9. From the Midlands to Upstate

Yesterday’s ride from Lexington SC to Lake Greenwood State Park (58 miles) made me question why we are doing this. Today’s ride from the state park to Simpsonville SC (51 miles) reminded me why we are doing this.

Getting out of Lexington yesterday morning was a pain in the ass. We managed to get caught in the going-to-work traffic and the going-to-school busses. It was tough sledding, lots of stop and go. Then, once we were out of town, we had to navigate a skinny construction zone. Tough Guy Construction Equipment Hauler, who was evidently in a hurry to get a backhoe to another construction site, decided to give us a prolonged blast of his air horn beginning when he was two feet off my rear wheel and ending only after he had passed Shelly. (A.D. #2 for those of you keeping score at home.) We later enjoyed some really great riding out in the country, but I managed to extend that part of the ride beyond what we wanted, late in the ride when all we wanted was to get off of our bikes and be done, by steering us in the wrong direction, adding a few extra miles. To top it all off, we battled headwinds all . . . day . . . long.


By the time we pulled into the state park, we were both very tired, and I felt discouraged. But my mood began to improve when I saw our lakeside campsite and the bath house with showers nearby.

I enjoyed sitting by the lake, listening to the frogs croaking ever louder as the sun began to set. A group of three turtles about 10 yards off shore kept poking their heads out of the lake to find out what they were missing onshore. As the sun set, the wind died down, and the lake was absolutely still and quiet by the time the first stars shone. I crawled into my sleeping bag, feeling somewhat optimistic that the next day’s ride would be better.

And it was. Today’s ride was a dream: peaceful, country roads; rolling rural terrain; puffy white clouds against a brilliant blue sky; pine forests; beautifully maintained churches (lots of them), many of them with their own cemeteries; and southern style homes. And of course, the songbirds sang to us all day.

It’s days like this we ride for. I finished the day feeling physically strong and emotionally recharged.

We’ve now made our way from where started in the South Carolina low country, up to the midlands around the state capital of Columbia, to where we are now, upstate, only about 40 miles from North Carolina.  Traveling slowly by bicycle helps me understand the geography of a place. Now I better understand what the locals mean by low country, midlands and upstate.

As we rode into Simpsonville this afternoon to find the Airbnb where we would spend the night, we got our first glimpse of the Appalachian Mountains on the western horizon. We have not yet picked the spot where we will climb over them, but climb over them we will, very soon.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jane

    Your photographer is fantastic. I feel like I’m there, sort of. Not missing the humidity. It’s freezing here, so you are getting more spring. Love hearing about the birds. They were that way in Phoenix last week too. Maybe their teeth are chattering too much in Oregon to get the notes out. Safe travels.

  2. Brian Stine

    It’s great to see these updates! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Rob Titcomb

    Looking good you two! When I first saw that photo of Jens staring out into the water I thought, I bet he’s thinking of tennis right now. Keep up the good work.

  4. Terra

    So great to follow along with your adventure!

  5. Janne Helen

    I don’t think you are thinking on the picture Jens, I think you are just feeling and listening to the nature, wellness 😀

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