On Monday we woke up at Indian Springs State Park and headed out early. We stopped after 20 miles for a big breakfast and then again after 50 miles to mail our wedding stuff back. We had been carrying it in our pannier bags for two days (dresses, high heels and all) until we finally came across a post office. That night we stayed at another state park where the park hosts warned us of some incoming weather.
Luckily it didn’t rain on us overnight but as soon as we hit the road in the morning it started to rain. After 20 miles we came to the first town of the day and stopped for breakfast and to wait out the rain. The folks at the diner we found were very friendly and, like everyone we met in rural Georgia, warned us about the weather. Our waiter had tons of questions for us about our trip. He also asked if Sophie was my daughter. That was a first — and, I desperately hope, a last. The rain held up and we got back on the bikes and headed for Augusta. Riding into Augusta was basically impossible. Like most of The South, Georgia, and particularly more urban areas in Georgia, is not the most bike friendly place. Mapping a way into the downtown area without riding on terrible highways was like solving a maze. We stopped at a Fresh Market (The South’s answer to Whole Foods) to stock up on supplies and figure out where we were going next and, once again, had a million people tell us about the incoming Sharknado and decided that rather than camp we would find a hotel room for the evening. We found a room in the historic downtown district of Augusta, got showered and changed, and headed out to check out the town. We found some good, cheap beers at a couple bars and tasty dinner. When we awoke in the morning, we found that the long-expected storm never really arrived. It was raining a little but nothing like what everyone kept warning us about. The forecast for the day showed yet more rain so we hung out in a local coffee shop for several hours, sipping coffee, reading, chatting and generally enjoying our lazy morning. Finally around 1pm we hit the road, crossing the South Carolina border and rode to Aiken, SC, about 20 miles away. We stopped at the local brewery for a beer and immediately made several new friends, including two guys who bought us a round because we had, “the best legs we’ve seen around here in quite a while.” After our beers we went for a walk around town during which I declared that I liked Aiken and Sophie said, “You like any town with a bakery,” which, I guess, is true. Then we dropped $10 at the local candy shop (Sophie likes any town with a candy shop). Having finished our nutritious lunch of beer and candy, we rode on to our Warm Showers host for the night, Dr. Cindy Brown, a local veterinarian. Doc Brown was an awesome host. She fed us a delicious dinner, full of actual nutritional value, and regaled us with stories of white water canoeing adventures and exotic animal surgeries.