Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Sweet, Sweaty South

I stopped counting the days. Because, what's the point? It's hard enough for me to remember what day of the week it is. Blissful funemployment. Except when,  every now and then a little voice pulls at my elbow and asks "So, how are you planning to pay your bills?" But it's still very little, so I just shake it off.

I'm on top of the weather, though. Not a lot of rain to be expected. And, honestly, while riding from Savannah, Georgia to Beaufort, South Carolina on Tuesday and then to Wilmington in North Carolina yesterday, I kind of begged for rain. It was just so hot and humid. You get to the point where you think you can't possibly sweat even more. And then you do. 

All these places, Savannah, Beaufort (pronounced like beauty vs. beau) and now Wilmington have a lot to offer. Charme and history, beautiful houses, lots of trees, gorgeous waterfronts and an abundance of very nice people. Of course, there are the usual bars and restaurants, real estate offices, souvenir shops and the art galleries and strange clothing stores run by bored rich people.

Savannah, Georgia impressions 

And this mommy-baby-stroller boot camp:

Beaufort, South Carolina

And Wilmington, North Carolina

My hotel. Built in 1906. I wondered if I would see a ghost in my room at midnight.

The ride to Wilmington started with some beautiful views over Charleston from the various bridges I had to cross. When I rode down one of them and had to break because there was a line of cars at the next traffic light, I felt my rear brake give up. While you can ride without a rear brake it does make you nervous to only have to rely on one of your brakes. So I stopped to find a repair shop close by. The first one in Charleston, that wasn't too far out of the way was not to be found. Thank you, Yelp. So I thought, I'd just ride farther north and try it in Myrtle Beach. With hindsight, I could have just gone all the way to Wilmington right away. Where I was going to stay, anyway to the mechanic would have more time.

But I stopped a little north of Myrtle Beach. Another hindsight was that the highway 70 through Myrtle Beach was the worst road on a motorcycle in this weather. Also, how fucking long is Myrtle Beach?! And how ugly along the highway! I kept thinking of the northern Pacific Coast. There might not be too many long white beaches and the water is cold and treacherous. But there are hardly any ugly beach towns lined with hotels and apartment houses, as well as all kinds of enterntainment places. And you get to see the coastline from the road. 

When I got to the repair shop, the repair guy had just gone to lunch. Given that a massive black cloud was rolling into he city and I was melting in the heat, I decided to just ride the last 50 miles and go to a shop in Wilmington. Best idea ever. Not only did I not get hit by torrential rain, only a few drops to cool me down a bit, but the mechanic was very sweet and helpful and managed to fix my brake right away. While he was working, I went to an Irish pub where I had delicious food and made friends with a group of lovely people and Kevin Bacon.

And then the shop called the bar to tell me that they were going to pick me up at the bar so I didn't have to walk another 15 minutes in my bike pants. If only it wasn't so humid. The people make the Southeast such a lovely place. Especially on a day like yesterday where I felt tired and sweaty and had started to question the trip again, thanks to the broken brake and the exhausting ride. And then you walk into a place where everyone makes you feel at home and encourages you to just keep going. It's a marathon, after all, not a sprint. And I will make it. However long it may take or hard it will be.

Oh, btw., I did not see a ghost in my room. I was so tired that I slept through ghost hour. Now, after almost 12 hours of sleep, with a new rear brake and fresh motivation, I'm going to hit the road. Destination Outer Banks!

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