June 1, 2019
Feels good to be ‘back on the trail’. However, it’s not without trepidation. With a rather daunting 4,930 miles to go I wondering what the heck am I doing out here?
Doesn’t help that I had some difficulties just prior to departing. First; just a couple days prior to making the 15 hour drive from Michigan to North Carolina a misunderstanding combined with emotions running high, I went on the search for a new driver. My Brother Dave was able to get some time off from work to make the trip. And thankfully everything has been made right with my original ride.
But wait… The story gets real good. Dave and I planned to depart on Thursday after he got off from work. Roughly 20 minutes before I’m ready to head out the door to pick up Dave, I get a text from my bank regarding a fraud alert asking if I attempted a transaction to XYZ for $424.79. Reply yes or no. That was a big fat ole NO. Then another text comes through saying a temporary hold has been place on my card and please call immediately.
To make a long story short the end effect is that was only the third fraud transaction, and as I type this nearly $2,000 is missing from my bank account. Called my bank on the way down to NC to start the process of filing a dispute of charges. Fingers crossed this story has a happy ending and soon.
With my daughter Emily’s debit card in my possession, so I would be able to live on the road until a new card can be mailed to me somewhere on the trail, Dave and I had an uneventful drive through out the night.
With the official start being Cape Lookout, NC that means I needed to take about a 20 minute ferry from Harkers Island. Dave and I made it to the ferry dock one hour before departure of the last ferry @ 3:45
Once on the Cape it was nice to meet the other riders, all 17 of them. After some meet and greet, swapping stories and some customary pics, I took a mini tour around the Cape. Made a stop at the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. Growing up in the Great Lake state of Michigan, I’ve seen dozens of lighthouses. But this however, is the first ocean lighthouse I’ve seen up close and personal. DAMN! That thing is massive compared to the ones on the Great Lakes.
Back with the group, we’re all hanging out under a big pavilion with some weather moving in on us. A thunderstorm made a pretty direct hit on us lasting about 10-15 minutes, eventually giving way to some sunshine.
Several of us decided to make camp either under the pavilion and some under the porch of an adjacent building, because more weather was expected. Many of the racers are traveling light, meaning no tent, just sleeping in a bivi sack. Since we’re under some protection many with tents opted to not use the rainfly including yours truly. It was pretty warm and heck, we had rain protection. However, one of the guys put the rainfly on his tent. Checking the radar I saw more thunderstorms heading our way. I thought the way the last storm came through, sending rain sideways, not be much under this pavilion will stay dry. On went my rainfly too.
That was probably one of the smartest decisions I’ve made in a long time. About 1:00 am storm number two came barreling through and it was a heck of a lot stronger than the last. With my tent door facing the oncoming wind I held the rainfly tight to keep it from being deposited somewhere over the Atlantic. In the mean time I could hear those in bivi sacks and those that opted to forego the rainfly making a mad scramble to the bathrooms. The outside of my tent was soaked but everything inside stayed dry.
Next morning we all had to be packed and ready for a 7:00am ferryboat departure from the Cape. Being the first one off the boat I wanted it duly noted that at one point in the race I was the leader. With everything already packed there was nothing to do but to start turning peddles toward Oregon. However, for me a quick stop at the first convenience store for a cyclist breakfast supplement of chocolate donuts was a must do.
Today’s ride was about 90% on two-lane highway. I know I touted this as backroad/trail race but that’s just how the first 400+ miles through NC are for this route. Wasn’t until 42 miles into todays ride did I finally hit some dirt, but not before a guy in a car going the opposite direction stopped to tell me that the Yellow Tails were pretty bad and to not stop peddling. Well, I found out this fly he’ taking about is kinda like a fly we have in Michigan but we call it a Deer Fly. Can’t out run the damn things because they draft you, land on your back and bite. Also get in the stinkin helmet. Fortunately, just like the Deer fly, they don’t like bug spray. But application getting a 100% on your own back is impossible. Sucker were still getting on my back, but wasn’t too bad.
All in all a good first day. Sunny, temp around 80 and light wind. Put in more mileage than I planned, hope I’m not going to be paying for that tomorrow. Decided to utilize a pavilion at a church just south of Maysville NC to put my tent under for the night. Should sleep well tonight, I’m whipped. Just hope the road noise from the busy highway doesn’t bother my sleep.
For those curious about where I am and where I’ll be going can log on and follow my progress through a website called Trackleaders. All the participants will be on the map. My flag on the map will be easy to find. It’s white and says SR. And I’ll be the very last one. Remember I’m ‘touring’ not racing like the others. See the link below.http://trackleaders.com/americantrail19
This ride is being made possible through the kindness of generous sponsors. I’m still a very long way from meeting the finical goal calculated to complete this 3 plus month adventure. Any donations, will be greatly appreciated.