With only another small mile ride ahead of us to Kitty Hawk we decided to jump on our bikes for the 12 mile ride. Before we left Nags Head we backtracked a mile to Sam & Omies for breakfast! Our first real breakfast fuel on the trip!
We figured out a great way to get the little one in her Yepp Seat as easy as possible. She loves the seat but she loves to play more! So when its time to load her up we tell her we are going to look for School Buses. She eagerly runs to her seat and says “Hurry Daddy Hurry!” … works every time!
Once she is in her seat she asks each of us if we are “ready”.
“Are you READY daddy?” — “Are you READY mama?” — “READY! Lets go!
Our ride to Kitty Hawk was slow. We had a western wind so it slowed us up a little. We were on sleepy old Hwy 12 with limited traffic but a lot of vacation rentals. We were planning on stopping at a brewery in Kitty Hawk near mile marker 8 (everyone uses mile markers there). But somehow we over shot it and missed it all together.
We stopped into a bike shop and then spent a little more time at the beach. We saw the National Park for the Wright Brothers and road in! We have a National Parks pass and were able to get in for free. We only stopped for the restrooms and didn’t do much sight seeing. The monument sits on top of a tall grassy noel with a hike to the top. Working on a few pair of tired legs we chose not to make the hike.
After the exploration of the museum, we headed back down Hwy 12 in search of a cute place to stay for our last night. We found one that said vacant and rode in. But no one was there. I called the number left on the door and no one answered. So we rode on. We got to the end of the road where hwy 12 meets hwy 158. We found a very nice and very expensive Hilton Garden Hotel. They had a room for us with 1 king size bed. up until this point we had been able to put the little angel in her own room or bed or crib of some sort. So a 1 room arrangement wasn’t really up our alley. At the same time the motel we stopped at earlier returned my call! They had a few rooms we could choose from. So we made the 2 mile ride back into the wind.
The Beach Haven Motel is a very cute and quiet place! Completely remodeled, they accommodations were excellent! It was close to nap time for the toddler so we tried to put her down in the second room for a short nap. FAIL. She was too excited to play on the beach!
So we walked on the beach! We took her sand tools and walked about a mile up and turned around. We ran across a star fish, lots of shells, and she spend a lot of time watching a group of kids boogey boarding.
We opted for dinner at a sports bar and grille across hwy 158. A simple dinner of seafood and steak rounded the day out nicely!
Our last day of our Outer Banks by Bike tour was here. A 53 mile ride from Kitty Hawk to Elizabeth city on the following day and we had finished the trip. We started around 8am and were ready to hit the road. We stopped at Duck Donuts which was across from the Hilton Garden Hotel we stopped at the day before. This was the neatest donut place we had ever seen. They literally make the donuts in front of you and then you pick how you wanted it frosted! We got half a dozen, a coffee and a small milk for the little lady. We downed ALL OF THEM with no help from the 2 year old.
Once back on our bikes about 5 miles into the ride we encountered some road construction which resulted in 1 of the 2 bridges being closed. We were expecting to have a large shoulder on a 2 lane, one direction bridge. We road as far down the closed bridge as we could until we met up with some construction workers who told us that they were paving large sections of the bridge and we couldn’t cross.
Then we road the .5 mile back to the entrance and proceeded to jump into traffic on the slim shoulder, 2 lane bridge. I had Donald ride in front and I took up the rear. That way the little angel was between us incase something happened. We waited for a nice break in traffic to start the 2 mile ride across the bridge, although the break didn’t last long. Most of the drivers were courteous and waited to pass us until the oncoming traffic was minimal. But we had a few who were in a hurry and didn’t care about our 3′ biker bubble. Needless to say we took a break on the other side and let our white knuckles return to their normal color before we proceeded.
Farmland again. We stopped at a farmers market and purchased a cantaloupe, a banana and some Gatorade. We let the little one run in the freshly mowed grass and she played with her dinosaur in the rock beds.
For lunch we stopped at Weeping Radish Butcher and Brewery. A very German feel to the place complete with goats in the front of the building! We got a flight of beers and some schnitzel for lunch.
