So, recent events of the summer. Attempted to ride my bike to Wilmington, NC - failed miserably.1) I set out a lovely afternoon around 4 in the afternoon, rode happily for a couple of hours, then rode with increasing misery for a couple more. I was navigating with an atlas and a coordinate GPS2), so I managed to quickly get myself lost by assuming I knew the roads around my house. Lost probably about an hour with that. At about 8 I had my first real pit stop, at one of those cheese biscuit southern institutions gas stations.3) There, I bought a lot of energy bars (I had brought some, but not nearly enough, I had by then realized), and water, and gatorade. I had already gone through of water, which I guess isn't too surprising considering I was hauling about on the bike, in the lovely North Carolinian humidity.
Uhhhh….Where was I?
The store, right. I had a couple of elderly 'gentlemen'4) ask me about my ride - they were suitably impressed.
“Is that your bike?” “It sure is.” “Damn.” “Where're you goin'?” “Wilmington, from Washington.” “Damn.” “How many miles?” “About a hundred and thirty.” “DAMN!”
And so on.
By the time I left it was dark, with only the lingering twilight left to navigate by.5) I was pretty exhausted by this time, so I was looking for a couple of trees to hang my hammock up on. I eventually passed a house with a row of pines separated from the house by some bushes, which looked perfect. I stopped. A minor mental storm ensued, debating the pros and cons of asking if I could sleep in the trees. Eventually I did knock, multiple times, and though a light came on no one ever answered. Ah well. One does what one can. I proceeded to do what any sane person would have done, and set up my hammock in a strangers yard without their knowledge.6) It worked out pretty well, considering it was pitch black by this time, and every time a car went by I froze, thinking it might be the residents. I managed to get all settled,7) and tossed and turned 'till about midnight. I then slept fitfully until 2am, when I decided I couldn't sleep anymore and packed up and went on my way.8))
Turns out, riding at night isn't so bad.9) There's little traffic, no sun, it's cooler, and you can still see the road.10) Around sunrise, the humidity really started picking up, and by the time the sun came up, I was in a dense fog, completely soaked and dripping water everywhere. It had to have been 100% RH, I mean, my fingers were pruny for heavens sake. Around this time I was really starting to get saddle-sore11), and was moving at about 10mph, down from my usual 12-14. Every shift of my body was an agony, and pedaling standing was short-lived relief. At 6-ish I hit a detour. I decided to ignore the signs and trust my luck12), and came up on a bridge that was completely out. Hurray. I cursed a bit, turned around, got out the atlas and found another route. A half-mile left into town turned into an agonizing, tortuous, 3 mile, half-hour detour.13) By the time I get into town14), I realize I still have AT LEAST another 7 hours, at which point I throw in the towel and ask my friend to come and pick me up, because I'm a wimp.15) If I hadn't been in a hurry, I would have just found a motel and collapsed for the day, but I hate to make excuses.16)
And that was my trip to Wilmington. Total pedal time (excluding stops) ~ 7 hrs. Total distance : 85 miles. Oh, you might be curious to know what the scenery was like. Imagine a small country road, and pine trees on either side, broken up by the occasional field. Around 4am there was a beautiful scene that I couldn't photograph, with the bright moon over a solitary tree in a cornfield. First day was beautifully sunny, with great clouds. Second day was muggy and muggy.
restaurantinside, of questionable sanitation, and is a bit of a general store. Which makes sense, because it was probably the only store in the town.