Saturday, November 20, 2010

In our last episode, your wandering heroes discovered a side of North Carolina dotted with lighthouses and traversed by the ever-friendly Wimp and Midge.

The morning after the long ferry ride, we woke up at dawn to see the sun peeking its head over the Pamlico Sound, which made up the front yard of our campsite that day. Vanessa and I are typically slow risers, but that morning, a gaggle of ducks passed by our tent, which caused Vanessa to open the tent flap so she could greet the gaggle. As Vanessa kibitzed with the ducks, an ornery gander bit her finger. Don’t worry, though, kind reader. The bite was nothing more than a pinch, and didn’t so much as leave a mark.
Wimp and Midge poked their heads out of their camper and invited us to coffee, which the caffeine dependent authors graciously accepted.

We then decided to go ride bikes for the rest of the day. The first few hours into the ride off of Cedar Island were rather picturesque. Marshland and reeds went on for miles in every direction--the kind of scenery that makes you feel like you're the only person in the world. Once Wimp and Midge passed us in their truck, we didn’t have a single car’s worth of traffic coming from behind because the ferry had not yet arrived. It was desolate….almost.

The sense of isolation was broken by the sound of jets roaring overhead. Try as we might, we couldn’t see the responsible jets. We almost decided to become confused when a pair of fighter jets screamed overhead. As we would soon learn, isolated marsh is a fantastic place for Marine Corps pilots to practice sky ballet. Alongside the marsh ran a Marine Corps auxiliary landing strip, which provided me and Vanessa some entertainment as we pedaled down the road. The jets would bank and turn and roll in a most cinematic manner, and then provide us with a delayed and deafening audio track. One word encapsulates our fighter jet entertainers: cool.

PRO-TIP: When ogling supersonic fighter jets, keeping your eyes on the road keeps you upright!

As our isolated marsh broke into small towns, we decided to stop at the first coffee opportunity available. The first available coffee opportunity also happened to be the best available coffee opportunity on the eastern seaboard. The Davis Shore Provisions general store served coffee in all varieties, and employs the services of a Most Talented Baker Indeed. Pumpkin whoopee pies. Sourdough cinnamon rolls. Most talented baker? Indeed.

While inside the store, Ian strolls in. Ian, adventurer extraordinaire, had been strolling for quite a while. He was finishing up a hike from the mountains in western North Carolina to the Outer Banks. He had been hiking for a month or two with nothing but his backpack and a friendly disposition. Absent was the distinctive odor of someone who had been hiking for two months! What was supposed to be a quick coffee stop became a story-trading session between hiker and bikers. Another round of whoopee pies, please!

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