Bike Virginia East Bound Review

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So following a few days in the Outerbanks with friends, we cruised back through the Bike Virginia tour for a long weekend of cycling.  This year’s event was titled East Bound and focused on cycling in the Chesterfield and Williamsburg areas of VA with the first few nights of camping starting at the Pocahontas State Park.  We registered for the weekend event starting on Friday and ending Sunday, however there was a full week option with a second camping area available for those individuals looking for some additional miles.

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Sprinter Van – Camping

We rolled into camp around 2pm on Friday, just late enough to not get a group ride in, but with plenty of time to get signed in and find our campsite.  With the Sprinter, life is good… We popped out the awning, opened up our REI camp chairs, and unloaded our bikes so we could go checkout the festivities.

 

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Big Dummy

HQ, as the Bike Virginia hosts call the main meeting site, was a virtual tent city packed full of cyclist claiming real-estate and finding a parking spot for their bikes.  There were a few venders on site, a beer truck and a swag tent selling all kinds of Bike Virginia jerseys at a great deal.  We snagged up a couple of silicone pint glasses for use in the Sprinter.  The dinner served on site was a catered in Lasagna meal and boy did it hit the spot.

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Tent City
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“Puppy”

 

After dinner we biked back to the Sprinter and focused on chasing fireflies with our 2 year old.  I really enjoy how having a toddler in your life puts the excitement back into things we’ve long forgotten were fun.


Once we got our little one down for the night, Sarah and I focused on drinking some red wine, watching the fire and talking about life.  The next day we would have 65 miles of pure cycling bliss in front of us, so we hit the sack early.

 

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Wine & Big Dummy

An early morning start was in order for Saturday based on the 65 miles of cycling ahead of us.  We don’t exactly set any land speed records on our Salsa Vaya and Surly Big Dummy (with toddler attachment), although we do average about 12-13 mph over the day.

 

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GO-GO-GO

The morning went well with cyclists everywhere!  People were excited to be starting the day and everybody was enamored with our little 2 year old who was ringing her bell over and over.  The route was an awesome rolling country atmosphere with no significant hills for the first part of the morning.

 

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Eating an Apple

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The first aid station came up around the 13 mile mark at a local horse stable.  There were plenty of snacks and liquids available for a quick replenishment.  Our little girl ran around and said hello to EVERYONE to include the horses.  This was just the beginning of her making friends on the trip.

 

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First Stop

By the second aid station, people would cycle past us and know our daughters name!  She was constantly receiving compliments and greetings from fellow cyclists.

 

The day was filled with nice rolling hills all day through the Virginia countryside with minimal traffic.  At about the 50-mile point a couple of things happened…. We started getting tired and the hills started getting steeper.  None of the hills were very long, but some of them got pretty serious for short durations.

 

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Sleeping on the Big Dummy
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Second Stop on Day 1

At about mile 62 we were on the home stretch, when we noticed an ice cream shop!  As a habit, we try not to pass up on a tasty treat during a hot humid ride and today was no different.  We stopped for an ice cream and lemonade, making the last few miles to camp very easy.

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Ice Cream Stop

Once we had taken advantage of the showers at our awesome campground, we decided an evening on the town in our favorite neighborhood, Carytown Virginia would make for a perfect ending to an awesome day of biking.

 

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How NOT to lock up your bike – Carytown, RVA

Carytown has a bunch of cool restaurants and shops on the main street for hours of walking around, but because we are routinely in the area, we went direct to one of our favorites called the Burger Bach.

 

The Burger Bach is a “New Zealand inspired gastro pub” and serves some AWESOME burgers only to be rivaled by the beer selection.  Sarah and I both decided to do the noble thing and each had a burger and a beer to cap off the day.

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Burger Bach

A short 25 mile day was on the agenda for Sunday.  There were longer options, but after our 65 miles the day before and a need to get home, we decided a short day was the best option.

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Beautiful Country

Many of our acquaintances from the day before cycled by and said hello to us and mentioned how awesome if was we were introducing our daughter to cycling so early.  The ride was pretty easy compared to Saturday ending with just a few sprinkles of rain as we entered the campground.

