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The Herald, Friday, October 13, 1989
Meeting folks a bonus
The lizard tour was moving right along. Friday and Saturday had covered 133 miles and culminated in an unsuccessful though whimsical search for the lizard man in Lee County.
Saturday night was spent in Sumter, where I holed up in the motel room and organized all the facts I had gathered on Lee County's famous but invisible nemesis.
As I often do on the road, I bought Sunday's breakfast to go. I rode seven miles north of Sumter on U.S. 521 and relaxed in the shade of an overpass for some morning munching.
A story in courage
I was through eating when I was approached by a man on a mountain bicycle. He tooled up as pretty as you please, but when he stopped he nearly fell off the bike. meet David Nunnery, a 35-year-old Sumter County resident who suffered a near-fatal motorcycle crash three years ago.
"I'm clumsy when I get off the bike," he grinned. he described his lasting injuries, including some spinal cord damage. One leg is much healthier than the other. The skinny one had been in a series of braces and casts for more than a year. He has no feeling and very little movement in that foot. He has a great deal of trouble getting up after he sits down on the ground.
Nonetheless, David's outlook is positive. "If you could have seen me three years ago, you would know I have come a long, long, way. For a time I couldn't do this." He pointed to his damaged foot as he lifted it a couple of inches off the ground.
David took up bicycling as recommended therapy for his extensive injuries. We discussed equipment and philosophy for quite a while. David has worked his way up to a 45-mile ride, and hopes to achieve 100 miles one day in the not too distant future.
David's determination is inspiring. I had heard about people riding when they could barely walk, and now I have seen it.
We talked until I felt pressed for time, and David accompanied me on the long descent away from the overpass. David looks pained and frustrated when he tried so walk, but as we barreled down the hill on our bikes he clearly beamed with joy. That look on David's face is what bicycling means to me. David also gave me a lot to think about the next time I start to complain about a headwind.
On to Camden
The day was heating up as I rolled into Camden. While there I photographed an ancient horse-drawn hearse on display in front of a funeral home. I wanted to do a gag shot to celebrate my 32nd birthday--nearly dead cyclist boards hearse for home. Alas, my tripod was in Rock Hill. No self-portraits.
Cruising down U.S. 1 from Camden, Lugoff happens quickly. I had forgotten all about Lugoff being right here, but I instantly remembered the town's claim to culinary fame--chicken wings.
There are two competing restaurants next door to one another. Bodene's and Leo's share the same parking lot but have different recipes for wings. Both claim to be the best in the world. In this contest, there are no losers. I drew straws and chose Bodene's.
The wings are great. They come with a big pile of celery sticks. This sounds like a strange combination but it's a good meal that's fun to eat. The locals quizzed me endlessly as I stuffed my face. It was an excellent stop.
When I left Bodene's the heat was worse.
Back on the road
I turned onto S.C. 34 toward Ridgeway and soon passed a development called Hunter's Point, where I did a number of double-takes at the surprising collection of mansions in the middle of nowhere.
I stroked and sweated toward Ridgeway while trying to keep inventory on fluid loss. When I finally made it downtown, I was desperate for some relief and sought refuge under the hardware store's awning.
I had found a neat place to park. There was a drink machine, an antique penny-operated fortune scale and two big thermometers right there in the shade.
The thermometers were in disagreement. The score was 98 to 96. The penny scale had me weighing 152 pounds, a weight I might could achieve holding two sacks full of groceries. My fortune was something to the effect of "Don't jump to conclusions."
I stood under the awning and photographed the Ridgeway police station across the street. The 6-by-10 shack is the second smallest police station I have seen. The smallest police station in the world is in Carabelle, Florida. It is literally a phone booth.
With two cold drinks in my radiator, I made good time to Winnsboro. I picked out a motel and ordered a pizza. A typical day on a touring bike had ended. The adventure wanes when I get where I am going.
That's OK. The days are worth the nights.
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