Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 20 A Tailwind and 4 Broken Spokes

We left South of the Border at about 7:20. Did we mention that we over-nighted at the famous South of the Border? We pushed especially hard to make it there for a night. The day was much too long and hard and as a result we slept in.

The experience at South of the Border was OK. I had been looking at the signs since the first time I saw them in 1956. We were completely beat after a very long and difficult day. The rooms could have used refurbishment but the accommodations were comfortable and the restaurant was fine.

We did have a tailwind and relatively flat terrain today. Even so were only able to go about 7 mph. Some of it was my terribly slow warm up. However, it turned out that the brake was hitting the tire which was out of true (again). Then were able to do 10-11.

Our first stop was the town of Dillon (8 miles). We had heard a ping so we checked the spokes and found one broken. I adjusted the brake at this point. We had breakfast there. Debbie bought some provisions.

We rode on uneventfully until we heard another ping. We stopped in Latta (14 miles). We found 4 broken spokes. We stopped at a minimart to get information and found that there were no bike stores anywhere near by. They suggested Marion to rent a car to get to a bike shop. After some consideration we decided to take our changes and push on to Florence.

We rode on. The going was pretty good with the tailwind and the pull on the brake was not too bad. We were a bit nervous because if too many spokes went, we would be stuck.  About an hour and a half later we came to the point where 301 joined 76. This was the run into Florence. Shortly after the turn we spied a Subway and decided to stop for lunch. It was about noon. We ordered and sat.

We were sitting there eating and chatting when I had a cocktail party phenomenon. At the table behind us someone said “post doc.” Let me tell you what you don’t expect to hear at a Subway on a highway in the middle of the sticks of South Carolina. There were three gentleman talking about their postdoc experiences. I was dying with curiosity.  When one of the got up and walked away, I turned and asked, “Did you say postdoc?”  It turns out the fellow had a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Buffalo. All three of them were chemists at a local company. We chatted for quite a while. They told us there was only one bike shop in Florence and gave us instructions on how to find it. We told them about our trip and we had a nice conversation.

They left, we finished and hit the rode again. The rode had a nice shoulder for a while which was good because the traffic was moving at more than 60. However, after several miles, no more shoulder. We actually pushed our bike up a hill- on the grass. However, we could not walk all the way so I screwed up my courage and rode. The cars and trucks were very courteous. They pulled into the left-hand lane and left us alone. It was, none-the-less, very nerve wracking.

Eventually we got the shoulder back for a while but lost in again in the city. We did not actually know the address of the bike shop or their phone number so we stopped at a Red Cross Center for Blood donations and looked at a phone book. The folks there were so amazed as what we were doing that they gave us each a bottle of cold water and went out to gawk at the bike. We had a nice chat we them.

It appeared that we only have about 10 blocks to go, but that actually was almost 2 miles. Finally we arrived. The folks at the bike shop were great. We gave them the bike and explained our troubles. The mechanic thought that just replacing the bad spokes were be enough. I had thought to relace (rebuild) the entire wheel. The mechanic said he would do that if necessary so I left it in his hands. Pictures of this tomorrow.

Well, now without transportation, we had no way to get to a motel. One of the people there drove us and agreed to pick us up in the morning. He also turned out to be a biker so he gave us instructions on  the best way out of town in the morning. It turns out that his wife had just (last Thursday) given birth to their third son.

Today’s ride: We rode 43.3 miles at an average speed of 8 mph. We were on the bike for 5 hours and 22 minutes. We are now 845 miles into our trip. We think there are about 475 or so miles to go. We have 14 possible travel days left. That is 34 miles a day average but life is not that simple. Accommodations are not so conveniently spaced. We have now had 4 repair incidents, three of which have cost us time. Who can say what the future holds???

Debbie’s Emotionometer: Worried about the wheel self-destructing, nervous about the fast traffic and no shoulder on 76, and pride and a sense of accomplishment when we made it to the bike shop.

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