On my way to Kracke Street I had to cycle thru Mt. Plesant, but that was just before crossing over the Cooper River's two year old bridge. This bridge is amazing! Not only does it go over a river called Cooper, but it has a huge bike lane on the side- so no worries of playing in traffic. All bridges need these thingy ma things off to the side. Coasting into Charleston I felt an energy surge thru me. I had heard so many great things about Charleston and was more than ready to get on in and see for myself. Riding up to Kracke Street I had the pleasure of going thru their downtown. I couldn't help, but notice that there were a lot of great looking buildings and people every which way. Lots of history and beauty in Charleston. When I got to my destination on the Street known as Kracke I got to unloading and sorting my stuff while waiting for my host to arrive. Okay, lets stop right here so that I can explain the Charleston connection.
We'll start with Michelle. Her grandmother was celebrating another birthday recently. By the way, Happy Belated Birthday! My folks attended the festivities since their had been a friendship that was started long ago. See, Michelle's grandparents had been my neighbor back in Iowa since I was at the wee age of three. So, at the party I came up of course. And what I was having fun with. You know, only ten thousand miles of good times with my good pup Coop. After hearing about what I was doing it dawned on everyone of how I was heading towards Charleston. Michelle came up and it was all solidified of how it wouldn't be any sort of inconvenience for us to stop on through and share some good company. It was just like that; more or less. Then there's Dolly who I met in Tappahonnock, Virginia back in October. Turns out she had lived in Charleston for a couple of years. She had told me about Charleston and it was kind of far away when we first started talking of it, but now that I have passed through I have noticed how small this world can truly be. See, on this Street called Kracke where I was going to stay with Michelle was also the street that Dolly had lived on. Each on the other end of the one block long street!
While riding about on Friday I just had to stop off at Baked. It's a coffee and pastry shop that gets it right people. The original shop hails from the BK! Let me hear you, "Brooklyn!" Brooklyn was Brooklyn and all, but they came down to C town a couple of years ago to join in on the good vibes of this here Charleston! Sipping on a cup of Joe with a beard growing on in a curious couple wondering of my scenario asked, "Are you, ah, an, ah, an animal transport company? Are you in the business of transporting animals?" I got to explaining that I wasn't in any line of business such as that. We continued to talk and I got another chance to hear how small this world can get when it was slowly realized through a series of questions, the back and forth what have yous, that she was from my hometown and knew one of my old friends from NU! Turns out that old friend was someone she had befriended back in 95! Funny, right?
Back at Kracke Street I was unpacking where Michelle resided. Strolling over was her neighbor Pete. I continued to unpack and was thinking about the little things I still had interest in adding and fixing with the new Rickshaw. The things running through my mind started to come out in my conversation with Pete. He clued me in to how at school he builds sets for the theater department. He started to point out how all the things that I was thinking of working on wouldn't be that difficult to work out since he had all the tools needed to make these ideas of mine happen. With big grins we made arrangements to work on these ideas a little later, but for now it was time to get cleaned up and some good eats. After enjoying a local steakhouse we went to the Poor House! The Poor House was housing this banging band known as "Your Mammas Big Fat Booty Band" which was tickling all of our fancies with big drums, electric keys, blasting horns, a bass, and a mean guitar. I couldn't help, but move my way closer to the jamming sounds this band was pounding out. I tell you what I had a great night of music, drinks, and the beginning of prized friendships. The next morning... Well, lets say, it wasn't as easy getting on up since I hadn't played such as this in a while. I think the watch fell off the wrist around five in the morning. How we never want the good times to ever end, right?
Saturday afternoon was the start to a new day. Over at Michelle's friends, Grey's house, we sat back with some eyes on the pigskin. College football was on with another season coming to an end and there were dogs everywhere. I counted six as I was cooking up some grub for everyone to chow down on to lose some of the Friday night'ness.
As for Sunday I was back to form getting up early with Coop so that we could see some Charleston sights. Riding around downtown we watched the town getting set up for the Christmas Parade that was to happen later that day. Up in North Charleston a little needed disc golf was set to play with Ben and Grey. After a good day of plastic we headed back to Kracke Street with the Sun setting behind us. That night we got out of the college mindset and into the ultimate gridiron in the pro football arena. If you haven't figured it out yet, Michelle and her room mate Amy are huge sports fans.
As for Monday Cooper and I hit up the Bike Shoppee in the downtown area. This was the shop that Dolly had worked at while living here in C town. While Coop and I were there they gave me a class on tuning the rear derailleur which had been giving me a grind. After that we headed over to Pete's shop to do some work on the Rick. We used some U-bolts to fasten a good old mail box to the underside of the frame. Then we used some PVC that Leroy had offered up to me. With the PVC we were able to make a rain fly that would act as a covering which also had an eight inch gap so that Cooper could continue to enjoy the journey. He approved of the gap by giving his head to the breeze as we pedaled on. With thankfulness having been felt we thanked Pete and hit the road to find our way back to that ever familiar street called Kracke. Once there I had a chance to meet a thru-hiker Laro (Gnarley) had met this year while on the Appalachian Trail. Dylan (Top Hat) is living in Charleston and had read my blogspot a day or two before and wanted to get together to chat a bit. He brought a bag full of traveling food! It was too kind. He had gone as far as to dehydrate a bunch of good eats!
When the 'Girls on Kracke' got home they asked me if I would fill in the empty slot on their kickball team. Not having played kickball in about 15 years I jumped at the opportunity for some childhood games. We grabbed the needed 12 pack and headed to the field. After running the rules by me and the art of the bunt versus the smashing RKI, I felt good about it. They decided I could be the Catcher. I thought this was going to be a easy position and made a couple of mistakes right off the kick. Once I got my head in the game I was making some good plays. The best had to of been when a run was coming home and the third baseman threw the ball my way for the out. The ball and the base runner where moving at about the same speed and the runner was a pretty big dude. I stood my ground and as the ball came at me I put my arms up. It was more out of fear than the act of trying to catch the ball. The ball bounced off my forearm and ricocheted back at the runner one step from hitting home plate for the last out of the inning. I was shocked and relieved I didn't get leveled by the runner. After that the opposing team was really trying to challenge me on offense and defense. Sadly we lost the game, but it was a great time had by all. After the game we went to 'Home Team BBQ'. In the kitchen I got to mow'ndown. I started with the pulled chicken sandwich, some mac and cheese, collard greens, then some taco'ed pork, and then I finished off with a small rack of ribs, hash over mash, some baked beans, and some of that needed corn bread called muffin. I was a bit stuffed by the end. I was very happy. All the food energy to push on!
Well like I said. I've got to push on out of Charleston. Without a doubt I will be back for sure. The bar has been raised!
Love and Licks from the road,
Sean and Coop!