Day 7

September 11th, 2010

Last night we left the pizza place, and turned on our lights for dark ride back to the campground. Dennis was off like he was shot out of a cannon, and while I could keep up, it was probably 50% higher intensity than I did when leading the ride all day.  When I asked later, it was as I’d suspected: he hadn’t even thought about how fast he was going; probably the lights made it seem like a commute home, so he reverted to his default, Dennis-Speed, which in metric is approximately equal to “asfastasicanpossiblygo”.  See people, this is what I have to deal with out here!  Just when I thought I may had been getting him trained to ride a bike at less than maximum speed!  Anyhow, he wasn’t going to hurt his knee on a two mile unloaded ride home, and it was kind of nice to crank away at a different intensity level for a bit.  But the bike psychologist in me was clucking in dismay.

Breaking out of Kitty Hawk in the morning, we stopped at the Wright Brothers Memorial atop Kill Devil Hill.  There was some sort of old-time motorcycle convention/photo shoot going on there, and I think that’s what allowed us in an hour before official opening, and for free too.  Quite serendipitous.  We rode our bikes up the hill, hitting 14% grade, which Dennis told me I should be keeping him from doing, so it was good to see that my therapy sessions have not been for naught after all.

Breakfast was at a very cool place (Stack ’em High Pancakes?) where it became clear we were now on an Adventure Cycling route.  Within three minutes we talked to the cashier, who became a WarmShowers host after her husband did a 6 week tour of New Zealand, dicussed panniers-vs.-trailer with an intelligent and handsome pannier-toting waiter who had toured Europe with a trailer-towing dork, and were told by an old dude working there that we should have parked our bikes on their porch.  Oh, and food was great too!

Then those steady winds that blow over the sands and Kill Devil Hill, those same winds that brought the Wright Brothers there to experiment with their flying machine, blew us straight as an arrow down the Outer Banks.  We spent most of the day easily cruising at 21-25 MPH, so happy that we weren’t going north.  I know I’ve said that the weather has been perfect so far, but compared to today, those other so-called “perfect” days may as well have been 37 degrees with stinging sleet blowing in our faces.  Today was unlimited sun countered with thosei cooling ocean breezes to keep things at a perfectly balanced upper 70s.

And the setting wasn’t bad either.  A thin strip of land with water sometimes simultaneously visible on both sides, beach houses on stilts, or sea oats whiskering the dunes.  Bulldozers were just finishing their job of pushing the sand off the road that Hurricane Earl had uncaringly thrown there a week before, and some spots still had a bit of standing water.

Perhaps that should have made us suspicious, but we were surprised to find that our intended National Seashore campground was closed when we arrived there (especially since there were many opportunities to indicate that along the lengthy campground road sooner than the actual campground!!)  We learned from a man mowing the roadside that they’d closed it for the season after Earl came through, but another down the road was still open.  Luckily the miles had been easy, and it was still quite early, so going further was no problem.

On our way back to the main road we stopped to climb to the top of the Hatteras lighthouse, which is impressive for both its size and its views, and now also for its relocation 11 years ago which dragged the 62-million pound structure to safety, away from the ever-shifting sands of the shore.

After a late lunch and grocery stop, we were happy to find sites still available on this beautiful Friday evening at Frisco, just across the dunes from the ocean.  I went for a better-planned swim this time, and soon Dennis joined me; for the better part of half an hour we acted like little kids, battling the waves breaking over our heads, while the late-summer sun hung low over the beach.

3 Responses to “Day 7”

  1. Steve M Says:

    Just let some air out of psycho’s tires again. That worked pretty well last time.

  2. Swati Says:

    Lol @ Steve M’s comment. Good to see he’s back to being snarky.
    Lol also @ your pannier toting waiter being intelligent and handsome. Projection? 😀

  3. Louise Gregie Says:

    Our atlas map shows the shape of the Outer Banks….what a unique strip of land-sand…..must be very cool to be able to ride on it. Glad you had time to play in the ocean at days end. Hope the great weather continues!