Back on the road, and onto the condo-lined beaches. There are certain beach communities whose waterfront looks like an advanced game of Monopoly. Fortunately for your humble heroes, the tenants of said condominiums were elsewhere during their visit. This made for clear roads and an empty beach.
We made (a most excellent) camp at a public beach access, and enjoyed a clear sky on a deserted beach that night. As corny or lame as it may sound, we stared up at the clear sky for a few hours. We didn’t say much to each other, but we didn’t really need to. Oceanfront skylines are talkative, especially with the Milky Way cameos and the Cape Lookout lighthouse blinking miles and miles away. The next morning we had breakfast on the beach, which had come alive with fishermen and seagulls. This is the kind of life that you could get used to.
Get used to it we could not, as the road beckoned. That day we rode long. We passed Camp Lejeune, which boasts probably the highest concentration of badass fighting man-machines per square mile anywhere in the world. Our cycling landscape was populated that day with humvees, armored personnel carriers, and signs warning us of impending military training exercises.
A few miles removed from Camp Lejeune, I began to feel the effects of the (inedible, yet delicious) gas station hot dogs I had wolfed down earlier. As I struggled to mash down on the pedals, and I saw Vanessa pulling further and further ahead of me. I was utterly unable to make up the distance between us. Reasonable mind may differ, but I don’t think I bonked. I attribute my lack of muscular enthusiasm to the “all beef” hot dogs. (Editor’s note: Vanessa also ate a hot dog, and suffered no ill side effects. Ergo, Ed must be some kind of ninny.)