The lobby of the Fairfield Inn in Savannah, Georgia filled with 40 cyclists wearing high visibility orange, yellow and green clothing, and bicycles tricked out with the latest blinkies. The riders were anxious to begin the first leg of this WAY tour (Week-a-Year) from Savannah to Hinesville. While the final destination is set for Titusville, Florida — today’s ride was all about riding safe, as a group and resuming conversations exactly where we left off a year ago.
There was much discussion of the inspiration of Brett Bramble who walked the East Coast Greenway — 20 miles per day for 6 months as a tribute to his sister, his sharing of the the perils of opiod addiction, and how communities along the Greenway embraced his message of hope. We met Brett in Savannah, and tried to think about walking in Brett’s shoes, and admired him beyond words for many sections of the Greenway are still in their beginnings, and it was clear that his spirit, his walk, his message had no barriers.
When we departed the Historic Downtown of Savannah on Sunday morning, we rode along lightly traveled streets, many lined with large oak trees that dangled long spindles of lacy moss. We rode mostly as a group, our giant peloton, and followed our lead guide for 18 ish miles, much of the ride along Route 17.
When we had no other choice, our group consumed one lane of this busy highway, and we stayed in that lane for many miles. So many miles that I’m guessing that Sunday AM Church services throughout this region had a topic of ‘Be kind to the bicyclists’, as we met many motorists who honked and waved, smiled, gave us a thumbs up, and just when we thought we had soaked up all of the love, it was time for lunch — at Loves.
Loves is about southern cooking, alligator feet, seafood, chowders and more, and we piled our bicycles around the building, waiting for our turn to order. One by one we were served platefuls of love (or red potatoes & green beans for Whole30 followers!), and with bellies bulging, we hopped back on our bicycles, and rode more miles along Route 17, making special note of the East Coast Greenway signage — and how exciting this section will be once trails, bike lanes and wide shoulders grow into this transportation infrastructure.
Our riding day ended in Hinesville, Georgia, and the lovely lady at the front desk handed each of us a goodie bag as we checked into our hotel. It’s easy to feel a tad spoiled, as we bicycle from town to town along the East Coast Greenway, lucky to be among riders we can call family, and lucky to have this opportunity to share with others our experience of being able to travel the east coast via bicycle.
And, a special shout out to our Veterans in our tour family – Jim, Kathleen, John and John. Happy Veterans Day!
Be sure to read / follow fellow ECG cyclist and blogger, Sylvia.