Bike Journal Day 2

Route for day 2, approximately

So I woke up with a start after not sleeping much or well on the ground. A sleeping bag was a bit much, as far as warmth goes. I choked down a granola bar from earlier, drank a bit of gatorade and water, and packed up. Unpacking and packing the bike by this time was still a work in progress. Only change I'd make to the setup is next time to have a bit of a command center bag on the handlebars for stuff like camera, sunscreen, a small snack, stuff like that. I wound up wearing a camera around my neck for much of the trip and that was a little too swinging. The Nashville Diner delivered for ambiance but the food unsurprisingly was heavy and disgusting. Their coffee was on point though.

My plan was to get back onto NC Bike route 2, I guess at Elm City. The NC Bike routes are nice, but finding a good map for them online was a constant difficulty. The signage for them in the real world does exist, but I don't think completely. I tried following them the night before, for example, and wound up 20 miles or so off track.

MIL had given me some contact info for some folks there, and I did stop in to chat for a few, sweating and apprehensive. Elm City also had a disgusting gas station, where I got some hot coffee (after the first sip my only thought was WHY)
View from the Elm City gas station. At least she didn't charge me for ice.

At a certain stretch like this I began to overheat. My water bottles were all melted and by this time hot. I spied a pretty nice looking pond beyond some short pine trees planted to farm, and scurried down the bank to dip my hat and handkerchief. The water was much cooler and clearer than I expected. Then I heard someone shouting. Adjacent to the pond was a big Spanish styled house, and out of no where like a fly on shit this clean country dumbass came driving up in a shining black golf cart to chase me off. I complimented his pond and house and asked where the next ice water could be found, explaining that I was merely suffering from the heat. I showed him my dripping handkerchief. He told me at the next corner, about a mile that-a-way. So off I trudged. Got an ice cream sandwich and an icee imitation and some more ice for the water bottles.

Lots of abandoned homes on the back country roads.


This was near the imitation icee shop. Lots of flies in there! They did have a beer city styled walk in cooler though, which I steamed up a bit.
So after kind of eyeballing how far I could get I figured Greenville would be a good resting spot. I'd get a hotel with a bed and a shower and cut the ride kind of short. My plan was always to get to little Washington (Washington NC), but at this point I was too beat to go on. So I got to the bike shop in Greenville, oiled my chain (a bike thing I hadn't packed for) and tried to book a hotel from my phone. UNFORTUNATELY it was the weekend of graduation at ECU, so there were like 8,000 families in town from far and wide and not a hotel room to be had. I thought Washington was 30 miles further but after looking again it was only 20. Funny how distances are so relative - on a normal day biking 20 miles after already doing 50 would be a back breaker. By this time 20 additional miles was going to be very very doable, especially since I didn't really have any other options. Washington it is! The route there included six miles of hell on a 4 lane highway with no shoulder, which led to a very zen mindstate and an absolute sprint, biking wise. Otherwise the entire trip was marked by great roads and mostly civil and courteous drivers. The notable exceptions almost always were big trucks with hunting bumper stickers.
Once in Washington I got to my hotel (last room in town, not featuring a great odor to be honest), showered, chugged some water, and set out to see the town. It was fine, though the river was a little less wide than I had hoped/envisioned. I got an 8 piece of fried chicken and some beer and settled in to watch the Blazers in the playoffs. Unfortunately the game went to 4OT and like 3 AM or something stupid. I was so tired. I really wanted to check out the town more but the verticality required was too much to overcome.
 King Chicken. Good fried chicken. I got the 8 piece meal which turned out to be a full fried chicken. Unfortunately I am not a competitive eater so some of this went to waste. I did my best. When faced with an unfamiliar restaurant situation I often don't make the best choices.

One of the last rolls of Acros


raleigh to spring hope

I finally did a bike tour. Will post more pics and a bit of narration later. Here's the route for day 1. (Available for your closer perusal here).

