I had felt the pull of the Savannah River for a while. Living near a fork of the Edisto river, I've scuba dived some in the Edisto and lots in the Cooper. But other than diving in Clarks Hill Lake (J. Strom Thurmond Lake), my only experience with the Savannah was crossing over it when driving to & from Georgia and strolling alongside it when visiting the City of Savannah. I really wanted to dual sport along its banks.
The Wednesday before this ride, I saw a post by StolenFant in the Charleston, SC dinner thread in which he was looking for others who might want to ride dirt roads in the Hamilton Ridge WMA, on the Savannah River at the edge of Hampton County, SC. He said he'd mapped the roads in there right before SCDNR acquired it for a WMA. As I finished up a busy week at work, his post kept popping up in my mind, as I'm always on the lookout for new-to-me offroad rides.
My husband and I went to the AHRMA flat track race at Neeses, SC on Friday night. While there we found out that the pro flat track race that night at Pooler, GA (near Savannah) got rained out and was postponed until Saturday. When we got home Friday night from the race, my husband went to bed and I stayed up, looked at some maps and realized if we rode the Hamilton Ridge WMA the next day, we could pop out of the woods at Garnett, SC and take back roads to Pooler, which is only about an hour away, and go the the race, maybe get a motel room and bum around Savannah on Sunday. He doesn't ride too much with me on Saturdays though because he's busy working on equipment, farming, building sheds, etc. and he always overschedules himself. I can plan a dual sport weekend in the mountains and give him plenty of advance notice, and he's fine with that, but I knew I had around a 10% chance of getting him to play hooky with me on a Saturday on such short notice, but maybe a 40% chance this particular Saturday because of the dangling carrot of the race being close to where I wanted to ride. No worries, though, if he couldn't make it. I love me some good ridin' in the sand the day after a good rain and am very used to riding solo all over beautiful South Carolina. Plus there was the chance I might run into StolenFant and snag some personal guide services.
At about 5:30 a.m. on Saturday I nibbled on the husband's ear and whispered that I wanted him to ride with me all day. Well, maybe I used the wrong prepositional phrase after the word "ride"
, for I got "no" for an answer. He said he had too much to do, that he's getting ready to plant corn or something (he's not a farmer; it's just what he likes to do on weekends). Well fine, so solo it shall be.
Later that morning, I wiped some pollen off Sasquat, my stone-cold reliable DR650, checked the air pressure and headed out.
I made my way South on US Hwy 321, then veered off on US Hwy 301 to Allendale, then south on Bluff Road. I went this way because I wanted to take the northern dirt section of Augusta Stagecoach Road where it intersects SC Hwy 3 south of Allendale. I've never ridden it before and have been intrigued by the few reports from other inmates who've ridden it.
My bike stops of its own accord it seems at sites like this crumbling old house in a peach tree field on Bluff Road.
Then, back on Bluff Road and hardly up to speed, I spied a historical monument which needing investigating. Smyrna Baptist Church. I'm a sucker for old churches and cemeteries, too. It was gated, but not locked.