Starting in Richmond VA then heading south down the Outer Banks of North Carolina go down the coast of South Carolina heading inland to Savanna Georgia. Go above Jacksonville Florida and head straight down A1A to Daytona Beach.
The route we took stayed mostly on the Adventure Cycling Maine to Florida route. Except we went straight into Savanna instead of going to Statesboro.
During the trip we met many curious onlookers who didn't know what to think of my bike or the trip we were taking. And they always had many questions.
I really had a ball(9k) and gathered memories I won't soon forget. Hopefully I can do many more long tours. I liked the idea of being self supported but would have enjoyed seeing more cyclists. I only saw one other recumbent in Ocracoke. Some guy on a Linear went wizzing by while I was relaxing on the porch.
The following table will send you to each day in the trip. I kept a sort of journal during the ride using a Sharp Electronic organizer with one of those teeny tiny little keyboards so some things are abbreviated and/or not capitalized. So you won't confuse comments I wrote in later with actual journal entries I have emphasized the comments like so.
|6/4/95||Sun||Topsail Bch||Carolina Bch||6/5/95||Mon||Carolina Bch||Sunset Bch|
|6/6/95||Tue||Sunset Bch||Andrews||6/7/95||Wed||Andrews||Moncks Corner|
|6/14/95||Wed||Jacksonville||St Augustine||6/15/95||Thu||St Augustine||Daytona Bch|
|6/16/95||Fri||Daytona Bch||Orlando||6/17/95||Sat||Orlando||Laurel MD|
My riding Partners were.
Mark Katsouros from Glenwood MD (16k)
John "Smiley" Romano (26k)Man, look at all the stuff (15k) I am taking. I definitely had the bike loaded (19k) down.
"16:50" " About to leave (52k) richmond. Would like another blizzard." (32k)
(We lived off of Blizzards)
"19:03" "DAY 1 34MI 2.30
Welcome to hopehell. What a dive. This whole town smells like a big raunchy fig newton day old beer fart. The thirty miles from Richmond was actually really nice. Mark had a flat (35k) within 200 ft of the city limits. Smiley though he lost us so he did an extra 16 miles looking for us."
(Do NOT stay at the Evergreen. (5k)What a dump. We later decided it is called that because that was the color of the mildew on the shower curtain)
"07:18" "Rain already? Oh well at least we are leaving hopehell"
"21:51" "DAY 2 84.3 MILES 6:22 15 dogs.(There really were 15 dogs that day. I guess people in the country don't believe in leash laws. After awhile it became a game to see how far you could get the mutts (9k) to chase us. They would come after us, we would speed up, they would slow down, we would slow down and antagonize them a little, then they would chase us a little more. We got one pair of Labs to chase us for about 3 miles doing this. )
Raining as we got in. Mostly just cloudy all day. Decided to wus out and get a hotel room. Good move. It really started to come down when we went out to eat. Suffolk is a really nice town. They have a dairy queen. Tomorrow night we camp out on the shore."
(The _national_ weather man actually said "Most of the country looks good for the Holiday weekend except for the Richmond VA North Carolina Area where they will be getting showers." Now that was funny)
I think Marks favorite thing about Suffolk was the vast quantities of Lipton (21k) Tea available.
"18:26" "DAY 3 75.5 MILES 5:05 7DOGS 5 QUAIL.
(There were 5 quail running up the road in front of us. Those things can really move!)
Supposed to be 68 MI today. Wrong! Everyplace we went to eat was closed. Had to live off of figs and pretzels.
Mark was hating life for the last 20 miles or so. No real lunch really did him in. No place within 10 MI of the campground to eat. Mark found a place that delivers. God bless him. Very windy today. We had a great tailwind for about 20 mi.
This campground (36k) is nice. Right on the water. Have to bring the RV (19k) down here sometime.
I still need to find batteries. Haven't been able to take any pictures all day. John got some good ones at the NC (16k) border. (9k) Hooked up the speakers on the bike. Worked awesome! Rock and roll. (18k) Get it? Roll"(Mark was very happy (18k) to reach the North Carolina border because he knew that would be his only state line crossing. That wienie. )
"07:39" "Man am I sunburned. Mark already left us. He got up early and took off. We are in search of breakfast."
(Of local interest is the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge (22k).
This magnificent bridge connects Cape Hatteras National seashore with Nags Head, Manteo, and areas to the north. The Inlet offers fishermen the greatest varieties of gamefish in the world, as typified by the many fishing yachts docked at a nearby marina. )
"16:27" "DAY 4 79.1 MILES 4:59 no dogs today.
