The ride home from Murrell's Inlet was an easy run right down US 17. For the first time, I didn't need a GPS.
It was also the first time since Vermont that I wasn't cold. Finally, I was able to ditch some of the gear and just ride in a tee shirt again.
The route took me through Charleston, one of my favorite cities.
I knew around Santee, where I stopped for gas, that I was getting close, because the lady at the register there spoke to me with a Gullah accent.
The Gullah are the black Africans who inhabit the barrier islands and coastal villages here. They have managed, through the isolation that their location provides, to retain a significant bit of their culture and language. The accent they speak with is very distinct. There's even a Gullah translation of the Bible.
One of the hallmarks of the Gullah culture is the making of baskets from the grass of the marshland. They call it sweet grass and they use it to make beautiful and sometimes very ornate wicker baskets that are only found in this part of the country.
They sell these baskets from little roadside stands beginning in Santee and going all the way into Mount Pleasant. Once across the river in Charleston, where they are sold on Market Street, they become much more expensive.
I once asked a lady there who was making them how long the baskets last. Her reply was "Honey, dey gonna lass longer dan yoo an me."
Charleston has it all... history, music, art, great sailing, great eating, everything.
I crossed over from Mount Pleasant and off to my left I could see Patriot's Point. They have a retired Navy aircraft carrier there and a submarine and all kinds of aircraft. One can stay onboard overnight, sleep in the bunks, and eat in the galley with advanced reservations.
They also have the CSS Hunley here, a Confederate submarine that was lost after attacking a Union vessel blockading Charleston Harbor.
When the submarine was recovered several years ago, the crew was given a burial complete with a parade and full military honors. The parade featured reenactors in Confederate uniforms and the Citadel Corps of Cadets and Band. The whole town turned out for the funeral, many dressed in period clothing.
Fort Sumter is nearby, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, exactly 100 years before I was born.
I stopped briefly for a little breakfast snack and then it was back on 17 through the low country toward home.
In less than three hours I crossed the Savannah River and was home shortly after.
I've slept now for two days straight. 3,558 miles. Twenty two days. A chance to raise a little bit of money to help some folks who really need it. And a chance to tell folks they're not alone. That's not too bad.
Thanks to everyone for your support.