Charleston, South Carolina: 3-25-13

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We ate breakfast at our hotel in Beaufort before loading our luggage and bikes again.  We shuttled about an hour to Charleston where we’ll be for the next few days.  It was cold and very windy so we delayed our ride until after lunch.  We walked a short distance to the historic City Market.  The Market was established in the 1790’s and stretches for four city blocks from Market Hall through a series of open air buildings.  Vendors in the market sell souvenirs and various wares from the area.  There were horse and mule drawn carriages on the streets on either side of the market.  They offer carriage tours of the city and seem to be very popular with the tourists.  The horses have a canvas diaper sling to catch any “accidents”.  Once we saw a horse that either missed his diaper or overflowed it.  The driver threw a little weighted flag down to mark the mess and apparently street workers clean it up.

We ate lunch, did a little shopping and returned to our hotel.  Our lodging for the next few nights is the Indigo Inn.  Indigo is a plant from which blue dye was extracted.  Indigo was a major cash crop in the Charleston area by the mid 1700’s.  In 1850, a facility was built to serve as an indigo warehouse.  In 1979 the facility was transformed into the current Indigo Inn.

It was still pretty chilly and the wind was really gusty, but we finally set out for a short ride about 3:00.  We rode through Charleston, over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and into the town of Mount Pleasant.  The bridge is huge……..eight traffic lanes, and 2 1/2 miles across the Cooper River.  It is the third longest among cable-stayed bridges in the western hemisphere.  There is a dedicated biking and pedestrian lane, so we didn’t have to deal with traffic……just the wind!  Once I made it up and over the apex of the bridge, I reached 40mph with the tailwind going down the other side.  We rode to Patriots Point which is at the mouth of the Cooper River on the Charleston Harbor.  An aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown is docked there and serves as a museum ship.  The Yorktown was built during World War II and commissioned in 1943.  Late in the ship’s career she served as a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission.  She was also used in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Philadelphia Experiment.  The ship was decommissioned in 1970 and became a museum ship in 1975.  We sagged back to the hotel since we’d be riding into the wind on the way back.  We ate a wonderful dinner at Hank’s Seafood Restaurant with Wayne and Linda (a couple from New Jersey in our group).  Debbie and I took a long walk afterwards to try to walk off at least part of our dinner.

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