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.

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! 

 

National Geographic’s 21 Best Travel Destinations for 2014

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER MAGAZINE BEST OF THE WORLD DESTINATIONS LOGONational Geographic Traveler has announced its 2014 Best of the World Destinations list. Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/National Geographic Traveler magazine.

National Geographic Traveler magazine has released its annual Best of the World list, which features 21 top travel destinations to visit in 2014. The magazine says the list reflects what’s “authentic, culturally rich, sustainable and superlative” in travel worldwide now.

“The Best of the World list reflects the expertise and experience of National Geographic Travel’s huge network of global travel experts. If you want to explore places worth visiting now, this is a great place to start,” says Keith Bellows, editor in chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine.

Here are the 21 Best destinations in the 2014, according to the Best of the World list (in alphabetical order):

See the National Geographic Traveler photos and destination stories at travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips-2014/.

 

Nevada City, California Food, Friends and Great Weather

Recently we had the opportunity to return home to the Nevada City, California area for a visit.  While we truly wish a longer stay (permanent) would have been in the cards, it just is not at the moment.  We still have high hopes of living in this town in the near future and crave the eclectic area packed full of great food, lakes, mountain bike trails and cool festivals.

Nevada City
Nevada City

If living in Nevada City, CA is not something you are able to do, the next best thing would be to visit.  Hopefully our whirlwind trip pictured below will help you see the high points, but this doesn’t even start to capture the super cool stores and amazing outdoor activities surrounding this area.

Nevada City
Nevada City
Nevada City
Nevada City

This trip was really focused on spending time with friends, however in our free time, the below restaurants and locations are a must!

Nevada City
Nevada City

Breakfast started a small New Orleans themed place call Ike’s Quarter Café.  Ike’s prides themselves on local ingredients and a variety of gluten free, vegan and healthy food options.  Numerous different types of locally baked bread, waffles and creations are available.  Ike’s is CASH only, has outdoor seating and allows “dog parking” just outside the entrance.  Get the Gasserhouser and thank me later!

Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe
Ikes Cafe

The craft beer scene is alive and well in Nevada CityJernigan’s Tap House & Grill has brought the “tap house” and burger joint theme to town and are doing a great job supplying a HUGE selection of craft beer.  Go to Jernigan’s, select a few different beers to try in a tester flight and have a giant burger; makes me smile just thinking about it.

Jernigan’s Grill & Tap House
Jernigan’s Grill & Tap House

The afternoon was spent shopping and sipping on coffee from Cafe’ Mekka. We walked the streets poking in shops, window shopping and people watching. The weather was spectacular for mid January. We stopped at Pioneer Park and let the little lady run laps around the spacious park.

Nevada City
Pioneer Park, Nevada City
Nevada City
Pioneer Park, Nevada City
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Nevada City
Nevada City
Cafe Mekka
Cafe Mekka
Nevada City
Pioneer Park, Nevada City
Nevada City
Nevada City

The evening called for PIZZA in with friends.  North Ridge Restaurant has great food as a whole, but they make pizzas that are to die for!  North Ridge is a great family place with a huge variety of food and some nice beers on tap.

The following day we had lunch at Lefty’s which sits on a super quaint creek and has the BEST outdoor seating in the town.  The “SOP” burger is where it’s at, paired with one of the multiple craft beer options available, you can’t go wrong at Lefty’s.

Finally not a restaurant, but definitely a must visit location is Ol’ Republic Brewery.  When Ol’ Republic came to town we were ecstatic.  Nevada City needed a quality place to hang out and have a locally made beer in a family friendly environment.  Ol’ Republic does not serve food, however they allow you (and encourage you to) bring food in from one of the many local dinning establishments close by.

Nevada City is a town with loads of character; a real must see of Northern California.  We have traveled all over the world and Nevada City, California is on the top of my list as one of the most versatile towns with great food, shopping, beer and incredible outdoor fun.  Go check it out!  

Adventure Family In Motion

Point Lookout, Maryland

A few months back we spent some time at Point Lookout, Maryland. Its approximately 2 hours from our house. A nice afternoon drive. We pulled the UAV into the campground and were able to get a nice spot in the RV section.
We biked the island (approximately 5 miles total). It was a nice relaxing ride.
We stopped at the beach and played in the sand! We were surprised at ALL the people at the beach!
After the beach stop, we rode our bikes off the island and around town a little only to get caught in the rain.
We pulled the baby in the Chariot. She LOVES the chariot! She sleeps on EVERY trip! She sings. She waves and talks to people!
The weather was great (MINUS the mosquitos!)
This was one of the last ride with the Trek XO1 before purchasing the Salsa Vaya! This new bike is the HEAT!!!! I love it! Best bike purchase yet!
It was one of the FIRST outings with the Sprinter UAV … Urban Adventure Van
On day two we went for a 25 mile ride. It was a nice loop. Beautiful weather. We stopped and chatted with a runner who gave us some easy directions.
Great location for a quick weekend get away!