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Almost Made It – And Then We Did

Hank – We got an early start in that we were on the road by 8:00 am. The plan was to ride to Knott’s Island, NC, and take the ferry to Currituck. From there we had slightly over four miles to a campground. As we headed south the traffic thinned out, which was great because there was little or no shoulder on the roads we were on.

We had a side and tailwind for some of the day and made pretty good time. We were planning to catch the 2:00 pm ferry but it looked like we could cover the 38 miles in time to catch the one at noon. But when we headed east we had more of a headwind.

We crossed over to North Carolina, our 26th state of the trip, and followed highway 615 (NC Bike Route 4), which would take us straight to the ferry. The wind turned against us as we passed the open wildlife refuge wetlands. I was busting my butt when Kathy waved me up. She wanted me to break the wind for her. But with two more bags on my bike than she has I was having enough trouble just keeping up with her so that didn’t work out in her favor at all. We finally slogged through that and hit the last part to the ferry. We got there just in time to see the gate was closed and the “Ferry Not Operating” sign posted on it. Needless to say, that was pretty disappointing.

I asked a couple of locals about the ferry and they said that if it’s not operating now then it won’t be the rest of the day. Since the last campground we saw was many miles behind us we decided to ask someone nearby if we could camp in their yard. While I was pushing my bike to a house my rear fender started rubbing against the tire. What the heck is going on with that? After a couple of looks I finally found that the rack bolt on the left side had sheared off. Well, crap! (Not what I really said) I removed the left rear pannier and carried it to the house where Kathy was asking  for permission to camp. Yes we could pitch our tent on their lawn. Yay!

Kathy was getting cold so we put the tent up on the leeward side of a brick shed and I got to work on solving my rack problem. I saw I had another mount point just below the one I was using so I loosened the rack and fender bolts and installed the two bolts for the rack. It’s a good thing I brought a bag of bolts with me for just such an emergency. I tightened everything back up and it looks like I’m golden for now. Whew!

I called the NC DOT to check on the ferry because there’s no notice on the web site indicating it’s not operating. It does say it doesn’t operate in high winds but not what constitutes high winds. We had 20 mph winds and higher gusts going and it looks like that will continue for two more days. I was on the line waiting for the next operator when I was finally told to leave a message. I hope they call me before tomorrow morning.

I looked at the map and the ride to Currituck will be 41 miles via heading north to Virginia. We’d be retracing about 20 miles of today’s route. I’m guessing the ferry won’t be running again if it doesn’t show for the 6:50 am ride.

I called again and got through to a person. The ferry is not running today due to mechanical issues. They won’t know if it’s running tomorrow until tomorrow morning. Keeping my fingers crossed.

We were snug as bugs in a rug in our tent when Brenda came out of her house and told us the ferry was coming. After a short discussion we decided to catch it rather than risk it not running tomorrow. We packed up quicker than we’ve ever had before and rolled over to the landing. While waiting at the gate we chatted with some of the ferry employees and they learned about the adventure we’re on. It was going to be dark when we arrived in Currituck so one gentleman offered to give us a ride to the campground since he was headed in that general direction. Cool!

Near the end of our ferry ride, that same gentleman came in to the passenger section and told us we could stay at his house and sleep in his RV if we wanted. It would shorten tomorrow’s riding by 20 miles or so but meeting people is a big part of the adventure so we accepted. Carlton is the engineer on this ferry. Later I learned it’s just for this week. His job is on the Hatteras ferry. Kismet decided we would meet. During the drive to his house I remarked I noticed two Sheriff cars along the way and they weren’t that far from each other. Well, this (Highway 618) is the only road so that’s why. Carlton has an interesting personal history that we only got to touch on. He’s been all around the world doing all kinds of incredible things. He’s worked on American and foreign ships and the artificial Palm Islands near Dubai. He enjoyed working overseas for extended periods of time and coming home to a quiet house. He laments he now has a lot of neighbors where 20 years ago his was one of the few houses in the area. In his words he’s older now and can’t do the stuff he used to do when he was younger. So he took a job with the state ferry system, which is a job he never would have taken on as a younger man. “I like chaos”, he said, “Because when you’re done you feel like you’ve accomplished something.” Carlton also has a sense if humor that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. I wish I could hang around him some more. When we got to his house we met his wife, Tina, and their grandson, J.R. We were welcomed with open arms and made to feel at home. Carlton and I had a beer while the ladies chatted for a while. He gets up at 4:00 am so he had to eat dinner and call it a night. Kathy and I retired to the RV and made dinner, which involved me pouring boiling water into bags of dried food. Tomorrow will bring us something new. By the way, Carlton said the mechanical issue stopping the ferry was a simple fix. It just took time for the part to arrive. Plus, this ferry was a backup and doesn’t have all the spare parts like the main ones do.

