Whiteville to Wilmington
Mileage - 67.04
Ride Time - 4 hours 13 minutes
Average Speed - 16.04
Maximum Speed - 27.7
Accumulative Miles - 471.45
Accumulative Ride Time - 34 Hours 51 Minutes
Maximum Heart Beat - 121
|"USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial"|
"Trip to the Promised Land"
I had a hard time going to sleep
last night. It was just too hot! With the rain and the heat in the tent. I had
to close the tent up so tightly to keep the water out that there was not much air, it was like a sauna.
I was just laying on my sleeping bag. I dozed off and on till probably about midnight. Then I was awaken
by a deluge of rain. It really rained hard several times during the night. Each time it rained a hard shower
I think it wake me up. I do remember waking up and looking at my clock around 1:30 A.M. and the deluge
of rain continued. The next thing I remember was waking up about 4:30 A.M. to the sound of my neighbor
taking down his tent. I don't know why he had taken down his tent this early morning, I think that he may have
went home or the tent was too wet and he couldn't sleep. Anyway when I stuck my head out of my tent, his tent
was gone. Maybe he just had enough of this rain.
As I write this, which is about
5:30 A.M. this morning it continues to rain. I have now resolved myself that
will be the third day of rain and I will be soaking wet on my way to Wilmington, N. C. and the Battle Ship.
I will try to pack everything I
can from inside the tent and hope for a break in the rain so I can take down the
tent. This tent surprisingly kept me dry. I was well pleased considering the amount of rain we had the
last three days.
Oh yes, the other thing, I am
camped at the back of Whiteville High School next to four lane highway 701.
The traffic continued all night and to top it off I believe the Rubber Duckies tractor motor was running all night
and it was a few feet from my tent. I won't make that mistake again. It's a wonder I got any sleep.
This is the seventh day of
biking. Also the seventh day that I haven't shaved my head or beard. I just
to bother with it. I'm in my other world now. But it will be good to get back into my bed at home and I can
pamper myself a little more. I can also get back to the REAL WORLD, clients, phone calls, paperwork, etc.
Finally about 6:00 A.M. there was
a little break in the rain. It was still raining, but not as hard. I got
packing and took down the tent. It was soaking wet.
This morning riders were leaving
before daybreak. I guess it was last day fever. There were also reports of
flooded highways along the way. After three days of rain who could blame them. Believe it or not I left this
morning at 7:30 A.M. it was still dark due to the overcast skies and the rain. I left by myself. I normally would
leave camp with other riders, but at the time no one else was starting off when I was ready to go.
I followed the CNC signs out of
Whiteville and onto the main highway. Still no riders in front of me or behind
me. It continued to rain. I was about three or four miles from camp before several riders passed me.
At the time I was traveling about 14 M.P.H. The group of riders that passed me was riding about 15 M.P.H.
I decided to follow them to up my pace and I could ride at that speed and not get tired.
We continued on at this pace and
a couple of the riders dropped off the pace, but the two riders that I
continued with until the first rest stop was from West Jefferson, N. C. We rode on the road that parallels
Lake Waccamaw, this was a very scenic ride with all the houses and the lake views. And with the green swamp
on the other side of the road. Lake Waccamaw is the largest of the North Carolina bay lakes. We continued
with the 15 M.P.H. pace until the first rest stop which was at Lake Waccamaw Methodist Church which is
directly across the road from Lake Waccamaw. Certainly a good view of the lake from the church. They were
nice and offered us their restroom facilities. Thank God, it had finally quit raining by now.
I got ready to leave the rest
stop and the group I came in with was already gone. I think maybe they wanted
to pickup the pace. So I ventured on by myself, headed to Wilmington, N.C. After a short distance we made
a turn away from the lake and back onto the country flatlands. I clocked along at about 14-15 M.P.H. Just
enough to keep a good pace; for me.
We had about 65 miles to ride today and the rest stops were set-up at 15-30-45 miles markers.
