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Wilmington

Hank – I woke up a little after midnight. Is that heavy metal music I’m hearing? It sounded like a garage band whose drummer needed a little more practice getting the rhythm down. I dozed off and woke up again around 2:30. What the heck? They’re still playing. I suppose it could have been a bar band but I couldn’t hear any vocals. And now there were random pops that almost sounded like gun fire but I can’tΒ  say for sure that it was. Weird. It got quiet after three. I tossed and turned until my alarm went off at five.

In other news, a couple days Google upgraded the camera app on their Pixel phones. And I have a Pixel. They added Night Sight to the camera, which allows you to take very good photos in low light situations. I used Night Sight on the first three photos in the above gallery.

The third photo is of the out-of-order porta-potties in the tent site area. There’s a busted water pipe at a nearby spigot and water is constantly bubbling up. Hence the excess water vapor in the cold air. I thought it would make an interesting image.

We woke at 5:00 with the idea to be on the road by 7:00 since we had nearly 60 miles to cover today. My youngest sister, Kathy, has some good friends who live in the southwest part of Wilmington and they offered up a stay at their house. But it was 36 degrees and the cold insisted that we stay warm in our sleeping bags a little longer. We didn’t want to be impolite.

At 8:00 we we’re on our way. We jumped on to US Highway 17 again. We were to spend most of our day on that road. Not long after we started we passed by a sign that warned of military exercises going on for the next 10 miles. Maybe that was the source of the gun fire I heard last night.

We made better time than expected. We had a tailwind until about two in the afternoon. As the day warmed I changed from full fingered gloves to fingerless bike gloves and took my jacket off.

When I removed my pullover cap I couldn’t find my Spokane bike cap to wear under my helmet. I was bummed out that I may have left it back at the campsite. Kathy has one that she hasn’t been wearing and offered it up to me but I’m pretty sad about losing my worn and faded cap.

We stopped in Hampstead for a bite at a coffee shop. Two women came in and asked if we were the pedalers. We had a great time getting to know Kathy and Nancy who were excited to hear about our adventure. Two more nice people on the list of many we’ve met so far.

Rich and Melisa (“me Lisa, you Tarzan” is how my sister remembers to pronounce her name) have two children. Eric is five and Lena is two. We stopped at a store and got wine and chocolates for the adults and toys for the children to show our appreciation for hosting us for two nights.

Finishing up the last 15 miles we saw more piles of rubble lining the roadway. Debris from the hurricane waiting to be hauled away. There was a lot of flooding between Wilmington and Raleigh. Rich and Melisa live close to Camp Fear River, which he said is apparently a safer place to be than further inland.

Rich and Melisa were happy to host us. We hung out with them, their nephew Derrick, and the two young ones who are cute as ever. We talked during much of the evening. They made an amazing dinner–taco soup, barbecued chicken, and oven roasted broccoli.

Tomorrow we just hang out and plan the next few days.

Kathy – it was a cold 36 degree morning to start off our day. It warmed up nicely throughout our 58 mile ride. I went down from four layers to only my short-sleeve bike jersey as the day went on. Lots of traffic which included traffic noise for the majority of our ride. But, it was still a very pretty ride. And, we didn’t get hit by any of those cars, so that calls for a good day! πŸ˜‰ The sky was blue and the crisp temp kept us cool. We traveled on a gradual uphill most of the day, but it was not difficult. Overall it was an enjoyable ride today.

Melisa, Rich and Derrick were all very welcoming and just great people. We so appreciate their kindness in hosting us. Erik and Lena are just as adorable as can be. Looking forward to getting to know this beautiful family more so over the next day. πŸ’—

Hey, It’s The Cops

Hank – We got an early start this morning because we knew we had more than 50 miles to cover with a headwind hindering us most of the way. We turned right out of the Econo Lodge parking lot just after 7:00 am. The sun was up. The temp was in the high 40s. The wind chill was 38 degrees. Kathy was layered up. Those who know me know I was wearing shorts as usual. We were down to our last two dehydrated meals so we stopped by Walmart to pick some up.

We followed NC Highway 24 almost the entire day. We had good shoulder, sidewalk, or a bike path most of the time. Once the road became a divided highway we had plenty of shoulder. Traffic increased as we got closer to Camp Lejeune. Instead of staying at the inn on base we decided to go to a campground on the other side of Jacksonville, which is just past Camp Lejeune. Then tomorrow we’ll have a 60-mile ride to Wilmington where we will stay with some friends of my youngest sister, Kathy.

We entered Jacksonville and tried to merge onto US Highway 17, which would take us directly to the campground. Just as we got on the ramp to 17 a cop with his lights and siren going pulled over a white pickup truck right in front of us.

“Ha! You’re busted, Kathy. I wonder what he’s stopping you for,” I joked.

We started going around the cop car when he got out and held up his hand.

He was stopping us, not the truck.

“You can’t go this way,” he said. “Bicycles are not allowed on the bypass. You have to take that road.” He pointed off to our right.

Oops!

We pushed our bikes across the grass and went where we were told. It added a couple miles but what’re ya gonna do, fight the law? Not over that.

We finally arrived at Cabin Creek Campground where for only $20 we got a tent site and a warm shower. The tent site area sustained a lot of damage during the hurricane. Debris is all over the place and the gravel roads are pretty washed out. But it’s adequate and private. At our last stop before arriving here Kathy bought a can of Mike’s Hard Lemonade for her and an Angry Orchard Hard Cider for me.

I am content

Kathy – Our 53 miles today was a bit on the chilly side. Headwinds the entire day was not so much fun, but it wasn’t horrible either. Maybe…just maybe, I am getting used to this headwind stuff now. Maaaybee!!!

It was a very beautiful fall day with a stunning blue cloudless sky. The ride good, and the hot shower was even better. The temps are supposed to warm up a little more tomorrow. It looks like we need to head south a little faster to find the warm weather. We are working on it. 😊