Av – 12.2 mph
Dis – 42.7 miles
Tm – 03:30 hrs.
Asc – 656 ft.
- 06:04 Im alive! 36 degrees dropping to 30 by 08:00. Hope to be on the road by then. Trying to make IHOP by noon! img
- 08:02 Scarfed a couple sausage dogs at the local BP. Finishing my coffee. Should be another 15 min or so. Let’s say 30 to be safe. No hurry.
- 08:10 Fish hook souvenir from Lake Moultrie. img
- 08:20 Growler down range, I set forth ahead of adjusted schedule. IHOP or bust! Preferably IHOP.
- 09:44 My left kneecap feels like it’s being pried off with a screwdriver. Ouch.
- 09:50 Somewhere on Hwy 17. 16 miles in. img
- 10:27 Stopping to pick up some local honey and strawberry rhubarb preserves. Kickass store! I can vouch! img
- 11:59 IHOP bitches! I\’m unofficially home. img
- 13:51 Home at last! But my left knee is fu**ing killing me. img
I write this at an IHOP, still six miles from home. running the gamble that nothing worth noting will happen in the last few miles. I just placed my order – large OJ, water no ice, thick cut bone-in-ham with eggs over easy and hash browns, and a side of corned beef hash to round it out. I’m a bit hungry.
I underestimated my “snack an hour” philosophy, knowing my trip today would be only about four hours of saddle time. I had my granola bars hanging on the bike – easy enough to grab – I just didn’t stop to eat. I think I’m paying for it now. The last couple of miles to IHOP were a killer.
Somewhere this morning my left knee began hurting. I don’t have joint problems, so it concerned me. It felt like my kneecap was being pried off with a screwdriver. As the miles ticked by the pain grew worse. It was growing sharper, less tolerable but not unbearable. I grabbed an easier gear, sacrificed speed for a higher, lighter cadence, and gutted the pain.
Home now. I’m cleaned up, got some chow in my gut, and am tired as all hell. It’s 18:41. I should be asleep by now. The sun says so. I always liked being on the rhythm of the sun. It just felt natural to wake up on the first hint of light, be out and about getting things done as soon as the sun broke the horizon, and back indoors when darkness fell. That’s the rhythm I have on a bike tour and I run into real problems when I stay in a hotel. I always end up watching TV or fiddling with my gear. Never good for a sunrise start.
My stay in last night’s abandoned house was somewhat of a hybrid between camping and a hotel stay. I had four walls, a floor under and roof over me, two windows and a door. Being out of the elements, more or less, kept my up until almost 19:30 – 45 minutes after my usual bedtime on the road.
I unpacked my gear and carefully laid out my sleeping bag, overnight clothes, and evening chow, paying close attention to light and noise discipline I stayed fully dressed. If anything were to happen between arrival and rack time, I didn’t want to be caught with my pants down. Literally. Truth be told I was feeling as vulnerable and exposed as I ever did, and I found myself delaying my inevitable disrobement and restrictive embrace of my sleeping bag.
I rolled the mental dice and gambled on the fact it would be far too cold for the locals to come partying on this particular night to this particular house. I stripped down and crawled into my bag. I lay there still, straining my ears for the slightest sound to indicate a possible perimeter breach. Nothing. Not a creak or the wind or the scurry of a mouse. All I could hear was the occasional car whip by on nearby Hwy 17, close enough the headlights splashed through the cracks of the curtains and across the back wall. Above that, the pale, amber light of my charging cell phone faded in, faded out on the ceiling. I was alone, and slept fitfully.
My dreams were fragmented, jarring me awake from imagined noises every few hours. One dream in particular stuck. I was lying there, alone in the cold, empty room, staring through gaps in the ceiling to the sky above. A thud echoed through the walls, followed by a scrape of the porch door I had closed earlier. Then steps, distinct steps on a staircase leading to the roof.
I followed the sound of the footsteps until boot soles appeared directly above my head, through the cracks. Then a soft, sliding brush as a mat or cover was pulled across the gaps, obscuring my view of the invader. Someone was here. They were on the roof, possibly waiting for me to emerge the next morning to introduce me to my demise. But I wasn’t going to let that happen.
Taking the offensive, I crawled silently from my bag and moved swiftly to the base of the roof access stairs. I took one step up, then two, and saw the top of a man lying prone directly over my room. A third step revealed binoculars pressed to the man’s face, gazing south along the avenue of approach.
I hesitated, trying to piece it together when the fourth step groaned under my weight. The man’s head snapped toward me – it was my Marine buddy – and he pressed a finger to his lips signaling to keep quiet. I looked at him quizzically and he jutted his finger downward. He was on watch, and by God it was time for me to get back in the rack and stop worrying.
I slept six and a half hours straight after that dream, and awoke as dawn’s first light kissed the curtains over my head.