Back to Day 29

3 PM

Sitting in Howard’s Bar drinking beer. This is just decadent. Today was a short day – 13 miles to the ferry in Hatteras, then an hour long ferry ride, then 13 miles to Ocracoke.

When we did our laundry last night, the socks didn’t get completely dry. The socks never get completely dry. But check out our awesome portable sock-drying racks.

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And here’s a cool (get it? cool?) way to dry our biking gloves in a motel room.

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Before we left Cape Hatteras, we took a picture of the lighthouse. We had to ride into the wind to take this picture, so I hope you appreciate it.

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The ferry ride was very peaceful. Cool breeze, beautiful water breaking over the shoals. Here’s a ferry going in the other direction:

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On the ride from the ferry to Ocracoke, we stopped at the Ocracoke Pony Pasture. Many of the barrier islands have native pony populations. On some islands, the ponies still live wild. On Ocracoke, the ponies pretty much live on a horse farm.

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We checked into our hotel and dropped off the panniers. Then we took the bikes out to explore the town. It’s amazing how nice the bikes feel without the packs on them. It’s also amazing that, on our day off, we are riding our bikes.

First we went to a cemetery. A British warship was sunk off the coast by a German U-Boat in World War II. Four of the bodies were recovered, and are buried here. That section of the cemetery is officially British soil.

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Then we went to the ferry office and found out that we have to be there at 7:00 tomorrow morning. Tonight will be an early night. Considering we started the drinking hour(s) at 2:30, that should be fine. After we checked the ferry schedule, we stopped for a quick lunch. In case you were wondering if gulls like bread…

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Since Ocracoke is the place where Blackbeard was killed in 1719, there’s a lot of pirate themed stuff here. I wanted to go to Blackbeard’s Experience, which, unfortunately, closes early on Sundays. However, since it’s listed as “Gift Shop and Exhibit”, it’s probably just as well that we missed it. I Googled Blackbeard and learned what I need to know. I have no need to buy a pirate hat.

They have a wooden pirate with the face cut out, and I really wanted to take picture of Dana in it. He refused. I asked what those things are called. He said “stupid”.

After I finish my beer we will explore the rest of the town. It’s tiny. It’s also the first place on the outer banks where we’ve actually seen other people on bikes. Granted, we’ve seen a plethora of bikes, but most of them have been strapped onto the backs of cars. But it seems that, in Ocracoke, biking is a popular mode of transportation. Not as popular, however, as golf carts.

6 PM

Having dinner at the Topless Oyster. I just ate 6 topless oysters. They were amazing.

After beer #1, we rode around the rest of the town. Here is the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Built in 1823, it is the oldest lighthouse still in service.

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And here are some historic markers:

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Spoiler alert: In the past few days we’ve met two ACA riders coming from Florida, both of whom told us less than nice things about the roads in South Carolina and Georgia. Bottom line: busy roads, logging trucks, no shoulders, small towns with no services. So I suggested to Dana that we somehow skip that part, and he said we should check the ACA maps and see what they say about those areas. Like what interesting stuff is out there on the route that we will miss if we cheat. So I looked, and the ACA raves about Charleston and Savannah. Unfortunately, the main ACA route does not actually go through Charleston and Savannah.

So here’s the current plan: we ride the ACA route until their alternative route branches into Charleston, see Charleston, then rent a car and drive to Savannah. It’s like 120 miles by car, and over 200 by bike. After we see Savannah, we drive towards the ACA route, return the car, and get back on route in southern Georgia. We will still get to ride on some narrow Georgia roads with logging trucks – wouldn’t want to miss that – and we will be on route when we get to the Okefenokee Swamp.

And to make things even better, we were planning to be in Jacksonville, NC Tuesday night, but my cousin, Cheryl, wants to meet us in Wilmington, and spend Wednesday there with us. Since she does not want to hang out in Jacksonville, she is going to pick us up in Jacksonville and drive us to Wilmington. Cheryl is the BEST COUSIN EVER!

With the miles we save on our cheat(s), we can ride all the way from St. Augustine to Key West without any time stress. I’ve been muttering for months now about how Dana snuck those extra 500 miles into the ride. I will stop muttering now.

On to Day 31

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