June 5 & 6
Another morning the sky’s are cloudy looking like rain and I believe they mean it this time. Catching the news at the restaurant the previous night, they did indicate for rain today. To add credence to the forecast a gentleman at convince store this morning even said so.
With everything all put away and ready to ride, there was nobody to say goodbye to. Felt a need to do so with all the hospital I was shown yesterday. Was kind of early yet and didn’t want to knock on any doors at this hour. Woke this morning with a feeling of nausea. No desire to eat at all but managed to eat something because the lack of energy will just kill any progress.
Most of today’s ride took place in the Uwharrie National forest. Please don’t ask me how to pronounce that. My legs were feeling the hit of previous days ride, but the hilly back roads of the Uwharrie really threw a lot at my legs. Today’s mid 80’s and high humidity was making the rest of my body protest too.
While in the National Forest I stopped at a nice little river crossing that had one heck of a down hill ride getting to. Nice quite little spot and took time to get my toes wet and have a snack. Just as I was ready to get back on the bike and head out of that little valley a guy stopped to inform me I had, one heck of climb ahead of me. Wasn’t bad but I did push the bike a couple hundred yards.
The batteries in my all important GPS died. So I know they are good for 5 days. Going to see if I can get a little more life out of them by turning off the GPS when I’m going to be stopped for longer than 10 minutes.
With my legs protesting at about the 40 mile mark it was time to look for place to camp for the night. Made a stop at the Badin Lake General Store. Was nice to take a break in the air conditioning and talk with Mitty and Chuck. They had talked with other riders that came through before me and we talked about my ride. When I showed them the route on my phone they gave suggestions where I might camp for the night and also told me about a bar with very good pizza.
Back on the road, rain was very imminent. Just as it started to sprinkle I came upon a gas station. I pulled in under the canopy and went inside to check the radar on my phone and to wait it out. Looked like this cell was going to pass in a few minutes. Had this kid quizzing me about my bike and ride. He was very friendly and I was more than happy to pass the time answering all of his questions.
Back on the road I came across Buddy’s tavern about 5 miles after setting out from the General Store. The pizza was everything Mitty and chuck said it would be. Sitting on that bar stool my legs were telling me they had gone far enough for the day. A quick check of Google Maps indicated a few churches up the road.
Ended up stopping at a Lutheran Church that I’m sure is no longer being used. Still being maintained with mowed grass and all. A shame its sitting empty. Very nice brick building on a beautiful lot. The pavilion out back served me well for the night.
Day 6 – Left the Lutheran Church with legs that surprisingly felt good. Was not going to take any chances and took it very easy. Was happy the sky stayed cloudy all day to keep the heat down a bit.
The only notable stop for the day was an old mining town now turned tourist area. Gold Hill had a lot of nice little shops that I could spend maybe a whole 20 minutes checking out, had any of shops been open.
I make many stops through out a day to fill up on water. Gas stations, churches, fire stations, etc. Any place with an outdoor faucet where I know they will not mind me taking a couple liters of water. Today one of such water stop included a fire hall. As I pulled up it must have been a shift change as a couple guys were walking in. Asked for permission to fill up. Had the typically greeting with one guy… hello, how you doing today, etc. The one guy tells me “living the dream”. How funny, he’s joking and here I am actually doing it.
Looking ahead on the map I see that I’ll be going through China Grove, NC. Those familiar with 70’s Rock will know that’s the title of a Doobie Brothers song. So, guess what I can’t stop singing all day?
Made a stop in China Grove for some food and do some looking ahead on the map. Also did a check of the American Trail Race Facebook page, set up for all the riders to share info. Caught where one of guys was taking about a reroute and mentioned he was going to get a room for the night. Decided that sounded like a stupendous idea. I was much in a need for shower, do some laundry and get a general good rest.
With a Google Map search for lodging up the trail my best options existed in the off route city of Statesville, NC. Going to Statesville will require my own little reroute, adding a few miles of peddling.
With known lodging in my future for the night the typical angst I’ve been meeting daily was not an issue and vastly improved my mood for the afternoon. I departed the route in the town of Troutman and headed north to Statesville. Just off the very busy highway was a nice bike path, Kinda meandering I wanted to make sure it’s route matched my destination, so I stopped to asked about where it ended. They guy I asked said “I’m sure it goes all the way to Statesville.”
Well, I’m definitely sure it only goes another half a mile. Had to take the busy highway the few miles to my destination. I’ve had ENOUGH of highway riding already. Most of the highway the route takes us is rural very light traffic, but I’ve had more than my fill of the noise, fumes, passing cars, and the occasional smell of rotting roadkill.
At our riders meeting the day before our grand depart at Cape Lookout, it was said the first 450 miles or so are on highway. About the time we’ll get tired of highway it will turn to dirt. Then we will definitely get tired of dirt.