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Day #9

It's day 9, and I'm at the northern tip of North Carolina.

While we were in SC, we met a ex-marine preacher traveling from Daytona, FL to somewhere in TN. He was traveling 60-100 miles/day on a Walmart-special Mongoose with a milk crate zip-tied behind the seat, a single bottle of water, and no helmet. God must have been with him to make it all the way to SC, but he sure 1-uped us!

2 days ago I was going up a minor incline in Whitmire, SC when I snagged a stick that logged itself in my rear derailleur. It chewed some teeth out of the gear, completely snapped off the hanger, and left the metal in my derailleur incredibly twisted beyond repair (see below for photos). Obviously, the bike was rendered useless, but the nearest bike shop wasn't for another 30 miles out in Spartanburg. So, we did the only thing we could--stuck out or thumbs and hoped for the best. After a cop (without the necessary means to haul 2 bikes) came by and wished us the best of luck (we were worried about hitchhiking laws, but it seemed to be a non-issue), we waited another half-hour or so for Butch Pressley to give us a ride around the corner to the nearest gas station. Furthermore, Butch was gracious enough to make some calls and get us in touch with Dan Boozer--an avid cyclist in the area who took us all the way to The Great Escape in Spartanburg. $95 later, my bike was as good as new! I also learned that the quick-release on my rear wheel had been installed (by the Orange Cycle retailer in Orlando) on the cog side, which could have contributed to the accident to begin with. Thanks again to Butch, Dan, and everyone else!

Here's all the photos from South Carolina:

After the repairs were complete, we spent our first night in North Carolina with my Aunt Barbra--where we took our first real showers and slept inside for the first time in 6 days. Between the delicious, hardy meals, air conditioning, running water, beds, clean clothes, and jacuzzi, we were happily spoiled. I can't thank you enough Barb!

Today was certainly the most physically and mentally exhausting day yet, and--as others have agreed--it'll probably be worst of the entire trip. The worst was Globe Road leading up to Blowing Rock. It was (to the best of my powers of estimation) several miles up mountainous climb at an average of 15% incline on dirt/gravel. After a certain point, I resorted to walking my fully-loaded Sojourn--which was grueling enough! Thankfully, a very generous guy offered me a lift in his sedan for the last mile. I unloaded my bike, threw my panniers into the back, and held tight onto my bike out the passenger-side window as we gleefully cruised up to Main St. I think it's clear that the biggest mistake of my entire route is the selection of Globe Road.

When I got to Main St in Blowing Rock (which was a surprisingly touristy area compared to the rural BFE ride I had through the entire rest of the day), I started looking for a place to charge up and get a bite to eat. After such a grueling trip up the mountain, I indulged myself in a fully-loaded/every-vegetable-imaginable + tofu 16 inch pizza at Mellow Mushroom. While there, I talked to a local cyclist waiter who helped shave off some miles on my route tomorrow. On my way out the door, I met some extremely generous folks who--after asking about my tour--offered up their home for the night. Again, I got a hot shower, fresh linens, and I'm looking at a comfy futon for the night. I couldn't be more satisfied.

Here's all the photos from North Carolina:

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to scores of miles of downhills! It isn't long now until I pass through Tennessee & Virginia.


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6 comments to Day #9

  • Daniel Ginsberg

    Hi Michael. I'm sorry I just missed getting to see you before the start of your trip. It looks like you're off to a good start. If you want to take a 1000 mile or so detour, we'd be happy to put you up for the night!

  • Uncle Lou

    Looks like quite a workout!! But I think the West Coast is to your left....

  • admin

    @Lou My first leg was to head north from GA to VA to the Trans-America Trail--a popular route _designed_ for cycling cross-country. I'm typing this in the Demascus, VA library--where I meet up with the Trans-America. From here on out, I'll be heading west.

    @Danny Yeah, I wish I could have seen you in ATL, but we needed the time to prepare. Bad timing I'm afraid :(. The Trans-America actually finishes in Oregon--which I was considering taking all the way to visit my brother, but it's an extra 1000 miles that (again) time just doesn't permit for this summer :-/

  • David

    Michael we really need to work something out you probably wont be but a quarter day drive or so away(for me)..if you feel like you can i think you should head north..if not im going to try to meet you guys there

  • Eliott & Liz

    Where's Quinn in all this? Did he die?

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