Day 9: To Charleston, SC - Atlantic Coast 2017 - CycleBlaze

April 24, 2017

Day 9: To Charleston, SC

Today is a long travel day to Charleston but I'm well rested after a short tourist day in Beaufort.

The first third of this tour alternates between long travel days and tour days in Jekyll Island/Beaufort, Savannah, Beaufort, and Charleston. It feels good to have alternating tour and travel days. No fatigue, physically or mentally. But I'm moving across the map very slowly.

I really hate the humidity at Beaufort, so I'm eager to get on the road. Got up at 7 but went to McDonalds for breakfast and didn't get on the road until 8:25.

US 21 Business is under construction in front of the hotel. Soon it will be a 6 lane divided boulevard. While turning left into McDonalds I hit a concrete lip because the last layer of asphalt hasn't been laid yet. My Insulated Kleen Kanteen went flying and suffered a large dent. The bottle flew once before during a downhill in Pittsburgh. The bottle is still perfectly usable but now has a lot of character.

Today I'm on busy highways all day long. Mostly 4 lanes with a narrow barely usable paved shoulder. First on US 21 past Beaufort Marine Corp Air Station.

Old planes on display at the entrance to Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station.
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Then once again on US 17 all the way to Charleston. 4 lanes with a barely usable paved shoulder. Heavy traffic, the main highway from Savannah to Charleston.

Despite the heavy traffic there were basically no services on today's route. The highway mostly crosses big wetlands. No towns. No farms (I've hardly seen any farms so far). Few stores, fewer restaurants. Not much to see or do along the way.

Big wetland.
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The traffic was courteous. Nearly every vehicle moved over to the left lane when passing. No honks, no close calls.

Here US 17 has trees in the median of the divided highway.
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Rain was forecast for last night and possibly for today, but it passed to the north. There was no rain in Beaufort but Charleston had huge puddles when I arrived, indicating that it did get a lot of rain.

Not especially great or scenic in my opinion.
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The passing storm lowered the temperature to a much more pleasant range. Today had a high of only 78F. Coolest day so far, but still extremely humid. Despite the passing storm I have the usual gentle south tailwind.

US 17 crossing a railroad track.
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There were no towns and few villages on today's route. But there was occasional evidence of previous settlement.

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The last 10 miles was in suburban style development. In the afternoon I called to make a 2 night reservation at La Quinta Riverside Inn in Charleston. I arrived at 5:15. $131 per night. The hotel faces the Ashley river but my room is on the opposite side next to a highway.

The waterfront area is quite nice, with a large marina. Dinner was at the only nearby restaurant, California Dreamin'. It was excellent. Had a fantastic Shrimp BLT wrap. The restaurant is in a historic brick building that once housed a gun battery that defended the mouth of the Ashley river.

I had dinner at California Dreamin' restaurant. The building was originally a gun battery that guarded the river mouth.
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The sky was mostly cloudy all day but the sky cleared at 6:30 PM. By then the sun was weak and the sunshine and lower humidity felt glorious.

The motel is fairly plush. It's the first time I've stayed at a La Quinta Inn. The location will make it easy to visit Charleston tomorrow. The historic Charleston peninsula is just across the river and the hotel is adjacent to the highway 30 bridge.

Distance: 71.1 mi. (114 km)
Climbing: 575 ft. (174 m)
Average Speed: 11.1 mph (17.8 km/h)

Today's ride: 71 miles (114 km)
Total: 341 miles (549 km)

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