Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Sumter - Georgetown (November 25)

Day 72

Anthony's last day of cycling and my penultimate one. Meanwhile Rachel drove to Charleston and chatted up lots of men. Approaching the coast it was very flat and a bit laborious, especially when we hit a dead straight section for 20 miles or so. We had lunch at 'Country Cravings', where I had 'The Craver Ripper Basket' (a hot dog) and Anthony gnawed at chicken wings. Other culinary highlights included pork scratchings, and iced tea in a can which didn't taste of tea at all. It seemed almost like a third world country in some parts of The Low Country (the eastern part of South Carolina) and I felt a bit uncomfortable at times. Along with the usual honking of horns, a few people shouted things at us, like the black girl who crooned “Ooh my!” (like a sarcastic wolf whistle I think) and the white man in a truck who hollered “Woo! Woo! What y'all doin'? Y'all havin' a good time? I'll beat ya'!” And sped off in his rusty jalopy.

For the first time on the whole trip I was run off the road. Or at least a truck coming from behind honked at me (as another vehicle approached from the opposite direction on a single lane road) and I did get off the road. I suppose I could have called his bluff, in the belief that he would slowed down, but then I might not be writing this if I had. Anthony had a rear view mirror in his helmet, so could see danger approaching; I do not have this luxury. I was also attacked by a dog for the first time today! Again this is a bit of an exaggeration, as it only bit my pannier, but it was a vicious looking brute and I had this sensation of being slowed down, which wasn't too pleasant. Another unpleasant experience involved a section of dirt track – I thought there would be no sandy roads after Kansas – but I was wrong. The feeling of your back wheel moving in a different direction to your front wheel is not something I care for.

Arrived in Georgetown in the dark, so couldn't appreciate that it was on the coast (or near it) although there was a nasty cabbagey smell, which may have been the swamp (which houses alligators). Tonight we dined at a touristy restaurant appropriately called Land's End - this being near the end of my land trip. I had the fabulously flaky crab cakes, and sweet potato with butter and brown sugar, and the three of us shared a Key Lime Pie. Rachel whet my appetite with tales of Charleston, which so many people have raved about along my route. Then it was 'eyes down for a bingo' in a continuation of our mini tournament. It would have been exciting if I had won the second game (after losing last night's opening bout) but when your opponent draws both blanks and all four Ss, the odds are stacked against you. Anthony played SPANIEL & ENGRAILS (I challenged the latter to my detriment) and I didn't get anything much at all. I should have gone to bed at this point, but can never say no to Scrabble (or anything else for that matter) and we played a third game, finishing at 12.45. Maybe we could make it the best of five I thought. I once played the best of nine games with him and it went down to the wire, with me triumphing in the last game by a few points – and we both scored 450+. This time it was not to be, as I had one of those horrendous games where I was 100 points to the good (after playing LOCATES) and then challenged a word (KEDGERS) lost my turn and before I knew it I was behind. I tried to crawl back into the lead on a congested board, but had no high scoring tiles and Anthony did, and he won by 30 points. I really don't like losing at the best of times, but losing all three games... and to my older brother... well it left a bitter taste. Oh well, you can't win them all... and it's only a game... I tried to tell myself as a lay awake in my pit... tossing and turning...

The next morning's free buffet featured donuts & bagels, and nothing else. Rachel and Anthony bid their adieus at this point, as they were driving back to Boston, via friends in New Jersey, where they would be spending Thanksgiving.

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