Worship and Cycling [news]

01/03/2010 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Every Sunday Paul and I try to attend a church service on the road. At these services we have met some of the most amazing individuals on our trip. For touring on a bike there seems no better way to get to know a community than at a place of worship. Riding through Jacksonville, North Carolina we stopped at a Church of God for Sunday Service. We were initially greeted by Shirley, and waited to meet with Rev. Jason Murphy. He allowed us to stay and gave us time to talk about our trip at the end of the second service. The congregation was touched to have us with them and to be apart of our tour. We felt uplifted leaving that morning and set forth south.

We bought our daily rations at the local Dollar General and continued on our way. The ground was soaked from the last rain storm and finding a place to camp would be very difficult. On either side of the road was either swamp or thick brush. Around sunset we saw a few cars at a local baptist church and though we would ask for a recommendation on finding a place to sleep. The only conclusion the folks at Harris Creek Baptist Church settled on was that the ground was too wet for camping and we would have to wait for the pastor to arrive.

To our surprise we had just been invited to the annual Harris Creek Baptist Winter Program. We stayed through the entire night of worship and were entertained by the youth of the church in song and act. That night we met many of the locals and learned much of the heritage to the town. We were only upset we missed one of their famed hog cookouts they had in seasons past. Sheriff Ed Brown of Harris Creek talked with us as most of the congregation left for the night. He allowed us to take a few photographs with his '47 Packard. The car was bought in recognition of his marriage with his wife. We were allowed to stay in the Fellowship Hall for the night. We woke up that morning with a few traditional brown bags of oranges and sweets and left. The large water oak that is rooted in front of the church glistened with all of the frost from the night before as we pedaled past, hopefully to a warm and sunny day.

Outerbanks Desolation [news]

12/25/2009 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Paul and I awoke in our backpacking tents on the front lawn of a Kitty Hawk resident, Larry, who was holding doughnuts and hot coffees. We knew this was going to be the start of a good day biking. We bid are farewell and I posed with him for a photograph. Paul and I were sporting our newest shirts made for our mission. We will wear them from now on but will not forget our Bikesenjava shirts that have carried us up to this point.

Regionally we were biking in an extremely unique environment for the East coast. Shoals that make up a barrier to the Albemarle Sound are home to famous towns such as Rodanthe and Ocracoke. For the first time in weeks we had a strong tail wind that helped push us south. The islands and inlets are navigable by ferry, bike, and car. Stopping at the nearest ranger's station after passing Roanoke Island we were advised to fill our bottles; The next place with fresh water is 25 miles south through barren drifts and grassy dunes.

The wind howled behind us when we stopped for lunch but as we biked with it we felt no breeze at all. The sun beat down and we kept pedaling, hardly passed by a car or service vehicle due to the recession of winter tourism. We had the road to ourselves and only had telephone poles to mark distance traveled. It was nice to be isolated on such a beautifully paved road.

Sunset was coming and we had already logged near 70 miles. Visitng Cape Hatteras Light at sunset was a pleasant coincidence of natural and manmade beauty. There was, however, no campgrounds available. We biked farther south in the dark and unrolled our mats in a baseball field dugout. We had ramen noodles with spicy sausage and went to bed. The next day we would make Ocracoke Island and the mainland.

Ocracoke was even more desolate and seperated from land connections. Coming to and from on ferries, most cars on the road were only passing through. Most of the scrub was pruned from the salty air and the town on the island was empty and lacking activity. We were able to take the afternoon ferry off the island and head towards Columbia South Carolina where we had intentions of making christmas in a home.

Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills [news]

12/20/2009 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

As a cyclist and having a fascination for all things mechanical I was especially delighted when we visited the very site where man first succeded in powered flight. Kill Devil Hills, NC, on December 17th, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright created a machine that flew for twelve seconds. The only spare man they had to take the single famed photo of the instance had never used a camera before in his life. At the time of exposure the film could not be developed anywhere but Dayton, Ohio. At that site now lies a monument in recognition of their achievements. We were allowed free access to this sandy and wind battered location and took our time reading all historical markers.

Friends in the Great Dismal Swamp [news]

12/14/2009 | Comments: 0 | Categories:

Since the conception of this trip I have wanted to visit the Great Dismal Swamp in northeastern North Carolina. Based on the name alone I knew this place would be something else. We had one contact in Elizabeth City, south of the Great Dismal Swamp. Soon after crossing the border into our newest state to explore, we were struck by recreation signs for this famed swamp. We were excited.

The old route 17 is now a recreation trail and runs parallel with the new 17. This trail flanks a dredged ditch, flowing with the excess from the swamp. We pedaled the distance and ate lunch by the trees rooted in soaking soil, covered in vines and growth. This, my friends, was the Great Dismal Swamp.

The trail spit us back out on the main road and we continued to the nearest visitor's center for a quick snak. Dave O.,at the time riding his Trek cyclocross bike, was consumed with curiosity enough to ask us where we were headed. That small conversation led to us three cycling a short recreational trail, headed south. We chatted about our trip and how it came together. Immediately we felt warmth in his amiability and accpeted his offer for some hot cocoa and pizza at his home, not far from our planned route.

Arriving at his home we found he had a deep love for all two wheeled creations. He and his wife owned quite the collection of bikes for just about any fancy. They let us stay until dark (I got to try Dave's pumptrack, a small dirt course carved into his backyard). He noticed the wear on my pedals and gave me a new set that would work much better, although he would never agains use this brand of pedal, I appreciate his gift in making my efforts easier. I was a smiling cyclist with a new part to test.

Paul and I were extremely grateful for our stay with this family and got a ride to Elizabeth City. There we met Rob L. and happened to be welcomed into his apartment for his 'going away' party. I'm sure our invitiation made that afternoon much more unique. We had much to talk about as all of in the room loved adventure, in a sense, and seemed to have a lot in common. It was great fun and the irony of the friends we made passing through The Great Dismal Swamp satisfied us all.