Friday, November 4, 2011

A Southern Sampler

FestiVELO Day 1
November 3, 2011
There are some things that really bug us about the South, like shoddy planning and a lack of punctuality (maybe Southerners would call these things spontaneity and a relaxed lifestyle).  This ride is full of examples of those qualities, but I am working really hard to live in the moment and ignore them, so I will focus on the highlights of today.

We rode in Summerville, a truly beautiful little inland town that became world-renowned after it was named one of the two best health resorts in the world at the 1899 tuberculosis World Congress in Paris.  Its claim to fame was its mild climate and long leaf pines that “charged the air with derivatives of turpentine,” according to a Chamber of Commerce brochure.  We failed to smell the piney air, but had a wonderful time riding the winding roads through the historic district, admiring the beautiful Victorian era and early 20th Century homes and cottages and their lushly landscaped yards.  

We rode six miles around town, using both the ride cue sheet and a Summerville Walking Tour of Homes and Flowers brochure as our guides, making frequent stops to read about notable homes (and to take photos, of course).

Our lunchtime rest stop featured favorite foods of the south—shrimp and grits, moon pies, and Yoo-hoo Chocolate drink (a very unusual, but surprisingly tasty, beverage we have never taken the opportunity to sample before).  Here we are enjoying shrimp and grits and Yoo-hoo.

Not so much of a highlight was a fourteen mile ride on the Sawmill Bike path, which ran beside the “channelized” Sawmill Creek, now a drainage canal that only occasionally smelled of raw sewage.

The highlight of our evening was the Chocolate Obsession, a chocolate lovers’ feeding frenzy featuring two chocolate fondue fountains with lots of sweet treats to dip in them, and a more than you could possibly sample selection of chocolate cakes, pies, cookies, bars, candies, and  ├ęclairs, plus hot chocolate to wash it down, and ice cream to put on top of it.  Our bike club friends were very impressed by Dick’s capacity for chocolate and his ability to get every last bit of ice cream out of his cup.  (It’s a good thing we enjoyed the chocolate, since it turned out to be our dinner—but we won’t go into the details of the shoddy planning and lack of punctuality in reference to the low country boil that was supposed to be our dinner, but was not finished cooking until sometime around 9 p.m..)

An old timey band with two ukulele players and a washtub string bass serenaded us during dinner time, and our bike club friend Lucille joined them playing her wooden spoons—they were good, and she was terrific.

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