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Head to Head Complete

First of all, let me just start off by saying thank you to all who supported, helped and encouraged me along the whole 550 miles of my trip.  I really appreciated the text messages, the IM’s and just reaching out to me to let me know you were thinking of me.  It made those long days of riding a little bit easier.  It has been nice to have a few days home recouping from my trip.  All parts of my body are feeling better especially my buttocks. My bruises are darkening into a nice deep purple color from Monday’s wreck. The welts from the  hives went away yesterday only leaving a little itch and red spots, and my fingers are slowly getting their feeling back into them.  So all is going well.  I can’t say the same for my bike though. My poor Cannondale probably has seen her last mile in Hilton Head.  The stick that got lodged in-between the wheel and her frame, unfortunately, ended up cracking and denting her.  I don’t think it is repairable.  I will take her into the shop in a few weeks to see how much damage was done.  A very sad ending for me if I can’t ride my bike again.

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I have been trying to sum up the entire trip into a few short paragraphs but keep coming up empty.  So let me just highlight a some things.

  • NC has better roads to cycle on than SC even in city traffic.
  • there are more women who mow their lawns in NC than SC
  • if you need a bungee cord, don’t buy one, go to the shoulder of any road and you are bound to find one
  • sticks are dangerous to ride over
  • YouTube is the bomb when you need to learn how to change a back wheel tire
  • Fort Fisher has the coolest wind-blown trees
  • don’t leave your hotel room without your water bottles or cycle gloves
  • remember to take your purse with you out of a restaurant
  • put your cell phone down and talk to people, you will hear interesting stories
  • Mophie powerstation XL is the bomb!  I never lost battery power to my cell phone once through a long day of ridding
  • RidewithGPS is a great app!  Get it if you cycle a lot.
  • when planning a route, stay on roads, not gravel timber roads… Jeez-o-pete
  • soft gravel roads swallow thin road tires so if you’re going to be an idiot and test whether or not you can ride on it make sure you  unclip first
  • Cravings along the ride:  coke (and I don’t drink soda’s), fish, peanut butter and oranges
  • Mojo cranberry and blueberry cliff bars are the best
  • favorite sounds:  birds in the morning and Cicadas.  It was nice to focus on the Cicadas when the hum of the traffic got to be too much.
  • favorite smells:  the salt water marsh, the country air, and my dinner
  • least favorite smells: diesel, riding through a neighborhood on trash pickup day, and roadkill
  • largest roadkill: big buck… poor guy
  • coolest roadkill: black and red very large snake
  • most subways I have eaten in years!  I hate cold-cut sandwiches
  • Best hotel: Town and Country Inn in Charleston
  • songs I sang the most: Queen’s I want to Ride my Bicycle when I was trying to talk myself into keep going. Also lots of songs my mom taught me growing up that my sisters and I sang in church.  Funny  how they just pop into my head.
  • favorite beach town: Carolina beach, NC thru Kure Beach. it was clean and  quiet and not touristy
  • favorite section of the ride: Nags Head to Cedar Island.  It was the best part of the whole trip.
  • Quaint little town:  Ocracoke hands down.
  • Person I thought of most:  My Mom.  She is on her own adventure in Israel.  Wondering constantly how she is and what she is doing and if she is safe.
  • Places I would return:  The Outer Banks, Wilmington and down to Fort Fisher and Sunset Beach
  • Scariest moment:  Falling after a thick stick got caught in my back wheel during heavy traffic in Hilton Head
  • Best days of riding:  Day 1 and 2, Day 3, Day 6 and Day 8
  • Worst days of riding: Definitely Day 7 then Day 9 with Day 5 coming in last
  • I had more good days than bad
  • Would I do this again?  Not this route because I have already done it.  There are more roads to cycle and lots more places I want to go.  If I had to do this trip again, I would take a different route only because my objective changed when I crossed into SC which was JUST COMPLETE TRIP.  If I took all my little side trips to see different plantations, church ruins, beaches and had more time to sightsee, then the route would have to stay the same to get to those places.  But I could have cut out Myrtle Beach and Charleston and gone inland and felt safer with less busy roads.
  • I knocked off 50 plus miles by cutting out side roads because I just wanted to get to Hilton Head.
  • Longest day riding, Day 9 with between 98-100 miles.  I forgot to start my GPS  and restart my Garmin so I will just call it at 100 after looking at the map and adding the miles I missed.
  • shortest day: Day 2  Spent time sightseeing with Scott and then rode 22 miles to Hatteras
  • Best place to eat:  for Breakfast: Orange Blossom Bakery and Cafe in Buxton, NC.  Best biscuits EVER! for dinner: Max’s Pizza Company  Everything is homemade and the service is great!  Owner is a wonderful person!  Love her!
  • Favorite and safest bridge:  Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge in Charleston.
  • Worst bridges:  Going into Hilton Head, and going into Georgetown… scared me to death!
  • Favorite road:  Cedar Island Rd.  From Cedar Island Ferry to Stacy.  It was so peaceful.  Little to no cars, Marsh on both sides of the road, sunset on one side and moon rise on the other.  The colors were amazing that night and the sounds of the Marsh took me away to some Nicholas Sparks novel.  It was a great ride.
  • Best time off the bike:  Seeing the wild horses with Scott in the Corolla, NC and spending the weekend with Derek and family in Charleston.
  • roads I would ride a gain in a heartbeat even with the traffic:  OBX after Nags Head.
  • Will I do another long trip?  Absolutely!
  • Would I recommend this route?  Only if sightseeing local beach towns is your goal.  If covering distance is your objective and not ridding down the coast, than No.  There is a better route that Adventure Cycling Association uses and I would recommend using that to get through SC.

IMG_8327I could probably go on and on, but I promise I will end this.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to go out and ride 550 miles and see two great States and meet some pretty awesome people along the way.  Even though I had a few really tough days, I love the self-development of  the journey.  Each new day brings with it new unpredictable and spontaneous challenges that aren’t always easy, but always worth it in the end.  I learn more and more about what I am truly capable of and where my limit is.  I love seeing new landscapes of the different towns, countryside, beach fronts.  There is much pleasure in riding down a road that is new to me.  There’s just something about feeling the earth move beneath your wheels knowing it is you that is powering the movement.  When you ride a bike over long distances you begin to accept, then enjoy, then crave a really good road. One day I hope our hard-earned tax money will go into repairing SC roads and make it more cyclist friendly state.  But for now, I just hope the Cycle Center can repair my bike for me so I can get back on the road.  Thanks again to all of you who have followed me on my journey and have giving me your  support, help and encouraging words.  I really do appreciate it!  You can check out my blog to catch up on how each day went and see some crappy iPhone pics.  Internet was spotty in hotels so I couldn’t keep up on a regular basis.  Thanks again!

Now on to another adventure today as I leave for the Great Smoky Mountains to meet some friends to go shoot Fall colors and smell crisp clean air.  I’m so excited!  Picture to follow I promise.

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