Saturday, May 25, 2013

North Carolina

Fisher Island Ferry

 Entering North Carolina, we were thankful to be back in a bicycle friendly state.  After spending the first night in Shallotte, we rode to Southport and took the Fisher Island ferry across the Cape Fear River and along the river up to Wilmington, North Carolina.   Wilmington is an industrial port city.  Among other things we saw large piles of logs ready for loading onto ships.  Wilmington also has some beautifully restored Victorian homes but traffic was such that we were unable to stop and take pictures.

Marsh along Cape Fear River Riding into Wilmington

Beach at Surf City
From Wilmington we rode to Surf City and took a well deserved rest day after seven days of riding.   Our hotel was across the street from the ocean and we enjoyed two nights of ocean front dining.  The weather was good and we enjoyed lounging by the pool.  The wind was a little too strong for sun bathing on the beach.  We found the boat storage interesting.  (see the picture below)  We are not sure if the reason for the multistory boat storage is the lack of available space or protection against storm surges. 

Boat Storage at Surf City
Unique Island Formations on Road to Jacksonville
From Surf City we rode to Jacksonville and the next day on to New Bern where we narrowly missed getting caught in a downpour with thunder and lightening.  The following day we took a ferry across the Pamlico River and rode into Bath where we stayed at the Bath Harbor Motel and Marina.  The views down the river were spectacular from the deck of our room.

Ferry across Pamlico River

Bath Harbor Motel and Marina

View from Deck at Bath Harbor Motel and Marina
Clary Sage
The rest of our ride through North Carolina was mostly through woodland and farms.  We passed a number of fields planted with corn, winter wheat, tobacco, and clary sage.  Clary sage is only grown in Russia, France and North Carolina and is used to make fine oil used in cosmetics.  The corn was less than knee high, the winter wheat appeared to be ready for harvest, the tobacco was only a few inches high and the clary sage was in full bloom in both purple and white varieties. 

Field of Flowers near Ahsokie Inn

Thursday, May 23, 2013

We Survived South Carolina Roads

South Carolina and Georgia are beautiful states with friendly people and courteous drives, but the roads are terrible for cyclists.  The major roads have no shoulders and most have rumble strips which force cyclists toward the center of the road with the car and truck traffic.  Understandable we saw very few cyclists.   The Adventure Cycling route, which we were following, goes inland in Florida to stay on rural country roads through Georgia and South Carolina.   Except for our visit with Carolyn’s cousin Beverly on St. Helena Island, we took very few pictures in Georgia and South Carolina because of the rural nature of the roads.  We would recommend our cycling friends avoid cycling the eastern section of these two states.

Baptist Church in Robertville, South Carolina
There’s a pretty white Baptist church in our village of Big Bear, CA, that we always thought looked more like a New England Congregational church.  As we toured the south we have passed hundreds of white Baptist churches.   One of the churches we thought was particularly attractive with its black window trim was in Robertville,  South Carolina.  Robertville is also the birth place of Henry Martyn Robert, author of “Robert’s Rules of Order”.

Elegant House in Beaufort SC 
Our visit with Carolyn’s cousin Beverly was delightful although the South Carolina roads to get there were challenging.  From the ACA route, we rode routes 21 and 17 into Beaufort, a charming small southern city on the water.  

View of Golf Course from Bev and Larry's Back Deck
On Wednesday as we arrived on Data Island, Bev and Larry met us in their golf cart.  Dataw Island is a gated community of mostly retired northerners from the north-east and mid-west.   Their home is on one of two golf courses on the island and about a quarter mile from the golf club house.  Shortly after we arrived they drove us to a dock where they purchased shrimp from the first catch of the season.   

Shrimp Boat near Dataw Island
Thursday we drove to Savanna, Georgia.  It is a port city with a beautiful historic section.  We boarded a tram and toured the historic district.  Unfortunately it was raining so we didn’t take  any good pictures.  However we enjoyed the tour and pleasant lunch overlooking the harbor.   

Plantation Ruins Dataw island
Friday Bev and Larry took us on a tour of Dataw Island and an adjoining island in golf carts.  The first stop was the ruins of the plantation from the 1800s.  From there we rode past a water hazard and photographed an alligator.  We also toured an adjacent uninhabited island. Both islands are surrounded by saltwater marshes.   

Alligator Near Water Hazard on Golf Course
Marsh Near Dataw Island

Marsh near Dataw Island
Uninhabited Island Adjacent to Dataw Island
Hank and Carolyn Dipping Front Wheel in Atlantic Ocean
Monday was our day to finally perform the ceremonial dipping of the front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean.  For this we rode to Hunting Island, about 15 miles from Bev and Larry’s home.  In many ways the interior of Hunting island looks like a scene from Jurasic Park.  In fact, the Vietnam scenes from Forrest Gump were filmed here.  As we dipped the wheel in the Atlantic, Bev and Larry surprised us with a small bottle of Champaign and two glasses.

Hank and Carolyn at Hunting Island

Horse Drawn Carriage in Charleston
On Tuesday we drove to Charleston and took a tour of the historic district in an open horse drawn carriage.  The weather was good and Hank took lots of pictures.  That afternoon we toured the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier museum.  There were some interesting displays on the Yorktown but we observed extensive deterioration of both the carrier and the aircraft on the flight deck.  Clearly this carrier doesn’t have the same level of volunteer support as the USS Midway in San Diego.

Typical Charleston House - Note Door on Street Leading to Porch
Larry, Bev and Carolyn at USS Yorktown Museum
Larry, Carolyn, Hank and Bev on Our Last Day
Thursday we left Bev and Larry’s and headed north.  Shortly after leaving Beaufort, we passed the ruins of Prince William’s Parish Church.  It was partially burned by the British during the Revolutionary War and damaged but not burned by Sherman’s troops during the march to Savanna.

Prince William's Parish Church
The remainder of our travels through South Carolina were mainly through rural country roads interspersed with main roads which are terrible for cycling.