Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Our 10th day of biking was one of our best yet. We started by having breakfast at our hotel in Asheboro - a good thing, too, since we biked for 25 miles before seeing a restaurant. We rolled into a gas station in Troy, NC to use the restroom and ask where we could find something to eat and we immediately drew a crowd. All the guys hanging around the station came right over and started asking us a million questions about our bike and our trip. They pointed us down the road a little further and we stopped at a fast food place called Bojangles for an early lunch. (Sari especially liked their biscuits; she's been enjoying the yummy NC biscuits every chance she gets). We had noticed the back tire had a slow leak and had to pump it up again after lunch. Pat didn't want to spend the time to take the bike all apart to change the tire. The tire continued to give us trouble and after pumping it up again for about the 3rd time in a couple of hours, Pat decided maybe it was better to change it after all. By this time, we were in another town, Mt. Gilead, so we rolled into another gas station, took everything off the bike, and proceeded to change the tire. This operation also attracted several interested bystanders. Gas stations seem to be social centers in this part of the country. In taking the tire off, Pat noticed the tire was getting very threadbare (it was a fairly old tire and we knew it would need replacing fairly soon). So, we ended up changing both the tire and the inner tube. We were glad that we brought 2 spare tires along, since we haven't been able to find a bike shop since we left Washington, DC. We were on the road again in an hour, much relieved that we didn't have to worry about the tire any longer.
It was another sunny, warm day without much wind and the hills didn't seem as bad as they had yesterday. The wind did get stronger in the afternoon, as it generally has been doing, and Wadesboro had 3 big hills one right after the other just before we turned toward our hotel. The last hill got up to a 9% grade at the end - we just barely made it. The best news, though, was that even with changing the tire, we still made it to the hotel by 4 pm - our earliest time so far this trip. It was a relatively short day; we covered 58.5 miles in 5 and 1/4 hours of bike time, our best average time since we left the flat lands of Delaware. We unloaded, showered, and strolled into town for dinner. Wadesboro turned out to be a lovely little town. It appears to be the county seat for Anson County so there were a number of impressive historic buildings downtown. We're looking forward to an early bedtime. Tomorrow we cross into South Carolina, our 7th state.
We see more flowers every day. Today there were some camellia plants and what I think were azalea bushes. The bushes seem scruffier than the ones I'm used to seeing but the flowers looked like azaleas. We also passed some large fields of what looked like purple clover. Our guess was that they were planted to restore the soil nitrogen. Very pretty at any rate. We saw a lot of logging trucks again today, always filling the air with the scent of fresh pine. Logging seems to be one of the major industries around here. They seem to be logging sustainably as far as we can tell. We saw a number of areas that had been cut, but most of them were full of new growth. Pine trees grow pretty quickly, apparently.
One other little interesting tidbit about this area. We started noticing a strange sound whenever we'd pass by some woods or streams in VA and they've continued in NC. It was sort like a cricket sound but louder and a little throatier. We decided they must be little frogs - and it turns out they are called spring peepers, as we guessed.