Thunder, Lightning, Rain and Fun?

Published: August 14th 2011
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Wet bike in parking lot ...Wet bike in parking lot ...Wet bike in parking lot ...

wet rider taking the photo!
I woke up to puddles on the ground and dark clouds in the sky, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. A few hours later, after a good cup of coffee and time to watch the sky I decided the rain was leaving and so was I. I pulled the bike out, suited up and headed east to the South Carolina Coast. There were two bonus names (City and Beach) that I needed to get to insure that I received the 35 extra bonus points from the Tour Master. To find all the names and rules of this tour please check out "2011 Travel the USA with KOA Grand Tour" .

Lake City, SC was my first of many scheduled stops I had planned for the day and was only an hour and twenty minutes east from me right off Hwy. 378. The riding was nice and the air was still cool from the night’s rain. It appeared that the sky was getting darker the further east I rode. This was not a good thing because most of my riding will be on the east coast today. Sure enough about thirty minutes before getting to Lake City the rains started to come. Luckily it was just a light shower and as long as I stayed moving the bike protected me from the water. I pulled into Lake City mostly dry and got my picture. It looked like I was going to be able to skirt around the rain so I decided not to get my rain gear out.

The next stop was to be Red Hill, SC. Of course this did not show up on my GPS so I got out my paper map and headed a little north of Lake City. Of course the rain came again. I rode around for about thirty minutes and could not find this very small little community. I did quickly realize that paper maps and rain don’t mix. Note to self … get new map.

I left the Red Hill area defeated but with a new plan. The plan was to stick to the GPS in the rain. I plugged in Garden City Beach, SC and headed off for hour and half ride to the coast. Most of the trip was in the rain; you know those light rains that have just enough wetness to be a pain in the “you know what” but not enough to make you want to stop. It was one of those type rains. As I was getting close to the beach I noticed my fuel light was blinking so I decided to stop for gas and lunch. I can’t believe I found gas for $3.34 a gallon, back home it is $3.59. Lunch was light; it has been a tight couple of months in the area of the wallet. I decided a quick lunch might also help me stay ahead of the rain. Lunch consisted of a bottle of water and some Muscle Milk. Muscle Milk is full of both protein and potassium. The protein fills you up and the potassium keeps my legs from cramping.

The edge of the rain caught up to me before I got out of the gas station and I was glad to catch a rabbit as I was leaving. A rabbit is a car that will run blocker for you when you are trying to make up time on the road and a rabbit will usually get the ticket form the police as you cruse on by and that was the case with this rabbit. I was lucky to get behind a teenage boy driving a big old Buick. He took off at 65 mph (45 zone) and pushed it up to about 70 once we got on the open two lane road. He lasted about 15 minutes until he got caught by a State Trooper. I back off and gave him a little nod as he and the Trooper prepared for a little chat. The increased speed got me ahead of the rain again.

Ten minutes later I was in Garden City Beach but I could not find a town sign anywhere. I settled on a Realty sign that had the city name on it. While I was taking the photo a nice young lady came out to ask about my bike. While I talked to her she gave me easy directions to my next few stops.

Following her directions I got on Hwy 17 and followed it up the coast. A few miles up the road I found Surfside Beach, Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach KOA. I stopped at the KOA (Kampgrounds of America) to get a Diet Pepsi and to use the restroom; while I was there I meet a real nice man who was a non-riding member of the AMA (American Motorcycle Association). The AMA is one of the groups that are sponsoring this tour. He is what is known in the camping world as a Full Timer. He and his wife live in a camper and travel the country. He looked sad as he was telling me about selling his Harley to embark on his new lifestyle.

Atlantic Beach was a little harder to find. Again no city sign, but I was able to find the town hall and got a few photos of that. Just a few miles up 17 I found the towns of Chestnut Hill and North Myrtle Beach.

Next stop would be Little River, SC which was a short little twenty minute ride inland. They had a really nice wood sign. I got my photo and put Goretown into the GPS; no Goretown. It must have been too small for the GPS gods to place in their menu. So I had to get out my soggy paper map to find my way. On my way there to heavens opened up and I rode in some of the scariest stormy weather ever. There was high winds, lightening and loud thunder. I pulled off at a small county store to wait it out. By this time I was so wet there was no need to put on my rain gear. Thirty minutes later the rain had cleared and I was back on the road. I got to Goretown only to find a road named Goretown Loop. No sign, no building with the town name and no photo. So I moved up the road towards Tabor City, NC

Tabor City was located just over the North Carolina line; actually the wood sign was on the South Carolina side. I got a good photo of the wood sign but I had a hard time getting my bike in the photo so I moved over to the North Carolina side and got a good photo of the metal Highway Department sign.

I turned back into South Carolina and headed towards Cool Springs, SC. I started seeing some relief in the sky on my trip over. Their sign was easily found and I got the needed photo. However, the gentleman whose yard was the keeper of the sign was not happy and threatened to turn his junk yard dog loose on me. Needless to say I moved on quickly and headed home.

The two hour ride home was cold and wet. I was glad to have made it without any real issues and I was even more excited to get a warm cup of coffee when I walked in the back door.

Miles Ridden = 348

Travel the USA with Koa totals:
Hill – 5
River – 2
Wood -3
City – 3
Rock – 1
Town – 2
Beach – 4
Spring – 2
Fall – 1
KOA – 3
Total = 28: Only 2 more to go!

Check out my other trips for this Grand Tour:

2011 Travel the USA with KOA Grand Tour
My Daughters First REAL Ride!
Blythewood Smoked Bar-B-Que Grand Opening
Dirt Road to Nowhere

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


Tabor City, NCTabor City, NC
Tabor City, NC

This is the sign that was on the South Carolina side of the state line.
Me ...Me ...
Me ...

Looking very tired!
Tabor City, NCTabor City, NC
Tabor City, NC

Sign from the North Carolina side.

14th August 2011

Glad you are home safe and sound. Thanks for the tip about the rabbit. If someone pulls up behind me it will help me know to check my speed to make sure I'm NOT speeding. Glad you had fun!! :-)

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