Kathy – Today was a typical autumn day. Temps were in the mid 60’s but it felt much colder with us being so close to the water and having the 20 mph sustained winds blowing. The fall leaves were scurrying about all day under our tires. I have to give Google Maps for cyclist credit today. They predicted mostly flat terrain, and they were correct! Imagine that. Google Maps elevation gains were actually accurate today. That’s a first. Let’s see how that plays out in the future. 🧐😏🤪

On another note for our first real day back in the saddle (after our two-week break) we were reminded of all the sights and smells that come with bike touring…dead animal funk in the air, manure in the farm fields, more bug bites, dead animals in the road, and of course I saw approximately ten dead snakes today. 🐍 😬 I’m counting my blessings that they were dead.

Considering the winds at 20 mph and gusts at 28 mph, we made pretty good timing getting to the 12:00 pm ferry that was 38 miles away. Traffic was heavy when we started with lots of stop lights that initially slowed us down a bit. However we only took one ten minute break today so that helped with our timing.

I was so pumped we made it to the ferry because we were giving it our all the last 10 – 15 miles, especially with all those headwinds towards the end. We made it with five minutes to spare only to see the sign that it was not running today. Bummer! We were tired, hungry, and getting pretty cold with the winds. I was not interested in backtracking an hour and a half to an RV campsite. My plan was to pitch a tent anywhere and call it good. Lucky for us one of the neighbors, Brenda allowed us to use her yard.

So we set up the tent, got cleaned up and were ready to call it a day…then Brenda came out about 4:20 pm and said she saw the ferry and it was running again. You never saw two people take down the tent, deflate sleeping pads, pack up clothes, food and sleeping bags so fast. Literally in ten minutes we were riding away from Brenda’s house to catch the ferry.

Once on the ferry some of the staff were asking us about our trip. One guy name Carlton (“like the cigarette” according to him) offered us a ride to our campground we had initially planned on for the night. Once we got off the ferry we had four more miles of riding to get to the campsite, however it was dark now. So we took him up on his offer. Then during our 45 minute ferry ride, Carlton came back and offered to take us to his place where we could sleep in his RV in the driveway. This was 20 miles south from the ferry. We graciously accepted. Once there we met Tina (Carlton’s wife) and J.R. (their grandson). I have to say, what great people! They are so kind to open their home up to strangers. They are also extremely friendly and made us feel so welcome. We are very thankful for their hospitality!

So overall it was a good day. The ride was definitely challenging during the strong headwind phases, but we powered through. Hank’s bike rack broke, but he managed to fix it. We met so many wonderful people in North Carolina today and found a warm place to rest our tired bodies tonight. Today may have not gone according to our original plan, but I would have to say it went much better. We are very grateful for all the blessings that we have received today. 💗💗💗

A couple of notes…

If you would like to view older blog entries please click on the months below:

  • May 2018
  • June 2018
  • July 2018
  • August 2018
  • September 2018
  • October 2018
  • If you would like to comment on a blog post, please click on the post title (or header), scroll to the bottom and you will then see the comments section where you can add your thoughts. We look forward to your comment and encouraging words. Thank you!
  • If you would like to see our current location click here:  Current Location where you can see our daily travels.
  • To see all the photos related to a blog post, simply click on one of the photos and it will move over (either to the left or right) to the next photo.
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This Is Not The Campground You Are Looking For

Hank – Tina invited us in for a light breakfast this morning. Kathy and I packed up and went inside. We chatted for a while since we had a short 20 miles today. Tina showed us their thankful pumpkin. Carlton, Tina, and J.R. write a single word describing something they are thankful for. Kathy added kindness for Carlton and Tina’s kindness towards us. Before we rode off, Tina gave us some dehydrated green beans she got at the farmer’s market. They are (were) delicious.

We headed south on highway 158 and stopped by the Jarvisburg Historic Colored School to check out the museum. We’ll, it turns out it’s open on Wed, Thursday, and Sat. Today is Friday. Chalk up another “bad timing” for us again. Bummer.

A few miles later we stopped for lunch at Simply Southern. Then we pressed onward on 158. We rode against traffic across the bridge because that side has a 6-foot shoulder. The eastbound side has a 2-foot shoulder and one lane was closed. We got legal again after making it to the other side.

