Day 12: To Conway, SC - Atlantic Coast 2017 - CycleBlaze

April 27, 2017

Day 12: To Conway, SC

Today should be an easy day, from Andrews to Conway. Up at 7:25, on the road at 8:45 after breakfast at McDonald's. The only restaurant open in the morning. Andrews is really dead.

Great Pee Dee river just outside of Andrews. The bank is very swampy.
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I continued on SC 41. State highway with a very narrow shoulder. Light traffic, but most of the traffic is big trucks. The narrow road is made much worse by a rumble strip on the fog line that forces me to share the traffic lane with the big trucks. Roads like this are why every touring cyclist should have a super-bright rear flasher.

My outlook on life improved considerably when I turned onto SC513, then SC 261. Finally, 18 miles of low traffic roads with only local traffic. No trucks. I appreciated being able to actually look at the scenery. I can't do that much when sharing the lane with trucks.

First farm I recall seeing on this tour.
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In the village of Hopewell I stopped to look at the abandoned school. No fence around the perimeter, and the front door was unlocked. Vines are growing through windows. There is water damage but no vandalism. Amazing.

Abandoned school in Hopewell, SC.
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Amazingly little vandalism.
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Today's route has two country stores but no restaurant. I was glad I left McDonald's this morning with an extra Sausage Biscuit with Egg to eat later.

Most clearcuts are more hidden than this one. The pines have ridiculously thin trunks compared to the trees in Oregon.
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So far in this tour I haven't seen any farms. Apparently the soil isn't well suited for raising crops. It's all forest or wetlands. But today I saw a few farms.

First barn I recall seeing during this tour.
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Churches are still a regular sight, even in the tiniest of villages. Southern Baptist churches are the most common but there is diversity.

New Good Hope Methodist church.
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Unfortunately my low traffic roads connect to US 701 which I stay on for 18 miles to Conway. It has heavy traffic and a rumble strip. To the right of the rumble strip is 1 to 2 feet of asphalt, but grass and soil encroach on the pavement most of the time. It was pretty much impossible to ride to the right of the rumble strip. Once again I had to share the lane with trucks. The ACA Atlantic Coast route stinks in South Carolina.

Today's inviting forest road.
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Another swollen river.
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At a country store on the low-traffic segment I was warned about bridge construction on US 701. The bridge turned out to be no worse than sharing the lane on land. The guy at the store knew where I was going because I'm on the ACA Atlantic Coast bike route. I saw no other cyclists but he obviously sees cyclists regularly.

New bridge under construction where US 701 crosses the Waccamaw river.
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The morning was mostly sunny but the sky was mostly cloudy in the afternoon. Thanks to clouds the high temperature was only 79F, but it was more humid than it would be on a sunnier afternoon.

I like seeing structures that are about to fall down.
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The rural area looks poor and de-populated but the town of Conway is fairly nice. Bigger and more prosperous than Andrews. Home of Carolina Coastal University which I didn't see.

Few chimneys survive a long time after the house is gone.
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I arrived at Econolodge at 3:30 and got a $68 room. Took a 2 hour nap before dinner and didn't explore the town tonight.

I've been seeing pineapple logos at various places and decided to look it up online. It turns out that the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality in South Carolina. That's peculiar because pineapple isn't grown in South Carolina. The tradition apparently started with early plantation owners who were wealthy enough to serve pineapple imported from the Caribbean.

Today's route was remarkably unpopulated considering that the sprawling Myrtle Beach coastal region is only a few miles to the east. Few villages or country homes.

I am making a fairly big inland detour to ride the ACA bike route. I assumed that the ACA route would be good for cycling but most of the route is not safe for cycling. I wonder what conditions would be if I stayed closer to the coast on US 17. Much of it is an expressway but it would be 50 miles shorter, have far more services, and have ocean access in a string of resort towns.

Distance: 54.1 mi. (85.6 km)
Climbing: 393 ft. (119 m)
Average Speed: 10.8 mph (17.3 km/h)

Today's ride: 54 miles (87 km)
Total: 478 miles (769 km)

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