Day 15 - on to Savannah
The morning was so nice that I took my time packing up. I typed my trip report on
the computer, running off of solar cells, while I waited for the tent to dry. The
humidity is noticeably lower than yesterday, and there's not a cloud in the sky.
I finally hit the road around 10:30, and I made good time on GA 144 to Richmond Hill.
The road is mostly on Fort Stewart. Although the cars go very fast along there, they
seemed very polite in how they passed. I got a couple of "thumbs up" signs from
passing military vehicles.
The trip into Savannah was pretty uneventful. I didn't know which way to go because
I couldn't reach Laura and Greg (to get Laura's parents' number), so I decide to hang
out in town and see what I could see. After I passed under I-516, I noticed a sign
for a bike route and I followed it through a fairly run-down section of town. I
eventually stopped at a convenience store to use the phone, and the kids hanging out
in front of the store made me nervous enough to keep an eye constantly on the bike.
The 800 number for my calling card wasn't working, so I decided to head up the road
and get something to eat. I met a woman on a bike named Darlene (the woman, not the
bike), who told me where to find fast food and gave me advice on which sections of
town to avoid. Savannah is an old town, so it seems to also have very old race and
poverty problems. There is a definite feel that some of the town is not well kept,
and that also seems to be the primarily black section.
I think I was slightly dehydrated, because nothing sounded good and I was thinking
about just heading out of Savannah. Fortunately, I got in touch with Laura, who
put me in touch with her parents; and I have a place to stay for the night. George
and Nancy gave me a quick tour around the historic downtown area, so I have some
idea of what I want to see tomorrow.
Tank cannon fire blasting within a few hundred feet of me as I rode on GA 144.
This morning I went with George to do some plumbing work. We eventually ended
up on River Street, where we had lunch and walked along the river. There are
dozens of little shops and restaurants, and I noticed that there weren't as
many T-shirt shops as there would be in Florida :-). There was a bakery that
I'm sure was venting their kitchen onto the sidewalk, because the wonderful
smells were making me hungry after I had just had a big lunch.
George and I drove around the historic area of downtown, and George told me
the history of many of the homes and churches. I have trouble following and
remembering all the stories, but the buildings are well worth the time to
take a tour of the area.
We stopped in the Cathedral of John the Baptist at my suggestion. The place
is magnificent, with ornate arches, stained glass, and murals of biblical
scenes. I took a few pictures, and the noise from my camera seemed to fill
the whole place. For being in the middle of the city, it is very peaceful
George's brother, Billy, is a pipe organ buff; and he has been involved in
refurbishing or purchasing organs for many of the churches in Savannah. He
has played the organ at the Cathedral, and he said the acoustics are excel-
lent for music. I have no trouble believing him.
We picked up Nancy from work, and she prepared a delicious dinner. I haven't
had life this easy in a long time. I only wrote a few postcards before
dinner, and we talked until bedtime.
Today George and Nancy gave me the key to the car and I went to visit Fort
Pulaski National Monument. The battle for Fort Pulaski caused major changes
in warfare, because it was the first time a rifled cannon was used to overcome
a masonry fort. Until that time masonry forts were considered nearly invin-
cible to the smooth-bore cannons of the day. These fired the round iron balls
most people think of when they think of cannons. The rifled cannons fired
projectiles more like modern shells or bullets, and they had much greater
range, accuracy, and destructive power.
In the years after the Civil War, most masonry forts were decommissioned
because the battle for Fort Pulaski proved that masonry forts could not hold
out for long against rifled cannons.
After I left Fort Pulaski I drove down to Tybee Island to look around and
have lunch. It's like many small Florida beach towns, so I didn't stay long.
I drove home and started packing some unneeded gear to mail home. I mailed
13 pounds of gear home - a lot of gear to be carried and not used. I sent
home a Florida atlas, a book on bike maintenance, a book on wilderness medicine,
and a book of attractions near the interstates. Plus I sent home my SLR
camera, which I had only used once. The problem with the SLR is that I had
it wrapped in ziploc bags in 2 pieces, to protect it from rain. If I wanted
to used it I had to pull both pieces from the handlebar bag, take both pieces
from their ziplocs, and connect the lens to the body. This is way too much
trouble, which is why I bought a point-and-shoot camera to use.