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Sunday’s Rest Stop #1

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The Bike Virginia event was a fun tour, with tons of awesome people.  There were bikes of all types, from crazy fast folks on tri-bikes to recumbents, tandems and even a family on a Surly Big Dummy with a toddler seat (Adventure Family in Motion).  We had the opportunity to speak with a TON of people about our family cycling history and how we came to utilize the Big Dummy with a Yepp seat installed.  I hope we inspired at least one other cyclist to consider bringing their family on the next ride vs leaving them at home!

Did you get to enjoy Bike Virginia this year? Share your stories or a link to your writ sup with us! We would love to hear about it!

 

Don’t forget to check out our MUST HAVE kids cycling gear!

 

2 Southern Bells and a Cowboy – Moving to a New State

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We have ARRIVED! We are now two southern bells and a cowboy (at least for a year)! We have been absent from the blog for a short while due to moving to a new state. That’s right, we packed up and moved from Virginia to Alabama in a quick 20 days! Its been a whirlwind of boxes, brown paper and goodwill donations.

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Movers are here

Donald’s work gave us a VERY short notice to pack up and move to a new location. So we complied. Isn’t that what everyone would do? (LOL). We sent him down here 2 weeks after we received notice. I stayed behind with the little lady and waited for the movers.

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Last Friday I started the 12-hour trek south on hwy 95. We made a quick stop in Raleigh, NC to visit a long time friend I hadn’t seen in nearly 10 years! It was a night of laughs, wine, and kids playing “batman cave” till way past their bedtime!

 

 

Day two of the drive was the part that made me nervous. 9 hours in the car with a 2 year old and no one to help me. But to my surprise she did AMAZING! We had no wet pants, no breakdowns and no fights getting back in her car seat! It was so AWESOME!

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Random peach….
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ATL! Almost there!

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Soooo Close!

 

We drove to the new, yet temporary, home we will be in for a mere 9 months. Then where…who knows! But we love the adventures!

 

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Together again!
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Together Again!

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Pike Road Crossfit
Moving Across the States with a 2 year old!  - www.AdventureFamilyInMotion.com
Moving Across the States with a 2 year old!

Outer Banks by Bike – A Family Bike Tour – The FINAL chapter

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Let’s watch the video FIRST this time…

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!

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Sleeping Beauty

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!

 

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Are you Ready!?

 

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.

 

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Jones Loop Bars

 

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.

 

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Family Pic

 

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.

 

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Playing with her boat
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Daddy what are you doing ?

 

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Silly Daddy
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Watching the waves

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.

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kisses

 

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Gear

 

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.

 

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Snacks!
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Farmers Market

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.

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Weeping Radish

DSC_9341

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Goats!
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Beer Flight

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!

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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!

 

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www.AdventureFamilyInMotion.com

 

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.

Outer Banks by Bike – A Family Bike Tour Chapter 1

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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.

 

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Start of the Outer Bank Bicycle tour. 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.

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Good Morning Dismal Swamp State Park!

 

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.

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Parking and unloading the van.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Historic Triangle, Virginia

On a whim we decided to take a quick weekend trip to the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown Virginia. The 2-hour drive from our house took us down 95 through Richmond, VA. The lack of snow was a nice change from the 2 feet we received the day before Valentines Day.

 

Historic Triangle, Virginia
Historic Triangle, Virginia

We drove through historic Williamsburg first traveling on the Colonial Parkway. This 23 mile 3-lane scenic byway starts at Yorktown and ends in Jamestown. Completed in 1957, it is a National Park Service success story.

 

Yorktown, VA Water Street Grille
Water Street Grille, Yorktown, VA

We stopped in Yorktown for lunch at Water Street Grille on Water Street. It was nearly freezing rain outside as we jetted in trying to stay dry.  We got a great window seat in the front allowing us to watch the rain and snow mix fall on the square. The grille has beautiful views of the river near the boardwalk. A large circular bar sits in the middle of the restaurant. A large menu selection along with a bigger beer selection and 3 preselected tasting beer flights, this was as great stop for lunch. On Sundays they offer a “Make-Your-Own Bloody Mary” bar!

