Read Journal HereNumber of Journal Entries online: 8
|Day 11 - Wednesday, Aug 30th - Washington DC - Off day!!
|Today is the 1st offday of the tour in Washington DC. It�s also the longest stretch many have gone riding consectutive days on the bike without a break. We�ve cycled 675 miles in 10 days. Whew................
DC is an interesting town with plenty to do. AND a little rainy........... But better to rain now than when we�re on the bike. Many folks took the day to see the SIGHTS, others took care of house keeping duties, catching up on laundry and writing postcards home. All in All a great day to have a break. Tommorow we get to get up and keep cycling!!!!
posted 2006-09-05 | 11:48:44 | article number: 1
|Day 12 - Thursday August 31st 2006 Washingto DC to Fredericksburg VA (90) miles
|As we head out of Washington DC towards Fredericksburg VA we now have five new riders with us. Ben, Norbert, Stuart, Marsha and Mark now bring the group up to 19 riders. Stuart has ridden with ABB before but this is everyone else�s first time with us. For two of the riders today�s 90 miles will be a personal record! Congratulations!
The first 15 miles of today�s ride was on a nicely paved bike path heading from DC to Virginia. We went over the Arlington Bridge shortly after leaving the hotel, around a traffic circle then right onto the path. What a great way to get out of this big city! I was amazed at how many people were commuting by bicycle on this trail.
Nobody stayed very long at the first sag stop since the day was overcast and rain was threatening. The cyclists wanted to get as much of this day done before the rain began. After a brief detour from our cue sheet we went down some quiet country roads down past the Occoquan military base.
At the second sag stop we could clearly hear the blasts as guns were being fired. Some of the riders who had been in the military spent the time at the sag trying to guess what was being shot off. Most of the riders only spent a short while at this sag as well since it was already drizzling.
Although it was a long day, everyone was in by route rap time. At route rap we discussed the possibility of having to shuttle to the next hotel since Ernesto was closing in. The ride leader said that this was a possibility but that we would have to wait for tomorrow morning to make a decision. Then we all decided that sitting around talking about the weather wasn�t going to change anything so we went to eat.
Heard on the road;
�Who wants to go down Carnal Road?�
�That road is Canal Road not Carnal Road!�
posted 2006-09-05 | 11:49:28 | article number: 2
|Day 13 - Friday September 1st 2006 Fredericksburg VA to Mechanicsville VA 50 miles by van
|When we awoke this morning the rain was coming down and the wind was beginning to pick up speed. Many of us turned on the television and saw that Tropical Storm Ernesto and our ride were on a collision course. We were headed right for each other. With the local schools closed, a flood watch, a high wind advisory and a State of Emergency called by the governor of Virginia the ride leaders made to decision not to ride today.
Although all the riders came on this trip to cycle, they realized that this decision was made in the interest of the group�s safety. All the riders were understanding when it came time to decide who was to shuttle first and even more helpful when it came time to loading the vans with bicycles and luggage. We shuttled in two groups and by 2pm everyone was in safely. Jim and Shane did a fantastic job of loading the bicycles on top of the vans.
Once into the hotel we thought our weather related difficulties were over. They weren�t. We were shuttling to dinner and the first group arrived at the restaurant just as the electricity went out. We waited about 20 minutes when the restaurant informed us that it was going to take them quite awhile to get the kitchen up and running once the electricity came back on. Shane found a shopping center a couple miles away where the electricity was on. It took some time but everyone was shuttled back and forth to this shopping center and was able to eat. At about 8pm everyone was back at the hotel safe and sound.
It looks as if the weather will be better tomorrow so the riders will get to do what they came to do. Ride their bikes!
