Arma-WHAT?

Scott and his wife run the motel at which we stayed in Walterboro. He is a motorcycle tourist and knows how much more you experience of a place when you’re not sealed into a car. He likes the idea of finding free lawyers for refugees and cutting off persecutors’ supplies of weapons and other tools of their trade. Scott will follow us on-line.

20130408-204637.jpg

Outside Walterboro, we saw this barn. Tall and narrow, it’s a common design here; we don’t see it up north. Could it be for tobacco?

20130408-204847.jpg

Today’s route included about 5 miles (8 km) of unpaved roads. The surface was sand, sometimes packed, often loose or rutted or eroded into gullies. Jeffrey had to pedal furiously to avoid getting bogged down, and still we got stuck sometimes. He had to push the trike through the sand. After two tiring miles, we came to a paved cross road and chose extra miles of pavement over fewer miles of sand.

20130408-205410.jpg

Jeffrey sees and smells lots of carcasses from his seat on the trike. He passed something vaguely possum-like – no big deal – but a few moments later, something clicked. Was that beast armored? We did a U-turn and rode back the way we’d come, did another U and next to a rumble-strip button …

20130408-205821.jpg

… was a dead armadillo! Don’t armadillos live in Texas – and Mexico? How did it get here? Does it have papers? Oh, sorry. Animals can cross borders. It’s people who need papers. Never mind.

Long stretches of road were elevated above swamps. These trees stand in water. Soon the mosquitoes will be fierce.

20130408-210246.jpg

This pretty road was lined with palmettos. A bit farther south, we reached US 301, wide and smooth and oddly empty.

20130408-210442.jpg

20130408-210455.jpg

Look at the local beasts one can hunt. We saw taxidermy shops, and deer and hog processing establishments.

20130408-210642.jpg

We rode a long bridge over the Savannah River.

20130408-210741.jpg

The welcome center is closed Sunday and Monday, to the distress of travelers who stopped to use the toilets and found the place locked. But there’s a great roofed walkway just right for parking a trike and having a snack.

Meet Dick and Gus. They rode in on Harleys.

20130408-212614.jpg

Retired Marine aviators and Vietnam veterans, they were en route to a ceremony to honor a Flying Tiger whose remains recently were repatriated. (Jeffrey’s late cousin Nathan was an aide in Burma to General Stillwell. If you don’t know about this chapter of WW2, it’s worth looking up.) Gus believes that everything we do creates “strings”, and that one must seize the moment when one string connects with another. When he spotted our rig, he just had to come over to chat.

Jeffrey explained our mission. The three then had a lively discussion about immigration and refugees. The men agreed on several points: American immigration law is not sensible, it is important that certain aspects of immigration be regulated, and in other respects we should simply leave people alone. Of course, the devil is in the details. But reasonable people can work those out. Gus is particularly galled by what he sees as patronizing name-calling directed, each against the other, by urban elites and people in the Heartland. Jeffrey invited Gus and Dick to read our blog, where we talk and listen with mutual respect.

We continued to Sylvania, a pretty town of modest houses, fancy mansions, and a downtown square with Civil War cannon.

20130408-213013.jpg

We checked into the Sylvania Inn and spoke with Bina, who was helping the owners.

20130408-213142.jpg

Bina, of Indian ancestry, was born in Malawi. When she was young, her family was pushed out of Uganda by Idi Amin. She is American, and this is the only home she knows. Jeffrey asked her about local attitudes toward immigrants. She said there are people in this area who just don’t like them, and she is not sure why. Jeffrey suggested that they may hear only politicians’ hot talk and not know that immigrants are in some ways the best Americans: low rates of crime and illness, high rates of labor force participation, entrepreneurship, and academic achievement. Like Bina, newcomers LOVE our country, make it better, and make it their own.

4 thoughts on “Arma-WHAT?

  1. Jeff,
    Hope your ride thru the Peach State only has limited -mosquito attacks at this early spring time . They probably love “trike’ riders. I don’t think they’ll go after Joey much.

    Cousin Joel

  2. Jeffrey suffered one bite today when we stopped by a swamp. He squashed the sucker. We also avoided being mauled by 2 different packs of muscular South Carolina dogs and group of three grimly silent Georgia hounds. Each time, notwithstanding bad pavement, the fear-powered trike carried us a quarter mile in under 45 seconds.

    • This is the kind of thing (and the human kind) I always fear for you. I read Nancy’s initial entry when you kicked off the trip and realized she thinks about this, too… I just imagined her as being as fearless as you seem to be! But as they say, “A miss is as good as a mile.” You are inspiring. Saw a great show on HBO last night – a documentary about a Philadelphia lawyer who got 50 kids out of the Third Reich. My only complaint was I wanted ANOTHER hour with more on what happened to them all once here… only a bit about that. I look at people like that – and you – and am in awe of their moral courage. I have the sympathies, but would I have the GUTS to actually do things in those circumstances?

Comments are closed.