Day 11: To Andrews, SC - Atlantic Coast 2017 - CycleBlaze

April 26, 2017

Day 11: To Andrews, SC

I was up at 7 and on the road at 8:25. Today should be a long but easy ride. I noticed a small "No Bicycles" sign while crossing the SC 30 bridge to Charleston for the third time. Nobody honked at me for using the 4 foot shoulder.

Once again I went straight across the central city on Calhoun street, then a few blocks west on Bay street to the US 17 bridge across the Cooper river. The bridge has a wide walkway that is painted to separate cyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrians get the path closest to the railing. Cyclists get the path closest to the roadway. There many cyclists and pedestrians-this is a popular urban recreational path. The bridge is 2.5 miles long and climbs to 200 feet above the water, by far the biggest hill in the region.

View of the Charleston peninsula from the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge. Cooper river in foreground, Ashley river in distance.
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From the top of the bridge I could see the ocean horizon in the distance. Ocean views are rare and mostly distant during the first half of this tour.

USS Lexington and a container ship.
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North of the Cooper river is the town of Mount Pleasant, founded in the 1890's. It has many Victorian homes. A nice little town just across the river from big Charleston.

Creekside marina in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
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Victorian neighborhood in Mount Pleasant.
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The route through Mount Pleasant is mostly on a residential collector street with low traffic. On the roadside a woman was selling baskets, so I stopped to have a look. Her prices were 1/3 cheaper than the prices at the market stalls in downtown Charleston. I bought a relatively flat basket (more of a tray than a basket) that would fit in my pannier. Later in the day I mailed it home along with brochures and receipts, an unused headlight, and the unused front water bottle and cage. Now the bike has only 3 bottle cages.

On the roadside I bought a traditional Gullah coil basket made by Mary Jane Capers in Mount Pleasant.
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Unfortunately, after 10 miles of low traffic in Mount Pleasant I had to switch to SC 41 which has a very narrow shoulder that is useless because of a rumble strip. Quite often the narrow shoulder is covered by dirt and grass encroaching on the edge. Traffic is moderate but it includes many large trucks. Not really a safe road for cycling, so I had to stay alert and watch the mirror often.

The new SC 41 bridge across the Wando river is almost completed.
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The route was mostly forested. Not much rural habitation. I stopped at a country store and was surprised that the proprietor was familiar with my route. Cyclists are less rare now that I'm on the Adventure Cycling Association Atlantic Coast route, but I didn't see other cyclists.

The only National Forest I entered during the tour.
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Here the Adventure Cycling route is not very good for cycling. The highway probably didn't have a rumble strip when the ACA route was created. This route also isn't signed as a bike route.

Today's wildlife sighting.
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This place may have been abandoned for a long time but it just burned recently. I could still smell the fire.
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This is the "low country". Promoted as a tourist destination for its beaches, but the inland area is mostly forested and unpopulated because the land isn't suitable for farming.

Several miles were in a national forest, with even less settlement than usual. Today's route had few stores and no motels.

South Carolina low country Forest Road.
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The weather is back to normal today. High of 82F, humid as usual, partly cloudy.

Small burned area on the left. Note the rumble strip and narrow shoulder.
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I'm not sad that I missed this festival.
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Traffic was surprisingly heavy considering that there were no towns on the route. There is no population here but to the east the Isle of Palms area is heavily populated.

Great reflection as Alt. US 17 crosses the Santee river.
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After crossing the river the elevated road goes through the treetops for a long distance.
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I arrived in Andrews at 5:20 PM. Got a $55 room at Colonial Inn motel, the only motel in town. The lady at the motel said she gets about one cyclist per month.

I walked back and forth through town trying to find a restaurant that was open, without success. I ended up getting a frozen dinner and fruit tray from the Piggly Wiggly supermarket. I heated the dinner in the microwave in my motel room.

Andrews is a struggling town. No twisting going on nowadays.
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The weather is still relentlessly humid but it's definitely starting to feel like normal now. I had a tailwind all day, strongest in the late afternoon. Flat terrain, most of the climbing was on bridges.

Today started well but most of the route was unpleasant for cycling. The coastal highway, US 17, is mostly expressway going through the Myrtle Beach area, so it would probably be even worse. It seems like there is no good bike route in coastal South Carolina.

Distance: 66.1 mi. (106 km)
Climbing: 560 ft. (170 m)
Average Speed: 10.9 mph (17.4 km/h)

Today's ride: 66 miles (106 km)
Total: 424 miles (682 km)

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