Qualified Mechanics Only

Hank – I slept fitfully at best last night. Plus, the rain woke me around four in the morning, arriving about four hours later than predicted. I checked the forecast again and it was scheduled to be here until 9:00 am or so. On the bright side, the wind would be in our favor today–had we decided to go on. Since we didn’t sleep well and had some things we needed to take care of, we got a hotel for tonight.

One order of business was Kathy’s bike. After I replaced all the brake pads on both bikes a couple days ago, Kathy’s rear brake has had a constant squeak while the bike is rolling. I kept going over it and I couldn’t figure out why. So we’re stopping by a bike shop where someone who knows what they’re doing can check it out.

On the way to Outer Banks Bike Shop we saw the Wright Brothers Memorial. There’s a cool sculpture of the first flight that includes everyone who helped or was there to witness it. We parked our bikes by the sculpture and walked up to the memorial. Big Kill Devil Hill is actually a sand dune and it’s where the Wrights tested their gliders. Back when the memorial was built they also planted grass to keep the sand in place. The old photos make the place look like a desert.

Derrick at the bike shop adjusted Kathy’s brakes for us. He also fixed the chain. When I installed the new one I made a mistake on the rear derailleur. I went over instead of under one part. Or the other way around. Derrick didn’t say exactly. But he noticed it immediately and asked how long it had been like that. The chain functioned properly but was clicking constantly. I couldn’t hear it when I rode her bike but I could when I rode next to her. So all this time I’ve been telling her to adjust the front derailleur and then giving up when she said it was okay. Hearing loss and mediocre mechanic skills are not a good combination for me. Kathy was very pleased with how her bike was riding when Derrick finished with it. My bike is okay so I must’ve done something right. Or maybe I just got lucky. Regardless, in the future I’ll probably rely on bike shops a little more. By the way, on the way to the bike shop we ran into Carol Ann while she was out for a power walk. Hey, Carol Ann!

Next up was laundry. We have three days of camping ahead of us and there are few services south of here. We have three days of clothes so it’s best to start off with all of them clean.

After washing our clothes we had a late lunch at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint–the one joint you shouldn’t pass. (The folks back in Washington are snickering.) The food was great and the decor was awesome. We met Brent, the owner, who had checked out our bikes and he had some questions about our adventure. We gave him a card so he could follow our blog.

We checked into our hotel and unloaded the bikes. Then we walked to the beach where the cold wind blasted us. The beach was pretty but too cold to hang out on for long. From there we walked to the Wright Brothers Memorial Visitor Center. It’s right next to the field–again the sand has been planted with grass–where the Wright brothers made their first powered flights. A stone marks the take-off point and three stones mark the distance of the first three flights. A fourth stone, 852 feet away, marks their longest flight. It was cool to read about how the Wrights persisted in testing and gathering data. And how Wilbur, after being disappointed in the glider tests and thinking about quitting, gave a speech to an engineer conference and found he knew more about flying than anyone there, which boosted the brother’s confidence in continuing their work. Pretty awesome.

Kathy – Last night was one of those sleepless nights. The winds were pretty strong all night and blowing my side of the tent into me. I was awake every hour and then couldn’t get back to sleep at 3:00 am. So I was a little tired today.

We decided to stay an extra day in Kill Devil Hill, N.C. The next three days we will be pretty remote and camping. We needed to do laundry, grocery shopping, and hit the post office to mail a few things home. We wanted to pick up post cards from North Carolina for our nieces who are having a contest at school to see who can get a postcard from all 50 states. We started sending them when we were up in Maine area. We also wanted to get my bike repaired, spend time seeing the Wright Brothers Memorial, and walk about this town next to the Atlantic Ocean. So we decided to rest up some today in preparation for our windy rides over the next few days.

It was cold and windy today. We checked off our to-do list part of the day and enjoyed riding, walking about and exploring the town the remainder of the day.

The Wright Brothers Memorial was pretty darn cool to see. We take flying for granted now but this is where it all began. There is something about this historic site where the first flights flew that just makes you really appreciate all the efforts and advancements in aviation technology over the years.

On another note, I am thrilled that Derick fixed my bike. It runs SO smoothly now. It seemed like my bike was just dragging the last three days. I kept asking Hank if my back tire was low or flat because it seemed like something was slowing me down. Now I feel like my bike is light and airy, looking forward to ‘flying’ tomorrow! Putting the chain on wrong… 🙄 So much for all that faith I had in my Bike Repairman Hank! 🤪🤭😆

The temps were in the mid-50s but it felt colder with the strong winds. Today’s mileage was only five miles but we did get plenty of walking in.

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