.
Saturday, August 22, 2009 Today 36 miles, Total 370 miles It is after eight when we roll out. We are on our way to town to get us some breakfast. Hardees looks like a good place to go. With our unavoidable bicycle, we run into lots of curious people. One of them turns out to be a school teacher. He had Bill's son Jesse in his class last year. It is incredible to find out with how little number of steps we are connected with each other. While Bill and the girls enjoy some extra time at Hardees, Amarins walks across the street to the grocery store. We need supplies for the next couple of days. We are going to take some back roads and will not have the convience of a store anytime soon. We are waiting for the flat land to appear. We are in South Carolina after all. Going up one more hill, we suddenly hear a voice calling for Bill. Time for a break. We pull over at a feed store. It is Steve, the sign guy, and Beverly with son Stevie Ray. Bill met Steve at the Renfro Valley KOA on our departure day of August 1. Steve, Beverly and Stevie Ray live near Greenville, South Carolina, and decided to hunt us down. And they did. It is great to catch up and have a break. Beverly has a cooler with cold drinks and snacks for us and the kids. Delightful. All the catching up leads us to 'where are you going to stay'. Like most days, we don't know. Steve knows the area well and advises a US Army Corps of Engineers campground. He even has a map for us to pick and choose. We want to get some miles in so we decide to aim for a campground at Lake Hartwell. 'That sounds great! How about we camp with you?!' Long story short(er): Steve and Beverly drive over to the campground to pick out the best one; they make a reservation and meet us again on their way back to tell us which one they chose. Now they are going to get their camper and they'll meet us there.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Today 36 miles, Total 370 miles
It is after eight when we roll out. We are on our way to town to get us some breakfast. Hardees looks like a good place to go. With our unavoidable bicycle, we run into lots of curious people. One of them turns out to be a school teacher. He had Bill's son Jesse in his class last year. It is incredible to find out with how little number of steps we are connected with each other.
While Bill and the girls enjoy some extra time at Hardees, Amarins walks across the street to the grocery store. We need supplies for the next couple of days. We are going to take some back roads and will not have the convience of a store anytime soon.
We are waiting for the flat land to appear. We are in South Carolina after all. Going up one more hill, we suddenly hear a voice calling for Bill. Time for a break. We pull over at a feed store. It is Steve, the sign guy, and Beverly with son Stevie Ray.
Bill met Steve at the Renfro Valley KOA on our departure day of August 1. Steve, Beverly and Stevie Ray live near Greenville, South Carolina, and decided to hunt us down. And they did.
It is great to catch up and have a break. Beverly has a cooler with cold drinks and snacks for us and the kids. Delightful. All the catching up leads us to 'where are you going to stay'. Like most days, we don't know.
Steve knows the area well and advises a US Army Corps of Engineers campground. He even has a map for us to pick and choose. We want to get some miles in so we decide to aim for a campground at Lake Hartwell.
'That sounds great! How about we camp with you?!' Long story short(er): Steve and Beverly drive over to the campground to pick out the best one; they make a reservation and meet us again on their way back to tell us which one they chose. Now they are going to get their camper and they'll meet us there.
As we leave the mountains behind us, we revel in the enjoyment of meeting Steve and Beverly. It is no longer mountainous, but more hilly. We roll through the beautiful country side. Mile after mile.
We eventually make it to Springfield Campground where we set up camp at the lake. It doesn't take long before our friends pull in.
We have developed a certain routine with setting up camp. Bill puts the tent up, Amarins plays with the girls. In this situation, it is getting them dressed to go in the lake. When the tent is up, Amarins makes the beds.
Beverly has brought something special for Jasmine. Floaties! Now Jasmine can continue her swimming exploration. She is loving it. It gives her a great amount of freedom. Amarins helps her from time to time. While we are swimming an eagle flies over. An extraordinary sight.
Steve and Beverly have not just come to camp with us, they also provided supper. After supper the girls get to sleep in the bunkbeds in the trailer and we get some grown-up time.