Back on the road to Elizabeth City, we passed the site of the Grave Diggers “birth place” (for lack of better words). For approximately a 1/2 mile we passed museums, an off road track, a mini golf course, and a campsite.
With 15 miles left of our trip we stopped a park for the little one. It was brand new and she loved every bit of it!
Once we were back on the road we spotted a crop duster. It swooped back and forth across the road ahead of us. The little one LOVED it and would call for the “airplane” every time is crossed the road!
The last stretch of the ride was tiring. We were sore and ready to be done. We had some headwind. A few hills and a little rain. We were ready for it to end.
Looking back we had an amazing time. Every bit was great and our little girl had a wonderful time!
We woke up slowly to a distant sound of the waves crashing on the shore. We had a short 20 mile ride rom Salvo to Nagshead, NC. We had gotten in a great routine of letting our bags explode at night when we arrive in our room, and slowly organizing and repacking before bed. This helps with dirty clothes and misplaced pacifiers. After a few bites of cold pizza and packed bikes, we were off. The 4th day of our Outer Banks by Bike trip has begun!
We had an AMAZING tailwind which made our 20 mile ride take just about an hour! But we still took our time on the ride. We stopped at the visitor center and explored the beach! The little princess loved it! She assigned us each a shovel from her new tools. And the colors stuck with each of us the rest of the trip!
Building a sand castle
We crossed paths with a lot of road construction, one long bridge and a cyclist who is traveling from Key West, FL to Oregon SOLO! He is taking 4 months to ride two sides of the country … and to top it off this IS NOT his first time doing this!
Like the previous days we had not had the chance to eat breakfast. So once we strolled into Nagshead we found a cute little coffee shop called Waverider’s Coffee and Deli. We spread out, got breakfast bagels, and coffee’s. We got a recommendation from a local for a place to stay and Donald took the Big Dummy andheaded over to make reservations.
We scored another quaint little ocean front cottage! 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, a kitchen and a nice living room / dining room area. After unloading the bikes we all changed into flip-flops and grabbed the sand castle building supplies.
digging with daddy
searching for shells
It was one of the first times our toddler had a chance to explore the beach on unlimited time! She LOVED IT! She was excited to see the water and hung onto daddy while they ran into the waves. She laughed and laughed!
After a good hour of beach time we went back for naps! Well needed naps and relaxation were in store for all of us!
The weather was still playing games with us all afternoon. After naps we headed out for dinner. We thought walking was the best answer since the restaurant was only .5 miles away. We chose Owens’ Outer Banks Restaurant. The place was quiet and charming. It reminded us of an antique store with all the oceanic old fixtures. The food was amazing the service was pefect.
Halfway through dinner the storm clouds opened up and the rain began. We waited as long as we thought was possible before we headed out for our 1/2 mile run to the cabin. It poured and poured on us! We ran through deep puddles and were thankful for the few cars that passed who slowed down so they wouldn’t soak us more. Our toddler is waterproof! She actually loved it!
When we returned we let the toddler choose the route the next day!
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With a great night of sleep under our belts we were ready to hit the road by 9am for day 3 of our Outer Banks by Bike tour! We asked around for the best local breakfast spot on Ocracoke and we headed that way. As we readied our bikes in the bike parking corral, a waiter came out to tell us that the power was out and they were legally not allowed to serve us food. Actually the power was out on the whole south island. Yet again we were faced with minimal breakfast at the start of our day.
The ride down Hwy 12 was quiet. A two lane road with the ocean on the right and the sound on the left. Sand dunes shielded us form the high winds. We followed a bike bath for the first few miles out of town. It ended just about where the North Carolina Wild Horses were. According to the website, the wild horses are “descended from Spanish mustangs brought by the earliest European explorers to the Carolina coast, they have tenaciously survived this harsh and unforgiving environment.”
After we visited the wild horses we walked across the street to see the ocean. We followed a long boardwalk to the sand. Our daughter found a shell and we sat on the step enjoying the sound of the waves.
