Day 031 – Conway, SC to Andrews, SC

For all your Sci-Fi fans out there, Conway is the birth place of William Gibson. For those of you not into Sci-Fi, he is credited with having invented the term cyberspace and has heavily influenced our conception of interacting with data. If want a quick read that was the Matrix before the Matrix movie came out check out Neuromancer. It is the first of a three book series that I fell in love with when I was teaching English in Italy in 1996. I did have to read it in English. Gibson didn’t live in Conway long enough to have any influence on him, but it was still nice to see where he came into the world. It’s also a charming little town with an actual Main Street with shops and good looking restaurants. There is also a nice park on the river (pic).

Swimming on a bicycle is not as much fun as it sounds. Seriously, 97 degrees and a heat index in the low hundreds does not make for a good time. I made a tactical error by waking up early and blogging until 10 AM and then not getting out the door until 11, which is the start of the hottest part of the day. Then I proceeded to cycle in the wrong direction for 10 miles and so had to cycle back to Andrews and by time I got there it was lunch time. After devouring a healthy amount of Chinese buffet at 4 huge glasses of ice water I hit the road again and made it about 10 miles further before my body said to me, “Dude! WTF? Do you have a death wish? STOP NOW!” I pulled into an abandoned do it yourself car wash and squatted on the ground before realizing I had a really nice folding chair. Took it out and dozed on and off for two hours that felt more like 10 minutes.

I don’t mind the heat when cycling because the constant wind does a great job of evaporating the bountiful sweat my body produces, but when it’s both humid and hot that cooling system takes a huge performance hit. My sandals were full of water, my shirt was completely soaked through and it felt like I was sitting in a shallow stream in my shorts. This wouldn’t be completely unbearable, but wet clothes + repetitive body movement = sore, torn, blistered skin. I didn’t get too far into that equation, but if I kept going the next day would have been unbearable. I’ve got to always listen to my body – milage goals be damned. Sorry Charleston, I’ll see you tomorrow.

By time I got on the road again it was around 5 PM and I didn’t have a lot of time left to ride before it got dark. It’s demotivating to ride 20 miles and not get any further, but because of the side trip I stopped into a Dollar General and had the opportunity to meet Dante the cashier. I liked him immediately and we talked about cycling and I showed him my ride. He rode when he was younger until one day he was on his Mongoose dirt bike, with the shock in the middle, and someone decided it would be funny to loosen his quick release so when he popped a wheelie his front tire came off and he landed on his fork crashing and breaking his bike. He hasn’t ridden since, but is really good and making sure people don’t screw with him. He’s a big guy and I can believe it. He even said he would offer his protection services to me if I needed them. I wish I would have gotten his picture or that he hadn’t been working so we could have gone out for a drink or something.

I decided to push on to Andrews since they had a reasonably prices motel. I was also for the first time considering free camping, which is just what it sound like – find a place to pull over on the side of the road where you can quickly get out of view and camp for free. I saw some likely places, but also wanted to take a shower and get some food so continued on to the Colonial Inn and slept like a dead man.