5.07.07: Our Last Ride in York

Weather: Crisp and cool, low 80s

Ride: 12.5 miles Take a look at our route

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Today is our last day with our bike. We’re not ready to end the project; it feels like it would take a lifetime to really get to know this small town.

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A surprise visitor stopped by the bank to talk with us. Gary, a young man who grew up in York and is now back visiting during his summer break from college, shared with us an interesting perspective of the town. We talked about local and state politics, education and the school system, and York’s future. Gary gave us his two cents about the different slogans that have emerged through the project and we brainstormed about what York could do with the slogans.

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After lunch we rode out to Sumter Academy, the county’s private school, to talk to some of the kids there. Here are some the slogans that they came up with:

  • York is Cool
  • York is Awesome
  • York is Quaint

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We rode around the back roads that surround the school. In this area we saw a lot of small and large plots planted with corn, collards, cabbage and other young sprouts. We even saw a scattering of cows grazing in a lush pasture.

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On our way back into town we visited the sawmill in the hopes of a tour. This mill, up until recently, was one of the few to operate with a steam engine. Because it was late in the afternoon, we unfortunately weren’t able to see all of the machinery.

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We stopped by City Hall to see if we could catch Mayor Gosa to discuss the outcomes of the project. She was very encouraged by the residents’ enthusiasm to talk about their town’s history and future. She invited us to stay on and continue riding around; we would have loved to extend the project, but other commitments were calling us back home. Mayor Gosa did show us plans for new welcome signs that will proclaim: “York: A City on the Move.”

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At dusk we went to visit Mary (the poet) at her childhood home in Grant City. We met her brother and sisters, who all fondly talked about their mother and father. They dug up some old family photos to share with us. Mary showed us the infamous wheelbarrow that her dad towed through town (the origin of his nickname, “Wheelbarrow Man”). Their home was a wonderfully organic construction: as new children came, Wheelbarrow Man birthed additions to accommodate his growing family.

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