Today I am riding off my route to a city with a former cotton mill, which is now a complex featuring breweries, restaurants, office space and lofts. I am also planning on meeting the guy behind NC Brewscene Magazine.
It was another day of riding through farmlands with no gas stations, restaurants, or anything for miles. I don’t even think I saw a stoplight until I got into Rocky Mount, the town where the mill is located. Most of the farmlands I rode past were corn and tobacco. The corn I believe is not for our consumption, though. This corn is harvested for grain and ethanol. Cotton and soy beans are also big money crops grown here.
Some funny things I saw during my ride today:
I also got passed by many tractors, even ones with 6 feet tall wheels and the rig as wide as the whole road. They could have easily just driven right over me without me being touched by it. They need to make those for in the city to drive past all the traffic!
When I got to Rocky Mount Mills, I met up with Lewis from the magazine. I also realized pretty quick that all three of these breweries located here are closed on Tuesdays! What a bummer!
Lewis gave me the nickel tour of the complex and gave me the history and the future plans for the place.
Since nothing was opened there, we took his car out to a local Burger bar and he treated me to a burger and beer which was actually paid for by his work which was pretty sweet for the both of us.
He gave me all the recommendations of breweries along my route and beers that he likes at each. Finally, a bottle shop called Goat Island Bottle Shop in the mills opened and we grabbed another beer there. The owner hooked me up with the beer and a hat for free! Also left the mill with 9 magazines and a Brewscene t-shirt. My bike gained some weight at this stop.
After my time at the mill, I biked over to a McDonald’s to plan my night. There are no camping spots nearby so I figured I would bike a little out of town and find a place to pop my tent.
As I was leaving, a lady told me to be careful because I’m not in a good area and pointed in the direction I was planning on going. Well great, that doesn’t make this any easier!
I biked about 20 minutes and found a Baptist Church that was somewhat secluded. I waited for when there were no cars passing and biked behind the building. There was a drive through covering that looked perfect for sleeping under.
Once it was dark, I payed out my mat, got inside my sleeping bag liner, inflated my pillow and prayed for a safe night’s sleep.
As I was trying to sleep, I heard some noises right next to my face. I flashed my flashlight and saw some cockroaches making their way out of cracks in the wall.
Nope! Not going to just lay open and uncovered next to these bugs! So I got up and grabbed my tent. I didn’t erect the tent, though, I just layed down inside it as it acted as a separation from bugs. My thinking was it would be easier to get out and go quickly if needed instead of having to break it down.
My sleeping was very limited as noises and car lights kept my mind on edge. At one point I woke up and saw a creature not far from me walking stealthily. My eyes widened and my heart started beating faster.
I could tell it wasn’t a raccoon or possum or any small rodent. It had to be either a fox or coyote.
I was still lying down so the animal did not know I had spotted him already. He started walking towards me and about 20ish feet away I sat up quickly. I could definitely see the animal clearly now!
I startled the coyote and it backed off a little but still stood there and stared at me. It had a big bushy tail pointed downward, skinny legs and was about 2 feet tall.
Eventually after me standing up and throwing my hands up while still inside my tent (which I’m sure would have been a funny sight) it grunted and ran off back into the woods.
Got up early before the sun came out and started my day. My phone didn’t have a whole lot of battery and there were a lot of turns on my ride so I wasn’t able to get many pictures on the day.
I was introduced to rollings hills today. Over 60 miles riden today after a night of hardly any sleep. Also, nowhere to stop along the route to fill up on water or anything. This all made for a tough day.
I loved the downhills, but learned pretty quick that you fly down them in just a few seconds and then have to quadruple that time and get up the next hill. My legs were on fire today, but all the hills and pretty scenery kept my mind busy so the ride went by fairly quick.
A fire station saved me as I was able to fill up on water there after I ran out with still an hour and a half to go.
I was starving by the time I got to Raleigh so I stopped at a little Caesars and crushed their large pepperoni pizza in 20 minutes, then rode across the street to Chick-fil-A and drank a large chocolate shake. Both were delicious and revived me.
A super nice employee there hooked me up with a free chicken sandwich, cookie, and a card for another sandwich later! Since I had just eaten a bunch, I left with the stash and found a homeless guy and he gladly took the sandwich from me.
Tonight I am staying with some friends of a family I go to church with back home. They said they wouldn’t be home until 5 so I had some time to kill and the food stop only lasted an hour or so.
I found a brewery called Compass Rose Brewing Co that wasn’t too far away so I spent the rest of my hour and a half there.
They had some delicious beers! I ended up getting two flights because I was impressed with the first (and they were discounted and I had extra time).
Once I got to my place of stay, I was welcomed by 3 happy to see me kids. They all wanted my attention and to play different games with me. I even ended up playing with American Dolls with the daughter Zoey. Wow, the amount of stuff you can get for those dolls…my mind was blown!
I have been blessed to stay with such amazing families and am getting a good east coast tour of parenting styles and techniques and getting to spend time playing with different kids! I’ve decided this bike tour is also teaching me how to be a parent! I’m loving it.