When I awoke, it was just prior to 6 a.m.
Stacy was gone.
It was just me and Dave.
I readied myself in her room and bathroom; then, I walked into the living room to greet Dave.
We chatted for a bit about my ride, and how I was able to afford it.
Saving... saving... saving.
No, I did not touch any of my retirement.
Dave had enough background information on me to ask such personal financial questions; still, they got under my skin.
Other financial topics were brought up as I drank my tea.
Dawn had not yet broken when Dave and I hugged goodbye.
A key was entrusted to me before his final exit.
I thanked him for his hospitality and off he went.
When he left, I made some morning calls to friends and family.
When dawn revealed itself, I packed up my stuff and ended up speaking to a man parked just outside of Dave and Stacy's driveway. He was waiting with his children for their school bus.
He asked me where I was headed.
After a brief back and forth, he asked me to be careful, and I assured him that I would.
Eager to be back on the road, I took 240 West until it became 64 West. The morning was young, so dew kissed my face and my motorcycle.
Traffic into Transylvania County was heavy, so I took it slow.
After Transylvania, I refueled and could see a sign showing that Rosman was less than 10-miles away.
In that city, I would take 178 from North Carolina into South Carolina; then, I would join 28 into a small town called Abbeville.
The ride along 178 was gorgeous.
Supple curves, smooth roads, and a natural setting.
If I could do that ride again, I would.
What I drove through is called the Jocassee Gorge Wilderness Area... at least that's what Google maps says.
I also saw signs stating that I had passed through the Eastern Continental Divide.
Once I approached a South Carolina town called Pickens, the mountains began to disappear behind me. Hence, it makes sense that Pickens advertises itself as the where the mountains begin.
I refueled in Liberty (just south of Pickens) and ended up speaking with Jeff -- the convenience store manager.
He saw me pull in on the bike, and since his bike was parked outside, we began our motorcycle conversation.
It was great to share stories with him and hear about his dream to do a long ride as well. A very close friend died in a bike crash in February. He promised his now deceased buddy that they would do a ride together.
This revelation nearly brought tears to my eyes.
I encouraged him to make it happen, and with that, I drank my coffee, and said goodbye.
Following that exchange, I rode through a pretty big down called Anderson, but kept on... following long stretches of flat straightaways.
When I reached Abbeville, a grocery store called Ingles was on my right as was the post office and a new public library.
I could not have asked for a more perfect welcome.
First, I stopped into the grocery store to hydrate; then, I visited the library to blog.
One of the local librarians helped me by suggesting places to eat; she even drew a map out for me.
After blogging, I drove through the quaint downtown square to Rough House.
Either the hot dogs were delicious, or I was starving.
I had the two varieties they offered: one was just plain barbecue on a bun while the other was a hot dog with chili.
When I had asked if the chili had kidney beans, the gentleman said:
"You're in South Carolina. We don't put beans in our chili."
He and I spoke a little bit about my trip, and he asked me to share my favorite place.
I told him that that was a difficult question because it wasn't the place -- it was the PEOPLE that made the place.
He seemed to find my answer satisfactory.
After my meal, I walked around the square waiting for the right time to visit my airbnb hosts. It was not yet "check in" time.
Abbeville struck me as what small town life should be.
Everything seemed to be clustered together in a convenient location: the square.
Local activities were visible.
Even the city budget was posted just outside their opera house.
Apparently, the town used to be a popular stop for travelers going from New York City to Atlanta.
I also did not realize that the place is dubbed the birthplace and the deathbed of the Confederacy.
Little did I know that when I was looking at that Burt-Stark Mansion, I was looking at the place where Jefferson Davis realized he had lost the Civil War.
Crazy how making moment to moment travel decisions leads one to unexpected surprises.
The time had come to head to my airbnb place where I met the owners Paul, his wife Pam, and his older brother Jimmy: a group of New Jersey folks who transplanted themselves into little Abbeville. The family had recently purchased the large bed and breakfast from an elderly couple who simply could not handle the maintenance any longer.
We ended up on the front porch having wine and cocktails and talking about all sorts of topics.
My favorite topic was Paul's artistic knack at painting gnomes.
The group really took me under their wing while I stayed at their quiet, giant place.
When I left the following morning, Paul made me a cup of coffee while Pam toasted an English muffin for me. Later, she took my picture on the motorcycle for her business blog.
I highly suggest a visit to this obscure little piece of South Carolina heaven.
Paul call this place Pleasantville.
Locals call Abbeville...
Until we meet again, my friend.