Saturday, May 30, 2009
The bike and I have been through a lot together. I’ve been squished between two buses in Manhattan, crashed in the Adirondacks which dented the top tube and gave me a concussion and I was knocked over by a pickup truck. But lots of good things too, century rides in Montauk, New York, Lake Tahoe and Savannah and countless shorter rides as well as some light touring. Throughout the years my Tommaso has been a faithful companion and just like her owner, she’s a tough New Yorker.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Soon after leaving Bath, I forgot about my stressful job, mortgage payments, student loans, taxes and all the chronic irritants that eat away at my wellbeing. All that remained was the experience of traveling.
In Ocracoke we had a short layover before catching the Ferry to Cedar Island.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
We’ve ridden the ferries at the Outer Banks several times in the past few years. The OBX ferries are small and most folks get out of their cars and mingle. Sport fishermen drinking beer, families with kids and dogs, business people, UPS drivers and occasionally bike tourists, all crowded onto the deck. It’s neat to explore the coastline by bike, then ride onto a boat and explore in a different way, then hop back on your bike and off you go. I love that.
It’s also very inexpensive. What would it cost to charter a boat to sight-see for a couple of hours? You can ride the OBX ferries for just a few dollars. The ride from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke and the ride from Ocracoke to Cedar Island are each about 2 ½ hours long. That’s plenty of time to meet other passengers and have a nice picnic lunch before getting back on the bike.
As you can tell, I’m getting pretty excited about our Outer Banks trip. We leave Friday!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Although Jack and I talk about taking several months off and doing an extended tour, the truth is that we really love being in the Smoky Mountains and although we go away several times a year, we always look forward to coming back home. After reading several blogs recently, we were talking about this and it hit me-we just don't have the urge right now to be away from home for more than a few weeks. I said to Jack "in 20-30 years all our short tours will add up to several long tours". Jack believes we appreciate our short tours more because of the fact that they are short.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Dave Stamboulis does not gloss over the hardships of bike travel nor its rewards. He tells of being pelted with rocks, pedaling through feces strewn roads and near muggings as well as the beauty seen from the saddle. This is a great book to occupy rainy days.
We hope to pass the book along to our next Warm Showers guest. This copy has a life of its own. I don’t know where it’s been or where it may travel. Hopefully it will keep us posted.
Two weeks till we tour the inner and outer banks of North Carolina!
Here’s what we have planned.
-Day One (44 miles with 2 ferry crossings): Leaving from the home of Blackbeard the Pirate, Bath, N.C. and heading to Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge.
-Day Two (66ish miles): Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge to Oriental, N.C.
-Day Three (54ish miles): Oriental, N.C. back to Bath, N.C.
A Bit About Blackbeard:
“Wild Times in Bath Town. The sleepy little village became a lively place when Blackbeard and his crew sailed into port. They traded their ill-gotten gains at reasonable prices, engaged in wild sprees, and replenished their ships for additional sorties to keep the cycle going. All of this brought economic prosperity to the region. People came from great distances to buy foreign goods in the shops in Bath. The "ordinaries" (hotels of the era) became crowded with boarders, and Bath Town sprang to life. The pirates, with no shortage of hard drinking and swearing, regaled the villagers with wild tales of their adventures on the high seas.” From: http://www.nchistoricsites.org/bath/blackbeard.htm
A Bit About Bath:
“European settlement near the Pamlico River in the 1690s led to the founding of Bath, North Carolina's first town, in 1705. By 1708, Bath had 50 people and 12 houses. It soon became North Carolina's first port. Political rivalries, Indian wars, and piracy marked its early years but in 1746 Bath was considered for the colony's capital.” From: http://www.nchistoricsites.org/bath/bath.htm
A Bit About Cedar Island:
“Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, located in Carteret County, North Carolina is on the end of a peninsula marking the southern end of Pamlico Sound. Established in 1964, the refuge consists of approximately 11,000 acres of irregularly-flooded, brackish marsh and 3,480 acres of pocosin and woodland habitat. The marsh and surrounding waters provide wintering habitat for thousands of ducks and nesting habitat for colonial water birds.” From: http://www.fws.gov/cedarisland/
A Bit About Oriental:
'The Sailing Capital of North Carolina' ...a place where land and water meet under the best circumstances. A place shared by fishing trawlers and racing yachts, Victorian homes and modern marinas, shady lanes and waterfront vistas. It’s a quiet place where people smile and wave to passersby. A pace that captivates you so quickly and thoroughly that, from the moment you arrive, you’ll be making your plans to return – or just maybe stay” From: http://www.visitoriental.com/oriental/
Monday, May 4, 2009
The highlight of the ride for me was the second big climb. It’s a steep ascent with a series of demoralizing switchbacks and false summits and a teeth-clenching descent on the backside made even more epic in the pouring rain; our wet brakes only promising to slow a crash down to a sub-fatal speed, and our wet tires hinting at a little bit of traction.
The highlight of the ride for Raquel was taking off cold wet clothes and putting on dry warm clothes (and that’s all she has to say about the ride).
Two days later we are still recovering from both the ride and this croupy mess infecting our lungs. I look forward to doing this ride again next year…in better health of course.