My Wilmington visit was bittersweet due to my oldest daughter’s health issues, but she will heal well. Focusing on the positive, the first photo is of Jenny and her daughters on a seaside rocking bench as we enjoyed the boardwalk of Carolina Beach. I received some additional media coverage in Wilmington as well. http://www.foxwilmington.com/story/31980781/67-year-old-bicyclist-rides-cross-country-against-crime-stops-in-wilmington
I left Wilmington after a few days to head to Sneads Ferry, staying in a very remote hotel next to Alligator Swamp and for some reason I was put in the farthest corner room at the end of the hallway. Rain was forecast for the next day to end at 10 am. NOT. I finally left the hotel by 11 (in the rain), nervous about the rain, the cars, and lack of shoulder for the first 7 miles. Fortunately, US 17 had one – but included headwinds and hills. Made it safely to Jacksonville even though I had to cross 3 lanes of that highway toward the end to enter the town. There is nothing like a ride in rain, with headwinds, and cycling up and down hills to make pizza delivered to my motel the best pizza ever! A gourmet meal, for sure!
I’ve had to face more steep bridges (to and from Emerald Isle) and have been on three ferry rides on this trip. On the one from Cedar Island to Ocracoke, father and son Boris and Dennis and I chatted for the whole ride (over 2 hours) about bicycles, sailing, car camping and life in general – and they gave me some fresh fruit and a pepper!
I highly recommend a visit to Ocracoke – artsy (metallic goat sculptures), a fantastic bookstore, and lots of great food, for me (as a vegetarian) and for seafood lovers… and for coffee fiends, ice cream fanatics, and candy enthusiasts. There is also the Ocracoke Lighthouse, first lit in 1823.
The roads in the Outer Banks have been ideal. There are almost always bike lanes and finally, yes finally, I had a tailwind! As I ride, I can sometimes hear the sounds of waves and water from both the ocean and the bay since some of the islands are very narrow.
On this trip I have traveled over rivers, bays, and bayous, next to the Gulf of Mexico and now have cycled through estuaries and on islands that separate the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
When people ask me why, then I tell them about New Beginnings Work on this more leisurely part of the ride. Here is the link if you are interested in donating, now over $3,200 – all funds raised to be divided equally among the 4 nonprofits: http://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/new-beginnings-work
One 50-ish woman shared the story with me that her former husband has been in and out of prison his entire life. She said there were no programs to help him with his personal problems and job search. Several people with whom I chatted at the ferry stations were also supportive and I began having “Zelig” moments. My photo will be appearing in many different places I guess. (If you haven’t seen this Woody Allen film, the short version is that it is about a man who keeps showing up in the background of 1920-1930s newsreels about famous people).
People are really friendly in North Carolina, at least the ones I come across. I took a lunch break in Avon, NC yesterday and ate while sitting at the picnic table on the front porch of this restaurant. A 20-something young man walked by, saying “Hi, how are ya?” Me: “Good, and you?” His response: “Great! I’m alive and employed and living on an island.”
I am staying in Rodanthe tonight. The last photo is the view from my room (the Atlantic Ocean). I can also see the Pamlico Sound when I look the other direction. Signing off for now. Peace out!