Monday, May 17, 2010

Georgia and Florida

       We have been in the state of Florida for a couple of weeks now. Traveling through the state has been a breeze considering the flat terrain out here. The heat is overwhelming for us since we're not use to biking in such hot and humid temperatures, but being too hot is far better than being too cold. 
   Before we arrived in Florida we toured our new favorite city on the east coast. Savannah, GA. It is gorgeous and so historic everywhere you go; weather it is the shopping districts, neighborhoods, or city parks full of monuments and statues. The city is laid out in such a way that every three to four blocks there's a park or very large square where locals and visitors picnic, play, and socialize. There are bike routes all over the city and it sits right next to the ocean. The oak trees are some of the oldest and most beautiful that we have seen anywhere in the south. My favorite part about Savannah is it's amazing homes. We were not able to spend a night there, but instead spent half a day touring the city on our bikes. We defiantly want to go back and spend more time there when we get the chance. 
       Once we got into Florida we started down A1A, the furthest most coastal highway down the Atlantic seaboard. Our first great stop was at Fort Clinch State Park, located at the top of the state right on the coast. We payed to get into the park and spent the day walking around the fort and swimming in the ocean.  To save on money we snuck off into the sand dunes on the beach and camped for a night instead of paying for a campsite. That day we spotted a large turtle in the sand dunes, a couple of armadillos, and many large insects and dragon flies. 
     Having not showered in a couple of days, we woke up and biked into an official campground to use the showers and do laundry. I gave Ryan a haircut and we both took turns taking showers. While we sat outside the shower house reading, waiting for our laundry to finish, we met many of the campers in the area who were curious about our bike tour. A couple who talked to us for a while invited us to share their camp site with them for a night. We gladly excepted and spent the rest of the evening with Jim and Judy along with other friends of theirs that were also RVing at the camp sites. We set up our tent on the other side of the lot and had a restful, sand free sleep.  Although the abundance of raccoons, armadillos, and possums wondering around our tent lasted throughout the night.
      From there we continued down A1A and when it was necessary, hwy. 1. A1A turns into hwy. 1 at certain junctures depending on the coastline. Camping on the beach is not the most comfortable place to be come morning when you wake up and realize that everything is sandy despite your good efforts to keep sand out of the tent.  Ryan and I have found great camping spots in small patches of trees by the highway, behind gas stations surrounded by wooded areas, and boat launches. They're usually the most comfortable spots.
     About a week ago we were staying at a boat launch when we had a severe tier blowout. We couldn't fix Ryan's front tire and didn't have a spare. A couple of police officers stopped by the boat ramp to check on the property when they spotted us trying to fix the tire. Instead of chiding us or giving us a citation for trespassing they asked us what it was we were doing in the first place. One of the officers had some free time and drove me to a bike store to get another tire. The whole ordeal took us about two hours and we were so grateful to have had the help.
     Our first Warmshowers hosts we stayed with live in Port Orange, FL. Jerry, Jenny and Zoe, their daughter, invited us to stay with them for two nights. Our first night everyone took us out for dinner at a great local seafood restaurant in Daytona Beach. The next day it rained all day and Jerry, Jenny, Ryan and I stayed in talking and getting to know one another better. That evening after the rain had cleared we went on a tour of the area with them. We had such a great time with Jerry, Jenny and Zoe. It's so nice when you get the opportunity to stay with like-minded people. Thank you so much for all your generosity.
      We are about 85 miles from Miami and hope to be there in two days. 

Allegra and Ryan.

   Light house right next to New Smyrna Beach.

     Jenny and Jerry, our wonderful hosts in Port Orange, Fl.

Savannah, Georgia. A beautiful city.
The old Cotton Exchange building in Savannah.The view from River Street in Savannah.
Savannah is filled with beautiful houses like this.
A great bike sign. I wish everyone was riding these kind of bikes. 
Row houses in Savannah.
Allegra's little friend she made in the middle of nowhere, Georgia.
A great meal of pork chops and collared greens. 
A great old church in Midway, Georgia.
The old cemetery in Midway, Ga.
The tree is slowly opening this grave from 1808.
Grave stone in the roots.

