Thursday, April 14, 2011

DONE IN BY “THE DUDE” AND OTHER SHORT STORIES FROM THE LOW COUNTRY…

The Navigator and I continue our week long sojourn to the Low Country of South Carolina with our close friends. The weather early in the week was less than hoped for being mostly cool and blustery. Sunshine was intermittent. However, we’ve been blessed with two extremely nice days in a row now.

The Marshlands of Folly Beach

(Looking west across the marshlands of Folly Beach)

Tuesday’s intermittent sun gave way to a solo ride around the island enjoying the “back side” of Folly. Away from the beach side, some beautiful homes have outstanding views of the teeming life of the marshland…

Folly Beach ostensibly runs east – west along the coast of South Carolina just below Charleston. The island “feels” to this mountaineer as if it runs north – south but, who am I to criticize the cartographers? Either way, when going east (north) from Center Isle, you come to a dog-leg left at a place known locally as the “Washout”. It was here that Hurricane Hugo did massive damage to the island cutting through it like a a hot knife through warm butter. The prevailing winds really seem to pick up speed as they come into a generally unobstructed run up the narrow island so you really get to learn about tailwinds and headwinds when riding this section.

The western (southern) end of the island is wider and has more and taller trees so riding around in the residential areas is quite pleasant as the roads are wide, the neighbors friendly, and the scenery quite beautiful. Were I to live here, this section of the island would be preferable to me to the beach side with it’s parking problems and crowds. Parking is a massive issue here on the island and you can get an expensive ticket quickly if you park improperly. There are numerous cyclists about. Some of which I take it are local and some of which, like us, are tourists.

Our annual trip to the Edge of America is always an opportunity to enjoy fine dining at home. Fortunately, for us, Chef Richard loves to cook and is very, very good at it. The end result being that we eat outstanding culinary selections without having to budge from “home.” When last I posted, I think I was sitting down to a scrumptious meal of Coquilles St. Jacques. Well, things have only gotten better since on the culinary front.

Chef Richard preps Coquilles St. Jacque

(Chef Richard hard at work preparing his masterpiece of the evening.)

I was done in by “The Dude”

Wednesday dawned clear and cool over a smooth sea. The Pelicans and sundry other water fowl were enjoying their morning fishing excursions off the beach and I spied a lone dolphin cruising the coast. The day was full of promise and I anticipated perhaps a long ride in the afternoon. I haven’t left the island since we arrived and I was considering some exploring on James Island and even perhaps John’s Island.

I spent the morning slathering on SPF 8 and 30 lotions and enjoying reading in the sun and even catching a late morning nap under the very pleasant temperatures. Soon, the Navigator was gently pressing on my arm to awaken me and let me know that The Big Lebowksi was currently being enjoyed inside. This being one of my all time favorite movies and an incredible showcasing of the talents of Jeff Bridges and John Goodman along with others, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see it again. Somewhat surprisingly, after all the laughing and the end of the movie having arrived, I had no energy, no drive, no desire to ride. I found that only another nap would bring solace to my soul. Hey, this vacationing stuff is hard work! Also, I really didn’t want to be late for the evening meal of Shrimp “N Grits”, perhaps Chef Richard’s favorite meal to create!

Today, Thursday, has been a repeat weather wise of yesterday -  great start to the day with lots of sun. The Navigator and I headed out early to avoid any remaining “motivational hangover from the Dude” and got in a morning ride around the island. We rarely ride together at home so this was “icing on the cake” for me as I enjoyed her company as we cruised up and down the island. Traffic was light this early in the day and was mostly composed of the lawn maintenance companies and house cleaning services as the moved from rental to rental.

The Navigator at the end of Folly Beach!

(The Navigator on Fiona at Folly Beach!)

Zeke and the Fuji CCR3

(Zeke on top of a graffiti laden concrete pad.)

It is only early afternoon as I post this, which means that there is still time to get in that missing ride to the other islands. Maybe I’d better go consult with The Dude and get an energy level check. I wonder what’s on the menu tonight…

Best wishes from The Edge of America!

- Zeke

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