Outer Banks by Bike – A Family Bike Tour Chapter 5

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!

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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 and headed 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.

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digging with daddy

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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!

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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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ACA map Planning

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Outer Banks by Bike – A Family Bike Tour Chapter 4

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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.

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lonely quiet road…perfect!

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.” 

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Boardwalk next to the wild horses
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cheese!!

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.

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Lets go to the beach!

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.

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Ferry Ride from Ocracoke to Hatteras

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.

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Fuel stop

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.

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Her OWN water bottle

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!

 

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What you can carry on a Surly Big Dummy
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What to carry on a Surly Big Dummy

 

Make sure to watch the video!

 

 

Check out the days leading up to chapter 4!

Day 3 — Day 2 —  Day 1

Outer Banks by Bike – A Family Bike Tour Chapter 3

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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!

 

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Good Morning! Lets ROLL!

 

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).

 

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All Smiles!

 

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.

 

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Salsa Vaya

 

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.

 

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Lunch time bear hugs

 

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!

 

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OUCH!
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Playing before the ferry arrives

 

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.

 

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All the bikes lined up on the ferry!
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Watching a show on the ferry
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busy baby
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Watching the water on the ferry
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Waiting to dock the boat!
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Looking through the telescope. She calls them her “eyes”
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Dino on the ferry

 

We met up with another cycling tour group called North Carolina Tailwinds. They are a fully supported  group with a sag wagon.

 

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Map of the Outer Banks

 

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.

 

 

To read about day 2 click here.

Bikepacking Shakedown for OBX Ride!

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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. 

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Yepp Maxi Child Seat

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.

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Surly Big Dummy

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.

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Brooks Saddle

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!