Sunday, August 23, 2009 Today 0 miles, Total 370 miles Today we are staying here at the lake. We go swimming, we go to the playground, we share time together. The girls ride around the park on little scooters. They are having a great time.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Today 0 miles, Total 370 miles
Today we are staying here at the lake. We go swimming, we go to the playground, we share time together. The girls ride around the park on little scooters. They are having a great time.
As noon rolls around, more friends join us at the campground; Hal, Tonya and Mason, from Greenville, South Carolina. They have brought lunch. More then enough for everyone. It is good to see them again. This might very well be the last time for a while. They are on their path, we are on our path.
Too soon it is time for everyone to leave. Steve, Beverly and Stevie Ray need to get back home to get ready for another week of school and work. Hal and Tonya are taking a class together and need to be in time for that this evening.
Now we are on our own again, it it time to focus on the day ahead. We start packing our things together. We lay out clothes for tomorrow. We work on our journals. Then it is time to get ready for bed. As the sun sets, Cheyenne is brushing her teeth at the water spicket, mezmerized by the beauty surrounding her.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Today 36 miles, Total 406 miles
The alarm rings at six. Our aim is Calhoun Falls today. We want to beat the heat. At least some of it. We don't listen to the weather forecast. We just watch the sky.
We pack up as much as we can, then we wake up the girls. Breakfast with left overs works just fine. Some fruit to tip it off. It is a little after seven and we are off. It is a monday morning so there is a bit of work traffick, but after eight it slacks off pretty much.
We take a backroad through what seems to be a forest. The road is rough asphalt, but the scenery is astounding. There are quite some inclines. We didn't count on them. Apparently we are not in the flatland yet...
Are the bumps getting bigger or do we have another flat tire? It is the latter. We pull off the road, spread the indian blanket and settle down for some cards and a snack. Bill is the man for fixing the tire.
The tire is fixed and we are back on the road. With the hills we didn't count on and the flat tire, we lost part of our advantage of being on the road early. We keep on pedalling until we come to the little town of Iva. It is almost lunchtime, so we settle for a little restaurant, Jacopys, in the center of town.
We are taking it easy. It is an enjoyable place to relax. The food is good as is the service. We make some time to work on the journals. Then the girls get to make a piece of art for Jacopys. This under the enjoyment of chocolate icecream the owner gave them.
With renewed energy we hop back on the bicycle, to tackle some more miles. The hills keep on appearing. After each one appears another one. We are enjoying the scenery, but are still clueless about how wrong we were to assume that this part of South Carolina would basically be flat.
We keep on chugging. We take a break from time to time. We arrive in Calhoun Falls in the middle of the afternoon. A police officer waves at us. He helps guide in- and outgoing school traffick. At a filling station we stop to ask about a place to stay as well as to fill up our empty water containers.
While we are there the police officer and a fellow officer stop by. We get to talking and sharing. There are no good camping spots available just off the road. They can recommend Calhoun Falls State Park. It is a couple miles back north, but would be worth it.
We are debating about what we should do. Do we want to back track, or go a couple miles further and see what that brings? We don't need to make a decision. The police officers have decided they are going to get us a place at the State Park. One goes ahead to arrange the site, the other follows us to make sure we don't get lost. Thanks a lot Police Officers!
As we set up camp, the girls are playing at the playground. Hanging up side down and climbing up a narrow post is Cheyenne's favorite activity.
The camphost tells us there are laundry facilities at the other side of the park. The candyman - we met him at the filling station earlier - gives us a lift. We are very glad about it, it would have been a long hike. As laundry is being processed we have the opportunity to take a shower. We are not the only ones using the bathroom facilities. Ms Spider and Mr Hopper are there too.
We get a ride back from a fellow camper. Now it is time to fix supper. A rice-a-roni tonight. After todays experiences it tastes really good. The girls like it too. Bill does the dishes as Amarins finishes putting up the laundry. These are the mundane part of our trip, probably of everyones life.
When all is put up, we crawl in our tent. We camp under the trees and have decided not to put the fly on. With all the screen mesh, we have a chance to look at the stars before we drift off asleep.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Today 34 miles, Total 440 miles
Again we get up early and are on the road a little after seven. We go to Calhoun Falls once more. Passing the same school, we pass the same police officer. On the count of three we all yell 'Thank you!'