Heard at the hotel upon seeing the weather:
�Hey Shane, did you get my email?�
�No, what did it say?�
�It was a reservation for a seat on the van!�
�Just because we�re not riding today doesn�t mean we�re not eating.�
�I should hope not!�
On another note:
The Ride the East staff would like to thank the riders for being so cooperative and helpful both during the time we shuttled from hotel to hotel and during the electrical outage. We all agree that you are a special group of people. We are grateful that you allowed us to keep you safe by acknowledging the need for and gracefully accepting the shuttle today.
posted 2006-09-05 | 11:50:08 | article number: 3
|Day 14 - Saturday September 2nd 2006 Mechanicsville to Emporia VA (91) miles
|The day started out with a light rain but the wind had died down considerably. Having missed a day of riding the cyclists were up early and ready to go. Today was another 91 miles day but everyone was feeling strong after the unexpected day off.
In the morning we passed many Civil War battle sites. There were plaques every so often commemorating events from this war. Most of the riders read these plaques as they were riding by because it was fairly chilly and still raining. Still it was an interesting area to pass through.
The rain stopped as we approached the first sag stop. After the sag we cycled down some very small country roads some of which still had leaves, branches and other debris that had been blown there by Ernesto. The sun came out as we sat at the second sag stop. The owner of a country store had been nice enough to let us set up under an awning and even use her picnic tables...ah southern hospitality!
The road flattened out some more as we headed into Emporia, however the headwind slowed us down just a bit. Some riders stopped into the McDonald�s for lunch, others hit the Quizmo�s next door to the hotel. At the hotel we said goodbye to Dave. He will be missed by all. And after dinner we said goodbye to Don. Don was not with us very long,
but we grew fond of him quickly and he will be missed as well. We are sure to see them both again because they are true long distance cyclists at heart and this is such a small world.
Tomorrow we get to sleep in. We are loading luggage at 8am and taking off right after. The extra sleep will be great.
Heard at route rap:
�The cue sheet says �DO NOT MISS� this turn. Which one can we miss?�
posted 2006-09-05 | 11:50:54 | article number: 4
|Day 15 - Sunday September 3rd 2006 Emporia VA to Rocky Mount NC 58 miles
|Even though we were not loading luggage until 8am many riders were at breakfast bright and early. I guess this is getting to be a habit and delaying the day by one hour does not seem to make many cyclists sleep in.
As soon as the luggage was loaded we headed out. It was already warm. After 14 miles we arrived at the North Carolina state line. Many riders stopped to take pictures even though someone had defaced the sign. The suggestion was made to take pictures on the way out just crossing the street and facing the North Carolina border. The days are going quickly; it is hard to believe that we have already passed through nine states!
We had just one sag stop today since it was only 58 miles but many of the riders followed Walt, Bill and Stu�s lead and stopped at Hardees for lunch. It was getting hot and we were also getting hungry. A few people decided to just get some water from the van and eat closer to the hotel.
Everyone was in pretty early and at 4pm we started our traditional t-shirt swap. There were many participants including Paul, Mark, Irwin, Roma, Anne, Bev, Jim C., Bob, Norbert, Cliff, Bill, Michelle and Shane. There were some very cool t-shirts up for grabs as well as some non-t-shirt items, specifically a bottle of laundry detergent along with a voucher to have one load of wash done and a bottle of hand sanitizer. Cliff ended up �winning� the hand sanitizer. Some additional trades were made post-swap but a good time was had by all.
Dinner was at a restaurant across the street. Tomorrow will be our only century ride of the trip. We need to get some rest!
Heard after the t-shirt swap:
Cliff upon winning the bottle of hand sanitizer after all the t-shirts were no longer in play:
�Well now that I have this bottle of hand sanitizer I can pre-sanitize for the sag stop and be all ready to dig in as soon as I park my bike!�
posted 2006-09-05 | 21:52:25 | article number: 5
|Day 16 - Monday September 4th 2006 Rocky Mount NC to Warsaw NC 102 miles after detour
|Today started out foggy and cool. We were very happy to keep this fog around as long as possible. We knew that as soon as it burned off the day would become hotter. We managed to keep it around until the first sag which was at the 36 mile mark. By the time the riders pulled in it was already about 80 degrees and beginning to get humid. As I pulled into the hotel my bike�s thermometer read 92 degrees. It was hot!
