Day 23: Townville, SC to Clemson, SC - Between the Ends of America - CycleBlaze

May 5, 2011

Day 23: Townville, SC to Clemson, SC

A cold night is what I get—all the way down to 38 degrees, which makes it almost impossible for me to pull myself out of the sleeping bag. I bundle up and ride into a cold headwind for most of the 20-mile trip to Clemson. It's an unspectacular ride, which is just fine for today. Every day since leaving home I've either slept in a tent or enjoyed a night in the house of a welcoming and generous host. This is my first chance in more than three weeks to spend time in a city, indoors, with only myself to worry about.

South Carolina loves George Michael.
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I pass Clemson University and ride into downtown, where I spend a few hours at a restaurant eating lunch and trying to get the journal into decent shape. It's an odd place—attractive and stylish, where you can order a delicious American or Persian meal, smoke some hookah, and then finish things off with a watermelon-flavored jello shot as the smooth jazz version of Boys II Men's "Water Runs Dry" plays quietly over the speakers in the background. College towns never disappoint.

Later I ride on sidewalks with traffic speeding past and check into my first hotel room of the trip. It's a strange building that used to be a Ramada but hasn't yet changed the sign out front or the pads of paper by the phone. The place is big, with at least 100 rooms, but everything's a little old, a little worn out, a little tired-looking. Although the lights are on in a couple of the rooms that surround the large, covered, central courtyard, I don't see anyone other than the people behind the counter in the lobby in the early afternoon. There might be six guests in the entire place.

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Part of me wants to check out the university and downtown, but that means a couple of miles of walking and I'm tired. In the end, I don't go outside for more than ten minutes the rest of the day. I watch awful cable TV, write, shower, read a book about the elevation gains of the Blue Ridge Parkway that scares the shit out of me, and video chat with Desiree and see her beautiful face for the first time in 24 days. I load up on carbs for the mountains with a healthy dinner of two small pizzas, a bag of cookies, and some peanut butter crackers. I lay on the bed with the crumbs of all three on my chest and feel only the slightest bit of shame.

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I fall asleep around midnight, amazed at how even the easiest days on tour leave me exhausted.

Today's ride: 23 miles (37 km)
Total: 1,241 miles (1,997 km)

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