Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lost? Us?

We got up early, navigated the River Street cobbles to Bay Street and headed west toward the Talmadge Bridge. We were crossing the Savannah River on the Talmadge, and doing a long ride. We'd head north into South Carolina, arc northwest and west back into Georgia, then pedal east back to Savannah on Georgia roads. Sounded like a plan.

We had some maps and cue sheets for the area. We had GPS navigation on the phone. And we had Old School Navigation. ("Hey, that road is going in the right direction!") What could possibly go wrong?

We were really looking forward to the ride over the bridge. The Talmadge, a lovely suspension bridge high enough for the big cargo ships to go under, is steeper and higher than most Florida bridges. We chugga-chugga-chugged to the top, then stopped for photos. Then we went down and into South Carolina.

Ah, the South Carolina roads. Until you have pedaled on a raggedy South Carolina secondary highway, you are not a seasoned cyclist.

We passed saltwater marshes. Then we rode though large areas of cypress swamp. Soon we came to wide, wide river flood plains. Then a series of slow-moving muddy rivers. Waters rich with mud that started its journey in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Towns were far between and tiny. Roads had little traffic.

We were several hours and a lot of miles into our ride. It was about that time we confirmed that reality and our navigational aids were not in agreement. We pulled off the road. "We cannot be lost," I stated firmly. "We are heading in the right direction." Since my navigational skills are atrocious, Al just frowned and grabbed a map. I grabbed my phone. Google Maps isn't great, but today it looked like Ride with GPS wasn't either. As it turned out, Google at least gave us a good look at all the roads in the area and where they led. We bickered a bit, then formed a plan and headed down the road again.

A few hours later we wheeled back into Savannah. It had been a great ride. Besides, we'd had the amusing experience of getting "lost" with GPS.
View east from the Talmadge Bridge.

A saltwater marsh, early morning.
Entering the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.

Cypress swamp in the wildlife refuge. 
Slow-moving muddy river and the river's wide flood plain.
Quiet rural roads with widely spaced tiny towns.