Came straight down the outer banks today. Took us 22.5 miles to find breakfast. Oh but what an awesome meal it was. The best pancakes in the world. The next 20 went great. Had a tailwind and cruised. The last 20 was a killer. Between the sun and just being worn out I am pretty whipped. Thank god this place has a pool. Sure am glad tomorrow is a short day."
( Sand Dunes(17k) aplenty. Felt like I was crossing the Sahara sometimes. Crossed a few high bridges.(9k) Even found the one stop (25k) to satisfy all needs of a touring cyclist. Life is good. They were selling this little circus bike. (21k) I was contemplating buying it and just strapping it on for emergencies.)
"07:56" "I am so sunburned its not even funny. I'm going for that Ricky raccoon look. Lips are all swollen and shit
"13:30" "went up the lighthouse (38k) at buxton. 208ft. Great view.(17k) Lots of stairs.(35k)Right on the shore. Smiley tells us they plan on moving the whole damn thing inland about a half mile. Going to use the truck that they transport the space shuttle to tow the thing intact and upright. That I would like to see."
"16:56" "DAY 5 50 MI 3:03
Ahh an easy day. Ocracoke is really nice. Very laid back. The bluff shoal motel (26k) is pretty nice to. Very quaint."
"20:55" "DAY 6
Its amazing what a day off will do for you. Went to the beach, (10k) saw the ponies (26k), tried to play foosball, (the place that had the table is closed) listened to a local band, molases creek, they pretty much sucked. folky bluegrass crap. had some ice cream, took some pictures of the friggin lighthouse. ah yes a very productive day for the claymiester"(Sometimes you just gotta stop and smell the roses. (25k))
"07:23" "Riding the ceder island ferry. 2:15 min ride. Could have slept another couple hours. Almost didn't make the ferry in time. John was circling around the entrance waiting on me. We were the last two on board.
No more mark. He headed back to MD last night in his u-haul (12k) truck. Its just myself and John (16k) from here on out. I guess there is no turning back now. I wasn't seriously thinking about quitting anyway. This is to much fun. Besides if I went back now I would just have to go back to work. Would like to see my sweetie though"
"16:27" "DAY 7 70.1MI 4:38
got up way to early and caught the 7am ferry to ceder island. Started biking about 9:20. Pretty good day. Sometimes the wind kicked up but for the most part it is pretty nice. Cloudy all day but no rain. Calling for afternoon thundershowers but the skies are clear now.
Staying at the goose creek resort campground. This place is very aptly named because there are 12 very large geese that are very leery of john and I. Smiley made them a peace offering (23k) of the rest of his bagel. I thought they were going to make a meal out of johns fingers. They wander over now and then and give us a hard time because we camped right next to a nest with about 8 eggs and 1 mean mama(15k) goose.
"19:37" "Famous pizza. A picture of iced tea and a buffet with salad bar , pasta, and pizza. What else could a couple of starving bikers ask for? BLIZZARDS!! Tacked on an additional 17 miles looking for a dairy queen. Finally found it.(14k) Ahhh. Hit the spot. I got this really cool etch-a-sketch keychain. Gotta love those toys!
"09:22" "Expecting some rain today. Only 50 miles though so we should be OK.
11:26À WRONG. Raining pretty good and shows no sign of letting up. Yuch.
2:08P Just came through camp lejeune marine base. Lots of tank crossings. We got a pass. huh huh huh. Also rained the whole way. Smiley and I both are pretty soaked. Stopped at the hardee in sneads ferry for a little drying out."
(They stopped us at the guard house to check our ID's. The Guard gave us a 1 hour pass (12k) to get through the base. Probably could have used a 2 hour pass)
"19:35" "DAY 8 58MI 3:55
Ahh the hospitality of distant relatives. Showered, fed, and even entertained! Sat around and watched the Lion King. South Topsail Beach is pretty nice. Very reclusive. Miserable Biking today. Rainy weather and busy highways.
"14:00" "Sitting in a burger king in downtown Wilmington NC sucking down a large choc shake hoping those big black rain clouds will blow over. We have made it 40 miles so far without any rain. About 20 to go. Had a wonderful breakfast from Michele's relatives. Ahh the benefits of mooching. The weather forecast looks kind of shaky for the next few days. Typical chance of afternoon thundershowers. Pretty historic southern town. Lots of memorials to confederate soldiers."
"18:07" "DAY 9 61.5MI 4:11
Camping at the Carolina beach state park. Pretty nice. 9 bucks and we get all the required biking facilities. Showers, store with ice cream, and close proximity to some restaurants. we were pretty good at avoiding the rain today. I just hope we can keep it up.
"08:42" "Rained during the night last night. My cycling shoes got wet. This is so much fun. Yee haa."