One of today�s stories seemed to be about dogs. Previously we had discussed different ways for a cyclist to rid themselves of a dog. Some people use pepper spray, some just squirt their water bottles at the dog, others yell at the dogs to �go home� or other commands and Roma even brought her �dog whistle� to show the other riders. Apparently she had bought it at a marine supply store. It is the loudest whistle that can be blown with the human mouth. Evidently it was designed to call from ship to ship but is also useful in scaring away most dogs.
Unfortunately we have a rider leaving us tomorrow. He had an encounter with a dog which ended in his breaking his finger among other, less serious injuries. Kevin will be missed by all. We are glad that you were able to come to dinner with us and hope to see you on other rides in the future.
Another big story was the mileage today. It was the only 100 mile day we will ride on this trip. Everyone did well despite the heat and most riders ended with more than 100 miles due to a detour we needed to take around a flooded out street. Even more impressive because we had three riders complete their first century. Marsh and Mark (otherwise known as M&M;) and Norbert all had great rides and will be awarded their century certificate. Jim C set a PR in a century ride today as well. Congratulations to all the riders for a fantastic ride.
Heard on the road:
�I�m not riding behind you. You scare me to death you ride so fast!�
�I should have learned my left from my right before coming on this trip!�
posted 2006-09-05 | 21:57:09 | article number: 6
|Day 17 - Tuesday September 5th 2006 Warsaw NC to Whiteville NC 73 miles
|When we started out this morning it was a little misty and everyone looked up to see some clouds threatening in the sky. The forecast was for rain all day so there really wasn�t much point in trying to leave later and waiting the storm out. Before everyone had gone 10 miles the rain started. By the time the second half of the group was ready to leave the sag the sky opened up. Many riders took shelter on the porch of the church where the sag was held.
The good thing about the rain was that it was not very hot out. Many of the cyclists stopped at McDonald�s in Elizabethtown but a couple adventurous souls tried �Andy�s� for sandwiches, it was very good according to Walt and Stu.
At route rap we celebrated John�s 69th birthday with some birthday pie. Happy Birthday John! We also said goodbye to Walt, Stu, Norbert, Mark and Marsha who will leave us in North Myrtle Beach. It was a pleasure riding with all of you.
At dinner we all sat and watched the sky open up. It was reminiscent of Tropical Storm Ernesto and we were all thankful to be in safe and dry. We shuttled back to the hotel to have a �bike talk�.
Jim and Shane fielded all sorts of questions and cycling and bicycles in general. It was an interesting evening that the riders will still be speaking about at breakfast tomorrow but, for tonight, it is time to get some rest as we still need to ride tomorrow.
posted 2006-09-07 | 10:18:32 | article number: 7
|Day 18 - Wednesday September 6th 2006 Whiteville NC to North Myrtle Beach SC 55 miles
|Although it was rainy again the riders� spirits were high as today was a low mileage day and we were going into a rest day in North Myrtle Beach. The ride was relaxing and uneventful except for a few street signs that some pranksters had decided to turn to face the wrong way. Thankfully there were arrows still left on the ground from previous years and the cyclists had the mileage and direction to turn written on the cue sheets. Not on riders was fooled by the misleading street signs.
We rode 44 miles before we arrived at the South Carolina state border. Chalk up another state for our group. The border was right next to a golf course which was kind of fitting because we were headed for Myrtle Beach one of the golf Mecca�s of the USA.
Soon after crossing into South Carolina our rural country roads turned into busier tourist attraction lined roads. It wasn�t far to the hotel though and we arrived there by passing resort after resort after hotel after hotel lining Ocean Boulevard. After checking in the riders were pleasantly surprised that they all had rooms with a balcony facing the Atlantic. Some took advantage of the �Tiki Bar� on the beach and some did their laundry. Everyone is looking forward to a relaxing day off by the water tomorrow.
posted 2006-09-07 | 10:24:41 | article number: 8