The last day would be the longest in miles but far from the most difficult. Although it rained off and on all day, we were fortunate enough to have a steady tail wind. That, and the thought of a week of relaxation when we reached the beach was enough to spur us onward.
We ate breakfast at the truck stop and set out at about 7am (early for us) in the rain. We stopped at a 7-11 a few miles down the road to pick up supplies. While we were there, the rain stopped.
Our route took us down through the Great Dismal Swamp on back roads into North Carolina. Then we worked our way west to Moyock, where we stopped again and called my wife at Nags Head to let her know how we were doing. The main road to the Outer Banks from this direction is NC168 to US158. We hoped to stay off the main drag and away from traffic as much as possible. As a result, we crossed over the main highway several times to ride the back roads that ran down the peninsula.
It should be noted that, although I drove most of the route, I did not drive all the way to Nags Head and check every little back road to make sure it was paved. One time our road turned to dirt, but we stuck with it and eventually it turned back into asphalt. Another time our road turned to dirt then it ended in the middle of a field where a crew was building a house. That time we had to turn around.
On another back road we were suddenly set upon by a dog who charged us from directly in front of us. I said, "I'm stopping," and slammed on the brakes. JT was behind me and caught by surprise by my stopping. He lurched and fell over as the dog came barking at us. He jumped up and started screaming and throwing rocks at the dog. I could barely keep from laughing..in fact I couldn't keep from laughing. He would have done the same. And I would have screamed and thrown rocks at the dog.
The dog's owner came out on the porch and let the dog into his trailer. Then he let out another dog that just sat there and barked as JT repaired the damage to his bike. Nothing serious, his pack had been knocked askew.
We were forced to ride down US158 for the last few miles before the Wright Bridge. The road has a small, but ample shoulder. Parts of the highway had been recently repaved and in some places the shoulder pavement was uneven, but it was always good where we were riding. We made one last stop before the bridge and then set out on the final push.
The westbound (new) span of the Wright Bridge has a huge shoulder. The eastbound direction has almost no shoulder, and what little there is is filled with dirt, debris, dead seagulls, and hubcaps. I hit the bridge at 18mph and didn't slow down until I reached the other side (well, except for the hump in the middle). That bridge is 3 miles long!
It started raining soon after we reached the other side. I called the house and let them know we'd be arriving soon. It looked like we would be just in time to share in a crab feast. Ten miles later, we pulled up to the house. Our historic arrival was captured on film.
The entire trip was about 365 miles and took 5 days. We suffer neither flat tire or broken spoke. Our biggest mechanical problem was securing JT's pack to his rack (he had one of those racks that clamp on your seat tube). Other than the 12 dog attacks and the lousy weather, it was a great experience. But I'm not going to do it again.