Saturday, March 21, 2009

License to Fill

We bicycled just over 100 miles today, from Morrisville to Snow Camp, NC, and back. The weather was clear and crisp. The temperature started at just over freezing, and got up to almost 60F by mid afternoon. We were in good form, we ate and drank well, and finished in just over 10 hours. Not bad for newbies.

Early on, we got a few 'bonus miles' just west of NC 55. Suburban sprawl empowers developers to re-route, rename, and add new intersections to roads as needed to suite their interests. They have apparently done just that with Yates Store Rd. Unfortunately, Google Maps and its satellite photos are a little outdated, so our cue sheet was wrong. Luckily, we were able to follow our noses (and my GPS) to get back on the desired path.

Jordan Lake was gorgeous in the clear morning, and every unofficial parking spot near the lake was occupied with the cars of people enjoying the lake. We spotted people everywhere fishing from the banks in the morning, and boats were everywhere on our return trip.

We rode on Parker Herndon Rd for the first time today. It was delightful. There were few cars, nice hills, and not one cramped housing development. Yet. Give them a few years, though...

The Haw River was flowing fast. We had a few days of steady rain earlier in the week, and the river was carrying a good bunch of it.

The canine welcoming committees were out in force today. We were greeted by dogs at perhaps a dozen places between NC 87 and Snow Camp. And they greeted us with equal zeal on our return trip. I took some photos during one of the encounters while riding (not too smart, I know); they are posted in the album below.

We passed lots of cyclists today. We saw mostly solo males, a male-female pair on individual bikes, and another male-female pair on a tandem. Everyone waved and said 'hi'. It must have been the beautiful weather. Usually, serious cyclists take one look at us bohemians and look away, but not today. The couple on the tandem were funny; they were climbing a hill as we coasted down. He was in front, head down, struggling. She was in the back, sitting upright, waving gleefully at us. I can only imagine what was going on between them.

West of Cary and Morrisville, motor vehicle drivers were incredibly courteous to us today. One young man in a souped-up race car even slowed and stayed a safe distance behind us as we climbed a winding hill, until we got past the blind spot. Very unexpected and appreciated. But alas, once we got back into Cary and Morrisville, we were reminded about the high Driver Urgency Index there. The ubiquitous BMW and Lexus SUVs have important business ahead, and time is valuable. Luckily their drivers actually can multitask sufficiently to see us and accelerate past us while transacting important business on their cellphones.

After we finished the ride, we packed the bikes on my car and headed back to Souper Salad restaurant, to graze at the buffet. It hurt to stand up each time I headed to the trough, and it hurt more to sit back down, but it sure was nice that riding 100 miles gives a "License to Fill", allowing us to eat everything in sight.

Interactive map:
Random photos:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

No Bull

We biked just over 100 miles today, from Youngsville to Black Creek NC and back. It was our first 'English Century'. The route is mostly flat, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Traffic was very light, and drivers were mostly courteous. Surprisingly, there was an abundance of clean, open convenience stores nicely distributed along the route. As the day progressed, we stopped at more and more of the convenience stores to rest and refresh.

Community Service: About two hours into our ride, we passed a big pile of glass shards along the road. It looked like someone had tossed a few bottles out of a passing car. We scrambled and avoided it, but couldn't continue onward and leave the pile there for other bikers to hit. We doubled back, dismounted, and spent a few minutes shusshing glass off the road with our shoes.

When we arrived at our turn-around point in Black Creek, we were pleasantly surprised to find a small open grocery store on the main street. We bought drinks there, and sat outside resting and eating lunch.

After leaving Black Creek, we encountered a small herd of cattle on the road. They had apparently broken out of their fence and were headed for a freshly planted field across the road. Luckily, two guys pulled up as we arrived. They got out of their cars, put on their cowboy hats, and issued the secret sounds and hand gestures which instructed the cattle back into their fence. We hung back, and happily let them demonstrate their masterful skills.

Total miles: approximately 102
Overall time: 10.5 hours
Interctive map:
A few photos:

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Daughter in Brooklyn

I flew to New York City to visit The Daughter a few days this week. Here is a photo taken in the late afternoon at the South Street Seaport, with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.