The ferry ride to Hatteras Island departs every hour on the half hour. We arrived at 1125! Just in time to watch the cars start to drive on, followed by a handful of cyclist. The ferry ride from Ocracoke to Hatteras is free to cyclists. The ride was less then an hour which made it easy to keep the toddler under control.
Once we arrived on Hatteras Island it was time for lunch and Sonny’s Restaurant was our stop! We each ordered the lunch special with 3 types of fried fish, hushpuppies, and french fries along with a sweet tea! We took a nice break for about 45 minutes and were eager to get back on the bikes. We had about 15 miles left until we reached Buxton, NC our originally planned stop for the night. The weather report said there were storms coming in around 4pm and there was a tornado watch in effect. So when we reached Buxton we stopped for a coffee to evaluate our hotel options. It was only about 3pm and the weather was great. We had been sprinkled on a little right before we arrived in Buxton, but we weighed our options: A) Stay in Buxton, which meant a 40 mile ride the next day under questionable weather conditions or B) Ride half way to Salvo and cut the miles in half for the next day. We chose option B. We added 20 more miles onto our ride and road to Salvo.
We stopped in Avon at the grocery store for water and some baby food. I purchased 2 waters and the little lady decided she HAD TO HAVE ONE. We poured most of the water into our water bottles and gave her what reamained. She carried it for approximately 1 mile then hucked it into traffic. Needless to say I stopped on the busy part of hwy 12 to fetch it. Some nice samaritan got to it before me and saved me from playing frogger to get it.
We pedaled into Salvo around 5pm and stumbled upon the Salvo Inn Motel. A cute little motel with great hosts. The room had two full size beds, and a kitchenette! It was perfect!
I sent Donald out to the local convenience store (.5 miles away) for a small container of milk for the little one. He returned with a large jug of milk, ice cream and sandcastle building toys!
Waking up on day 3 of our trip, day 2 of our Outer Banks by bike tour … and our legs were trashed from everything I had done in the past 2 days … 203 squats and 53 miles of biking…OUCH! It hurt to walk to the bikes!
A quick round up of our gear and we were off by 9 in the morning. We capitalized on the continental breakfast and woofed down some coffee and sticky buns!
The mileage for the day was a causal 48 miles from Plymouth to Ocracoke, NC. The only way to get to Ocracoke is by Ferry, with only 2 departure times a day we were on the road early enough to give ourselves a lot slack time. The clouds came in the night before and they threatened rain most of the ride.
After leaving Plymouth, we again discovered we were in farm country. This time we encountered a lot of cross and head winds. Making what should have been a 4 hour bike ride, almost 7 hours (understand that we move slow, take lots of breaks for a 2 year old and just generally enjoy our travel).
About an hour into our ride, our little girl decided she would start singing! We love listening to her belt out words of nothingness combined with a few words from the movie Frozen. When she does this she also uses
hand gestures, clearly she is going to be a star! The problem is she would drop her pacifier without realizing it. Once she did she would say, “Oh No Daddy, dropped nana” at which time we would stop and turn around to go get it. This happened about 3 times. On the 4th time we had some cars pass us before we could turn around to retrieve it. I rode back 1/4 of a mile to look for it and it was gone. I searched for another in ALL the bags we had
and couldn’t find the 3rd one (remember we lost #1 the day before). I brought 3 with us, PLUS a leash to tether it to her so this wouldn’t happen, however she is a ninja and managed to circumvent the leash.
The lost pacifier turned the happy toddler into a not so happy little baby. She cried and cried. When we stopped for a quick break to get a snack she said, “Mama, dropped nana!!” and pointed in the direction of the lost pacifier…nearly 8 miles behind us, she hand’t forgotten!
At this point Donald distracted her with other activities and food while I tore through every bag we had looking for another one. Only to come up empty handed.
After everything was put back in order we headed out again only to be stopped a mile or 2 up the road because it started to rain. When we pulled over my clipped in pedal on my right side stuck and I couldn’t unlock my foot fast enough… First bike crash of the trip! Following over on a bike is never good, but following over on a loaded touring bike is MUCH worse.