The hills are there and so are we. We are trying to come up with a theory. Not on how the hills arrived here, but how to detect them on a non-topographical map. By all the fingers on the lake, we can safely assume that there where no dykes build to hold the water. Since it is a manmade lake, a dam must have been build between a couple of hills. Since the water stays in a designated area, there need to be hills to keep the water in, especially since we just ruled out building dykes.
Thus there are hills in the area of a manmade lake. It didn't ring a bell with Amarins - being born and raised on the flatland of the Netherlands, with the thought of lakes being surrounded by dykes, or being leftovers from the ice age - that there would be hills here when she made up the route for the journey.
It will be very interesting to see what other misperceptions we have.
Assuming our theory is true, we pedal easier through these hills. Is there peace in knowledge, even if it is assumed knowledge? For us there is.
Mount Carmel suddenly appears around the corner. Old 1800s buildings stare us in the face. How sad they are not maintained. They are the most beautiful buildings we have seen yet. Without economy even the most beautiful town fall apart.
In the center of town we stop at Alex' Snackery. A little store, slash eatery. Certainly a stop on your trip. Alex is an enjoyable man with lots of stories of other bikers passing through, and stopping by.
These breaks are so refreshing. We rest, we meet new people, we hear new stories. Then we are on the road again.
Within miles we have another mandatory stop. Another flat tire. Same routine; indian blanket, snack, cards. And Bill fixes the tire. Three days in a row is quite enough. It is about time to replace the outer tire.
As we get ready to go, a freelance reporter from Channel 4 in Greenville stops by. He is going to follow us for a little bit and is going to interview us at our next break. His angle is different. He tapes as we put the girls on, as we mask them with suntan lotion, while we are having a break and are looking at the map. It will be an interesting piece we think.
We arrive in McCormick in the early afternoon. We don't want to stop here, we want to go a little further down the road towards Aiken, before we call it a day. East of McCormick is the Sumter National Forest, here we hope to find a place to camp. For now we stop at the Hardees to enjoy some cool air and give a quick update on the homepage that we are still alive and pedalling!
It has been weird to be without internet reception for so long. Being at Hardees doesn't give us enough time to update the site, but we can check our e-mail. We get quite many e-mails. It is getting harder and harder to reply to them. We keep doing our best though!
While we are taking it easy a local stops by to talk with us. He would like to stop by the local media and inform them of us being here. Of course we are fine with that. Since he knows the area we ask him if he knows of a place to stay about five or six miles out of town on highway 378. Well, he lives six miles down that road and we can pitch a tent in his backyard!
Talking about the forces working together! We ask and we receive. It has happened so much on our journey. And here it has happened again. What are the chances? Close to 100% we'd say. Believe in good and good will come around.
With internet access and over a 100 emails, we use the time at Hardees wisely and do our work. Yes, we are on a journey of our choosing. With making the journey public, we have taken on the responsibility of staying connected. Email and the website are a part of that. It does take a lot of time. And it does give us the opportunity to relive recent wonderful memories as well as another smile when we see the pictures.
On the road again. Due east. Six miles easy peasy. Cheyenne and Jasmine help us find the correct mailbox number. We are involving them as much as we can. Even Robin is looking out for numbers now.
It is close to five when we park at the home of Reverend Bell and his wife Carrie. The girls jump right onto the playground set. Once again Bill and Amarins set up camp. Tired of playing the girls find the tv to be a great idea. Clifford, Dragon Tails and Dora are always a good pick.
As Amarins is fine tuning the sleeping arrangements and is cooking dinner, Mr Bell's son and his friend Kurtez stop by. They are bringing a surprise... Two chicken and a rooster. No pen needed, they will roost in the trees. How they will lay eggs is a curiosity to all of us. It is all good for a laugh. The girls are immediately into feeding them.
Life is good with rice as a meal and watermelon, oranges and homemade cake with delicious icing as dessert.