"11:20" "Hurricane Allison. The earliest hurricane ever. Should hit Florida today and then head northeast towards Georgia and south Carolina. Great. A little rain I expected, but a HURRICANE? (27k) This is above and beyond the call of duty. We will definitely be looking for a motel tonight. there is a 80% chance of rain this afternoon and soaking rain all day tomorrow. right now I'm on the southport-fisher ferry crossing the cape fear river. I'm pretty scared all right
"17:03" "DAY 10 54.3 MI 3:30
drip drip drip
rained on us all day. Sometimes just a drizzle most of the time it was a good solid downpour. it never stopped. it still hasn't stopped. supposed to start clearing out tomorrow afternoon. we were supposed camp at sunset beach but the rain changed our minds in a hurry. we kept going to little river
"11:26" "Long day ahead of us. We are getting a late start to stay away from the remnants of hurricane Allison. Still very cloudy but the weatherliars say it should clear up this afternoon. I would rather get in late then start out in a rain. We went to some sort of gambling ice cream shop last night. Very weird. Had a sign out front that said to ""knock after dark"" place was all done in pink. Some guy in the back watching closed circuit TV. Poker and blackjack machines in the back. Pretty shady place.
Smiley is happy as a clam. He just got off the phone with his future boss. Said he approved his increase. All he needs now is the offer letter and he is outa there. Good for him. Sucks for me though. Looking at 81 miles today.
So the day before we turn onto Laurel RD. And John comments that this is about the third Laurel road we have seen on this trip. Says it must be someone trying to tell him something. Well I tell him that it is just a cooincidence and that its no big deal. But if we happen to see a HOPKINS ROAD! Well then that is something else entirely. About five minutes later we encounter divine intervention(15k) and I think Johns decision was pretty much made for him. We were in a state of shock and awe for about 10 miles.
Needless to say, my pal John now works for Hopkins.)
"20:15" "DAY 11 87.3MI 6:00
A mixed bag weather wise today. For the first 50 miles we would go from rain to drizzle to sunny to VERY windy then the cycle would start again. Felt like we were in some sort of washing machine. The weather was so bad that for awhile we were considering stopping at the 30 mile mark and giving Allison another day to blow over. I'm glad we didn't though. Not even a HURRICANE is going to throw us off our schedule."
"10:55" "Sunshine! Wahoo! Its about time. Break out the sunscreen."
"19:19" "DAY 12 41MI 2:56
Very short day today. That's OK with me. We got a very late start and hit some more headwinds for awhile. This is the first time in 4 days we haven't had any rain."
"16:42" "DAY 13 83.7MI 5:33
Pacotaligo. Staying at the KOA and they have a pool! And I have a pass! Damn was it hot this afternoon. Almost make you wish for a hurricane. Almost.
Feel much better after food and a dip in the pool. This place has a lennys, I mean Denny's
"15:51" "DAY 14 75.8 MI 4:57
Well just like yesterday it got hot very hot this afternoon. I thought I was going to get sick during the last 20 miles. It was bad enough that its 96 degrees but we were coming into savanna so there was much traffic to deal with. We had breakfast and lunch at dairy queens today. Smiley had a blizzard both times. Blizzards. There not just for breakfast anymore. Savanna seems pretty cool. We are right in the historical district. I saw a big vertical sign on a theater that said SAVANNA. I have to get a picture of that at night when it is lit up. I'm glad tomorrow is a day off. If this weather keeps up we are going to have to start early. Like 7am early. I feel great in the mornings but in the afternoon I just feel like collapsing "
(110 degree heat index. Very Nasty)
"20:44" "DAY 15 Day off.
Having dinner at nacho mamas. A fine eating establishment at the city market in downtown savanna Ga. Sitting (16k) outside soaking up the music from the blues fest. (17k) Ahh life is good. Had I not taken this biking trip I never would have stumbled upon this little gem of a city. Spent last night listening to blues at crossroads getting a comfortable buzz from nutbrown beer. Some southern brew. Even got to play a little foosball. Was crushing all comers even in my euphoric state. "
"07:05" "On the road again.
"17:23" "DAY 16 81.5MI 5:23
Great day today. We left savanna about 8am. That was a good idea. The town was very quiet, hardly any cars. still cool outside. savanna has some very nice neighborhoods. nice town. We passed 4 dairy queens today. had breakfast in one and a snack in the other. just rode on by the other two even though it was hard to do so. we are staying at happy acres campground. an old converted soybean farm. pretty nice place. hardly any shade to be found but there is a pool and it was only $7. this elderly couple runs the place. Not a place to eat for miles. the camp sells nasty little hamburgers. That's OK. As long as they don't run out of yoo-hoos and MT dew."(Oh yeah, and we had some visitors (33k) to our campsite. Awwwww.)
