Day 11

September 14th, 2010

After the previous night’s assault on my bike by raccoons, I immediately packed up all my food and hung it from a hook.  But I left the panniers on the bike.  Shortly after we went to bed, we could hear the raccoons methodically opening garbage cans around the campground and emptying them of their tasty contents.  Also heard plenty roaming through the campsite, but when several hours passed without incident, I figured we were in the clear.  No such luck.  At 4:30am, wham!!  Down goes my bike again.  Well, I guess that experiment failed!  Got up and hung my panniers from the pole with the rest of our bags.  I’ve camped in over a hundred campgrounds around the country, and I’ve never had this raccoon problem.  I figure it must be something to do with the parks’ suburban settings and bad campers training the raccoons, but maybe it’s just an evil line of raccoons in this part of the country.

Today was another day to cover miles, and our first 8 miles to our final ferry was a bit more of a race than it should have been, partly because I failed to make sure  Dennis was awake when my 6:15 alarm went off, and partly because we didn’t do a good job of measuring or normal pack-up times.  Still, we made the ferry with some minutes to spare.

After spending 5 nights in North Carolina, we finally crossed into her southern sibling, where the roads immediately got crappier.  The blazing heat and high traffic didn’t help matters, though the vast majority of drivers are still pretty good.  We went through another BAC, Myrtle Beach, where the miles of oceanfront hotels make Virginia Beach seem like Murdo, South Dakota in comparison.

We pressed on to Huntington Beach State Park, where we were shockingly told that there was only one site left, after a week of nearly empty campgrounds.  It seems to be quite a retiree RV hangout, where many sites have fake maiboxes and elaborate signposts announcing the occupiers.  Needless to say, we don’t really fit in, but at least we got a site.  Ice cold slushies, contraband beers in our water bottles, and then a quick trip to the beach to dip our toes in the surf had the always-magical effect of relaxing away all the day’s heat and hurt.

(Ok, as I was sitting at the picnic table writing this at 8:30pm, a raccoon sauntered through the campsite, apparently doing advance scouting for tonight’s action.  Seriously?!?  And no fancy hooks at this campground!)

3 Responses to “Day 11”

  1. Steve M. Says:

    The racoons are a problem at every campground in the southeast. Get a length of rope to tie between trees when the exotic dancer poles (actually lantern poles, go figure) are not provided.

  2. Jan Says:

    I was hoping this morning that I would be reading Day 12! Disappointed, since I look forward to reading both your journals as I am eating breakfast!! Take care.

  3. Louise Gregie Says:

    On your first bike tour, I remember the menace of dog attacks. Raccoons seem tame in comparison….except for interrupting your sleep throughout the night. (Like Steve’s rope idea.) Hope your next blog tells us no awful ripping apart your tent raccoon tale. Considering that, the awful heat, hunger…you and Dennis sound like awesome bikers. Continue to travel safely :)!!