Jacksonville, NC to Carolina Beach, NC
Today was an interesting day. Part comedy, part triumph, part folly with just a dash of suck. Lets begin, shall we?
I woke up at about 530 to a whirlwind of uncomfortably itching. These mosquito bites are going to be the death of me. I’ve had my fair share of bites from camping but nothing like this. It kinda of sucks right now but at least I have the photos so I can laugh at my self later. A quick google search this morning told me to try an antihistamine if the biting is severe so once I made myself a quick breakfast and packed up camp I headed to the convenience store and bought some Claritin. Oh, sweet relief! It seems to be working but then again it could be I was so focused on cycling that I forgot about them. I guess I’ll see how the rest of this evening goes.
The riding this morning was absolutely beautiful, the route finally took me next to the ocean and I was bolstered by that heady mixture of salt water and fish you can only get by the sea. It was really humid but also really cool at the same time, not altogether uncomfortable just felt odd. I’ve found that being up before the sun let’s me get a good head start on the day before any kind of wind can pick up (more on that later) and sour my mood. So with my belly full of oatmeal and my nose filled with the briny ocean air I knocked out my first 25 miles in about an hour and a half. I stopped for second breakfast (I’m like a hungry hobbit!) at a little park outside of Surf City. Bagels, peanut butter and honey topped with a heaping of granola. I’m really curious if these cycling concoctions I create really do taste so freaking good or it’s just because I’m a ravenous calorie fiend 🙂
At this point I had about 30 miles or so to my next stop in Willmington, NC. The first 15 miles were pretty rough on me. I was on a main highway, the wind was blowing right into my face and cars were cruising past at 55. It was not fun. By the end of that stretch of road I was ready for a break. My body was telling me that it absolutely had to have some chocolate milk. And a pickle. I feel like a pregnant woman with these strange cravings I have but it was oh so good. So with my belly once again satiated I headed south with relatively little wind, just a really long, straight road. Like mind numbingly long and straight. If it wasn’t for the podcast I was listening to I may have gone crazy.
Once in Wilmington I decided to reward my efforts with a big, fat, juicy cheeseburger. So delicious! While I was eating I got to talk with a pair of fellow adventure enthusiasts as they were checking out my bike setup. They are going to be starting the Appalachian Trail next month! Doing that is one of my 3 Adventure Time Bucket List items. Hope you guys have a blast!
So after my burger I was checking out the area because I was super reluctant to get back on the bike but, alas, I could avoid it no longer. It was only 12 miles to where I planned to camp but it was 12 mile straight into a blasting headwind. Nothing to it but to do it I guess. So there I am, minding my own business, struggling to keep myself above 10 MPH (and failing miserably most of the time) when I hear that unmistakeable chk chk chk that we all know and love followed by a deep, booming bark that definitely did not come from a wiener dog. I look behind me and this massive devil beast is right on my trail. I honestly did not have enough fuel in the tank to try and outrun him so I gave him the good ol’ bottle squirt maneuver. It shocked him definitely but only for a second. Panicking for a second I do the only other thing I can think of and hurl my water bottle at him with all the strength I can muster. DIRECT HIT! TKO! He yelped and backed the f@#$ off. I circled around and collected my ammo and continued on. James 1, Devil Dog 0.
So after battling the wind another 45 minutes I get to my campsite. Or what was advertised as a campsite… The place looked like the worlds most trashy trailer park. There were tent sites for sure, I checked, but it looked like people were living in them as there permanent residence. I noped out on that so hard. There was a state park a few miles up the road so I limped along at an extremely modest pace. Well turns out they were booked up solid because, as I forgot, it’s a holiday weekend. I wasn’t about to go back to Trixies Trailer Trash Tornado Target so I buckled down and found the cheapest flea bag motel I could find where I am currently at. All in all I’d say it was a great day. Life on the road isn’t always easy but it’s definitely exciting.
I planned on taking tomorrow off from cycling to give my body a recovery day but we’ll see how it goes. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike!