Jacksonville to Beaufort, NC
Dallas and I departed from Eric’s house and went straight to a diner, where we ate sandwiches and salad, just a mile away. After eating, we rode a few more miles to the organic market to buy snacks for the next few days of riding. It was afternoon when we finally left Jacksonville.
It rained on and off for most of the day, and we kept trying to hide from it under awnings or inside supermarkets or gas stations when possible. About 20 miles into our ride, we crossed a bridge over to Emerald Isle and were able to ride one block over from the main road, avoiding much of the traffic that had been ruining the enjoyment of cycling since leaving Jacksonville. We had forgotten about Memorial Day weekend until we got to Jacksonville and realized that traffic was probably going to be insane.
On Emerald Isle, our course took us parallel to a beach for several miles, and we stopped for about an hour to swim and ride the waves. During this time, the sun came out and stayed bright until we got back on our bikes. Then we were fighting headwinds for the rest of the ride and the sky was threatening us with showers.
Less than 10 miles from Beaufort, we stopped for dinner at a sushi restaurant – probably not the best time to stop, but we were hungry. The sun was gone by the time we had finished eating, and we had to ride the rest of the way to Beaufort in the dark. Fortunately, I had been able to contact Jacqui, a couchsurfer who agreed to host us for the evening, so we didn’t have to worry about finding a place to camp in the dark. Getting over the bridge from Morehead City to Beaufort was scary, since there was only a narrow shoulder, the rail preventing us from falling off the bridge into the water was low, and the winds were so strong it was impossible to hold a steady course on our bikes. We got off and walked over most of the bridge.
Jacqui was an incredibly welcoming hostess. She had warned me over the phone that there would probably not be a couch, but there would be floor space for us, which was more than enough for Dallas and me. When we arrived, there were a few people sitting on the front porch and more people inside. The guy outside introduced himself as Preston and told us that he used to do a lot of bicycle touring himself. He was now in the process of fixing up a sailboat. The couple inside, Sarah and Irish, had been hitchhiking around the US for the past 2 and 4 years, respectively, and decided to settle down for a while in Beaufort after they met Jacqui and her husband, Crunch. Everyone at the house was very cool, and I wish I could have spent more time with all of them. Other people came and went over the course of the night, and Dallas and I did end up getting to sleep on a couch.