Saturday, Aug 15, 2009
2am: Up and at 'em!
We had packed everything up and prepared ourselves to just throw everything into the car and go as quickly as possible so we could get on the road.
- (2) Surly Long Haul Trucker bikes
- (2) front bags (for power bars, sunblock, cameras, iphones, etc)
- (4) Ortlieb Panniers (2 orange for Ethan, 2 yellow for myself) containing clothes, swim suits and flip flops
- (2) sleeping bags
- (2) air mattresses
- (1) Marmot tent
- (1) first air kit
- (1) MSR cooking set & mini propane tank
- (2) Kryptonite cables & locks
- (2) helmets
- (2) cycling shoes
...and two people ready to go.
3am: On the road
FB Update: "and we're off!!! 3am... Yawn"
Anyso, we set out before light, with a quick stop at a Brooklyn gas station/Dunkin Donuts for some coffee and extremely stale donuts. (Note to self: 3am is not a good time for fresh donuts.)
Ethan drove, I entertained. We passed thru Manhattan to go thru the Holland Tunnel, tho E first intended to go thru Staten Island. We should gone thru SI... the Port Authority's been working late night/early morning weekends. Great.
We only got thrown off by about 15 minutes, but we left a lil earlier than we actually thought (we intended for a 4am leave). We jumped onto the NJ Turnpike, and took it all the way to I-95 South, then down to Chesapeake.
FB Update: "We're in Delaware! (5:08am)"
FB Update: "half way thru at 7:36am. MD is boring."
FB Update: "coulda gone into Dixieland or Bonnie's Box... But noooo, instead it's the old aluminum siding ugly BP Ocean Way for us!" (8:57am)
The Chesapeake "Bridge" is something crazy. You cross a bridge, then go into a tunnel, then come back out onto another bright, then back into a tunnel, then finally back onto a bridge that brought us intil Chesapeake VA around 11am.
After a quick stop at a bike shop for my front bag (the original one I ordered never made it to me... thanks ebikeshop... jerks), and a run to the post office to mail our clothes for the wedding and our second half of our vacation in Emerald Isle, we zipped over to drop off the car JUST in time. The Hertz employee was amazed to see how much stuff we pulled out of the (not-so) midsize sedan.
We put our bikes back together again, organized and loaded up everything onto the bikes, then had a quick sammich and change.
Bike & gear weight:
Ethan - approx. 70 lb.
Allison - approx. 50 lb.
1:30pm: On the road, again...
...but this time, by bicycles.
Side note: Throughout the trek, we averaged our "real" breaks (getting off the bike, heh) every hour and/or ten miles. Other than stopping for breakfast and lunch, most stops were 5-15 minutes long.
FB Update: "Loaded up and ready to haul on down to stop 1: Bell Island NC" (1:32pm)
We had about 35 miles to do on this first day, and nearly all of it was on what we would eventually despise:
This was a hell-on-earth 5-lane road with a shoulder averaging 1.5 feet in width. The automobiles didn't care to slow down at all on the 55 mph, and about 50% of them didn't even bother moving over a lil to be on the safe side.
FB Update: North Carolina! We made it!!! (3:39pm)
We made it into NC (which was actually nearly dead-on at the halfway mark) around our ETA. About 18 miles done, 18 miles to go... ok, well, maybe add a few.
After stopping in NC, we stopped off at the Visitor's Center. There, we learned what to be looking out for to get to the Bell's Island Campgrounds. Unfortunately, we didn't think to ask what kind of stores were in the area, and we didn't bother grabbing anything then and there since we still had 18-ish miles to go.
About an hour and a half later, we made it to the turn off to get to the campgrounds. Yay! We'd finally be getting off of 168 for a while!!! Nope... we stopped off at a thrift store that was at the turn off onto Bell's Island Road, and asked the self proclaimed handy man where we could find a grocery store or something.
Well, sad to say, there was nothing nearby. Fortunately, there was a "store" -he said- about a mile to a mile and a half up 168. So, back onto the highway for us... only, it was more like 3 miles... each way.
Now, mind you, 6 miles isn't that far when you're in a car. But, on a bike, especially after you've already done 30 miles, it is... and it's even more when it's out of your way and you still have another 5 miles to go to get to your destination.
Nonetheless, on we went and after worrying the last mile of if he was lying to us, if we'd ever see it and just being utterly miserable, there it was. Classic wooden redneck store (not redneck store where the city folk would pass thru and think "oh how charming, or find a souvenir), with two old dogs hanging out in your way.
At this point, everything sounded good to eat, and we were looking to be creative... but, we were limited. A six-pack of Miller Lite was a must. Flour tortillas, a can of refried beans, Rotel tomatoes and box of frozen corn... we get dinner!
Back onto the bikes and on to our first campsite. I was utterly exhausted, we were both cranky and hungry, and Ethan had his second wind. Off he went, leaving me to trudge on my own thru marsh land that seemed never ending.
We made it to the Bell's Island Campgrounds (252) 232-2590 ~ 769 Bells Island Rd
~ Currituck, NC 27929) a lil less than an hour before sunset. Tho the owner of the property had passed by us on the road to it, and talked with Ethan, we got there and he wasn't around at all. Some lady was wandering down a lil gravel road of the grounds with an empty wine glass, and immediately approached us. She gave us the breakdown of what's where, and told us it was pretty much open choice for us wherever we wanted to set up camp.
We found a lovely, dry spot right on the sound's waterfront off to the side from the rest of the grounds.
After a beer and a toast to completing Day 1, Ethan set up the tent and I started on dinner. Oh dear... ummm... yeah, that frozen corn we got... I think it's kinda old... and frost bitten. Sigh. I tried to use some of it, tho, which I shouldn't have. Just cuz it all didn't look all that bad, it was pretty nasty. Edible... but really chewy and... just not a good addition.
After camp was set up and we ate what we could (we worked around the corn bits as best we could, heh), we waded into the water and wandered the waterfront of the campgrounds. We didn't do any swimming, and Ethan was a bit turned off by the water because there was all this crazy long grass floating in it and rolling up onto the lil beach.
By dark, we were done for the day. We showered (separately!) in near darkness in an outdoor cinder block shower with a lil frog hanging out with us. For me, he was in a crack between the shower wall and the building wall. The only reason I knew he was there at all was because he scared the bajeebus out of me when he started calling out to his friends. After I left, tho, he moved. Ethan first found him in the soap dip, but later he crawled up the wall and onto the shower head, looking down at Ethan while he did what he had to do.
So ended Day 1.