Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Sunday, March 16, 2008
Columbia, SC to Saluda, SC
44 miles (740 total miles)

We started off Day 12 at our usual time of 7:50 after a quick breakfast of cereal, juice, and coffee. It was hard to get going again after such a relaxing stay with Alan and Sylvia. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and a little cool to start. It warmed up soon, though. It wasn't all that hilly but we seemed to have a hard time of it at the beginning - guess we got out of the hang of it with just one day off.

Within the first 5 miles we came to the bridge over the huge man-made Lake Murray. The lake has about 600 miles of shoreline and is created from a dam across the Saluda River - the largest earthen dam in the country, according to Alan. Midway across the bridge, we saw 5 circular structures out in the lake near the bridge. While we were wondering what they were and how one got over to them, we saw that there was a little cable car set up for that purpose. Our route had us skirting the edge of the lake for another 20 miles or so, so we'd catch glimpses of it now and then. From the many real estate signs we saw along the way, it was clearly a desirable place to own or rent property. We passed by many nice houses, and saw more red bud trees, pear trees, azalea, and one polonia tree. We often see hawks floating around overhead (sometimes wonder if we look tempting to them!); it's fun to watch them work the breezes.

As we moved away from the lake, we got back to the scraggly pine woods we've seen since southern Virginia. The soil got less sandy and redder again, and was swampy in places. We saw some trees dripping with spanish moss. As we were stopped to take pictures and put on sunblock, we were amazed to see 6 bicyclists coming up on our side of the road. They called out to see if we were in need of anything, but we said we were fine and they proceeded to chug up the hill just ahead of them. We actually caught up with them later as they were pulling out of a gas station and heading around a traffic circle on their way back home, but they were a little too far ahead for us to get their attention. They were the first bikers we'd seen since Mt. Vernon, VA, so it was a shame we didn't get a chance to talk.

We arrived in Saluda, SC around 2:10 and stopped at a cafe we saw just as we pulled into the center of town. We had a delicious buffet lunch and then rode around the corner and saw our hotel a little way down the street. We were checked in by 3:10. We went a mere 44.3 miles today, in 4 hours and 20 minutes bike time. Tomorrow, we have a longer day of about 65 miles which will take us into Georgia - state #8.

We've neglected to mention a milestone we hit in the past week. On March 12th (Day 9), we went past the most miles we've done in a single trip; our total for the Iowa trip (RAGBRAI) had been 513 and we ended Day 9 at 571. We're currently at 740, so our next big milestone will be hitting our first 1000, which should happen somewhere in Alabama on Day 17.

Pat and Sari ready to roll out of the Shoemakers' driveway

The start of the walkway along the bridge across Lake Murray

A large house and trees on the shoreline of the lake

2 islands in the lake

The hazy Columbia skyline from the Lake Murray bridge

A cable car rigged up in the middle of the bridge

The 5 structures in the lake to which the cable car ran

The bridge stretching around to the other side of the lake

Stopping for some food at the other side of the bridge

A popular grocery store in South Carolina

A tree covered in Spanish Moss

More of the woods

6 bikes, all in a line, passed us while we were taking a break

We saw the bikes again as they headed back

Church with graveyard in back

2 somewhat rundown farm buildings

An impressive entrance...

To an impressive estate

Just missed the rodeo yesterday

A marker about the Clemson plantation

The Saluda County Courthouse