Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day 10: Jacksonville to Southport

Route: Jacksonville, NC to Southport, NC
Mileage: 76 miles + 2 mile ride to dinner!

We set out to get an early start this morning and leave around 7am--but it was 8am instead, which is actually still pretty good for us.  I got up and folded our laundry and got us packed up.  Becca had prepared a breakfast casserole, and as someone raised by a Southern mother--I was pretty excited about it!  I grew up on casseroles and that is not a bad thing in the slightest.  Becca was also kind enough to help fill the fruit void in my diet and had grapes and cherries set out, both which are supposedly good for arthritis.  They also gave us a super sweet card that also had Logan's military and personal coins for Logan's Heroes in it.  They are so special and I will make sure to have them on me next time I see Logan--Log, you will owe me an iced tea!! :)

After we filled our bellies and Keegan had his coffee, we headed out to the garage to sunscreen up and get the bike loaded.  Sophia was the only kiddo awake, Thor, the Jordans' new puppy and some day service dog, also joined Chris and Becca to see us off.  We snapped a few photos and then off we went!!

We started out of the base and the headwind was STRONG!  And there was cloud might even say we were a tad bit cold.  It was a very welcomed cold, however. And I had on my super fancy new leg sleeves, so I was prepared for the extra chill of 78 degrees.  Brrr.

Because of the cloud cover we didn't feel like we were dying, nor did we sweat off the sunscreen in the first 10 min, so we rode for 30 miles before we stopped to reapply.  This time we hit up Bojangles for some iced tea, used their bathrooms and headed back out.

We decided to take a break and eat lunch in Wilmington, and I had yelped a place to stop.  I was looking for some lighter fare than all the heavy fried food and found the Blue Surf Cafe.  I got fish tacos with a mango salad.  Keegan got a BBQ pork sandwich.  It was a cute little place. And our bike was parked at its first proper bike rack :)

We didn't want to dally too long, because a few minutes could have meant all the difference to the next part of our journey.  We knew we had to catch a ferry from Fort Fisher to Southport, and I had looked up ferry times the night before.  They leave every 45 min, and we were pushing it whether we would just miss the 1:45pm ferry.  We had 21 miles to go at 12:30, and I was skeptical.  We usually average 15mph, so it would be pretty darn close. However, clearly we are both who like a challenge, so we went for it.  Keegan got frustrated as the road finally had traffic signals and we couldn't just keep whizzing down the road.

Shortly after we left happened.  We saw the Atlantic Ocean!!  We had finally made it to the coast!  No more treacherous inland heat.  Hello sea breeze, it was coastal riding from here on out!  I got all nostalgic because it reminded me of the beach town where my family used to vacation, Fernandina Beach (which we will be staying in towards the end of our trip).  There wasn't a ferris wheel there, but cute houses and boardwalks :)

As we climbed over a bridge we got our first glimpse of the ocean!

But wouldn't you know it, at 1:35 we pulled up to the ferry, only to see a sign that the 1:45 ferry was full.  Nooo!  Wait, does that make sense?  How is there not room for us?  I asked the ferry man in the booth, and that was just for cars, as we had gathered, so we were permitted on.  So we paid our $2 fee for the one bicycle and waited to board. Pedestrians and cyclists have to board after all the cars are loaded.

We were astounded by how many cars fit on that ferry.  There were older men directing the cars onto the ferry to fill up every inch.  It felt pretty claustrophobic for the cars.  Once all the cars were loaded, the people in the cars got out and went to the passenger area.  The ride was about 35 min over to Southport.  At one point we wanted to know how fast we were going, so I turned my Cyclometer back on for a second, only to find it was about 9.5mph.  We could so out-bike the ferry!  But soon enough, we arrived!

Ferry inside

Ferry outside

Jerk seagull who probably pooped on my bag.

Evidence of jerk seagull's handiwork. 

Jerk seagull's departure after I found out what he did.

Arrived in Southport!

It was just a quick 3 mile ride from the ferry to where we were staying.  We circled through town to see what was going on there and then biked to the house I had reserved on Airbnb.  Our host, Michelle, was waiting there for us and was super gracious.  She said she has done bike tours herself so understood our exhaustion AND hunger.  We showered off and she offered us yummy food.  She had the most delicious cantaloupe cut up, and cucumbers, they totally hit the spot.  She also had cooked some steak earlier which Keegan happily ate.  What a treat, we didn't expect that!

Then we retreated back into our room for awhile as Keegan worked and I had intentions to get work done, but, as always, there's something else to plan.

Very proud of his makeshift desk setup
We decided to hit the town to see Southport and get some grub.  Michelle had suggested a few restaurants, her favorite unfortunately closes at 2pm on Sunday, so we went down to the water to check out those restaurants.  We checked a couple of them and they all had 30-90 min waits.  They also were more like fish shacks so you knew you were probably getting fried fish and fries or the like.  There was one fancier looking place with lots of people waiting outside, but as we walked by we figured we would see what their wait time was.  Two spots at the bar had just opened up and we could get their full menu, so we did that!  They give you complimentary hush puppies--of which we had two baskets full.  I got a pan seared grouper while Keegan had several blackened things from the sea.  They also came with green beans that hit the spot.

 We got to watch the sunset which was beautiful and relaxing.  We walked over to the ice cream shop (obviously) for some much deserved ice cream cones and sat outside in their big colorful chairs, taking in the evening and all the commotion around us.

We rode back to the house (yes we rode the tandem in normal clothes!).  Michelle's son and his lovely partner were over with their dog, Tonk. Tonk knows how to open doors, so tried to let us in, but they had cleverly locked it for this reason.  They told us about how on several occasions he has opened doors and pens and let other animals run free--he is so animal rights! :) We had a great chat with all of them as we talked about our trip.  We gave them some of our stickers before we had headed out so they were able to find us online and donate as well, how kind is that?? Really wonderful people, we are so happy about our decision to pass through Southport and stay with Michelle.  Not that our trip to Sunbury wasn't enjoyable (minus the 90 miles to and from in the scorching heat and no A/C), but this Airbnb experience has been great!

Love this :)
Keegan has been working since we got back on a piece he is writing, whereas I have been searching for a place for us to stay in two nights.  We thought we might take a day off in Myrtle Beach (our destination for tomorrow), but we are feeling good and not like we need a day off, so we decided to break the 115 miles between Myrtle Beach and North Charleston into two short days because we finish out the trip with mostly 100+ mile days.  Today was so luxurious to get in early, and tomorrow is a short day too, we will hopefully be well rested for our final run.

Oh, and check it out!  We won East Coast Greenway's photo contest, so they made us their Facebook banner!  How awesome is that!  Our jerseys (and cause!) displayed prominently on their site!  What a great way to raise awareness during Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month (July!!)  Woo!

And with that, we shall retire for the evening.  We are over half way to Orlando and just over half way in our fundraising.  Please help us keep pushing to that $14,000 mark.  We have inspired so many families along the way that JA doesn't mean a death sentence, but what they truly want is a cure--and so we ride to raise $$:

No comments:

Post a Comment