Monday, April 26, 2010
From the Mountains to the Coast
"Come on," Beth said. "It will be fun." How many crazy ideas start that way? My friend had just suggested that we, two middle-aged Rubenesque women, should bike across the state of South Carolina. Never mind that we weren't bikers, nor that we had the right equipment, nor that we had ever biked across the neighborhood, much less the state. It would be fun.
Today marked the end of this three-day adventure, that had been six months in the making. We had been riding every week, building stamina according to some kind of training regimen that, Beth promised, would prepare us for the 270 mile trek. Theoretically we were also supposed to be going to the gym and training between rides, but I conveniently forgot that part most weeks. I did a little yoga when it was convenient, but otherwise, I relied on our weekly rides to condition me.
Tonight we arrived at Folly Beach, having left at the NC/SC state line just two days earlier. By leapfrogging each other, we took 10 mile segments, one riding while the other rested. On Day Two, her daughter Laura joined the team and added a shot of energy and endurance to the effort. Ten miles at a time we made it. We rode in the rain and wind. We waited out thunderstorms. We stuck it out when it seemed tedious, or onerous. We laughed a lot and encouraged each other every leg of the way. We faced a few dogs, lots of vultures, a possum playing possum, a friendly neighborhood shotgun incident, and getting lost. We smelled every kind of roadkill --possum, squirrel, frogs, vulture, snake, armadillo, deer, alligator, and many, many unidentifiable creatures -- and Beth even contributed (twice!!) to creating some. We noticed many plants in bloom: bachelor buttons, red clover, blackberries, wild roses, trumpet vine, wild iris. We noted roadsigns we would never have noticed if we weren't forced to slow down and read them: Do Right Lane, Peach Leaf Curl Road, Redemption Way. We learned how the topography and ecology and local flavor of the counties -- Greenville, Laurens, Greenwood, Saluda, Aiken, Orangeburg, Dorchester, Charleston -- differed from one another. We learned, if we had forgotten, that there are lots of ways to live happily. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most beautiful and satisfying... even just a long weekend, spent on a bike with a friend.
And she was right. It was fun.