About seven or eight miles out
from the first rest stop the thing I was dreading the most happened. I had
a flat tire and on top of that it was my back tire. Why did I dread it so much. I had never changed a flat
on the open road. I know you veterans find that hard to believe, and I do too. But no quicker did I have the
flat, than my tire repairman angel came by. Just like that it happened. His name was George from Winston
Salem, N. C. George helped me fix the flat and advised me to get a new tube at the next rest stop. Due
to the wet conditions the patch may not have sealed properly. We found a small (tiny) piece of glass in the
tire. I found out later that there were many flats on that stretch of road. Apparently there were glass
in the road on some point in time. I want to thank George for helping me out. I learned a lot and one thing
I did learn was to carry a NEW tire tube with me. Just as I was pulling out to get back on the highway, here
comes another rider with a flat tire. He said, "all is well," and I continued on.
The sky was overcast and getting
darker. A few miles out of the next rest stop the rain started coming down,
I mean it poured the rain. It was pouring rain as I pulled into the rest stop and lined up at the REI repair
shop to get a new tube put in the back tire. I didn't want to finish the ride with a patched tire that may go
flat on me before getting to the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial. There were several cyclists
in front of me so it was probably about a 45 minute wait to get the tired repaired. But just as my time came
at the repair place it quit raining and the skies lightened up some. Felt good. I had a new tube put in the
back tire and purchased an extra tube to carry with me. A lesson learned.
On the road again, headed to
Wilmington. I was riding along several miles up the road and a bike passed me
that their name tag said Morganton, N. C. I asked him if he was from Morganton, N. C. and he said, "Dewey if that you?"
It was my long-time friend Tom Coffey, which I had not seen for years. I had been looking for him all week
without any luck. He said he had been looking for me during the week also. I had seen Tom's name on the CNC
internet site and knew he was to be around somewhere. I just had not been able to find him in the 1000 plus
riders. Along with him was his son Charley, which now lives in Folly Beach, S. C. and is doing his M.D.
internship in Charleston, S. C. Not sure of all the details. The last time I had seen Charley was probably when he
was about 6 or 7 years old. He has now grown-up to be a fine young man. It funny how things happen. If I had
not started when I did this morning, and if I had not had the flat tire, I probably would not have seen the Coffeys.
It was that small moment in time that we met. One chance in.......?
We set out a pace of 15 M.P.H.
which is about where I had been most of the day. They may have wanted a
little faster pace. They seemed to be in better bicycle shape than me. About as soon as I had had all that I
wanted, luckily the last rest stop for the day was coming up. We pulled into it to take a short break from the
cycling. There, believe it or not the sun was trying to come through the clouds. For the first time in three days
it looked like we had have a sunny day. Tom replaced a tube that he was having problem with and we were
on our way. We were twenty miles to our goal as we left the rest stop.
As we left the rest stop we
settled into about a 15 M.P.H. pace and that was great we me. But after about 6
miles Charley started picking up the pace when we hit the main highway. The closer we got to Wilmington
the faster the Coffey Boys wanted to go. The main highway was 421 and it was a four-lane, but the right side of the
pavement had a nice bicycle lane, we rode on with few problems.
As I said, as we hit Hwy. 421 the
pace was picking up, it was 15 mph, then 16, then 17, then 18. I thought, what are
Coffey Boys doing to me? Do they not know I'm an old man. But I kept up with them. Then I hear some conversation
up front and the pace goes to 19, then to 20, then 21, then to 22. I didn't know how much longer I could keep the pace
going, but I continued to ride with them for about 10 miles which is when we hit the first bridge and I slowed
as they crossed the bridge in front of me. They slowed up and I caught up with them by the next bridge. I think there
were two bridges.
They stopped at the stop sign
going into the USS N.C. Battleship Memorial and I caught them and they let me
into the last 100 yards of the ride. I rode into the parking lot and what a wonderful feeling it was to accomplish the
the goal from Asheville to Wilmington, seven days and 471 miles. Thank God.
I quickly had someone there to take my picture as a memorial to the feat of "Cycle North Carolina 2005."
I located my baggage and set them
aside. In a few minutes my wife Martha showed up. She had arrived right
after I had gotten there. A few more pictures and I was on my way to the showers, fish bake, and what all was going
on at the end of CNC 2005.
My wife I spent Saturday night in
a bed and breakfast in Wilmington which was about two blocks from the
waterfront. We went out for dinner after dark on the waterfront. The weather was perfect and it was
beautiful to eat outdoors and watch the moon and lights.
As I went to bed that night I was
tired, but appreciated the experience. And oh yes, that mattress on the bed
sure did feel good to my aching body.
Tomorrow, back home and back to the real world.
Pre-Pre Ride, Pre Ride, Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, Post Words
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