Monday, September 29, 2014

Location: - Summerville SC Miles = 102, Ave MPH = 12.9 Cum. Miles = 4051

Sunday September 14

I took route 176 heading south out of Columbia as I had decided not to stay around on Sunday waiting for media on Monday. The lure of sleeping in my own bed was too much. I was amused when thinking of the number of times I hacked up and down the incredibly busy I-26 without knowing that route 176 ran parallel with little or no traffic. It might take 15 minutes more by car than I-26, but how much less stress and with a bit more interesting sights to keep me awake.

This is an oversize load that is so oversize that I had to use the panoramic function on the camera to capture it. You will notice there is a puller truck at the right hand side of the photo with a pusher truck connected on the left hand side as well. It was pulled off to wait for a night-time ride. It was so large it takes up both lanes of the road:

The load was tire manufacturing equipment coming out of the port of Charleston and destined for the Bridgestone Plant in Aiken SC. The red frame itself weighs 7000 pounds:

Esther Parrish along route 176:

This is Interlaken Plantation near Cameron SC:

Starting to see cotton:

And peanuts:

And dug peanuts:

Half way from Columbia to Summerville I hit the 4000 mile mark:

I stopped to ask Cheryl in Cameron to ask about a restaurant (there are none in Cameron). Cheryl chatted a good while about SBF and my tour. She told me about walking the Appalachian Trail. Cheryl's strong NYC accent prompted me to ask her how she ended up in Cameron. She told me she was there taking care of her elderly parents. So the next question was  how did your parents end up here? Cheryl said when her parents retired they went for a ride and drove through Cameron saw a house for sale. They bought it and have been there ever since. Isn't that cool?

This was a beautiful estate between Cameron and Holly Hill:

I saw the owner out taking advantage of the few hours that it wasn't raining to cut his immense lawn. I wanted to ask him a question about the peanuts I had seen. I complimented him on his beautiful home and said there still must be money in cotton and he laughed and said no there really wasn't all that much money in cotton or peanuts. Turns out this is Bill Spiers a retired professional baseball player. Bill was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers and began playing major league as an infielder in 1989. Bill was also a multifaceted athlete - As quarterback he led his high school football team to two state championships. He received a scholarship to Clemson for baseball and became a walk-on punter for the Clemson Tigers.

Bill was interested in my ride for SBF. Super nice guy - exactly what you want your local professional ballplayer to be - down to earth and real.

I took route 176 to Holly Hill and then cut over to jump on I-26 for the last 20 miles. Two more miles to home but this doesn't mean the journey is over as I still need to get to the Atlantic and dip my wheel which will be done another day when Justin my son-in-law arrives from NY:

When I rolled into town I went home and got showered and drove for the first time in almost 9 weeks to the Celtic Knot for some wings. Flynn joined me on her way home from work:

Aaron is a Vet and kindly took care of my bill at the Celtic Knot. Thanks much Aaron:

The multiplier effect is real.... Lauren Thomas a teacher at Central High School in Chattanooga TN saw one of my TV interviews in Chattanooga. It would be somewhat of an understatement to say that Lauren got enthused regarding helping Vets with PTSD. She has her students ON FIRE raising money for Soldier's Best Friend and is now getting interviewed with her students also. Facebook friend Lauren if you want a blast of "positive".

Lauren and I have decided to take a run at getting on Ellen Degeneres to further high-light SBF. HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP -  If you have been following the blog and think there is enough funny and heart warming stuff that has happened to me on my trip then please take 5 minutes to tell Ellen's staff that at the following link  It is really easy to fill this out and we have been told that a barrage from different people helps - so please help. Just mention my ride for Soldier's Best Friend with my name (Neil Grehlinger) and add a little blurb of why you think it would make an interesting show. Also mention Lauren Thomas and her students as well.

Donations update:  Currently at $1600

About Soldiers Best Friend ..... If you have been following along you already know that I am trying to collect donations for the charity called Soldiers Best Friend. This is a charity that provides service dogs to Vets that are suffering from PTSD. These dogs can literally be life savers for these men and women.

My blog averages approximately 175 hits per day. I think that suggests folks are interested in the trip and hopefully are being informed and entertained. I am at the half-way point of the trip at 2151 miles. I consider this my job for the summer of 2014. I am putting in the the "blood, sweat, and gears" to steal a phrase - so would you consider a donation to this very worthy cause?

I've done the math for you .... My entire trip is going to be approximately 4200 miles long. Do you think you could donate $.006 per mile (like about slightly more than 1/2 cent per mile)?? If so then that would be a $25 dollar donation to SBF. Or better yet could you afford to donate at $.012 per mile (1.2 cents per mile) then that would be about a $50 donation. And so on ....  give what you can - I know this sounds like a Nation Public Radio fund drive but come on - what a worthy cause!!

Please follow the link below to donate and include my name - just "Neil" will do or "Neal" if you like that spelling better:):)

It's time folks please.......   

As you donate please enter my name in the "In Honor of Spot" so the folks at SBF can tally the results to encourage me and let me know WE are getting something done TOGETHER. I recognize we are really trying to honor the Vets but this is the only way SBF can tally the results of this drive.

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