A different day, a different island - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

May 2, 2022

A different day, a different island

Mount Pleasant bike day

Today we decided to venture afield for our ride and drive to a start location in Mount Pleasant. Don emptied out the back of the truck and by 10 we were parked at the visitor center in Mount Pleasant. 

It was located at the base of the Ravenel Bridge which spans the bay between Charleston and this area. We could have ridden on it today, but we've done that before and it is quite a climb to the top of the bridge. But it has a wonderful wide, separated bike/pedestrian section on one side and has great views of the city.

For our ride, we're going to Sullivan's Island to look at Fort Moultrie along with some other historic sites. Despite it being early (for us), the temperature was already in the 70's and it was very humid. 

We took off on a bike path along Highway 17 that soon deteriorated to a narrow sidewalk. At that point we just got onto the road which had a lot of traffic. 

The riding was stressful and we were both relieved to finally turn off onto the highway that would take us to Sullivan's Island. Unfortunately it also carried quite a bit of traffic so as soon as we could, Don turned us onto a side street. 

Finally a quiet road and what a beautiful area! We hadn't realized this was a historic neighborhood and we enjoyed meandering around ogling all of the lovely old homes. Several of them were in the process of restoration and none were trashy looking. But the sweet fragrance from the jasmine and this other flowering bush was intoxicating - still better than smelling a sewer treatment plant!

We thought we would have to return to the highway in order to get to a bridge that would get us to the island, but unexpectedly we came across another bridge that turned into a pedestrian walkway. That was wonderful (we thought) as it appeared that it would cross the waterway. It looked like it was an old bridge that had been repurposed but unfortunately it ended at the water. Bummer! Now we had to take the highway. 

Don turned the tandem around and we headed back into the neighborhood where we found our way to the road we needed. But it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be as there was also a bike lane, at least until we got to the bridge which was a draw bridge, our first one on this trip. 

On the other side of the bridge, the bike lane returned but we still turned off of the road as soon as we could since traffic was getting congested on the island. Despite it being a Monday, lots of people were headed out to the island. 

As we got out of the business district and back into neighborhoods, the traffic died considerably. It was just a few blocks further when we came to this end of the island and our destination - Fort Moultrie. 

We thought we would be able to walk into the fort and visitor center but both were closed for some reason. So we just settled for walking all the way around the fort, reading the historical markers until we could find a bench to sit on for our lunch break. I was glad that it was so breezy this close to the bay as the sun was quite hot. 

Fort Moultrie was first built in 1776 from spongy palmetto logs and sand as they would better withstand cannon balls. Reportedly the shot bounced off of the walls!  The use of the palmetto in its construction inspired South Carolina's flag and the state's nickname "the Palmetto State". The fort was called Fort Sullivan at this time before being renamed Fort Moultrie after a Confederate general. 

During the Siege of Charleston, the British captured the fort and renamed it Fort Arbuthnot. 

In 1798, a new fort was built and then again in 1808 when it was destroyed by a hurricane. During the Civil War, Fort Moultrie helped defend Charleston. In the 1870s, the fort modernized its weapons and concrete bunkers. 

In WW 1 and WW 2, the fort continued to be important in the defense of Charleston harbor. In 1947, after 171 years of service, Fort Moultrie was finally closed. 

As we returned north along the island, we stopped to view the Sullivan's Island lighthouse which was built in 1962 and was the last major lighthouse to be built in the US. It is 162.5 ft tall and has a unique triangular shape that was chosen to better withstand 125 mph winds. You can't go up into the light and the structure isn't open to the public. 

Along the way we also came across the Castle Mugdock. Wow - a real castle! 

This also has an interesting history. The original building was built in 1891 as the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  In 1905, as the federal government began to enlarge Fort Moultrie, through its powers of eminent domain, it forcibly seized the structure so it could be used at the post chapel. $6000 in compensation was paid to the church. 

The castle continued in this use until 1947 when Fort Moultrie was decomissioned. The chapel was eventually sold to the Lutheran Church who kept it until the congregation outgrew the building  in 1972. It was sold once again, this time to a private party who converted it into a residence. In 2009, a Romanesque addition was added. It's now available for rent.

From the island, we retraced our route back to the visitor center. We hadn't done a lot of miles today but it had been an interesting one full of lots of history. 

After Don loaded the bike, we continued north on Highway 17. This time I was looking for the Sweetgrass Basket Makers part of this road where there supposed to be numerous private booths set up. We were hoping for better prices than in the Charleston Market. 

I spotted 2 near each other so we stopped to see what they had for sale. While the baskets were all beautiful, we wanted something that would be more functional in the trailer. We thought that some trivets would be good to have. 

The first booth we went to had just what we wanted and a decent price. She even gave us a Mother's Day discount (I didn't reveal that I wasn't a mother!). We picked up 2 trivets and then went over to the next stand where I found some nice earrings that were a different style than the ones I bought the other day. Plus they were also much cheaper! 

Happy with our purchases, we headed back home. It had been a really fun day! 

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and watching our new neighbor try to back to back her trailer into the spot. That's always a hard thing to do. 

For dinner tonight, Don cooked up some cheese grits which turned out great! Normally to get creamy grits you use heavy cream and butter, but we made ours healthier with low-fat plain Greek yogurt, fat free margarine and low-fat shredded cheese. We've definitely turned into true Southerners!

The impressive Ravenel Bridge crosses the Charleston Bay. We biked across it when we did our east coast bike tour. There is a separated bike/walking lane to the left of the picture.
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We were on the Battery2Beach bike route today.
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A typical home that we saw today in Mount Pleasant.
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Dumpster humor!
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The tiny Patgens Post Office. It was built in 1899 and served as the Mount Pleasant post office.
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The inside of the post office has been preserved.
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Oops - I think we're a bit too long to do a U-turn! This nice boardwalk ended at the water which was too bad. We would have preferred to ride it to Sullivan's Island vs the busy highway.
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On the main highway to Sullivan Island we had to cross a draw bridge.
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Fort Moultrie.
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Another view of the fort.
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We could see Fort Sumter which is located on an island in Charleston Bay.
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This hawk was hovering above the marsh near Fort Moultrie. ID??
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Scott AndersonNo idea, but what a great shot!
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2 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltMight be a northern harrier.

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2 weeks ago
marilyn swettTo Scott AndersonThanks! It obligingly hovered nearby looking for a meal.
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2 weeks ago
marilyn swettTo Bill ShaneyfeltThanks, that's what Don thought too.
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2 weeks ago
The Sullivan's Island Lighthouse is triangular in shape.
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Another view of the lighthouse.
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A castle! This is the Mugdock Castle on Sullivan's Island. This portion used to be a chapel.
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You can see the addition to the back of the chapel. If you have the money, you can stay in the castle. It has a minimum 28 day stay with 6 bedrooms and an Aga in the kitchen! If you want a chef, you can pay extra for that amenity. Their on-line site didn't saw how much it costs.
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Today's ride: 19 miles (31 km)
Total: 129 miles (208 km)

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