Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spartanburg Area Ride

After a busy holiday season followed by weekends of less-than-ideal riding weather, I finally had an  opportunity for a decent day ride last Saturday, so I took advantage of it and rode my VFR on an 8-hour, 300-mile journey up around the Spartanburg area. The forecast was for no rain and a high of 56, whereas in reality it ended up drizzling a good portion of the day and not exceeding 45 degrees. But, it was still comfortable riding weather, and I had a great time.

My main targets in the area were several post offices that I was missing in my collection and the Beacon Drive In, an institution that has been around since 1946. I'd heard good things from folks around here who'd visited it, and it was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives (watch the 8-minute video), so I knew I had to check it out in person.

Along the way I discovered a few interesting diversions that I did not know about - there are 3 historic homes in the Spartanburg area, none of which were open on that day, but their website indicates when they are open, so I'll have to plan a trip back to visit them.

This is the Price House, built in 1795; it's off of US221 (I-26 exit 28) on the south/west side of I-26.

In front of the Price House is a memorial to 3 Air Force pilots who crashed and died on the property in 1943; you can read more about it in this newspaper article.

I passed the entrance to Walnut Grove Plantation (home built in 1765) but did not see it, as it is off the road behind a tree line.  It is also off US221, on the north/east side of I-26.

This is the Seay House, the oldest house in the city of Spartanburg, built around 1850.

I made it to the Beacon just as I was starting to get pretty hungry, which was a good thing, because their plates are HUGE! I got a cheeseburger "a-plenty." If you watched the video, you know what that means - a plate COVERED in very tasty fries and onion rings. Somewhere underneath all that I found an excellent cheeseburger. :-) Along with that I had a very tasty bowl of peach cobbler and a good cup of coffee, which really hit the spot after riding in cold drizzle all morning. It was really an experience, hearing J.C. call the orders and watching the incredibly efficient staff process a large group of customers quickly and accurately. It's much more than simply somewhere to go to eat - it's an experience.

The Mr. White referenced in the sign below is the man who founded the restaurant in 1946. The road on which the restaurant is located was renamed John B. White, Sr. Blvd in 1999; Google Maps still shows it as Reidville Road.

One of the things I love about South Carolina is all the building murals that can be found around the state; the one below is in the town of Cowpens, near the Cowpens National Battlefield, site of a Revolutionary War battle in 1781.

One of the post offices I sought out was Glendale, and adjacent to it was a nice suprise - the ruins of Glendale Mills, a textile mill from the 1800's.

The post office is housed in the old company store building, and many of the company houses that workers lived in still exist in the proximity.

I ended up visiting 15 post offices, taking my total to 496. That, along with 3 historic homes, the remains of an old textile mill, and a great meal at a very unique restaurant, made for a most excellent day of exploring.


At Monday, February 01, 2010 1:35:00 PM, Blogger motoroz said...

I need to visit SC some more. I rode through in 08. Stopped in Charleston, but no where else.

Is there a way to sign up to "follow" your blog?

At Monday, February 01, 2010 1:50:00 PM, Blogger Payne said...

Charleston is nice; I like it a lot. When logged in to Blogger and viewing my blog, you should see a "Follow" link in the upper left. I use Google reader to keep up with your blog a couple of others, and I'm pretty happy with it:


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