Around 25 miles into the day was saw a convenience store out in the middle of nowhere. They served lunch, soda and popsicles. We loaded up on everything! It was time for a mood changer! They did not however have
pacifiers. Our little princess spent the time playing with her dinosaur in the rocks and she found statue of a bear that she hugged and hugged! The Adventure Cycling Group caught up to us at this stop and enjoyed a little lunch to. We had a chance to talk with them more and met the guides.
We were 17 miles from the ferry and a promising town of Swan Quarter, NC population 348. We arrived 2 hours before the ferry and asked a few locals where the nearest grocery story was (still on the hunt for a pacifier). He pointed us in the direction and said, “Its 1/8th of a mile down this road, then turn right and you will see it!” Sounded easy enough. But we have learned early in our cycling lives NOT to trust a person who drives in a car for accurate directions or distances. This proved to be true again. The grocery store was 2 miles down the road. But it was all worth it when we found a single dusty pacifier hidden on a back shelf! With a package of cookies and a new nana in hand we headed back to the ferry!
During our grocery store trek, the ACA group passed us and arrived at the Ferry. We got our tickets and sprayed down with bug spray and our little one ran in the flowers! At one point her and I were coming out of the little rest area and she was running down the handicap ramp and lost her footing. She tumbled head first into the pavement. She knocked her head pretty good and broke the skin only slightly. No missing teeth or broken bones. Not even black eye…but a lot of tears!
The Ferry ride was 2.5 hours! Too long for an antsy toddler. We did laps on the deck, and she splashed in the water, but she was bored with that after a while.
We met up with another cycling tour group called North Carolina Tailwinds. They are a fully supported group with a sag wagon.
We arrived in Ocracoke at 7pm and hungry. We got our room at then Anchorage Inn which was right off the ferry. We unloaded, parked our bikes and headed out for food. The town was quaint and cute and CLOSED! It was still the off season and the manager at the hotel had told us of a great seafood place down the road which he swore was open. Not so much. We settled for an outdoor patio at Dajios . We were the ONLY people on the patio so our excited toddler played in the rocks, found bugs and talked to a local duck. We had a few beers and discussed the day.
We made it back to the hotel where the ACA group was also staying. We had a few beers and chatted with a few of the guides. What a great trip it had been so far! These trips help us realize how to relax and not stress about the little things.
Day 1 of cycling started in Elizabeth City, NC. Our Outer Banks by Bike Tour was underway!
We headed out of the parking lot and onto the sidewalk! When I had asked Siri for “walking” directions to Plymouth, NC she took us down HWY 17. This is a fairly busy road with 2 lanes of traffic each way and an center lane turning. It did not, however, have a shoulder. So we began our trip on the sidewalk!
With a few navigational turns through Elizabeth city, one dropped dinosaur and sunday traffic, we ran out of shoulder and the road slowed down. Two days before we departed for our trip, the city was hit with a storm causing significant damage to the city, homes and the road.
After about an hour into our trip Abigail fell asleep. In a Yepp seat, just like a typical car seat, kids sleep in the most awkward positions. So we stopped at an abandoned farmers market and parked our bikes next to a silo and propped her head up on it to help ease some of the stress on her. Crazy that she slept through the entire process!
After nap time we ventured back on to why 17. Nearly 5 miles up the road we ran into the Adventure Cycling Group as they were finishing their lunch. We exchanged greetings and told them we were on the same route. Abigail gave out high-5’s and we waved our good-byes. Little did we know this was the last place to have a good lunch before arriving in Plymouth.
Only a few short miles the lead tandem of the ACA was on our heels. They passed us right before the turn onto hwy 32. This is a nice, slow country road that had minimal traffic but a LOT of cross wide. We leap frogged the tandem and pulled off for a snack. Abigail played in the mud and we took in some Honey Stingers and a good amount of water. This also let the ACA group completely pass us so we weren’t holding them up.
