Day 24 – The Great Ferry to the South (November 25, 2020)

Night 24- Shallotte, NC

Another excellent start to the day. Our excellent host Angela Denese and her husband had coffee, eggs, and bacon for us. The only obstacle between us and breakfast and the morning post was not getting too distracted with more stories of other cycling tourists and hopes for the future.

With only a handful of cool breezes in the morning, the day started to warm up as soon as we started pedaling. Except today’s forecast was overcast with high humidity. Pair that with the salty coastal air and it would just be a very sticky day.

With no response for our host for the night we just started heading down towards the ferry. It would be a few hours till we crossed and we figured we would just figure something out. The only concern being that tomorrow was Thanksgiving and responses might not happen.

The riding was pretty easy going as we passed through Carolina Beach. Light traffic and a proper bike lane is always a welcome combination. That would take us all the way to the ferry.

As we got close we saw a road sign that said the next ferry would take off in 15 minutes. So we pedaled a bit faster and rolled in with plenty of time… an hour more than we expected due to issues with one of the boats. The ticket booth operator saying “they messed up something. I’ll start selling tickets for the next one in 30 minutes”. So we found a picnic table off to the side and hung out.

The boat rolled up, we rolled on, off we were for another 30 minute wait on a boat. This one wasn’t too exciting aside from the mixture of seagulls and migrating starling having it out for space on the rails.

We landed and rode through Southport to a McDonald’s for lunch and to figure out our housing situation. There was a super Walmart down the road with plenty of wooded land behind it we though to hide in if need be, but we got lucky. The first church I called checked with their pastor and said we could stay behind their building. This church was also some kind of camp for kids, but we were told to pitch our tents specifically by the small graveyard barrier wall. With lots of traffic passing by it would keep us out of sight from looky-loos staggering out of the bar across the street. She also noted the police would be informed of our stay because they have had some issues with trespassers wandering off into the woods behind the building before.

With housing locked down and 20 miles to go, we planned to stop at the Walmart for a few things and then skip over to the church down the road. But before we left McDonald’s, some gentleman asked me the usual questions and as I was finishing up the usual answers he tossed us $40 and said we were nuts. Nuts, but entertaining enough, I suppose.

The rest of the night was pretty smooth. We got in to Shallotte, NC with little problem. Walmart was a success with finding super light, waterproof flip flops… $0.90. Nothing high-tech. Met a guy who was planning his tour of Ireland before covid struck. With the glow of the overcast sky fading we only had one mile left. There was only a fairly busy section of road which I could assume was the main strip of restaurants for the town. We arrived at the church, pitched our tents, and had a police car swing through the parking lot. They didn’t say anything, but I assume they called us in and found we had permission since they left without any interaction.

So here we are, waking up between a sand filled kids playground and a small graveyard. Thankful we found the spot we planned our next day. Contrary to the projected route, we found a host in myrtle Beach.

Have a happy turkey day everyone. I’m going to wipe off my tent from the small squall that rolled by as I was typing this.

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