OBX Part 2

09Dec11

We left our campsite in Rodanthe, NC on the morning of Tuesday November 22 and beelined our bicycles to Avon.  Debi’s bike has been in need of some drive train work and the local bike shop we called was ready to help, we just had to get there before they closed.  On our way we spotted in the distance what appeared to be another touring cyclist.  It was then that we met Shane.  He’s from Norway and enjoying cycling for a few months in the USA.  We politely excused ourselves with plans to meet up at the bike shop that we were headed to.  He met up with us at Island Cycles.  After exchanging stories from the road we all realized we’d been on the same paths for a while, just barely missing each other.  We decided to meet up a couple days down the road in Ocracoke for Thanksgiving.

Departing from Avon with a like new drive train felt amazing! We shifted gears and pedaled to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse.  The tallest brick structure in the world. Cape Woods was our campground for the night in Buxton.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Wednesday Nov 23 greeted up with downpouring rain.  Thankfully there’s a terrific pavillion at Cape Woods so we moved camp to there and waited out the storm and made our coffee. By noon we pedaled towards Hatteras to catch the ferry to Ocracoke Island.  We love ferry rides and this one was about 40 minutes long.  From the ferry landing in Ocracoke we had to pedal about 14 miles to town on the other side of the island.  Without meaning to, we timed our ride perfectly with one of the most exciting sunsets yet.

It was super windy through Cape Hatteras

Bryan waits for the ferry to Ocracoke

Fun with seagulls on the ferry

Thunderclouds loomed over the sound on the way to Ocracoke village

Riding along

Epic ride and sunset

In Ocracoke the speed limits are low and all sorts of people ride bicycles, we fit right in.  We found a campsite at Teeter’s, run by Bubbie Boos.  With the confederate flag waving proudly we handed him our cash and set up for the night.  The next day we rode around town.  We found a restaurant serving a Thanksgiving buffet and made plans with Shane to eat there later.  Thanksgiving afternoon on the beach at Ocracoke was splendid. The sun shined brightly on us.

Dinner at D’Ajio’s had a southern flair.  There were seafood dishes like Oyster stuffing and Shrimp & grits.  We filled our plates as many times as our stomachs would allow.  It was so great to be completely full.  Us cyclists are almost always hungry.  It was so nice to spend Thanksgiving with Shane-his first in the USA.  After dinner we hiked out to Springer Point and caught a flawless sunset.

Dinner was tasty! (photo by Shane)

The trees at Springer Point-where Blackbeard the pirate used to hang out

Perfect sunset following a wonderful day

Beach ramp road 72 on Ocracoke

Unloaded on Ocracoke!

Black friday came and we stayed another day on Ocracoke.  The island was really drawing us in with it’s small village, friendly people and super chill biking.  We planned with Shane to leave on Saturday morning, catching the first ferry to Cedar Island, a 2.5 hour voyage then to bike 30 miles to a campground in Otway.  We saw another awesome sunset at the end of the day and the mosquitos were fierce.

Shane and Debi on the ferry

Bryan coasting after crossing a bridge on Cedar Island

Our tents in Otway, NC

Sunset splendor

On Sunday morning we said goodbye to Shane, hopefully we’ll connect with him again down the road in the Florida Keys in January.  After looking at our maps we decided to deviate from the Adventure Cycling Route and get a bit more coastal riding in.  We went to Beaufort, Morehead City and Atlantic Beach.  Sundays can equal tranquil riding and this one was perfect.  There were bikepaths everywhere and the shoulders were huge.  We pedaled a total of 49 miles and landed in the woods off a dead end road in Swansboro.  The woods were super thick and we barely were able to squeeze our tent in.

Watertower along the coast in Atlantic Beach

Bike Path outside of Atlantic Beach, NC

View of the Intracoastal Waterway in Swansboro, NC

Wild camping in Swansboro, NC

Monday Nov 28th was sunny as we dashed out of our campsite and headed towards Surf City, NC.  We had to ride around Camp Lejune, a giant Marine base.  The area around Camp Lejune was busy and depressing. There were plenty of gentleman’s clubs alongside box stores.  The highway we were on had a giant shoulder but the traffic was incessant and loud.  We crossed over to Topsail Island and biked another section of NC coast.  We pulled in to Lanier’s Campground in the late afternoon and set up our tent ready to deal with an impending deluge later that night.

Tuesday we left Lanier’s in the rain and rode 54 miles through Wilmington out to Carolina Beach State Park.  Wilmington was challenging to ride through.  We had a close encounter with a garbage truck that just about ran us down.  We didn’t linger in Wilmington, it looked like a nice enough place, just a bit scary to bike through. We barely made it to Carolina Beach State Park by dark.  We found the park to be over staffed and inefficient.  Honestly, it seems crazy that we pay the same rate as a vehicle. We’re finding this in most State Parks that we’ve been to.  Where have all the primitive campsites gone? We don’t need water or electricity every time.  We watched with dismay as countless park employees drove large pick up trucks around and around the campground that only had us and one other camper.  It seemed wasteful and lazy. We hate to feel like we’re paying for park employee’s gasoline every time we stay at a state park lately.

Wednesday morning November 30th we high tailed it out of Carolina Beach State Park and went to another ferry crossing-Fort Fisher to Southport.  We had some time to kill before the ferry so we stopped at a general store for a snack and some very pushy birds moved in on our bikes while we were eating.  We hung out at the fort for a while and enjoyed the scenery before getting on the ferry.   We landed in Southport and stocked up on some groceries.  Traffic picked up so much so that we dashed off the road to find a campsite around 4pm.  We later learned that we were on one of the worst roads in NC.  The next morning we woke up with frost all over our bikes.  Once the sun started thawing everything out we packed up and went a short distance to stay with our friend David’s daughter Kim and her husband Eric and their daughter Mackenzie in Supply, NC.  They were wonderful hosts and the bed in the guest room felt oh so good. Thank you so much for having us!

I'm watching you!

Windblown trees at Fort Fisher

Debi riding at Fort Fisher

Leaving Fort Fisher

And that sums up the rest of NC.  We spent about 2 weeks navigating the coast.  It was a terrific experience!

B+D

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One Response to “OBX Part 2”

  1. 1 Kate Cross

    The “super windy” photo would make a lovely watercolor! Glad to see you are both doing well and enjoying life!


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