Good thing we stopped to refuel our energy because little did we know we were in for a crazy bridge crossing. A 3 mile long bridge connects the north and south banks of the Albemarle Sound. We have been riding in a lush forested area and then all of a sudden the bridge was right in front of us. It was 2 lanes but had a HUGE shoulder. What slowed us down the most was the crosswind! The white caps on the water were huge. We never thought we were going to get across it. But we took our time and the minimal traffic was slow.
On the other side we were hoping for a good restaurant for lunch. Being on the sound you would think there would be a good seafood joint, no such luck. So we pass the ACA who had just crossed the bridge as well, and pulled over for a good rest and a snack. Abigail ran around wit her helmet on and played in the sand.
Once on our bikes we discovered we were now in farm country. We passed several fields with lush yellow flowers. They were beautiful and we still don’t know what they are! At the “T” in our route we stopped at a local convenience store and grabbed a sandwich, some water and salty chips! We talked to a few locals and took a photo of their Civic Center.
We weren’t far from Plymouth now! Abigail took another nap on the bike, and we listened to Cross Canadian Ragweed on the _________ speaker Donald has attached to his bike. He played tunes for us via his bluetooth when the trip was getting long, or tiring or just plan boring!
As soon as we turned onto Hwy 64 we were within 5 miles of “town”. What that consisted of we did not know. As soon as we turned onto 64 Abigail flung her Pacifier (she calls it a NaNA or Noy Noy). We couldn’t stop with the limited shoulder, and I had 2 more with us, so we kept on going.
The town was performing civil war reenactments that day so the place we busier then we expected. We saw a billboard for a Holiday Inn Express and decided to stay there. Good thing because there was NOTHING else in town! After we unpacked we thought we would go into the Historic Downtown and grab a bite to eat and enjoy a nice beer. But the town was dismal at best. Nothing was open, there were no watering holes or restaurants to grab dinner at. We headed back to the hotel and stopped at the local playground so Abigail could play!
When we got to our room we decided to order a pizza. We had noticed a Pizza Hut and a Mama’s Pizza on the way in. Surely they would bring us a hot pizza pie. No such luck. Pizza Hut didn’t deliver and Mama’s was CLOSED. Next best thing… BoJangles! It was in the parking lot of the hotel and within walking distance. Donald took the hike over and grabbed us a massive family size dinner, complete with souther sweet tea!
We put Abigail to bed in the crib provided by the hotel. When we stay in hotels, I set her crib up in the bathroom. That way we don’t have to go to bed at 7pm. We finished the night out with some Forensic Files.
Our Outer Banks by bike tour around the North Carolina’s Outer Banks was phenomenal! We followed Adventure Cycling Associations maps for the Atlantic Coast and biked the 255 mile loop starting and ending in Elizabeth City, NC.
The ACA offers a great guided tour of the exact route we took, and they just so happened to start the SAME day we did! Since we had a toddler with us, we chose early on in our trip planning not to use a guided service incase we had an unruly toddler with us (which can happen at any given time) and we didn’t want to hold any one up OR ruin anyones experience by dealing with a child’s sudden outburst. (Just to make it clean, Abigail was a DREAM on this trip…but you know Murphy’s law and I am SURE if we had booked the trip with the ACA she would have acted up. Its what toddlers do.)
Lets back up a day or two… We started our vacation with a workout at our Crossfit Box called The Manion. It is a Hero WOD (Workout of the Day) honoring First Lieutenant Travis Manion. The workout consisted of 7 rounds of a 400 meter run, and 29 back squats. The workout took nearly 40 minutes to complete and 203 squats and a 1.75 mile run. Needless to say our legs were toast for our 255 mile bike trip.
We drove 4 hours to the rest area in Dismal Swamp State Park. We crashed out in the Adventure Van for the night. At this point we were 20 miles from Elizabeth City.
The next morning started pretty early and full of excitement. We packed up the van and headed south to town. We were expecting to find a local diner of sorts for a big hardy breakfast, but we only found a ghost town with a small coffee shop. After asking a few locals where to get some good food, we were told that nothing, except fast food, was open in town on a Sunday before noon. So we settled for a few coffees and some coffee cake from Muddy Waters Coffeehouse . Not quite the hardy breakfast one needs before a 53 mile ride. Little did we know this would become a common issue for us all week.
