Day 2: 54 miles from Hinesville to Darien, Georgia, plus 14 miles around Jekyll Island

No rain .. yay! Today topped expectations in many ways.

4467D632-D9F9-421E-8E22-20F22DD78B28The word of the day is lollygagging.

Lollygagging while writing the day’s blog entry, of course. But also lollygagging a bit during the 54 miles we rode during the morning.

Lollygagging, as the Brit learned this morning, is a southern way of saying dawdling. Can I explain that five ways to Sunday?

Today’s biking exceeded expectations. The rain we were expecting to wake up to never materialized. The stretch of Highway 17 turned out to be pretty harmless. And we had a vehicle keeping traffic off our backs while we backtracked a bit from our hotel in Hinesville to get back on the East Coast Greenway

866B734F-D5A9-4A0A-B2FA-C87114D744A3Our route went deep into rural Georgia, and pretty poor parts of it at that. It took us across swamps and under the canopy of trees drenched in Spanish moss, generally on quiet roads, the kind I like when the East Coast Greenway isn’t on a trail or path away from the road. We passed ramshackle homes — with tin roofs or even tarp, in need of fresh paint for decades — then double-wides near modest homes and the occasional fancier one. To get a feel for it, take a look at these photos of “vanishing South Georgia.”

We dodged several yards of rumble strips that extended the width of the road designed to jolt drivers into alertness ahead of intersections. And at the self-proclaimed smallest church in America, we asked for protection from Highway 17.

20484CA7-C489-416E-ABD6-C0346992F6A7This is the sign of the day. Do they know about the East Coast Greenway? I tucked a rack card by the sign saying private road/keep out with a note praising their sign — hope they found it.

49B36DEF-5396-412F-8031-74B098E24D4B.jpegAs grateful as we were for no rain and gradually warming temperatures,  we still opted for the planned shuttle option at Darien, population less than 2,000. So imagine the economic jolt we gave yet another seafood restaurant when we descended en masse; I am guessing another $1,000 in the till that they weren’t expecting.

We leapfrogged more of Highway 17 and one towering bridge to reach Jekyll Island, once the playground of the Gilded Age and now owned by the state of Georgia. Here’s the map of what only a few hard-cores chose to ride:

Jekyll Island isn’t actually on the East Coast Greenway. But Brunswick, the town on the mainland side of the bridge, didn’t have a hotel that could accommodate us. And honestly, Jekyll was more interesting.

We made up for some of the 32 miles we took by van by bicycling around much of the island, past the former haunts of the robber barons and what is claimed to be the first condos (no children or mistresses allowed) and the early plantations. There is plenty of newer construction, including half a dozen hotel chains (and more coming) and big condo communities.

TIL that coastal Georgia is so far west that it’s essentially south of Cleveland, Ohio. And that draft legislation creating the Federal Reserve was written on … Jekyll Island.

And thanks to Chris, our friend from the East Coast Greenway bike ride in Maine two years and riding buddy on this trip, we ate at a restaurant that is the antithesis of Gilded Age extravagance. The Driftwood Bistro prices its wine bottles around what you’d pay in the store, rather than double or even triple that. (And it must bring in business: The owner, Dan, stopped by our table and told us that while his competitors might go through 20-25 cases a month, he goes through 140.) There’s the standard line, each $12 a bottle, and the more upscale options at $17. How can you beat that? (By the way, a glass of the $17 bottle is $10.50, so why bother?) The food is reasonably priced too, without being huge portions. Fits with Dan’s philosophy of don’t be greedy. Think those who opted for overpriced steak and the like regretted not joining us.

Rain is back in the forecast for sometime tomorrow. No lollygagging for real.

Don’t forget to read a fellow rider’s blog for her experiences on the route.

Author: alliumstozinnias

A gardener (along with the Brit) who has discovered there is more than hybrid tomatoes. And a cyclist.

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