We went out to eat at a very nice seafood place called Scampy's, my first real
seafood dinner of the trip. Scampy's is highly recommended.
Day 18 - back in the saddle again
This morning I packed up to leave. I said goodbye to Nancy and Billy, and
George drove me to Clyo, where I planned to pick up the ACA route. The day
is cool and the humidity is low - perfect cycling weather.
I had trouble thanking Nancy, George, and Billy for their hospitality. They
took me in like a long-lost son, gave me the run of their place, and made me
feel truly at home. I haven't felt like that since the last time I was with
my own parents.
The ride from Clyo to the Pocotaligo KOA was surprisingly easy. The land
is mostly flat, and temperatures in the mid 70's kept me from getting over-
heated. These are really out of the way roads. On some roads I would only
see a car every 10 minutes or so. The only problem is that when it is cool
I forget to drink enough water. I only notice I'm getting dehydrated after
it's too late and I start to feel run down. What usually happens is that I
lose my motivation to do anything but sit. Nothing sounds good - food,
sightseeing, or cycling. After an hour of drinking all the water I can
stand, I feel normal again.
The KOA is showing Apollo 13 this evening, and they have Pepperidge Farms
chocolate chip cookies in the store. I think I'm living too well.
Light day - 35 miles.
Near the Savannah River the forests change from mostly pine to a mixture of
hardwoods. This is the type of forest I love to be in.
A feeling of total isolation on the back roads of South Carolina when I stopped
for a rest and I could neither hear nor see any cars.
Day 19 - bridge out and dog chases
Since I went to bed early, I was up early and was on the road by 8:30. I was
slowed a bit when I passed the McDonalds and had a couple of sausage biscuits
and hash browns. Then I tried to get sunscreen at the convenience store, but
the highest SPF they had was 4. It seems that no one sells real sunscreen
except near the beach.
The route today passed mostly through tree farms, with only the occasional corn
field to provide a change of pace. Somehow South Carolina seems to be all down-
hill. When I was traveling through northern Florida, the road always seemed to
be going uphill, but now that's reversed. I know it must be an optical illusion,
but I'm making really good time.
Only a couple of unusual things happened today. As I was going down a quiet road,
a very large black dog started chasing me. I was pretty sure I couldn't outrun
him, so I pulled out my pump and held it like I was going to take a swing at him.
He stopped, so I guess it worked. Then within a half a mile the same thing happened
again! The dogs could have been twins, but this time there was a woman yelling
at the dog, telling him to stop. He did stop when I held up my pump.
I was thinking that a threat of violence was enough to stop a dog, when a few miles
up the road three (!) little dogs came chasing me. I was able to outrun them, but
just up the road I found a sign saying the bridge was out. I located a detour on
the map, but I had to backtrack past the little dogs. This time they caught up
with me, so I had to pull out my pump. They didn't stop, so I started swinging.
It must have been a comical sight, with me riding along and swinging my pump at
these three little dogs, yipping at my heels (The dogs looked like Pekingeses).
I think I connected with one of them because I found my pump shaft was bent and
I had to straighten it before I could put the pump away.
I'm spending the night at Givhans Ferry State Park ($10). It's nice and peaceful
and I got here early (3:30), but I don't know what to do with all the time before
bed. I went to buy dinner (Dinty Moore beef stew) at the convenience store, took a
shower, cooked and ate dinner, set up camp, and read a bit. I feel like sleeping,
but it's only 7:00. I only rode 60 miles today, so I'm not physically worn out.
It could be my high-fat diet.
I saw a rabbit this morning. He ran away from me along the road, but stopped when
he realized he wasn't getting away. Then he just sat there and watched me as I
Then I saw a dead deer by the side of the road. Vultures must have cleaned him out.
As I was riding, I noticed roosters crowing as I passed. I noticed the same thing
in south Georgia. I wonder if a rooster would make a good watchdog...
I just remembered a quote I memorized from the American pavilion at Epcot. It
seems relevant to my trip.
What kind of man would live where there is no daring?
I don't believe in taking foolish chances.
But nothing can be accomplished
without taking any chance at all.
-- Charles Augustus Lindberg
Changes last made on: Fri May 31 17:48:08 1996