The 2012 Low Country Rest and Relaxation tour has come to an end. So apparently did my writing time… We’ve been back five days now and this is the first break I’ve had to sit down and post the wrap up…
Day six (Friday, September 14th) was our last full day on the island and we were greeted with cleared skies and very pleasant temps when we arose. The Navigator and Sherry Shazam made their way to the beach while the Woodman and I had our final breakfast on the island and then headed out for the final ride of our week.
We retraced the route that the Woodman had ridden on Thursday and which I had not done this year. Coming out of Palmetto Dunes, we headed west (to our left) and soon approached the new section of the bike path that took us across William Hilton Parkway. We managed to bypass the traffic heavy roundabout and were soon running easily along the Cross Island Parkway. The is the toll road that eliminates a number of traffic lights and allows faster movement across the island.
The only moderate climb we’ve found on the island occurs here on a section of bridge that carries traffic over the bay and marshes. On this day, it was a fantastic view from the top. I was enjoying the view so much I forgot to grab an image!
At the bottom of the bridge the bike path departs from the roadbed and drops off to Marshland Road. The path is a solid 10’ wide and appeared to been repaved since our last visit.
(Nice repaved wide bike path on Marshland)
This two way path criss-crosses over Marshland a few times on it’s way back toward Matthews Dr. It was along this route that Woodman spotted The Old Oyster Factory restaurant, where we dined Friday evening. (More on that later…) Our final spin of the week continued on down Marshland to Matthews to William Hilton Parkway and finally back to Palmetto Dunes where we rolled back into our rental. This ended my riding for the week and the vacation. It felt good except for muscle soreness and my sit bones to have been able to pedal 5 days in a row. Given my lack of riding this summer, I was pleased to get some miles into my legs and once again enjoy my Salsa Fargo with the Big Apple tires. What a comfortable bike to ride in this locale the Fargo turns out to be!
Friday night dining!
For our final meal of the trip, we headed back to The Old Oyster Factory.
( A view of the Marsh from earlier in the day as we passed by on bikes)
Arriving ahead of our reservation time, the hostess took us immediately to our table and we were quickly greeted by Alisha, our service person of the evening. We were seated in the top dining section of the restaurant and views incorporating three sides of the marsh. We watched a young woman paddle in on a kayak while enjoying our appetizers. Our food and libations arrived quickly and were excellent. The only thing better than the food was the service provided by Alisha and the staff. This was in contrast to a previous meal this week where the food was excellent but the waiter was arrogant, uninvolved, and easily provided the worst customer service of the week. I don’t want to end on a negative note so I’ll reemphasize the outstanding experience provided by Alisha and staff members at the Old Oyster Factory. (They even sell a pretty snazzy looking T-Shirt…)
(We were treated to a beautiful sunset over the marshes at dining’s end)
All good things come to an end!
Unfortunately, a lack of ongoing funds and commitments at home dictated that this 2012 Low Country Rest and Recharge tour had to end. The remainder of Friday evening was spent packing and cleaning in preparation for a mid-morning departure on Saturday. As one of the last items to be loaded on Saturday, I brought the Fargo out to be secured to the bike rack. While doing so, I discovered I had my first and only flat of the week! My rear tire was as flat as some of the good pancakes I enjoyed during the week. Apparently, I picked up a staple in the driveway on the return home on Friday. What timing!
Too much of a good thing?
Very early on Friday morning, I awoke to find myself soaked in sweat. I was feeling nauseous and had an increased level of muscle and joint soreness. My right hip had been getting progressively more sore during the week due to an increased level of exercise and a bed that was way too soft for my needs. I managed to drift back off to sleep eventually but the rest of the night was populated with unpleasant dreams.
When I did get up, I had the beginnings of a bad headache that simply did not respond to several combinations of pain killers. The muscle soreness and joint pain also seemed to be increasing. Over the remainder of Friday and on our trip home, I felt like my head was going to explode every time I sneezed although I had no congestion. I continued to experience infrequent cycles of nauseous.
By Monday, even my eyes were hurting, I felt like my back was locked up, and the headache had intensified. I am lucky enough to have an excellent massage therapist in Wendy Heaton and she graciously stayed over that evening to try and loosen me up some in order to get some relief from the headache. Midway through the session she asked if I was sure that I had not been in a 7 car wreck where I was the middle car… Although it felt like that, I assured her I had not thinking I would probably remember an event of that nature.
The Navigator was getting worried because my symptoms weren’t abating so she did some internet research and discovered that my symptoms pretty well matched the check list for West Nile Virus. Boy! What a comforting thought! I did in fact get some relief from the massage and by mid-day Wednesday I was pretty much back to normal, which means the headache was almost 100% gone, the stiffness in my neck and back was very close to elimination, and my right hip was back to its normal level of discomfort. So, the question still remains: Did I enjoy to much of a good riding week but overdid it going from zero miles to a hundred miles or did some nasty little mosquito and his friends leave me a little “gift” in the form of West Nile Virus? I may be getting a blood test to see if I have an increased level of antibodies, which at this point would just confirm or negate my hypothesis of having been a food source for an ungrateful mosquito!
I’ve settled on the word Ubiquity as a good descriptor of my cycling experience on Hilton Head Island. Being an advocate for cyclists’ needs in my home community directs me to observe and take notes on different communities cycling infrastructure and how the cycling culture is part of the community. On HHI, cyclists are absolutely ubiquitous. They are omnipresent. They are clearly a part of the culture of the island. Not once in the entire week did anyone yell in anger at me, throw anything at me, or buzz me. Contrast this with the first half mile of my first ride upon returning home. I was buzzed intentionally by a motorcyclist on a three lane road and had a blue and white Toyota Cruiser force itself out of a turn lane with me beside it and with me yelling at it to remind at the driver I was there. (I get especially mad at motorcyclist who mistreat cyclist because, as a motorcyclist myself, I know the public image difficulties we have and this behavior simply makes it worse…)
Our local terrain makes it very unlikely that we’ll ever have the separated bike paths that you find on HHI but the other infrastructure needs such as bike racks (also ubiquitous on HHI), the accepting, if not always friendly, attitudes of the local populace toward cyclists, and the ability to get pretty much anywhere by bike path are all aspects of a community wide bike plan that I hope to see one day in my own home county.
This final post brings closure to the 2012 Low Country Rest and Recharge tour. I hope that those of you who have been following have enjoyed it and will continue to check in as my cycling adventures and experiences only get better!