Hank – Kathy stopped while packing her bike in the hotel room.
“Oh, my Gawwwwwwd. That’s a big ass spider!”
Since spiders are my responsibility, I dispatched it but only after taking a photo of it first. So the day got off to an exciting start.
We headed south on NC Hwy 12, also known as the Outer Banks Scenic Highway. Navigating was easy today. Just stay on 12.
We saw some runners doing today’s OBX marathon. They had the wind to their backs. If its an out-and-back course then the second half was gonna be tough. We had some strong, cold winds today. It was puffy jacket weather, especially when we stopped for a break.
Most of our day was spent passing through the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Atlantic on our left, the sound on our right, and lots of wetlands and sand in between. Kathy got excited again when a 4-foot snake slithered away next to us.
We checked out the Bodie Lighthouse. They only allow you to climb up in the summer so we could only admire it from the outside. It’s another lighthouse with a first-order Fresnel lens. This and other lighthouses along the Outer Banks warned ships to stay well away. I was not aware this area is called the Graveyard of the Atlantic Ocean. The shifting sand bars and other hazards have taken their toll over the years.
Today’s destination was Rodanthe (row-DAN-thee). On the way there we also crossed a 2-1/2 mile bridge. The shoulder was adequate and traffic was light so it wasn’t bad at all.
We stopped at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge visitor center and checked out the nearby beach. It was pretty but I bet it’s a lot nicer when it’s warm. There were some strong spyglasses set up inside for birdwatchers to enjoy. There are a lot of Tundra Swans down here for the winter.
We rolled into Rodanthe looking for a campsite and a good meal. This morning we had a light breakfast and we ate had two snacks during the ride. We checked the KOA first. They wanted $69 for a tent site. That’s way to much so we checked elsewhere. The next place wanted $55 but we still balked at that. The lady there recommended another place nearby. They only wanted $40, plus there was a fence we could use as a wind break. The owner, Irv, is a nice guy. He said we could pitch our tent on the roof if we wanted and offered a second for free if we wanted to stay over longer. I was gonna ask if we could have the free night first and pay the second if we stayed, but decided against it.
Many restaurants here are only open Thursday-Saturday during the off season so finding a place to eat took some time. But it paid off in spades. We went to Waterman’s and I highly recommend their ribs. We also made some new friends.
Brent and Elaine Midgett, riding a slick Indian motorcycle, and their friend Phillip Beck, struck up a conversation with us. They were down-to-earth people and we enjoyed visiting them. Brent’s great grandfather was the last lighthouse keeper on Ocracoke. (We’ll be there in two days.) Phillip joked that he didn’t want his picture taken because he was wanted–by his wife. Then Kathy had a small world moment when she ran into the niece of the woman who is the dean of Gonzaga’s school of nursing program, whom Kathy knows.
We were running out of daylight so we hustled back to the campground and set up camp. Showers were the next order of business and now we have 3-4 hours before bedtime. I think I’ll practice my ukulele.
Kathy – Today’s 40-mile ride was pretty sweet. We would have liked a little warmer weather, but the beautiful sites and people made up for it. It was in the high 40’s to low 50’s but the strong cold winds made it seem much colder. It was either a gradual incline or flat riding today and it varied from cloudy to sunny.
The sandy beach road was fun to ride on with lots of wide shoulder areas and the beach and Atlantic ocean right next to us. Today was the Outer Banks (OBX) Marathon, I always love to see runners doing their thing. I must say, it didn’t make me miss running marathons. Cycling is going great for me nowadays.
I did see at least 100 little dead snakes on the shoulder of the road. 🐍 I’m sure that number is correct as I was watching closely for live ones. Only saw one long black live snake that made me screech. 😳😫 I do NOT like snakes!
My thoughts were if there are that many baby snakes dead on the shoulder of the road, then their mommas were probably over next to us in the marsh/wet lands on the side of the road. I decided then that if I had to pee there was NO way I was going into the marsh lands on the side of the road. I would take my chances and pee ON the side of the road. I would rather have the cars see my white butt than get bit by a snake! 🙈 Lucky for me there were a few bathrooms shattered about our 40 miles so no need to show my behind in public. 😄
We also saw lots of dead possum on the road today. These are some of the ugliest creatures to walk the earth. If you have never seen one Google it. They are pretty wicked looking. In my book they rate up there with spiders and snakes. Why is it necessary for them to live on this earth with us? 🧐😬😝
On another note, I just can’t say enough about how beautiful it is here. The Atlantic Ocean is gorgeous, the sand dunes are huge, and there are so many pretty seashells in the beach sands and all over the roadways. The two bridges we crossed were pretty spectacular too. Nice and long, one was over three miles and the other over two miles. Cars have been fantastic sharing the road with us. I almost lost it when I hit a patch of sand on the shoulder of the road. Being very careful watching the sand in the roadways now.
We are starting to see some of the destruction left behind after Hurricane Michael that hit the area a month or so ago. Lots of furniture, broken household items and wood is piled up on the sides of the roads. We even saw a boat on the shoulder of the road just lying there like it was pushed off the water during the storm. We will probably start seeing more damage as we continue south.
We met lots of good folks today too. All were very polite, kind and fun to chat with. We enjoyed meeting Renna (sp) and Carol at the wildlife preserve. The told us they seen our bikes when walking up to the building and said to each other, “There’s some crazy people.” Yeah, I guess we are a bit. We met lots of people asking us where we came from or where are we going, only to get looks of shock and disbelief when we tell them. Head shaking in disbelief…”Wait, no. Wait, really. Wait, no way, Washington STATE? REALLY? No, wait…” Eyes bulging… “Really, no WAY, Reeaally, Washington State?” So many people can’t believe that we actually rode our bike such a long distance. It is such a common reaction for us now that it really is no big deal. But it is fun to watch their reactions. 😄
We enjoyed our conversations with Elaine, Brent and Phillip. Such fun people and we have a contact (STC) to check out in Key West thanks to them. It was great to also meet Zoey. She is a young gal who used to do bike repairs and some touring. She was interested in our travels. When she said her aunt was from Washington state, “…an S town but not Seattle.” She then said she was the Dean of Nursing at Gonzaga University. OMG! I know your aunt! Years ago I did my graduate program at Gonzaga and know Lynn Murphy well. North Carolina and Washington State! It really is a crazy small world!
So, it was a pretty amazing day today. Yes it was cold and the lukewarm shower wasn’t my favorite, but the positive outweighs the few little negatives of the day. Good riding, beautiful landscapes and wonderful people. Life is good! 💗