Day 20: Troy to Charlotte, NC
Even though we got to sleep early, I didn’t sleep very well, and my legs were feeling sub-par all day. Not being able to move around or stretch my legs out in my cocoon-like sleeping bag is something to which I have yet to adjust. We packed up our camp and had hit the road by 9:15, and it was another beautiful, warm, sunny day. While not very steep, North Carolina has some long and persisting hills, and I felt sluggish for the better part of the day.
After 15 miles, we came to a breakfast place called The Breakfast Nook, where I sampled fine Southern diner food: biscuits and gravy. It was interesting, but probably not something I would order again. The pecan waffle was very good, but I really miss real maple syrup. French toast, pancakes and waffles are just not the same without it.
We stopped again to celebrate riding 1000 miles (a few miles too soon) at a restaurant called Louie’s Grille. We had misremembered how many miles we had left that day by 10, so we really celebrated at mile 990. When he heard what we were doing, the restaurant owner came over and sat with us to chat. He showed us photos of Greece and told us how beautiful it is. He also had plenty of questions for us, including how we were planning to get into Charlotte. He adamantly argued that we should stay on route 49 the whole way instead of following the back roads that Garmin wanted us to take. Once escaping the restaurant, we did follow his advice and stay on route 49, saving us perhaps a mile or two and probably a good twenty minutes.
Mike was home to let us in when we arrived, and we went upstairs to shower. His girlfriend, Christine, was at work until 6:30, at an art gallery a few minutes away, so we drove over there before it closed to take a look at some of her artwork. From the gallery, we walked to a bike shop next door to look around before going to a pub called Growlers where we waited for Christine to get out of work. There, we celebrated our 1000 mile mark again with good beer.
We were all getting hungry, so we decided on a sushi restaurant called Akahana that has buy-one-get-one-free rolls. Karen, another couchsurfer who was staying with Mike and Christine, met up with us towards the end of our meal. She drove up two days ago from Florida for a glass fusing class, and was staying in Charlotte one more night before driving home. We all went back to Mike and Christine’s house, talked some more there, and then said good-night.