It’s been a while since I’ve written a ride report and since I have some time on my hands I figured I’d write about one that I recently went on. South Carolina is an interesting place to ride and to me it provides a unique riding experience. While many people may over look the state for adventure riding it does have quite a bit going on. This is where Kris Cox, a resident of Lexington, South Carolina comes in. Kris has been riding adventure motorcycles for the last few years and has spent the last year developing the South Carolina Adventure Route also known locally as the SCAR. During this time of development Kris rode his Honda Africa Twin along the route with the help of other riders to ensure that the route provides an amazing riding experience across the state of South Carolina. The SCAR is similar to a Back Country Discovery Route in many ways. It takes riders across the state of South Carolina from the Atlantic Ocean into the Appalachian Mountains with historic sites, state parks, and significant changes in terrain. Since 40 percent of the route is roughly off road it challenges riders to ride in varying conditions such as sandy coastal roads to hard packed clay farm roads. While the whole route is just over 1,000 miles and it can be broken up into two major segments that can each be ridden in a weekend.
Since I had a slow week at work I decided to ride the coastal segments of the SCAR with the Tiger. I started in Edisto Island which can be the beginning or the end of the route depending on what way you ride it. Starting in Edisto the route is mostly pavement and travels along the scenic Edisto Island National Scenic Byway. This part of the route takes you over salt marshes and coastal rivers as it winds it was through historic areas dating back to the 1600’s.
Once the route gets north of the Ravennal area it jumps off pavement for the first time through a series of dirt logging roads. These roads aren’t to challenging but be on the look out for some fairly large pot holes as some of these could easily swallow a front tire. From here the route gets back on pavement and starts to work its way through the outskirts of Summerville and towards the shores of Lake Moultrie. Unfortunately you can’t really see to much of Lake Moultrie since theirs some pretty heavy tree cover obstructing the view.
Outside of Monck’s Corner the route heads east towards Jamestown and drops into the Francis Marion National Forest. As you get closer to Jamestown the route transitions off the pavement and gets into hard packed sand roads. These roads aren’t to challenging when they are dry but I could see them getting a little slippery when its wet. In the Francis Marion National Forest the majority of the route is on forest roads that meander their way around swamps and thick coastal pine forests. While your riding in the forests it can seem somewhat boring to those who are used to the vistas of the Colorado Rockies or the Blue Ridge Mountains but the coastal region of South Carolina has its own unique feel. Considering how close this area is to the city of Charleston it is pretty rural and at some points I didn’t see anyone for miles.
I did have to get off the route and divert to some other forest roads a few times since this area is having seasonal burns conducted to reduce the risk of forest fires. Other then that the route is fairly easy to follow however I do recommend having some sort of GPS in the Francis Marion National Forest since it could be easy to get disoriented due to the lack of landmarks. For navigation I used my Garmin Zumo 396 while having my iPhone with the REVER app as a back up. To get GPX tracks and updated route information head on over to the SCAR’s website.
Overall, I rode the Tiger over 240 miles with 200 of them on the South Carolina Adventure Route. While the coastal segments may not be a challenge to some it does provide a good riding experience to see parts of coastal South Carolina that are rarely traveled. These segments are perfect for any type of bike ranging from a Yamaha WR250 to a BMW GS. In closing if your ever in the Low Country and looking for something different give the coastal segments of the SCAR a try.