"18:15" "DAY 17 84MI 5:34
One of the hardest days. Had a consistent 15-20 mph headwind all day. The weather forecasters are calling for the winds to reverse and start coming from the north. Thank god. Man, , there was absolutely nothing from odum to folkston. we went without any substantial lunch, and I paid the price for it the last ten miles. I was a hurting puppy until we pulled into town and spotted the red dairy queen emblem. ahh blessed relief. I devoured the large tea and blizzard. just what the bod needs. yeah
"18:40" "DAY 18 57MI 5:00
What an awesome day. Temps in the 80s and a tailwind most all day. The only trouble came when john tried to take a short cut. We probably saved 3 miles but cost a half an hour. The map showed a paved road called rowe cutoff. Well it was not paved. In fact it was 2-6 inch deep sand. I would slip and slide all over the road and then just fall (15k) over. I ended up just walking half of it. Some shortcut. Bonehead."
(Its pretty funny now. Wasn't then :)
"15:52" "DAY 19 67MI 4:22
What a great day. Felt like I was pedaling downhill all day. Getting ready to go see the fort. Camping at anastasia state rec area. Nice right on the beach. Pricy though. $16. You would think it would be a little less."
"21:21" "The castillo de San marcos was pretty cool. Very old and very well built. It was never taken. Built from coquina, a sedimentary rock that contains seashells. the cannonballs fired into it were either absorbed or bounced off."(A view looking down into (27k) the fort. And a view from outside. (26k) If your ever in that area check this place out. Very cool.)
"21:26" "The funniest thing today was John getting stopped by a police officer. We were riding in this pedestrian square that didn't allow cycling. Of course I saw the sign and john didn't. Hee hee. Actually I rode the bike anyway until several people gave me some hints. So then I decide to just walk and about that time Smiley is feeling the heat from a jelly doughnut eatin long arm of the law. :)
Another funny thing today was me. we were coming through the guava state park on A1A when I started to feel dizzy. john gave me some crackers and at the exact second I stick the cracker in my mouth a bee flies into my mouth. I get stung in the lip and start spitting out crackers. I'm dizzy, my lips are numb, and I have this half eaten insect buzzing around my belly. I couldn't do anything but laugh"
"21:39" "I can hardly believe tomorrow is our last day. Almost 3 full weeks. Wow. Well I'm definitely ready to go home. I have had a blast but I'm ready to sleep in my own bed. Funny, I don't really feel like I have accomplished any big feat. I do feel pretty good after all that exercise. but I don't think I did anything amazing. kind of feel like just another tourist out traveling around except I'm doing it on a bike. some days are good, some days are hard, but nothing that couldn't be done by anyone else if they just tried. that's why I hate to hear people say "I could never do anything like that" or "I wish I could do that." bullshit. anybody can do it. just get a bike and go. nothing more to it than that. your body will adjust. I wonder if I can adjust to not having blizzards and yoo-hoos?
"07:34" "ZIP AHH DEE DOO DAA. ITS THE LAST DAY!!"(Wanna see the countdown?
"12:14" "DAY 20 67MI Don't know how long it took don't care
The thrill of victory! The agony of de feet. We made it!! Beautiful downtown Daytona. Now we have to figure out how to get to the airport without risking life and limb. The ride down A1A was incredible. Had a great view of the ocean almost the whole way. Not very crowded away from the cities. "
"14:12" "We have devoured our required fast food cheeseburgers. Mmm good.
John says our total mileage 1280. I have no reason to doubt him. "
"DAY 21 Day off.
Slept late and lounged around the pool. I can do that now. "
"15:21" "DAY 22 Another Day Off.
"Slept in late watched Saturday morning cartoons then got crushed in a brutal game of miniture golf. The life of a slacker is no easy task!"
"16:45" "Waiting to get on the plane. I thought I was going to have to ship the bike back one piece at a time. I don't think I have ever seen more children waiting to get on a plane ever. I have a feeling this is really going to suck. I hope the bike makes it back OK. It is going to need some serious TLC when I get home."
"18:30" "So I'm flying home. Takes 2 hours on a plane what took me 3 weeks on a bike. Three weeks to the day from when I left. Quite an adventure. Many little things I might never remember. 3 weeks is a long time for a vacation. I could get used to it very quickly. I'm glad I followed through and did the trip. Something I will always think of fondly. It will be good to get back home. Back to the routine. I hope I can do something like this again someday. I would still like to cycle across the country. That is a long time. I will definitely do it. Someday. "
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