 

Yorktown, VA Water Street Grille
Yorktown, VA Water Street Grille

After lunch we thought we would drive to a nice park to let the baby take a nap, listen to the rain and read our books.  We found a nice park on Queens Lake called New Quarter Park. The park has over 10 miles of paths, 5 miles of single-track mountain bike trails, in addition to fire roads that lead to views of the York River; along with 545 acres of forests, meadows, ravines and tidal wetlands.  10 picnic shelters, 9 hiking tails, paved paths, and an 18-hole disc golf course secure this awesome park with plenty of outdoor activities and all ages!  We hit a jackpot here!

 

New Quarter Park
New Quarter Park

We only stayed at New Quarter Park for about 45 minutes our first visit.  We listened to the rain and the baby watched a kids show. We read a book and ate a few snacks. We drove to Jamestown traveling again down the Colonial Parkway. We got there at 5:05pm right when the park closed so we weren’t able to go into Jamestown proper.

 

Watching DVD
Watching DVD

Jamestown lies close enough to Williamsburg that we decided to stop at a grocery store for a few things, grabbed the baby a balloon and let her run for a bit. Then we drove to Williamsburg Marketplace. The streets are lined with old homes and businesses.  Since it was dark and after business hours we just let the baby run up and down the blocked off gravel streets. There were a handful of eclectic restaurants, shops, and the Kimball theater featuring live performances and Independent movies. There is even a Cheese Shop!

 

Historic Market Place
Williamsburg Marketplace
Historic Market Place
Williamsburg Marketplace

The town itself is now a collage town, so there is a great bookstore called the Williamsburg Booksellers. We stopped in here to warm up and the little lady played in the kid’s section with overstuffed miniature chairs and a pile of teddy bears.

Historic Market Place
Williamsburg Marketplace

After we explored the marketplace we drove back to the colonial parkway to a scenic pull-off where we parked the UAV for the night. We boiled some water and made a dehydrated beef stroganoff for dinner. Our stealth camping location was perfect; if only the baby had slept well. She was up and down for a good part of the night which made sleeping for mom, a bear.

Adventure Van
Urban Adventure Van

The next morning we went back to Williamsburg Marketplace and rode the bikes around the town, which didn’t officially open until 11. We had French toast and coffee at Aromas Coffeehouse & Café.

 

After breakfast, we road our bikes through the Revolutionary City. During the day actors dressed in traditional 1775 clothing, speak in British accents and line the streets putting the audience back into the revolutionary time. From businesses to crafters to blacksmiths to an armory, the spectators are flung back into time.

 

Revelutionary City
Revolutionary City
Revelutionary City
Revolutionary City

 

Revolutionary City
Hugs! Revolutionary City
Revolutionary City
Revolutionary City
Surly Big Dummy - Revolutionary City
Surly Big Dummy – Revolutionary City
Salsa Vaya - Revolutionary City
Salsa Vaya – Revolutionary City

After a 45-minute ride around the gravel streets, we were pretty chilled and decided to load up the UAV. We had a great weekend on a whim to the Historical Triangle of Virginia. We stopped in Richmond on the way home and had dinner at Capital Ale House! Nothing like a great beer and huge pretzel to top off the weekend!

 

Capital Ale House
Capital Ale House, Richmond VA

Have you visited the Revolutionary City or Historic Triangle? Share you photos with us! We’d love to see them! 

 

The gift of Adventure

Now that the craziness has pasted from the holidays, we have been discussing how blessed we are and how loved our child is by the outpouring of amazing gifts from family and friends. Now that she is getting a little older and enjoying the process of unwrapping gifts it makes Christmas so exciting just to watch her!

We have been discussing our traditions as a family. With the baby only 21 months old, we can start establishing our own family traditions. One of those traditions we would like to implement is a holiday experience.

We have talked for years about going on a volunteer vacation. Giving back with a to service to others. We are very excited to make this a priority in our little family.

“Materialism is taking a backseat to experiences, ” says Darren Humphreys, owner Travel Sommelier, a safari and gastronomic travel company.

We have one year to start making a change in how we celebrate the holidays. We have 365 days to ingest this idea into our immediate families. How do we tell them to only send minimal gifts and if they would like they can help contribute to our holiday experience instead? It sounds greedy. It sounds ungrateful. But we would rather show our little girl that its not about opening 15 million presents at 5:00am on Christmas morning.

Its our job as parents to show her empathy, raise her to be respectful and show her how to be humble. In 2014 we would like to enjoy a new tradition, a Holiday Experience.

Quote from USA Today