Back to Day 32

9 PM

First day of a three-day butt break in Wilmington, NC. Cheryl picked us up in Swansboro last night, and we got into Wilmington around 9:00.

Today we slept late – aaahhh – and then we went to a coffee shop for breakfast. It felt so, so nice to just sit and relax and actually finish a good cup of coffee. Most of my morning coffee in the past month has been mediocre motel coffee, dumped in the trash while still half-full because Dana’s standing over me, clipping on his helmet, saying “Let’s go. We have to get going.”

After my wonderful cup of coffee, we walked along the waterfront on Water St..


Then found a ferry to take us the the battleship USS North Carolina. Cheryl went there with her kids when they were young, but wanted to see it again from an adult perspective.


We watched the informative 10 minute film about the ship, then did a self-guided walking tour. We saw the entire ship, including how they loaded the ammunition up to the guns, which I believe is something my father did in WWII.

It turns out Dana is very knowledgeable about WWII battleships. Cheryl and I had our own expertly guided tour of the ship. Here’s a picture which can best be titled “Dana Explains It All”.


After our return ferry ride, we started walking to a Turkish restaurant on Front St., and then Cheryl realized that she had never checked out of her hotel room. So we walked back to the hotel, checked her out, picked up her car, and drove back to the restaurant. The hotel was very nice about it. Whew.

The restaurant was delicious – kofte and falafel and grape leaves – and then we drove with Cheryl to a fish market. They had a spice mix called Slap Yo’ Mama, which I’ve seen in recipes but I can’t find at home. Cheryl will mail it to me.

This is Claude. He lives on a perch in front of a store near the hotel.


After Cheryl left, we sat in our awesomely air-conditioned hotel room for a while (Dana took a nap), then we went on a dinner cruise on the Cape Fear River. We were afraid it was going to be hokey, but we also figured Why Not? It’s totally different than anything we’ve done in the past month. And it turned out to be wonderful – good food, then a very informative narrative about the history of the city and the river. We learned about shipping, and about the Civil War. Boy, have we learned a lot about the Civil War in the past few weeks!

Anyway, driving back from the fish market, we passed through the historic district, which has a plethora of historic markers that I am just dying to photograph and share with you. And that is what I will do on Friday.

Friday??? But it’s only Wednesday!!!  Well, it seems we’ve gotten ourselves into a bit of a mess. Hurricane Arthur is coming through tomorrow, so we can’t ride. And Friday is July 4th. And the town where we plan to stop in next – Shalotte – is just outside of Southport, where I guess they have the biggest and best 4th of July celebration anywhere. So we can’t get a room Friday night, so we’ll be here in Wilmington for a while.

We are somewhat frustrated about losing 2 biking days, but we need the rest. At least I do. Hopefully my butt will have a chance to un-bruise, and the next week of riding will be more pleasant. Then we will be in Charleston, where we will rent a car to Savannah. There’s a lot of cheating going on here, about which my body is VERY happy. If any vacation ever needed a vacation, this is the one. Tomorrow we will watch movies, do laundry, and maybe get a massage. Doesn’t that sound like heaven?

On to Day 34