Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Week Ahead, the Months Behind

We've made it to Beaufort NC in 4 days of the worst weather we've had so far, but that's compared to 3 months of quite great weather. But we did get rained on for parts of 2 days, and blown around so much on the other 2 that we had to walk the bike over some long high bridges, and averaged only about 12 mph even when we were riding. But tomorrow we pick up a rental car and drive to New Berne, where we pick up Steve and Janet Sisson and bring them back here to Beaufort NC to begin 10 days together up the Outer Banks to Norfolk and Portsmouth VA. Here's a map of our route, which will cover about 250 miles in 8 days, not including whatever we choose to ride or not ride on two "rest days" in Kitty Hawk. As you can see, the Outer Banks are really "out there," far from the mainland, and quite thin. It's another of those mystic places we've heard of so often without really knowing what they're like. We'll report back to you at the end of our week-and-a-half.

Unlike Wall Street, we've looked at our First Quarter stats and are pleased. We're staying within our budget and we're enjoying ourselves more than we expected. Bike touring is such a nice way to see the country, but too many bike tourists, including us on some of our past trips, only see the sights from their bike seats.
We've been able to learn so much more about what we're seeing by taking our time and meeting such wonderful people. It's been a terrific trip so far!

We thought we'd throw in a few photos that didn't make it into previous blogs but which were too interesting to overlook, like the shells pictured above, from Naples FL, or this statue of boars in Greenwood Gardens SC, to remind us of our ride about 10 miles outside Savannah,
when we heard a racket to our right and saw two wild pigs driven into panic by this 8-foot-long red monster of a tandem. We rode alongside them as they crashed through the forest for maybe 60-80 yards until they realized that we had gotten ahead of them and were not going to turn them into pig meat.

We've been reading a lot of books (2/mo for Jeff, 5/mo for Louise!). Occasionally we read the same book, particularly the Palliser series of novels by Anthony Trollope.
We thought we'd call this photo "Can You Forgive Us?" for our habit of reading the same book at the same time by tearing it in parts as Louise gets started then rips off sections for Jeff to read. Hey, weight and bulk matter on a bike!

Some other images that we enjoyed were this tree having a bad hair day in Lake Wales FL, and the flowers in Beaufort SC covered in Spanish Moss.

The billboard in Monks Corner SC reminded us that we are in the South. We've shown you a number of stately southern homes, but this shot might be called,
"Honey, I shrunk the mansion." It was so small we doubt Jeff could stand up straight on either floor.

If you think some of our politicians are into kinky sex, check out these Muscovy Ducks. Poor Betsy there on the bottom would get her head dunked for 15-20 seconds at a time while Buster's tail waggled like a clock hit by lightning.
Talk about your wildlife - whew! On a calmer note, here's a close-up of one of the cudly little animals that you're likely to find in the bushes of your million-dollar mansion in Ft. Lauderdale FL
-- and that's exactly where we found this feller. BTW, he's about 4-5 long!

Now we're used to floating bridges in Seattle, with two in town and another over on the Hood Canal, but a floating bridge that floats away???
Here's one on the way to Sunset Beach NC. The bridge tender lifts the grated roadway up to make some clearance, then the entire center of the bridge floats over to the side 'til the boats get through, then it floats back into position. When it can. The day before we got there it got stuck for 2 hours, which was amusing for the residents since that's the only land connection to the rest of the world. Fortunately it functioned just fine for us both to and from the island.

We'll close with a sign we see a lot of, and think a lot of.
There are a lot of roads, we're sorry to say, where this is the only physical effort the community has made to make the road bike-friendly. We're kind of partial to shoulders, but maybe the signs help. So far, so good. Now off to the Outer Banks!

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