Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 8: Sunbury to Greenville

Route: Sunbury, NC to Greenville, NC
Mileage: 90 miles

We (well, I) really wanted to leave early.  I was truly so worried about the sun, I would have started to ride at 5am if I had my way. But the bed and breakfast we were staying at didn't serve breakfast until 8am.  So I got up and and got us packed up and ready by 8am so we could make a swift getaway.  When we sat down the other cycling couple was already there.  They were lovely to chat with.  They are from New Zealand and are taking three months to bike from Key West to Montreal. Impressive!  They are doing some spurts each day and taking time to see the sights.  Definitely a better way to see the country!  But we are on a mission: speedy awareness!

Breakfast consisted of mostly bread products--multiple pieces of toast each, croissants, strudel and some frosted mini wheats.

She brought out a small plate of eggs for each couple to share.  So I had both my and Keegan's bananas and a half plate of eggs.  Keegan doesn't eat much in the morning, but still, we had burned so many calories the day before and our string cheese dinner didn't really satiate us the night before.  But we would make do.  After breakfast we loaded the bike and headed out (but not before a few pics with our innkeeper and the bicycle first!).

With the innkeeper, Brenda

We set out and as soon as we got out of rang of the wifi, lost service...for pretty much the remainder of the ride.  We were seriously in the middle of nowhere.  Luckily, and I don't understand it, but our Google map navigation continued to work.  It must be getting a satellite feed--which we were very thankful for.  We didn't think we would ever be so far off the grid but we were wrong!  And hear our New Zealand friends had paper maps and turn sheets and we thought that was outdated--ha! It's funny, when the navigation doesn't have a cell signal, it still knows where you are, but won't talk (eg. "In 1000 ft, turn left"), it just makes a beep.  So I watched the map till we got service, which turned out being never.

We were bored so we tried to race this tractor.  It had a head start, but we caught up to it before it turned.
We were on a back country road the whole time.  Every 15 miles or so we would see a sign for a town and we would get there and there would be a fork with an arrow pointing away to where the town was.  Since we didn't have cell service and didn't want to risk losing our directions, we trudged on.

We wondered how anyone survived out in the no-service world--I guess this is how you do it, get multiple giant antennas on your house.

After about 45 miles, we finally happened on our first gas station in Lewiston!  We were so excited because we had just run out of water.  I went inside to ask if there was a restaurant around and they all laughed and said the closest restaurant was Greenville.  Ack!  That was our destination (90 miles from where we began).  Well, seeing as we had no other options, we had to eat there.

Trying to hide in the shade whenever possible!

We brought the bike around back so we could keep an eye on it as we ate our delicious meal.  Keegan got a BBQ plate which scared me. I was even too afraid of getting a sandwich because who knew the quality of that deli meat.  He said he regretting his choice as soon as they reached under the counter to get a scoop full of meat to put in the microwave.  It was pretty horrifying.  I wandered around and finally found a tuna pouch to make.  Pretty nutritious.  We were striking out on filling meals the past few meals, we needed some calories!  We thought the ice cream would be pretty safe.  And then proceeded to crack up as Keegan proceeded to open his and have it be disgusting and covered in freezer burn.

Lunch next to the motor oil!

People legitimately thought we were crazy.  They would see our bike and word got around we were biking from NYC to FL and they would come up to us and confirm that was the case and tell us how crazy that was.  At 95 degrees and 90% humidity...we were starting to agree with them.  We bought two extra water bottles to bring with us so not to run out and headed out for the second half of the ride.

A butterfly blessing my handlebars

There was absolutely no shade.  The road was flat and straight and it would have been a pretty nice ride had it not been so hot and miserable out.  The highlights of the ride included a bunch of swamps and tons of country dogs that came chasing us!  Dogs do not like bicycles.  And dogs off a leash that do not like bicycles come charging at you and we pedal like hell to get away.  We were chased by bulldogs, labs, rotweillers and even weiner dogs!  So ferocious.