First section of the route was through the Umpstead trails, which is gravel, shaded, off road, and beautiful. The first stop was a Publix shortly thereafter, where I got a footlong tuna sub sandwich. That thing sat like a rock in my gut for the next couple miles. Next stop was Falls Lake for a swim. I saw a few huge snakes frolicking in the grass next to the road in the camping spot, which gave me the creeps and kind of set me on high alert for the rest of the time around those parts. The swim was nice, but could have gone better. I was trying to find a deserted (private) stretch of coast but settled for a boat ramp area with two dudes taking forever to pull their kayaks out of the water and a few fishermen out on a boat. So I settled for wearing some trunks but definitely got refreshed. I think at this point I was about 20 miles in, which, when I knew my aim was for like 60-80 was a little discouraging. My legs and ass were already pretty exhausted.

Between the lake and Wake Forest/Youngsville, comprising about a quarter of this day's ride, the ride was in the dismal suburban outskirts of Raleigh, a town that seemingly goes on forever and is expanding. There were lots of sub-developments under construction - huge houses on huge lots miles from anywhere, each with a stone sign out front advertising the neighborhood. An out and out ecological disaster. At a certain point I was beginning to panic (thirst, navigational confusion, not grasping the endurance which would be necessary - probably classic first day things), but then a Sheetz appeared on the horizon and it turns out I was on the right track after all. May have shed a tear or two at the sight of the Sheetz. I got in there and filled up my water with tons of ice and got a couple of gatorades and one of the clerks like an angel sidled over with a gratis iced coffee with caramel and whipped cream. Ate my first banana in ages and grabbed a few granola bars. It was like I was coming out of the wilderness after a week. Classic first day things.

Passed through downtown Youngsville, which was a cute small town main street thing. On the edge of Youngsville there was a dollar general store, which had a pink bandana with emojis on it, which would be my AC unit (wet and around the neck) for the rest of the trip. After this point it was onto country roads, which were what I was after really for the trip. Take it slow and see the sights. Not much happened for a while. Then two dogs came ripping out of a trash yard unleashed toward me. They were somewhat big and scraggly. I knew from my days of having a paper route that you can't out run/bike a dog. You just got to stop and face them and then I guess take it from there. If they charge from that point maybe punch them in the face. But if you're biking away they'll just keep chasing and bike your heels. So a huge truck stopped in the road and I was able to kind of walk away.

Eventually I got to somewhere called Hope Spring, or Spring Hope. I can never remember which it is. Small town and hopefully they had a dining option. The trip - I was winging it to the utmost. Well they had a restaurant/bar, a pretty close facsimile of a good PNW version of same. My favorite thing about small town photography in rural Oregon/SW Washington was ALWAYS the small town bars. They would ALWAYS have excellent french fries at the least and sick decor. Well this place in Spring Hope had Mic Ultras on special for $3 so it was .... basically good for NC. The burger was fine and the locals were .... not helpful in navigation. However they did have a power outlet so I charged up my quickly dying and close to dead phone.

After dinner it was back on the road, around dusk. I knew I had to find somewhere to camp, and kind of did. This was a stretch of road maybe 20 miles long with three small towns, so not in the middle of nowhere as much as would have been good. But when it's getting dark and you're going like 10 MPH and you have a matter of minutes to find something you do what you can. I found a patch of woods somewhat between farm fields with a little grass road leading into it. The picture below is the site. It was great in a vacuum but yeah too close to houses for a restful nights sleep. I was super sweaty from the day and a tent just doesn't allow for a good breeze. At least I didn't need the rain fly. So I slept fitfully sort of hallucinating that some redneck would be waking me up armed and with big dogs telling me to beat feet but obviously that was completely just not a reasonable line of thought. I still woke up at like 5:30 or something and I packed up and headed for Nashville to hopefully find a breakfast.

stealth camping via bike was picturesque but very unsettling. I was too close to civilization for comfort. Dogs were barking all night and I knew it was because they sensed me. Plus my camping gear just isn't optimal or maybe I'm actually just too old to sleep on the ground. Next time I'd get an airbed that's for sure. And a little AC unit wouldn't hurt!



this old point and clicker works ok. does seem to have some dust in it or something. or wait is that a bird though?

atlantic beach nc

still recovering from last falls devastating hurricane. I forget what it was called.