Route: Greenville, NC to Jacksonville, NC
Mileage: 79 miles
We had the best intentions this morning of getting an early start, but that comfy hotel bed was too enticing. We finally rallied and got to getting ready. We both have a ton of work that we haven't been able to get to, so I packed as Keegan needed to work on some things before we headed out. I went down and got our little continental breakfast and brought some back to Keegan. We then brought our things downstairs, kindly requested to get our bike out of the back, and headed out!
Our first stop of the day was only about 10 minutes down the road. We got to meet Claudia and her beautiful daughter, Ana. Ana looked like a rockstar in her Jackie O shades as we pulled up. She was a little shy at first, but came around when she got to play with a cell phone :) Ana has JIA and uveitis. They travel over 100 miles to see a rheumatologist at Duke. We also learned that she has a red tricycle and her favorite Disney Princesses are Sophia and Snow White! Every family we meet is so special, that's not just a line, it's absolutely true. I know so many JA families, and everyone's story is slightly different, but the theme and spirit of it all is the same. We truly do come together as a big JA family, a family I'm never embarrassed of!
After meeting them we started the real riding of the day. After yesterday's no-service day, I had the forethought to look at the route and figure out where to stop. Looked like we would hit two towns along the route, Kinston in 25 miles and Richlands 30 miles after that. So we figured those would be our two major stops. We couldn't make it that long in between though, we really do have to stop every hour (which is 15 miles) because it is so freaking hot. Today was even hotter than yesterday. I even went through my water before our first stop in civilization. We ended up stopping at McDonald's again, not glamorous, but we were craving tea and knew we would be able to fill water bottles and use the bathroom. We found some shade to hang out in, but the humidity was so intense it was still so so hot. I wanted a McFlurry, but sadly their ice cream machine was out of service for another 30 minutes (??). So they gave me 4 free sundae vouchers--score!! I can't remember the last time I had been to McDonald's--it's been years. We really don't eat fast food, but this trip you don't have many options and it beat just string cheese!
After that we had 30 miles till our next town. We stopped in a shady patch half way to cool off and reapply sunscreen. We had previously passed by the town of Tick Bite, so we made sure inspect ourselves after hanging out in the grass. Keegan did have a Daddy Longlegs--the most poisonous of all the spiders!--come on his handlebars. I got butterflies, he gets spiders!
Our biggest threat of the day--aside from the treacherous treacherous sun--were country dogs. We had a close call today. When we hear barking our legs kick into overdrive, but this one particular dog was speedy and on a mission: kill that spinning contraption and whoever is powering it! It was a medium size mutt, but it could run. We pedaled our little legs and went from probably 15mph to 27mph in seconds as we raced away. The dog caught up to us and had its teeth snarled and Keegan shouted "NO!" to it several times and it finally dropped back. I envisioned my leg being bit being in the back. Glad it didn't happen!
When we made it to Richland, Keegan originally just wanted a quick gas station stop. He then said he wanted to maybe get a little food. It turned out he got a LOT of food! He ordered a burrito at a Mexican restaurant that was the size of his head (we have a thing for food the size of one's head...see our Bike The Keys blog). I got two small tacos. But satiated, we hit the road for our final stretch.
Sadly as we started into a more populated rural setting, you might say, we saw a dead baby fawn on the side of the road. My heart shrieked (and, well, I probably did vocally as well). Then about 10 yards away, the mommy/daddy deer was dead in the ditch by the road. Where they hit or shot?? It was horrifying. I'm sorry you even just read that. We saw one more dead on the side of the road, but several yards in, a bit farther in our journey. It almost seemed like people were shooting them from their house and just leaving them. It was so sad.
As we approached, I gave the Jordans a heads up we were near, to which they kindly offered to come pick us up. We were on our bike so didn't need transport, but I realized perhaps we couldn't get close enough to them as the night before they alerted me they lived on a military base. Since our bike is so enormous, I didn't think they could even pick us up! They ended up meeting us at the main gate of the base and sponsoring us on. It was the first time they had sponsored a bicycle before! We got our passes and then followed them onto the base. I tried to crack a joke with the guard as we entered, but he was no nonsense and didn't laugh...joke fail.
We got to their home and were greeted by a flurry of activity! Sophia showed me her gymnastic moves. Jax told me about their heated game of Monopoly, and Logan's girlfriend, Sarah, was visiting from Hawaii, and we all chatted for a bit. Both Jax and Logan battle with forms of JA as well as lupus and are true fighters. Logan won 2014 Military Child of the Year (!!) and Jax is a super superhero fan and has a seriously impressive museum of Lego creations.
But, not wanting to offend anyone with our stench, we showered and did laundry while Chris grilled steak and Becca fixed up a delicious home cooked dinner--a serious treat after our miserable diet the past few days. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, we find the kids/teens (16 yr olds are not kids anymore!) had backed brownies and cookies! We were stuffed!
|Intense game of Go Panda...I mean Go Fish!|
|Jax only put M&Ms on one side because he didn't know if everyone wanted them--how sweet! But we did!!|
After dinner the kids whipped out Jenga, but not any Jenga--Red Sox Jenga!! Chris grew up spending his summers in Massachusetts and has become a Boston/NE sports fan. I felt right at home!!
|Logan, Sarah, Sophia and Jax|
|Me and Jax!!|
I feel exceptionally tired today, must be the heat. Keegan said he started to get chills yesterday at the end of the day (as I had the day before). This heat really takes a lot out of you and threatens to sabotage the ride. Tomorrow we finally start the portion of our trek hugging the coast. We hope to have a little sea breeze or some relief from this heat. And for those of you wondering, my rash is healing in places and spreading in others. But my new pants/leg sleeves arrived here in Jacksonville so I'll give them a go tomorrow! Here's hoping!
Ok, I'm super duper pooped. We are going to try for an early start tomorrow. We stay at a B&B again tomorrow and hope to get in early and try and nick away at the work we both have. Wish we could be more carefree on the trip but stuff needs to get done!
And of course, I will leave you with our link to our donation page. We could really use the boost! Donations have slowed down and we are really hoping to make it to our goal of $14,000 by the time we arrive! ya.kintera.org/jointbikeride