It is close to nine when Cheyenne and Jasmine finally drift asleep on the couch in the house. Robin is already asleep in the tent. Amarins and Bill are enjoying a good movie with the master of the house. After that it is also time for us to get some sleep. It has been a good day.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Today 36 miles, Total 476 miles
It is 6.30am. The rooster is perched on a branche in the cedar tree behind our tent. One of the chicks is with him. He doesn't crow us awake. He just lets us know he's there in a raspy voice.
Cheyenne and Jasmine slept in the house last night. We let them sleep in while Bill fixes yet again another flat tire. A tiny puncture hole made yesterday's work-out even harder. Bill decides to put the new outer tire on the wheel. The difference between the old tire and the new one is incredible. We have worn the old one totally out.
Robin is playing coy. She acts as if she is asleep. When we ask her something she answers in a clear voice. Silly girl. Robin and Amarins wrestle for a while, before it is time to pack up the tent. Robin is learning how to fold the tent poles.
Today we have our first rider going with us: Doug from Athens, Georgia. We have been trying to line this up, but it's been quite hard with us being out of cell phone reception. This morning we give Doug a call again. He is already in McCormick! By the time we have finished breakfast, he'll be here and we'll be ready to go. Our first day with company.
At 8am we say goodbye to the hospitable Bell family. Thanks for letting us stay and enjoy your company. It is highly appreciated!
Two bikes, six people and the beautiful South Carolina country side. We are off and can immediately enjoy the scenery. Jasmine is counting horses today. There are many pretty ones in the fields. Brown with white, beige, brown. They are just as curious about us as we are about them. They run with us until they run out of field.
The road gently rolls us east. Up and down and again up and down. The grades of the hills get less and less steep. Are we finally getting into the flatland?
Having Doug with us is an enjoyable experience. He rides behind us for safety reasons. Doug and Cheyenne make up a space ship out of a bicycle. Every screw, nut or bolt has a function.
We take a break under an old oak tree. Eventhough the shade is good, we don't rest long. There are to many tiny little bugs swerving around us. We surrender our spot back to them and go further through South Carolina.
We make it to Edgefield and take a lunch break at a McDonalds with playground. It is still early, so we want to keep on going. We hope to find a place to camp in Eureka.
Well, Eureka came and Eureka went. We barely knew we were in it. Anyway, not a place to spend the night. We want some refreshings and a bathroom would be nice too. Aiken is to far, so we call it quits at interstate 20.
Doug and Bill scour the terrain. Behind the Waffle House they find a good place to camp. Fine sand, a little bit secluded by trees, walking distance to a filling station. When that has been decided on, we choose Waffle House as the place to go for our supper.
While we are there, Mo from the Aiken Bicycle Club stops by. He has never seen a quint before, so this will make a nice picture in the club magazine. Tomorrow we are going to stay with Ray, also a member of the Aiken Bicycle Club. Both of them will guide us into town tomorrow.
As Bill and Doug set up camp, Amarins and the girls enjoy the comfort of Waffle House. A chance to update the journals as well as organizing notes for the website.
The girls pretend they are dinosaurs as the stomp their feet through the sand. Cheyenne discovers six different colors sand in the area we are camping.
All the stomping through the sand turns the girls into little sandmen. That calls for some creative bathing measures. This is why we brought the porcelain wash pan. Works great.
With the girls clean an in bed, although not by far asleep, it is time for grown up time. Except for the breaks, we have not had a chance to talk much with Doug. Riding next to each other on the main road just isn't such a good idea.
Thursday, August 27, 2009 Today 8 miles, Total 484 miles Doug needs to go back to McCormick today. We are taking it easy this morning. We sleep in as comfort allows. Robin is taking that a bit to far. While Amarins is emptying the tent and is sweeping it out around her, she just keeps on sleeping.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Today 8 miles, Total 484 miles
Doug needs to go back to McCormick today. We are taking it easy this morning. We sleep in as comfort allows. Robin is taking that a bit to far. While Amarins is emptying the tent and is sweeping it out around her, she just keeps on sleeping.
As Robin is finally waking up, we finish packing up our campsite and walk with the bikes to Waffle House for breakfast. Basically the same as supper - by choice - yummy.
Breakfast is done, it is time to move on. As we say goodbye to Doug, Mo arrives on his superlight bicycle. A good timing for some picture opportunities.
