Although not chronological, I have to start by giving a very large thank you to Floyd and Mary Lou. THANK YOU!
I also want to say thank you to Cassius and Teresa, 2 people I have met independently on this ride who have both posted Comments.
And thank you to those of you I knew before this ride who have Commented. You are also appreciated.
Now to the chronology.
July 28, Saturday (Clinton to Wilmington):
Just 2 days ago and already my memory has faded. My Garmin tells me it was 64.6 miles, 991 feet of climb and 16.1 mph. So I recall it was a moderate distance, relatively flat and that at 30 miles I was at 17 mph. And that I was very pleased with that.
It got slower for a number of reasons. For 1, I picked up a bit of head wind. For another, I dropped quite a bit the last few miles dealing with traffic and stops. And, to be honest, the first 30 miles at 17 mph took something out of me, especially since the 17 mph was achieved only after bringing up a much slower average due to the slow pace getting started in town. So yes, I started tiring out.
Aside from a flat, 1 driver turning left in front of me so that I had to hit my brakes and actually unclip, a charging dog that also made me come to a complete stop until it’s master called it back and having to race 3 other dogs that ran parallel to me while sounding very unfriendly but didn’t actually charge me, nothing about the ride stands out in my mind. Except that there were no significant climbs.
I went to see Ant Man And Wasp which Ale passed on. It is silly but fun. We then drove to the beach and had dinner. Crab cakes for Ale and crab legs for me. We both enjoyed our dinners and the food was quite reasonable. And we followed it up with ice cream from next door.
Oh, yes. Today was the first time we have seen the ocean since New Hampshire. There is something special about that.
July 29, Sunday (Wilmington to Oak Island):
Today started without rain but that didn’t last. However, although I got wet, the rain wasn’t a factor. It wasn’t so heavy as to impair my vision and I didn’t feel it jeopardized me much.
This ride was short and flat, 37 miles and only 541 feet, a number that is decreasing and if Google is to be believed, will disappear altogether. I averaged 16.8 and that was reduced a bit by some stop and go riding.
The 37 miles didn’t include a few miles on a 30 minute ferry ride that I spent talking to Jessica (I hope I remembered her name correctly) who spends around 20 miles a day on her bike commuting to and from work. Hi, Jessica and I hope I hear from you on here.
Nor did the 37 miles include the 6 miles I rode after getting to our motel while looking for someplace to buy a drink while waiting for Ale. Her car route was longer than mine and she did leave quite a while after I did.
Our motel was right on the beach which we both took advantage of. Ale walked out on a pier and walked on the beach while I was more sedentary. I took a short nap on the beach and then spent some time reading (Kindles are great!).
Dinner was at a Thai restaurant, Thai By The Sea, that we both liked better than the last Thai restaurant we ate at. That it was reasonably priced didn’t hurt, either.
July 30, Monday (Oak Island to North Myrtle Beach):
It wasn’t raining when I took my bike to the truck to pump up my tires and oil my chain and gears but that didn’t last which is why Ale took the start photo before I was on my bike so she could get inside. She had asked why I wasn’t wearing a rain coat and I said because it doesn’t do any good given the heat and humidity; I end up soaked anyway.
Although it was raining, it wasn’t much of a problem. To start.
I got out of town and after a few miles was on a highway with a minimal shoulder and fast traffic. Ok, I had dealt with that before, even in the rain. But then it started raining harder. And harder. Maybe no worse than a few days ago when there was an absolute downpour but then it got dark and windy and the shoulder became less reliable; at times I felt like I was riding in a stream and I always felt vulnerable to the passing cars with decreased visibility. My riding felt good – why not, I was fresh and it was flat – but then that third element kicked in. Fear. Things would have been fine with no cars but that wasn’t going to happen. I kept going until I could turn off on a road that I hoped would lead someplace with a bit of cover. I didn’t see anything so I just stopped in the pouring rain.
Then I saw Floyd, though of course I didn’t know his name at the time. He was riding a bike – a commuter – and I watched him turn a corner and pull into a garage. I got back on and rode to the garage and asked if I could share it for a minute. He was as wet as I was and immediately said of course. When I pulled in he offered me a towel and we talked a bit. I said I was going to call it a day and he invited me into his home to wait for Ale. I then met his wife of 7 years, Mary Lou and talked with her while he put on some dry clothes. I was immediately offered coffee or tea but opted for cold water with ice, naturally, which Mary Lou graciously got for me together with another towel, not counting the one she draped over a chair for me to sit on. I learned that Floyd’s late wife had died from breast cancer and that Mary Lou had been a widow before marrying Floyd. She mentioned how blessed they were to have found each other and from the short time I was around them I definitely believe that.
I learned that Floyd spent a first career in the Army before a second career as a mortgage banker. I know he is fighting a cancer issue and appears to be winning (I CERTAINLY HOPE SO!) I also know that at 81 he rides daily and still snow skis and that he and Mary Lou visited Machu Piccu just 2 year ago. I also know what gracious hosts both Floyd and Mary Lou are including having me change into dry clothes in their home after Ale arrived and walking me back to the truck under a huge umbrella after I was in dry clothes. Truly, meeting such people adds so much value to the ride for me. Thank you Mary Lou and Floyd.
After returning to the highway I had been on but this time in the truck I felt even more justified in having cut the ride short. Conditions were horrible and the shoulder looked even worse from the truck. Plus, while visiting, Mary Lou’s phone twice buzzed with local flood warnings. Which were on top of the lightning we had seen. I admit, though, that we didn’t see any floods and that the lightning had been quite a ways away.
We passed into South Carolina while I was in the truck.
By the time we got to North Myrtle Beach the rain had stopped and it didn’t start again until we were at dinner, at which time it came down by the bucket. Before dinner we drove around Myrtle Beach and I then spent some time at the beach right outside our motel. I didn’t go in past my legs but for a Californian it is amazing how warm the Atlantic is.
Dinner was at another sea food restaurant. I had fish and chips for the last time on this trip but I couldn’t order the salmon because they would only serve it pretty well done and I only like it more on the rare side. Ale had jambalaya. Dinner was fine but we agreed that we preferred the less expensive Thai meal last night.
I really am looking forward to riding tomorrow. Provided the conditions are reasonable. As I have said, I promised Sandi to be sensible. At least some.
It is late and I have talked enough.