Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Two Hour Afternoon's Jaunt

Here is another route from the local magazine called Motorcycle Lifestyle, published by Norm Blore around 2007 through 2009. It had lots of good articles about riding and related topics.

This one is called A Two Hour Afternoon's Jaunt because it could be completed in that amount of time if you don't stop too often and if you move right along. 

This route appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of the magazine.  Mr Blore described the route as follows:

Route length: 82 mile loop
Begin at the closest point to your location and ride clockwise or counterclockwise.  It feels entirely different in the opposite direction so you'll get two rides out of one route.  Watch for the lighthouse. 
Here's a fun route close to home.  It combines all kinds of interesting and picturesque roads which will bring a satisfying smile to both cruiser and sportbike rider alike.  You'll see more cows and horses than cars, and hundreds of goats.  

These are quiet country roads with farms and lots of driveways.  Please respect their space and keep your speed down. 
Here is the map of this route:

Copyright 2008, Norm Blore.

I start out from my town of Easley, SC and ride to the town Pickens, on SC-8.  I follow 8 northward to and beyond SC-186.  (See that intersection on the map.)  I follow 8 until just before reaching the crossroads at Pumpkintown.  Where SC-8 and SC-135 join is a place that once was a pleasant rest point.  It is called Edens Garden after the family that owns this little corner, some surrounding land, a house, and buildings.  There has not been much maintenance done in the last few years, likely because the old gentleman who owned it passed away.  It is a shame, certainly, because it was a restful place to slurp down a root beer or some snacks you'd brought along.

I stopped there, and rested a while, back in 2012.  The little private park was well maintained at the time.  Some years before those photos were taken, this was just a country road intersection, that people had dumped their garbage on.  Mr. Edens had turned it into a shady place to unwind.

See these pictures from back then: 


The view of the Blue Ridge Escarpment from the park is nice, too.

Edens Garden has gone downhill since then, unfortunately.  Look:

A shame, indeed. 

I mount up again, travel a little further on 135, and turn left onto Oolenoy Church Road, then jog a little at SC-288 onto Liberia Road.  This is a place where Africans settled many years ago.  There is a church along here that is called Soapstone Church for the outcropping of that soft type of stone adjacent to the building.  They maintain a church and former school building here, with a cemetery nearby.  The congregation also serves meals once a month to help fund the maintenance of the buildings. 

View of the Blue Ridge Escarpment behind the church sign.

The former school building.
The soapstone outcropping. 
Up-close view of the soapstone with the Blue Ridge Escarpment behind.
We live in a beautiful place, as evidenced by the fine views of the mountains. 

I take a detour from the map to cut over to US-276 and take this section of twisty road about seven miles to Caesars Head State Park.  Watch out, as there are some rough sections of pavement.  I stop there to take in the view, just a few steps from the parking lot.  I have been here many times before, so I only take one shot of the overlook and Table Rock Reservoir just this side of Table Rock Mountain.

I go back down the hill the same way I came, then go down Blythe Shoals Road to get back to the map route.  Blythe Shoals is a narrow road that runs along a series of shoals -- shallow, rocky sections -- of the South Saluda River.  Unfortunately, there is almost no place to stop and the shoals are privately owned, so there is no access.  I did manage to get this photograph.

I then cut over to Moody Bridge Road.  This is the road that passes Tall Pine Lake with the lighthouse in the middle of it.  You can see it in this aerial view, and from the roadside: 

There is a pulloff on the side of the road to park in.  The lighthouse is a picturesque and interesting sight that is quite unexpected amongst the many of the other points of interest in this area.

I cut across SC-11/US-276 to River Falls Road.   This road is fairly narrow and a little bit twisty in a few places with no warning signs.  I explored most of the roads near here in this posting.  Jones Gap State Park is also in this vicinity.  There are some good hiking trails there.

I turn to the right at Devil's Fork Road.  By the way, if you look at any of the map websites, you will see Tankersley Lake at this intersection.  Unfortunately the lake was drained several years ago and is grown up in small trees and underbrush now.  

I continue on to Gap Creek Road, where there are a number of summer youth camps.  There is also a gravel road named Watson Mountain Road.

The map shows that it runs into Awanita Camp, but the road sign warns that there is no place to turn around, and I don't think it connects any longer to the camp itself, which is accessed a little further north.  Some day I will explore further. 

At the end of Gap Creek Road, you turn north on US-25.  Be careful here, as 25 is four lane, divided by a concrete barrier that partially blocks the view, and the traffic is usually moving right along.  At the next interchange, take Bob's Creek Road, then turn right on Old US-25.

This section of road is very rough, but runs though a nice forested area that is part of the Greenville (SC) watershed for the municipal water system.  There are signs along here to warn that stopping is not allowed.  The water people are concerned that someone will dump something into the watershed, contaminating the water, I believe. 

I only stopped for a minute.  I promise, I did. 

Shortly beyond this sign, there is a turnoff to the left that goes to Saluda North Carolina.  The road is nice, though rough, and the town of Saluda is a good place to have lunch.  It is also very close to the twistiest road I know of, the steepest railroad grade in the United States, an interesting bridge/tunnel, and a pretty little park with a waterfall called Pearson's Falls.   I don't go that way today, however. 

Near the bottom of the grade on US-25, I turn sharply left onto Callahan Mountain Road.  I follow it for a little way to Poinsett Bridge, the oldest remaining stone bridge in South Carolina.  Just a little way up the road is Boy Scout Camp Old Indian. If you like bridges, Campbell's Covered Bridge is only a few miles from here. 

I continue following the map until I reach my starting point.  I have gone 131 miles, so that is about 49 miles further than the route.  Getting to the start of the route and detouring to Caesars Head made the difference. 

I didn't see any goats, but there were a few cows and horses along the way.  It was a nice time out to see the sights.  Try it for yourself when you can get away for a couple of hours.

Other maps from Motorcycle Lifestyle Magazine:
  • The Pumpkintown Loop: Get Lost! -- Early Spring 2009 issue.  Explores "great roads you've never ridden", centered on the crossroads known as Pumpkintown.  56 miles. 
  • Lake Country -- Fall 2008 issue.  Explores two of the lakes in Upstate South Carolina, Keowee and northern Hartwell.  120 miles. 
  • A Two Hour Afternoon's Jaunt -- Spring 2008 issue.  Covers and area centered on Tigerville, SC.  82 miles. 
  • Spartanburg, Saluda, Rutherfordton Route -- Summer 2008 issue.  This route goes into North Carolina, and includes the twistiest road I know of.  98 miles. 


1 comment:

brismith said...

Hey Bucky, I hope you're well. I'm glad you posted these routes. I really enjoyed the magazine when it was in print; it came out right about the time I started riding. I remember the Lighthouse ride. That was one of my first excursions on the bike. I'm going to have to do that one again...