While sipping hot coffee we unloaded the bikes and clipped on our panniers. The maps we bought from ACA didn’t have the exact route from Elizabeth City to Plymouth. So I got out my iPhone and told siri to get me to Plymouth via the walking route. Sure enough it was as easy as pie!
Check out our video of Day 1. Make sure to sot back and read ALL the chapters in our incredible trip!
Our last post we gave a you Simple List of Family Adventures that you can do any day of the week. Last night we decided to take our own advice and have a weeknight adventure!
If you can’t tell we LOVE our bikes … we have 9 total in our basement (not counting the baby’s Strider). Our friends call it the “Bike Shop.” Needless to say we don’t get to ride ALL variations of our bikes too often.
We are part of a Mountain Bike Club near our house and they have a weekly Wednesday Night Ride. Normally we are elbows deep in a CrossFit workout during this time, but the stars aligned yesterday and we were able to do BOTH!
The trailhead is a huge open area where everyone parks and is still off the main road by at least 400 yards, so there is no traffic or a busy parking lot with lots of moving vehicles to be concerned about. We always attend these events as a family, including CrossFit (check out Abigail’s evening Crossfit Set-up here). The baby is not a burden to either of us, and we became parents knowing this. So we have changed our lives ever so slightly to accommodate her. When we mountain bike, we take turns. This is the only biking we do that we can’t all do together; at least not yet. Last time we were out on the mountain bikes, I got to ride and Donald stayed at the trail head and watched the Abigail. This time I stayed with her and he rode.
The ride was only about an hour long, so Abigail and I explored. These trails are part of the trail system we played in the mud at last week, although there was no mud this time.
We took our time and explored the trail. She wanted to find Daddy so we headed in the same direction the bikers went.
We picked up rocks and looked at flowers!
Her Dinosaur goes everywhere with her now.
She found a rock for him to hold during our walk!
We poked along at no fast pace, playing with our shadows and touching nature. I have found lately that if I let her choose the pace, and the direction on the path we are going, she feels like she is making decisions and I am supporting her. This has helped with our Tenacious Twos. We struggle at somethings, but if she has a chance to make decisions and be independent the day can go much smoother.
When it was time to head back, I carrier the little adventurer for a bit. We had walked into the trail system about a mile. When we got back we had a drink and chilled at the Sprinter.
A great after work adventure was had by all! Have you been out on an after work adventure this week? Tell us about it! Send photos too and you could be featured you on our next post!
We are approximately 2 weeks out from a family bikepacking trip of the Outer Banks of North Carolina! The trip will take my wife our daughter and myself approximately 8 days to cover 250 miles via our trusty Salsa Vaya and Surly Big Dummy (Silver Back Gorilla). A trip like this is a great excuse to snag some new accessories and gear, so this weekend we hit the road to test some of our new additions.
Our daughter is not quite potty trained yet, so for this trip we are still going to need to lug a full week of diapers with us. The good news is they really don’t weigh much, but they do take up a ton of space. So in an effort to find a good place to store a bulky light item, I found the Oveja Negra Threadworks Front End Loader. This is the second bag I have from Oveja Negra and have been very impressed with the quality of their products, price point and timely shipping. The Front End Loader allows me to strap a dry bag up on my Jones Loop H Bars and not even notice it is there. Even with a weeks worth of diapers attached to my bars, my steering was the same and hand placement was not effected.
The major addition, to the wife’s Salsa Vaya, was the Salsa Down Under Front Rack. What a bargain at $65! Typical Salsa, the rack is super sturdy, easy to install and just plain WORKS. We plopped some bags on the front of the wife’s bike, dropped her HUGE DSLR camera and lens with some clothes wrapped around it on one side and went for a test ride. The racks hold perfectly, bags stay in place and everyone is happy.
All of our gear worked great! I even had the opportunity to chase a couple of Tri geeks on my Surly Big Dummy after they passed me, fun race. The weather was perfect our gear is just about all-together and we are super excited to get to North Carolina and cover some miles.
Here is the video of our new gear on our test ride!