The Pedouins with Doug
The Pedouins with Mo
With the last goodbyes we head in the direction of Aiken. Only eight miles today. Before we get far, Ray joins the ride. With an escort in the front and in the back we roll into town.
It is a short ride to Ray's place. Welcoming short. We have ushed it hard these days. We can use some rest. At Ray's place we are welcomed by dogs Jojo and Dodger. Some fine play buddies for the girls.
We feel very welcome. The girls enjoy walking the dogs. There are boardgames to play with and frresh fruit to enjoy. We get to sleep in the house, which always makes things a lot easier. We claim the bedroom and set up camp in there.
We rest, take a shower, take a nap and watch some tv. In the afternoon Amarins goes shopping with Ray. Bill takes the girls to the swimming pool. The neighbor across the street invited us.
Ray has chicken, aspargus, beans and potato salad for supper. His daughter Anna, as well as Mo and wife Betty are there as well. We are sharing a good time together. Talking about bicycling, our journey, life and living your dreams.
Friday, August 28, 2009 Today 5 miles, Total 489 miles After a great night sleep we wake up with the smell of waffles. It doesn't take long before we are at the breakfast table. Coffee, fresh blueberry waffles, strawberries, bacon. Enough to fill us up. Mo takes Bill to the bicycle store for some hardware and a new light for the trailer. Jasmine and Cheyenne are playing games. Robin decides it is time to take some pictures. A self portrait is among them.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Today 5 miles, Total 489 miles
After a great night sleep we wake up with the smell of waffles. It doesn't take long before we are at the breakfast table. Coffee, fresh blueberry waffles, strawberries, bacon. Enough to fill us up.
Mo takes Bill to the bicycle store for some hardware and a new light for the trailer. Jasmine and Cheyenne are playing games. Robin decides it is time to take some pictures. A self portrait is among them.
As we are enjoying our morning, Ray gets a phone call from the neighbors. Greg and Mandy are professors at the University in Aiken. The question is whether we are interested in a private tour of the planetarium as well as have a look at the animals. An opportunity we are not to pass up.
We get to take Ray's car while we follow Mandy to the university. It is a great experience.
We see, touch and hold snakes, toads, salamanders and even a baby alligator. Cheyenne is a daredevil, she will hold all of them. Jasmine and Robin keep their distances for a while, but later warm up and hold the snakes too.
After visiting the animals, we get a private show in the planetarium. Robin and Jasmine decide it is to dark in there for them and go out with Mandy. Amarins and Cheyenne absorb everything Greg tells about our solar system, the stars and the constellations. The next time we are camping under the stars, we will be able to pick out Ursa Major (the big dipper), star Arcturus and star Spica. With the help of Ursa Major, we can find Polaris (the north star), which is part of Ursa Minor (the little dipper).
After Robins nap it is time to pack up again. We are staying in Aiken, but are going to another part of it. Family of friends have invited us to stay with them. We load the bike and ride with the Mo&Ray escort through beautiful downtown Aiken.
After roughly five miles we arrive at the Boardman residence. We say goodbye to Ray and Mo and once again settle in. A package has arrived for us from Berea, Kentucky. It is like Christmas in July, but then in August.
Friends Glenda and Patricia from Berea have been shopping for us for light weight camping mats, camping towels and bike shorts for Cheyenne and Jasmine. And they have succeeded.
At Phillip Gall and Pedal the Planet in Lexington, they were very enthusiastically helped with kindness and support. We appreciate everyone's help for contributing to the "Clothe the Pedouins in Safe Comfortable Traveling Gear" fund, as it has been called.
With these new supplies safely stored away and ready for use, we call it a night. Tomorrow is another bike day.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Today 62 miles, Total 551 miles
We are up early this morning. Up earlier are Dot and Pat. They are fixing a fantastic breakfast for us. Again we have been blessed with our hosts. We feel so welcome and at home. It is hard to leave, even after such a short stay.
At 7.30am Curt of the Aiken Bicycle Club arrives. He is going to escort us out of town. He knows the best roads for us to take. It is a little foggy and cool. The girls are layered up with clothes and we are ready to go.
