October 15:  Washington to New Bern  58.4 miles

The morning forecast had frost warnings and although sunny the expectation was cold!!!  Much to our surprise as we got ready to depart, the cold air temperature was rapidly disappearing as the sun rose.  Off with the hundreds of layers of extra clothing and on to the bikes for a sunny, hopefully non-windy day across the flats of eastern North Carolina.

From the motel to the first town, Bath, there was no even a ripple in the road.  Other than an occasional turn or bend there was no need to do anything with the bike other than pedal.  Gear changing was out -- just push/pull the pedal.

Just outside Bath we had to catch a ferry to get to the other side of the Pamlico River Sound.  Run by the North Carolina Organization, it is a free ride across the water for vehicles as well as individuals.  As bikers we got to board first, pick a nice secure spot to put the bikes and then just sit back and enjoy the thirty minute excursion across the bay.  Today the weather was perfect -- no wind, so no waves.  It was like sailing on glass.  

Immediately after disembarking we passed a huge gypsum/phosphorus plant which gave the air a strong pungent aroma!!  Once again the terrain was absolutely flat so there was no need to bike idle through this "fragrant:" area.  Full speed ahead and off we go.

While on our map there were references to towns, some with a possible gas station or convenience store, we saw none.  A dilapidated old building showing signs of once being a restaurant was passed without even a slight tremor of a thought of stopping.  Mile after mile of flat terrain were pedaled  with an occasional trailer or small home sitting off to the side, and, of course, the fields of cotton and peanuts, and pine forests that we have come to be so accustomed to seeing on a regular basis.

Lunch was on a patch of grass off to the side of the road.  Ham, cheese, turkey, sausage, and peanut butter made for a wonderful roadside meal.  Without realizing it, we had set up camp in the side yard of a local minister.  Upon spotting us he ventured out with his grown son in tow to visit.  A wonderful man and being a man of the cloth asked if we minded if he said a prayer for us.  Naturally, we were not going to turn down any help we could get!!  A beautiful sentiment was shared and then we bid the two ado.

Fifteen flat miles later at the corner of Halfmoon Road we stopped to rest and drink some of the Nehi that we had purchased the day before.  Nothing like a sugar high when riding on flat terrain.  The miles just fly by!!

New Bern, our home for the night sits on the Neuse River just off the coast.  In order to get to the city one has to cross the Neuse River Bridge, mile and a half concrete structure that spans the waterway.  Following the road signs to the town we found ourselves on a mini-expressway with multiple lanes and cars racing a top speed to get to the New Bern Mum Festival!  Fortunately for us, all of our turns were to the right so staying either on the shoulder or close to it was very possible.

A drawbridge stopped us a quarter of a mile from the hotel -- so close, yet so far.  The hotel was within sight, but none of us wanted to swim, so rest and wait became the motto.

A little history note about New Bern, the second oldest city in North Carolina:  It is the home of the Pepsi!!  Seems in this town in his pharmacy, Caleb Bradham invented "Brad's Drink," which later he patented as Pepsi Cola. 

Now happily deposited in the hotel, we are about to venture out into the city to find a place for dinner.  Lee is returning to our group tonight, so we are now eight.

Ferry Warning!  Bikers Beware -- Slow Down!

Here Comes the Ferry!

Mark and Another Biking Male Friend!

Frankie, Nancy and Mark:  "Let's Go!"

Okay, Feed the Dog the Last of the Lunch Meat!

Ferry Dock

Headed to Sea!

Park Those Bikes!

Peg, Mark and Nancy

Frankie, Mark and Nancy Looking For Shore!



Sue Crossing the Neuse River Bridge

New Bern From the Bridge