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Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 6, 2011

Ocracoke Island to Jacksonville, NC
86 miles

Up at 5:15 a.m. - dressed and ready to ride. Packed and on the ferry at 6:30 a.m. Two and a quarter hour ride to Cedar Island. A great trip with a great breakfast prepared by Carol and Robin. On the bikes at 9:30 and off on our third longest ride to date.

The first 20 miles followed the Atlantic - and was really in the boon docks...very little traffic or habitation...very quiet and very scenic. The wind was at our backs and we sailed along at 17-18 mph. We actually followed the ocean almost all the rest of the ride. We went through a number of towns and experienced lots of traffic the last 40 miles. The roads and bike lanes were pretty good, but you still have to pay close attention to your riding and there is a lot less looking at the sights.

We crossed over the intercoastal waterway at least 5 times. BIG long bridges, lot of boats making their way north and south.

The weather was terrific! Sunshine all day! Mid 70's and that wonderful wind pushing us 70% of the time.

Tonight we're in Jacksonville, NC...the home of the Marine Base Camp Lejeune. As we came into town an passed a tall chain link fence that surrounds the base there were huge banners and sheets (yes, bed sheets) with a variety of "Welcome Home Daddy, Honey, Sgt." etc. saying we're proud of you and we love you. It was very moving. Once again I was reminded I am so proud to be an American.

Today was a long ride. I'm tired. But I recognize on this tour that I'm a better bicycle rider than I was two years ago when I rode cross country. I really can't explain why that is...but it sure feels good. I can ride in a pace line better, go down hill faster, dodge the potholes, hug the white line and do a pretty good job keeping up. I am very aware of the many hazards we face each day when we're riding. One of the gals on our ride got clipped by a side view mirror this afternoon. An older gentleman that was hugging"our" white line, driving a pickup truck truck just got to close to her. She managed to keep the bike upright, but has a bad bruise on her left side. The State police got involved and gave the driver of the pickup truck a citation. Carol stayed with our rider through the ordeal and gave her a ride in the van to the motel. She was very lucky. I too had a close call today...with a woman pulling out in front of me. She was on a cell phone and never saw me. So yes, we are constantly riding defensively.

The next two days will be a real challenge for yours truly. Tomorrow's ride will cover 108 miles and the next day is 117 miles. That will make a total of 312 miles in three days. That's more than I've ever attempted before. I don't plan to be a hero. If I need to take a bump (ride in the van) I will! My legs are doing real well, but my butt continues to be uncomfortable after about 50 miles. I have a lot of company on that score!

Picture #1 is of me giving the guys haircuts on our rest day! Number 2 is from one of the bridges over the intercoastal waterway; Number 3 is me enjoying a chocolate shake at a Dairy Queen 74 miles into the ride.
We're both tired - so will sign off for now!

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