Shallotte to Jacksonville, NC

On Thursday, Dallas and I progressed immensely compared to the previous two days.  We rose from our camp site around 8 or 9am and left after sharing some Reese’s peanut butter cups and an apple for breakfast.  We were on paved roads for no more than 5 or 6 miles before Garmin directed us to turn onto yet another dirt road.  Dallas questioned whether we should follow these directions or if we should go 7 miles out of the way and stay on paved roads.  He was out of water, so I gave him one of my bottles and figured that we’d be back on paved roads and close to a gas station by the time we ran out of water.

At least there’s no traffic on these roads

An hour later we were still on desolate, unpaved roads, and not a single car had passed us.  The only signs of any human activity for 15 miles or so were the tire tracks in the dried mud and a cigarette carton that had been discarded in the middle of the road.  We stopped to eat some of our food a few miles before finally reaching a paved road.  After a few more miles of riding on pavement, we came to Dale’s convenience store.

We were relieved to find a place where we could fill up our water bottles, and each of us bought 2 cold drinks as well.  Sitting at a table in the air-conditioned store, a local man started talking to Dallas about the route we were taking.  As we were getting ready to leave, he offered to give us a ride as far as he could in the direction he was going while heading back to work.  We gratefully accepted, and he ended up driving us a few miles further than his turn towards work, saving us about 10 miles altogether.

It keeps raining on us!

With 18 miles of riding behind us and an extra 10 miles headway thanks to the ride, reaching Jacksonville that night was beginning to seem realistic.  We still needed some real food, so we rode another 20 or 30 miles to the next town, which was Burgaw.  There was a laundromat conveniently across the street from the Courthouse Cafe, where we set up shop for a few hours.  While waiting for laundry, I got in touch with Eve, a couchsurfer who was out of town for the summer, but graciously gave us her husband’s phone number and said that he could host us.

Sunset in Jacksonville

When we finally left Burgaw, it was after 6pm.  Jacksonville was still 35 miles away, and we had 2 hours before sunset.  Dallas and I flew for 35 miles down route 53 East, keeping a speed of 18-20 miles per hour and only stopping twice before arriving at Eric and Eve’s home just before dark.  Eric greeted us and treated us with great hospitality, offering us food and even cutting a mango for us.  A shower and futon to sleep on was a welcome change from camping in the tent, which has become rather sandy and buggy over the past 2 weeks.

About Sarah

Sarah grew up in Cranston - just south of Providence, Rhode Island - and developed a love for travel, music, and outdoor sports at an early age. She had started bicycling long distances at age 12, as a participant of the MS150 bike tours to raise money for the MS Society. She didn't use her bike regularly until she built her own while studying in Montreal and found it an excellent way to get around the city. After graduating from McGill and moving back to Providence, Sarah started working at Brown University's office of Environmental Health & Safety as the Biological Safety Specialist. She was living 4 miles away at the time, and for the first few weeks was driving to work. She made the switch from driving to bicycling when she realized that she could get to work faster, avoid parking tickets, and integrate a few miles of training into her day. Bicycling was better for the environment and better for her own health and mood. She found that she had more energy and felt much happier once she started biking to work. When her car broke down several months later, she never bothered replacing it. After 4 years of working in Biosafety (and on her master's in Environmental Studies), Sarah left her job to pursue her passion. She has been working various jobs in the bicycle industry since June of 2011, including pedicab driver, bicycle tour guide, bike mechanic and traveling bicycle advocate. In between seasonal jobs, she has done a few long-distance bike tours, which is the main reason for this blog. Her dream is to eventually ride around the world and sail across the oceans.

Posted on 25 May 2012, in Bicycle Touring, New Orleans to Newport. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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