Wilkesboro NC to Denton NC - 83 miles
By Steve Rothwell
After an exhausting day on Saturday ending with a late dinner (where Andrew was snuggled by a lovely young lady while he slept at his table), Ed decided to let the guys sleep in until 7:15am. Our first stop was breakfast at a nearby dinner. Steve, our host from the evening before, decided to join us. Even better, he decided to ride with us for a few miles... over 50 to be more specific.
Steve had just gotten back from 9 weeks of cycle touring and was eager to ride. If he didn’t have to start work on Monday (he teaches at a local college where he helps high school dropouts get their GED), he would have ridden with us to Wrightsville Beach. His knowledge of the local roads made our exit from N. Wilkesboro easier and safer.
We rode out of town through a valley that splits the Brushy Mountains. I’d say that the NCDOT knew we were coming because the road seemed like it was recently paved. We floated over easy rolling hills, around gentle curves, and we generally dropped in elevation. We saw houses and farms on large tracts of land. The sky was blue and, as the day progressed, not a cloud could be seen.
The guys are strong and settled quickly into their cycle routine. I wouldn’t say that they were great group riders but they do know how to ride as their own group. I’ll assume that they generate their own sort of efficiency since they have made it this far and are riding at about the average pace for any similar cross country group. On terrain like what we rode over the last few days, it was common that they would slow down and bunch-up going downhill and then they would slow down and bunch-up again going uphill. The accordion effect may have been a ploy to keep adults off the back or to force us to the front to smooth things out. Either way, it worked.
Sitting behind or in front of the crew gave me a chance to take in the scenery. We all recognized that there is something unique about NC much like every other State’s uniqueness. As we pedaled down the road, it was obvious that we were in North Carolina. I don’t know what it was… the types of houses, the hills, the trees. It just looks like home. I’m sure the guys saw it too. Max even mentioned how it just looked like North Carolina. I can’t image how that must feel after 63 days on the road.
At lunch, Ed arranged for a place to stay through the Denton sheriff. One of the officers said that we could use his five acre property behind a local business. That put us close to a few restaurants and a convenience store. Perfect! Now we just had to get there.
The next 30 miles went quickly although we had to make more turns than usual. That resulted in the occasionally runaway cyclist who would be out ahead and miss the turn. On the positive side, little time was wasted and another mile or two is no problem for the guys.
The big challenge of the day was how to solve Ed’s clicking rear wheel problem. We don’t know what was actually causing it but to be safe, Ed ordered up a replacement bike to be delivered by Murph when he arrived to take my place. Once again, Murphy, Captain Logistics, made it happen.
I listened in on the phone conversation that got it all rolling… Ed: Hello, Murph. I need a bike. Can you call Dean and get one of his. Murph: Roger. Ed: Text me if there’s an issue. Murph: Roger.