Ok, where was I…
Blah blah biked through the mountains.1) Uphill sucks, downhill rocks.2) Reached crabtree falls, took a bath, enjoyed the sun, met some interesting people, slept next to the parking lot. Lost a spoon.3)
Speaking of eating, my cook system was pretty interesting. I learned how to make an alcohol stove out of a catfood can from a book, works great and is super light. Used that to boil water, with a windshield, and ate freeze-dried camp food - surprisingly tasty.
More uphill, more downhill. Reached Linville falls, ate and napped there for a couple of hours. From there it was only 3 more miles of uphill, and then downhill for 15 miles. It was great. So, so great. I hit 42 mph! Mildly terrifying. I actually caught up to a car haha.
This got me out of the mountains proper, into the foothills, where I found a nice, albeit expensive campsite.
Reached Taylorsville - first motel. I wish I had taken a picture, but by then my crappy little camera was out of batteries. Imagine the skeeziest, most murdery motel you can imagine. Dingy, dusty, yellow, time-eaten sign. You're not even sure it's still open. The office smells like the 70s gone stale. $40!! Absolutely ridiculous. The next town was further than I wanted to that day, and I didn't really feel up to camping on the side of the road, afraid to be kicked out, so I splurged. I think the manager4) actually laughed when I asked for a non-smoking room. Nice, flickery flourescent lights. But hey! the toilet flushed and everything seemed relatively clean.5)
Then I splurged again and ordered a medium supreme dominoes pizza and…and…CINNASTICKS. The pizza was amazing, but let me tell you about those cinnasticks, if you haven't had one. Actually, no. I'm too hungry. Suffice it to say, they were addictively delicious, and in addition to finishing the pizza, I finished the box of cinnasticks. It's not a small box.
Reached a small town a few miles south of Winston-Salem. Motel again, no choice really. Who knew motel 8s were expensive though. Freaking $70.6) By this point I cared less, I had done 85 miles that day and was pretty beat. After a nice long soak and shower, I again went off in search of food.7)
Found a legitimate mexican restaurant. You can always spot the real ones, because they have these giant plastic banners with pictures of their food that make it look disgusting because they got the color a little bit off and it's kinda green. And they're playing mexican polka. And they don't really speak english. Had a huge burrito, two beers, and then a quesadilla-ish thingy. The waitress insisted on questioning me while I was busy shoving food down my throat, but I was happy to brag about my trip so it didn't bother me too much.
On my way back, I spotted an arby's and thought `hey, I haven't had dessert yet.' So I went and got a milkshake and two turnovers. `Hey, that gyro looks pretty tasty.' Enter gyro + curly fries. Then I was full. Very full. Unpleasantly full.8)
I waddled back to the hotel.
We're nearing the end, no worries.
Make durham, 115 miles. 10 hours. Leaving W-S took for-ev-er. It was nice to bike through a city for a change, a bit more activity. Made the time go by quickly. Biked from chapel hill9) to durham on a highway at night. Fun times. Repeat pizza + cinnasticks at HMHs10)
Bike home. 130 miles. 9 hours. This really was the worst part, semi-busy, wholly ugly minor roads through the middle of eastern north carolina. This was the only day my legs hurt more than anything else. I dumped a bunch of weight, around 15 lbs at HMHs, so I was able to go much more quickly, regularly hitting 18 mph on flats, up from about 14 before.