Legs in an ancient oak tree in the cemetery.
The bridge in Brunswick, Ga. These are the only hills along the coast. 
The most honest antique store sign ever.
See, Florida.
Our Florida friend we met in Fort Clinch, Fl.
Fort Clinch, a great old fort from the Civil War. This is in the North East part of Florida.
Inside the fort.
Legs and a cannon.
Me and a cannon.
This is me on the ferry that took us across the St. Johns river. We saw the shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center during the ferry ride.
Castillo De San Marcos Fort in St. Augustine, Fl.
Fort Matanzas, a very old Spanish fort on the outskirts of St. Augustine.
Daytona Beach. 
The view from the Port Orange bridge looking back at Daytona Beach Shores.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Carolinas

         We have finally found a library with wireless Internet and can update the blog with pictures. There is much to tell. Since our last entry we continued south towards the coastal region of the state. North  Carolina has vast forested regions down the coasts and we were able to find camping in great spots all the way into South Carolina. One of the best happened to be next to a huge man made lake which acted as a cooling pond for water that was used to operate a coal generating electricity plant in Conway South Carolina. The pond was surrounded by swamp and forest with a long public walking/ jogging road which circled it. We snuck off into the woods and pitched our tent right next to a river bank then walked around to explore the area. We saw a crocodile, a mother and baby geese, and a multitude of different birds and wildlife. After our stay we made it into the Myrtle Beach area.                                                                  Myrtle Beach is a huge tourist city at the top of the state. From what we could tell the whole area was nothing but hotels, mini golf courses, and restaurants. We passed the tourist traps in town and stayed at the Myrtle Beach State Park about two miles away. The beach was perfect for us and nowhere near as crowed. We camped in the woods there for two days and enjoyed some ocean swimming. The water isn't as hot now as it will be at the peak of summer but still incredibly warm and swimable

      We kept heading south after our stay at the beach towards Charleston, SC where we knew we had a warmshowers host who we contacted days before. We biked down hwy. 17 all the way from Myrtle Beach to Charleston. On the way we camped outside the Francis Marion National Forest then biked all the way through, arriving in Charleston in the early evening. We lucked out and found a great household of folks to stay with who live in a great neighborhood on the peninsula of Charleston about two miles from downtown. Our host were Andrea and Cedric and their two room mates Faith and Rachel. Our first full day in Charleston Cedric and Faith took us on a bike tour around the peninsula by the Ashley river and to the point of Charleston where Battery Park and the Waterfront Parks are located. From there we explored the city on foot and by bike ourselves. Charleston is smaller than we thought and in a full afternoon we were able to see all the key points and sites of downtown. The old homes down by the waterfront are beautiful as are the shopping districts, market, and old cemetery we explored that Cedric recommended. That same night Ryan and I made dinner for all our hosts and their awesome neighbor Kim and her brother Scott who happened to be in town. Kim and Scott brought over amazing beer from a local company called the Beer Exchange and we had a great party that night with everyone.

        The following day we helped Cedric, Andrea, and Faith set up their front yard for a fundraiser gathering to earn money towards the community garden they are creating. They arranged to have a keg, wine, and food for guest who came. Two local bands played amazing music for the event and the whole thing turned out to be a success. The weather was perfect for the event and the two of us were able to meet more great people at the party.

       Since our amazing time in Charleston we have continued down on to Beaufort NC. We are just outside town and plan on looking for some good camping for the night.

       Much thanks to our great hosts and their wonderful neighbors and friends who we were so fortunate to meet. We had such a great time and will miss you all very much.


   Ryan and Allegra.





 Fixing what we believe is our 100th flat tire.
 Butterfly I found on the side of the road. I think it's a black swallowtail.
Classic southern driveway to a plantation or large home.
 Our favorite tomb stone in Huguenot cemetery. 
Two of our hosts, Andrea (far left) and Cedric, (seated) with another guest at the garden party.

 Live music from one of the bands.
The Royal Tinfoil playing a set.
Front yard of the house we stayed at while in Charleston, SC.
  Huguenot cemetery in downtown Charleston next to an old Unitarian Church.

Sweet grass baskets at the open market place downtown.
Museum just before the beginning of the market.
Classic old building in downtown.
Small park with ancient oak trees.
Downtown Charleston.
At the tip of the peninsula with Faith and Cedric.
Bridge we took into Charleston.
View from the bridge looking at downtown Charleston.
Sign we passed through the Francis Marion National Forest.
Rainbow after a huge rain shower at Myrtle Beach, SC.
Hotels along the beach front.
Myrtle Beach State Park where we camped for two days.
Road leading into the State Park.
Camping spot we stayed at in a swamp outside a small town in SC.
Crocodile we spotted on are walk along the walking path where we camped.
Legs looking for signs of life off the walking path.
One shot of the park/ path surrounding the manmade cooling lake we camped by next                   to the swamps.
Opposite the bikes looking down the path.
Canadian goose and chicks by the pond.
Entering South Carolina!
Frying potatoes. We are such healthy eaters on the road.
Ryan pumping the gas container for the cook stove.
Leaving the Raleigh/ Durham area headed South.
One of many lakes we biked over just outside of Durham NC.
Barn where are bikes were stored over the winter months.
Haging out with the boys and their friends the day we arrived in Chapel Hill.
  Riding the public bus to Chapel Hill in order to pick up our gear and bikes.
Public transit stop.
One of many monuments outside of the capitol Building in Raleigh NC.
    Monument to confederate dead.
Canyon we drone over while on greyhound in Idaho.
Desert in Utah.