We headed to the Outbound Adventure Campground. Along the way we saw the preparations being made for the OBX Marathon, which is happening on Sunday. (OBX is an abbreviation for Outer Banks.) The police department had a very entertaining sign. (See the photo)

We arrived at the campground only to find “Campground Closed” signs all over the place. The woman in the office told us they closed it down permanently. There are a couple of nearby RV campgrounds but they don’t do tent sites. She recommended Joe and Kay’s Campground. I called there and they had tent sites available. So we rode on because what else are we gonna do, right?

Along the way a man on an e-bike came out of a parking lot and rode and talked with us. He introduced himself as George Dintiman and told us he was a running back for the Baltimore Colts back in 1958-59–my toddler years. Since then George got an education and has done some serious work in sports conditioning and health education. He took off after a bit and then we ran into him again. He had sped home to tell his wife about us and she wanted to meet us. Carol Ann had two homemade chocolate-covered peanut butter balls and two ice cold bottles of water for us. We chatted with her and George for a while and she also gave us a copy of a book she wrote. George and Carol Ann are pretty fit for their ages and they are still going strong. We enjoyed our time with them and the peanut butter balls were delicious.

We had just over a mile to Joe and Kay’s Campground. Emily showed us the tent area and checked us in. Practically everything in the campground is in some sort of disrepair. But it’s the only nearby tent site so we make the best of it.

We set up camp and showered. Dehydrated meals for dinner again tonight. YUM!!!

Kathy – We really enjoyed our time with Tina this morning. She is such a great hostess. Even though we just met Tina and Carlton last night, we really clicked with them. We are grateful for the ride to their place, letting us stay in their R.V., and for breakfast this morning. I did suggest to Hank that it was a nice R.V. and we should go buy one and finish the last 24 states in it. No go from him. 😉

I gave Tina a pack of my flower seeds and she will plant them in the spring. Just doing my part to make America more beautiful, planting one pack of flower seeds in each state we visit. I only have 24 packs left…my pannier bags are getting lighter! Anyway, we had to leave our newfound friends so we thanked Tina for everything, got our hugs in, said our goodbyes, and off we rode.

Another 28 miles of riding today. The temps were in the low 60’s with lots of wind. The high winds are common in the North Carolina Outer Banks. It was cloudy and a little rainy throughout the day. The sun did peak out once or twice but not for very long. Our ride was an easy gradual uphill most the way. The hardest part of our ride today was going over the two mile bridge. The headwinds were very strong there. We were riding against traffic so we had a wide shoulder and the constant stream of cars and trucks added to our strong headwinds. No worries though, we tugged along and didn’t give up! 👍🏻 😉

We enjoyed reading all the signs along the roadway, and for the most part traffic was very kind to us with the small shoulder on the main road. We did get off the main road a few times and enjoyed some quiet time on paved trails.

Meeting George and Carol Ann was pretty cool. I was OK with the first tent site being closed because otherwise we may have never crossed paths with George and Carol Ann. By the way, these two don’t stop, they stay extremely healthy for their age. George is 82 and Carol Ann is 77 years old. They both play tennis a lot and ride their bikes. Carol Ann said she gets at least 9 – 10 miles of walking in on her Fitbit everyday. She also tries to cycle 1 – 2 hours daily. Those two are probably more fit than we are! We can only hope to be that healthy in our later years. I’m looking forward to reading Carol Ann’s book that she gave me.

What great people we have meet in the past few days! This is one of the best part of our travels, meeting so many amazing people. Seeing this beautiful country is also a plus…but the people are really what make it all worthwhile. I am feeling blessed beyond words tonight. ❤️

A couple of notes…

If you would like to view older blog entries please click on the months below:

  • May 2018
  • June 2018
  • July 2018
  • August 2018
  • September 2018
  • October 2018
  • If you would like to comment on a blog post, please click on the post title (or header), scroll to the bottom and you will then see the comments section where you can add your thoughts. We look forward to your comment and encouraging words. Thank you!
  • If you would like to see our current location click here:  Current Location where you can see our daily travels.
  • To see all the photos related to a blog post, simply click on one of the photos and it will move over (either to the left or right) to the next photo.
  • If you would like to “follow” our blog, please click here: Home Page  and look in the bottom right corner on your computer where you will see a “+Follow” link (If you are viewing our blog on your cell phone, the location may vary depending on cell phones.  Please look around to find this area).  Once you click on the “+Follow” link, just enter your email address there (only we can see it) and then go to your email to accept the follow request email that you will receive. Once this is done, anytime we write a new blog post you will automatically get an email letting you know so you can read it at your leisure. Another option is to bookmark our site and view when you like:  www.HankandKathyGreer.com