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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 3, 2011

Virginia Beach to Kill Devil Hills, NC
76 Miles

If you've been following my ride you know that I missed posting the blog the evening of the third. It was written and ready to go but we had a major change to our schedule and it didn't get done. I'll explain what happened in the next blog. I really can't believe that 11 riding days are behind us and only 10 more to go...818 behind us and 770 in front of us. If all ten remaining riding days are anything like today's ride it will be fantastic! The weather was terrific. Fifty degrees when we left the motel - and then it warmed up to the low seventies.

I am pleased (tongue in cheek) that I can report we got sprinkled on - so that I can continue to complain that we've been rained on all but one day! CrossRoads, our tour company, did this same "reunion ride" in 2008 - and they only got rained on once. But, days like today make you forget all the wet, wind, fog, hills and traffic.

About six of us rode together at a very comfortable 15 mph average. This gives us time to enjoy the sights and scenery. Plus, I took more pictures today than any day before this.

We're in Kill Devil Hills, NC. This, like the beaches in NJ and MD bring back a whole bunch of good memories. Forty years ago, the Darlingtons and best friends, the Horners, with a gaggle of kids holidayed right here on the Outer Banks. Plus we lived in NC for four years (in Winston Salem). We loved the southeast. I ran a mid-sized plumbing wholesale business that had branches in NC, SC and GA. We traveled all over this area and vacationed all up and down the coast.

Today we rode across a 2.8 mile long bridge from the mainland to the Outer Banks. Then we rode twelve miles down a street next to the Atlantic Ocean. There were houses on stilts on both sides of the street. So far I'v seen very little signs of damage from hurricane Irene...but I bet we will in the next two days.

The highlight of the day was touring the Wright Brothers National Memorial (part of the US National Park Service). Right here in Kill Devil Hills (not Kitty Hawk) is where Orville and Wilbur Wright did the very first motorized airplane flight. On a cold, windy December 17, 1903 they did four successful flights. The longest lasted 59 seconds, went 852 feet and hit a top speed of 34 miles per hour.

The Wright Brothers were from Dayton, Ohio and owned a bicycle shop (very appropriate, huh?) They had a passion for the idea of flying. They started working on it seriously in 1899. Part of their preparation for motorized flying was doing a number of glider flights. They selected the Kill Devil Hills area because of the wind, isolation, high sand dunes and soft landings.

Just think about it! From that first flight in 1903 we landed people on the moon only 66 years later! My grandmother, who lived 99 years, saw both of these events plus the inventions of electricity, cars, radio, movies, televisions, computers and so many other thing that we take for granted today. It really boggles my mind when I try to put it all in perspective. Yes - in my humble opinion America is the greatest country in the history of the world. Please let's do whatever we can to get it back on track. I want my grandkids and there kids to enjoy the many advantages and privileges that I have.

I took a short walk on the beach, got my feet wet and picked up the perfect shell to give to Carol. As I'm writing this (8 P.M.) I've showered and shaved and she's still working. Guess who got the easiest part of this tour?

Tomorrow we pedal on down the Outer Banks and take a ferry to Ocracoke Island - 78 miles of pedaling.

Get those donations in for the scholarship fund. Education is one of the most important things we can give our young people. Thank you!

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