With the help of Curt we reach Highway 78 by a beautiful couple of backroads. From here it is a straight shot to Charleston. We see the first sign with Charleston on it. It is only 107 more miles. We are within reach!
Highway 78 is a very straight road. We are in the flatter country now. An incline every now and then. We are making many miles in a shorter time. The road takes us between cotton, peanut and soy fields. The girls are learning to distinguish between the one and the other based on the leaves and blooms.
Our destination for today is Bamberg, 45 miles from Aiken. When we get there it is still early. We look at the map. Our next host town is Ladson. If we can make it to Branchville today, we can make it to Ladson tomorrow. That would take us into Charleston on Monday, August 31, 2009. There is magic in that date. From Renfro Valley KOA to Charleston within one month...
It is 14 more miles to Branchville. It takes us about one hour and a half. Oh, how we make miles in this flatter land. In the mountains it would have taken us at least three hours. Something we certainly wouldn't have done after the mileage we've done already.
Branchville isn't a very big town. A couple of filling stations, an ice cream parlor and a Subway are in the center of it. We don't see shade at the ice cream parlor, so we choose to sit down in the Subway, until our friend Harding arrives from Raleigh, North Carolina. He is going to spend the evening with us.
As Amarins walks into the Subway with the girls, an older lady is, as it looks like, jumping up and down with excitement to see us. She saw us earlier today in Bamberg and wished we were coming to Branchville. Well, here we are. Ms Arlene lives in Branchville, so she is the person to ask about a camp spot. Immediately she offers her backyard!
We barely made it to Branchville, or Harding walks in. It is good seeing him again. Together we ride and drive over to Ms Arlene's home, just a couple of blocks away. For supper we decide to go to St George, a neighboring town. By car this time.
The journey has made a deeper bond between Cheyenne and Jasmine. We feel we are on the right path to bond even deeper as a family.
After a great supper with lots of vegetables, we return to spend the rest of the evening with Ms Arlene. She has traveled all over the states. We feel we have found a kindred spirit.
With the moon shining into our tent, we close our eyes for a good night sleep. Especially the girls are excited to be sleeping on real mats this night. The time of roughing it is over.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Today 48 miles, Total 599 miles
We break camp at dawn. Ms Arlene comes outside to wave us goodbye. Once more we say goodbye and once more we are on our way, living a new day with new experiences.
Harding is staying with us this morning. He is our first follow car. We have all our belongings packed on the trailer and the bike, that is just easier for later. Harding tells us we do around 15 miles per hour. That feels good. By following us at this low speed, for a car, he has the chance to listen to the morning sounds, to look at the beautiful dew covered cobwebs and to smell the fragrances of nature.
As we continue on an almost desolate highway 78, a church sign catches our eyes:
It is one of the reasons we are on this journey.
The further east we travel, the higher the interstate numbers. It is really a great system. All you have to know is that odd numbers are interstates that run south to north and even numbers are interstates that run east to west. We are now at interstate 95.
At the interstate Harding buys us breakfast at the Huddle House where the girls make a new friend. Cheyenne and Jasmine sit at the bar, being big girls.
It is a little after 10 when we are back on the road. The temperature is already rising quickly.
It is a peaaceful morning on the road. This changes when it turns afternoon. It's like entire South Carolina is on the road. The drivers are very courteous though. We are given a lot of space on the road, as well as patience from passing traffic.
We feel the miles we've done yesterday. We are very tired and take many breaks. Especially when we are closer to Ladson, we stop at every filling station we see. We enjoy the cool air and have a refreshment. The benefit of this is that we get to share about our journey. We also receive a lot of generosity, which will help us stay in Charleston.
With only 22 more miles to Charleston, we turn off of highway 78 for the night, to spend the evening at the Fraze residence in Ladson. There is a storm coming tonight. They are letting us stay in their home for the night. Thanks Fraze family!
Monday, August 31, 2009
Today 34 miles, Total 633 miles
It is a weekday. Morning traffic will be heavy. We decide not to leave before 9am. This turns out to be no problem. There is a heavy rainstorm upon us. We are waiting and waiting and waiting. At 10am there is a dry spell. We are making a run for it!
