It was a relaxed start for me, as I figured I was only going to do about 70 miles into Wanchese, and then ride down to Rodanthe with my buddy, Bird Baldwin, who got me my job at the marina there, and who lives a few trailers away from me. I should have known better.
I thought I was going to have a headwind the entire way, but my first twenty miles headed south, and I had a surprising, and unforcasted tailwind. So, the ride down NC 32, and NC 94 was a pleasant surprise. The roads were shoulderless, but traffic just is not that bad there. The only reason anyone would have to drive these roads, would be to get to Edenton, and it was a Tuesday morning, so, no problem.
The rest of my trip was to be due east on US64, which is a boring trip, even on an exciting day. I got into 64, found rumble strips right down the middle of the shoulder, and knew I didn't want to deal with that. I gave Google girl a chance to find me a 'less traveled path,' and she did. So, at the next exit I got off US64, and let Google girl find me a path for about 20 miles, very parallel to 64, but used by farmers and locals to get to their homesteads. The scenery was more interesting, the traffic almost nonexistent, and all I had to look at was the sky, waiting for the sun to burn through a heavy overcast, and turtles, both on the road, and jumping off their perches into the water, as I startled them, in the ditches that paralleled my roads.
Eventually, I came to the town of Columbia, where there was only one bridge, across the Scuppernong River, I believe. From there, all the way to Mann's Harbor, which was about another twenty miles, I was on US 64, but in another county, which didn't use rumble strips. The entire trip, since I had gotten on 64 the first time, was being run into a headwind, but I continued to make decent time. I figure my conditioning allowed me to beat through the wind, but I knew it would take a toll. But, hey...this was the end of the line.
My highlight of the day was spotting, and getting a really good, long look at a pileated woodpecker. He was circling from tree to tree as I went by. If you don't know, they are the world's largest woodpecker, and they are brightly colored in red, white, and black, with a very distinctly shaped head. I've only seen a few of them in my life, so it was really cool. Other than that, I spent my time yelling at the hundreds of turtles to jump into the water, off their perches on logs, rocks, and the shore as I drove by. Great fun was had by all. I didn't see any bears or red wolves, as the signs warned me about .
Then I came to the Alligator River, and one of my long bridges, which put me into more civilized land, but just barely, as I neared Mann's Harbor. This brought me to the six mile bridge that put me onto Roanoke Island, and officially onto the Outer Banks. I headed south four miles into Wanchese, met with Bird, the owner, and several acquaintances and co workers from last year, and firmed up my marina job for the summer.
Then, being earlier than I had anticipated arriving, I decided to make a run for the final 33 miles through the Hatteras Seashore, to my final destination. I had a headwind, of course. I, always do on that ride, so it was just expected. I noticed alot of differences on the way, as there was no hurricane this year, so much maintenance was done to the damaged dunes on the ocean side, and bridge construction was beginning on the new Bonner Bridge, the bridge over Oregon Inlet. Much construction was underway all the way to the 'temporary' bridge over an inlet that opened a few years ago, but was filled in again by nature... and a few more miles south of that.
I got into Rodanthe and to my trailer, a few minutes before Bird arrived, who would have been my ride on that stretch if my legs and mind were too beat up to finish from Wanchese.
The trailer is in livable shape, after I do some mold and fungus remediation. But, that's why I'm here.
So, I would like to finish by thanking God, and my family, for giving me their blessings, to do crazy things like these extended bike rides. I have the ability, the mental and physical wherewithal, to complete these adventures, which makes my life more interesting, and makes me feel alive. Maybe next year, I'll spend my downtime in a rocking chair. Maybe not.
|My first bridge crossing across the Chowan River|
|A convenient resting place|
|A 1977 Chevy Nova, just like the one I have. Same color, four doors, only it's a Concourse edition, an upgrade of mine, which I had never heard of or seen.|
|The cell tower was buried in a cloud at the top, on a cool, overcast start to my day|
|A metal mudbug at a seafood shop near Columbia|
|Entering the Outer Banks|
|My bike, resting at the OBX marina at Wanchese Harbor|
|A day of rest on the beach followed my trip|
|Some old friends dropped by........|
|The meal at Lisa's Pizza that I've been craving for awhile!|