Egret conference in the swamp--there were about 20 of them!

One of our many dog chases.

Otherwise, it was just hot hot hot.  Every now and again, very rarely, there would be a patch of shade.  We tried to find one every hour to stop, regroup and reapply sunscreen.  With our spare water bottles, I felt comfortable enough wasting some water and pouring it on myself.  It was just oppressive how hot it was.  I would baby wipe my skin down before reapplying sunscreen because it was just so slick and damp it hardly seemed like it would rub into the skin.  My little makeshift knee sleeves seemed to be working--I wasn't in pain while riding, but the rash did spread some around my legs, although no edema so that was good.

Enjoying a rare moment of shade.

We kept following the directions on the phone, which we used the walking directions as they were more direct.  Unfortunately, they led us astray.  We approached a grove of trees and got excited for the possibility of shade, only to pull up to the trees and see the road turn to gravel.  We were sure we'd get a flat if we went down that way, but we didn't know where else to go!  My phone didn't have any service, but Keegan got service for about 1 minute, just enough time to look up other directions down other "main" roads.

Headed into a tree grove!
Dangit--it's a dirt road!  Back to the sun and pavement.

Finally, after biking about 70 miles we got to the town of Bethel, thinking maybe we would get service or see a gas station.  Nope!  The whole town looked deserted.  No buildings or businesses were open.  Nothing.  We pedaled on and maybe 5-10 miles down the road we finally got our first cell service. It was then that we could actually edit our directions to our final location and then start to come back into life.  We really didn't see a town start to form until about 5 miles out from our destination.

Alison Imamura messaged me on Facebook a few days ago and said she'd like to put us up for a night in a non-shady hotel and offered to get us a place at the Hampton Inn in Greenville.  As we had struck out on finding a place to stay locally, we gladly took her up on such a gracious offer (thank you again, Alison!!!!).  And after a night on an air mattress at the B&B (yes it was an air mattress) and no air conditioning in the heat and humidity, we were thrilled to be spoiled with a temperature controlled room and fluffy pillows.

We rolled up to the hotel and I went in to ask them if there was anywhere to store our bike.  The three women behind the desk were all so wonderful and said of course, so I waved Keegan in with the bike.  We quickly grabbed our stuff off of it and they took it into the back for us.  Thank you, Hampton Inn!  I gave them all stickers to follow us, so if you're reading this, thanks again!!

Escorting our bike into the back

We then went up to our room to shower off the insane amount of sunscreen.  So thick.  After we were clean we set our sights on food.  We had fantasized about room service, but oddly the hotel didn't offer it.  We tried to call a few places to see if they delivered, but they didn't.  So we rallied, got dressed, and decided to go for a nice meal!!  We ended up going next door and getting a delicious filet mignon each with an asparagus risotto and a yummy shrimp appetizer.  Naturally, we got dessert as well.  We felt so spoiled and were so happy to be eating real food!

We have now been back and Keegan has been catching up on work as I am trying to figure out own next few days, check weather, etc.  It takes so much time!  But we are exhausted.  The heat is really wiping us out.  We wanted to leave early tomorrow but the longer I write this, the less likely it is!

So I will end as usual, with our donation link...just in case you haven't seen it!  We didn't make our goal yesterday to $7000, which was a bummer.  So just before we took off this morning I had been alerted that someone had just donated--it was my mom ;)  Thanks, Mom, for helping start week 2 off right!  But we still have $7000 more to go!  Eeek!  I'm getting worried!  So please share our donation page with a personal story about why this is important to you and your friends should care.  They might not care that I'm getting my tush kicked at times, but they may care why you care!!
Donate here:

Much love!

1 comment:

  1. Great job Jen and Keegan! The heat sounds so intense, but wow - your photo of egrets in the swamp is cool. I'm a huge fan of Hampton Inn while biking... especially cause breakfast is included and usually starts around 6 or 6:30 - it's so nice for getting an early start. Glad you had a comfortable night there!