We are back on highway 78. It will take us all the way to the Battery in downtown Charleston. The weather is holding up. It is cloudy, but the rain is staying away. The traffic is light as we slowly work our way to the finish of our first leg of the journey.
Then it happens. What we've all been scared off. We cross the railroad tracks under the wrong angle and come crashing down. The shock is tremendous. The wounds are light. Jasmine has a light scrape on her knee, Cheyenne bruised the palm of her hand a little, Robin is all okay. Bill has a scrape on his knee and Amarins has a scrape on both her knee and her elbow.
The bike is worse off. Bill's crankarm is bend, Bill and Amarins' pedals are misformed, the handlebar tape is broken and the rear tire is warped a little. Still all works well.
After we catch our breath, we continue on our journey. We feel deflated with what happened, but we can recognize the feeling. We know as long as we focus on positive events, the day will turn out alright. Even Cheyenne already understands this and is looking forward to the better part of the day.
Slowly we ride through town, admiring the old buildings. Then, there it is, the end of the peninsula, Fort Sumter and the ocean in the distance. We are on the Battery, from where we can see Fort Johnson, where the first shots of the civil war were fired. We sit down and absorb our surroundings under the enjoyment of sandwiches and cookies.
From the battery we look off in the distance where we can see the shape of Fort Sumter. There is a plaque on the battery with historical information.
We ride a little further, looking for the playground, looking for a place to put our feet in the ocean. We can't find either. Trying not to feel defeated, we decide to go on to Folly Beach. Before we do that, we meet a nice gentleman, Mr George McFadden, he's been taking pictures of our bicycle and of us. Obviously this leads to talking.
While Amarins is gathering energy for the next ride, Bill and George are talking about the journey. Out of the blue, George reaches in his pocket and hands us a bill as his support of the journey. Although we don't know where we'll stay yet, our night has been taken care off again.
We leave downtown towards Folly Beach. To get there we need to ride over a giant overpass over the water. The shoulder is superwide and the sun comes out. We are in an upswing again.
From the overpass we see downtown Charleston in the distance on our left and lush green marshes on our right. We have a beautiful view from here.
At the bottom of the overpass, we see someone making lots of pictures. Bill hollers out 'Hey, we need a place to stay on Folly Beach, can you help?' He hollers back 'Let me make some calls!'. A little later we meet him again. Certainly a reason to stop.
His name is Mark and he happens to work for the Charleston Bicycle Company and he lives here on James Island. He knows his company would love to help us with getting the bike back in shape. Furthermore he will call around to see if he can find us a place to stay on Folly Beach. We exchange phone numbers and we are back on the road.
It is the middle of the afternoon by now. Time to get us a decent meal. We stumble upon Applebees. A great choice. We plan on staying for a little while before finishing the day in the Atlantic Ocean. An even better choice. There are not many customers, but the ones that are there are very curious about our escapades. Brandy the manager is excited about our journey as well.
We eat and enjoy and talk. When we get ready to go, some of the customers we talked with have already picked up the tab. On top of this the manager invites us for lunch tomorrow. Thanks everyone!
It is sprinkling a little bit, so we put the raincoats on the girls. Robin has Bill's raincoat. It wraps around her and her seat, keeping her nice and dry.
While we were enjoying our time at Applebees, Mark gave us a call. He has arranged for us to stay at the Holiday Inn on Folly Beach, basically at no cost. With regained energy from the food and rest, we head back down the road. We are not quite sure where to find the Holiday Inn, but it turns out we don't need to churn our heads about it. It is straight ahead of us, at the end of the road.
Amarins checks in. With the help of a very friendly desk clerk, Chris, we obtain a room on the first floor, with sliding doors that open on the patio, with view of the ocean. We load our gear in the room, park the bicycle against the wall and walk out the sliding doors. It is time to put our feet in the Atlantic Ocean.
We are at the end of our first leg of the journey. After 633 miles, 31 days, 5 states and a tremendous amount of generosity from a lot of great people, we finally put our feet in the Atlantic Ocean!!!
With this great accomplishment fresh on our minds, we turn in for the night.
Continue the journey: