I woke up and headed out thanking Katelyn once again for hosting me. She recommended a coffee shop downtown that would definitely be worth checking out before exiting Wilmington. As I stepped out the door, the light rain graced itself upon my face. I smiled. It has been raining off and on for all of yesterday… why should it stop today.
The coffee shop wasn’t far away and as I dropped my quarters into the curb meter, I went in to go get some breakfast and coffee. The place was quaint with lots of people coming in and out as I watched the traffic driving by and soft rain coming down. Umbrellas were out and college students strolled by.
Inside, people of all ages came in and out getting a warm coffee or toasted bagel. From my corner table, I noticed something I don’t see much at all anymore. People reading the newspaper! Granted there was that one older gentleman on the ferry, but that was out in the boonies. This was the city and there were two people reading the paper! AND not on any electronic equipment. What year is this?? Was I transported back in time?
I was shocked! I thought that newspapers were a thing of the past. Not so in Wilmington! The gentleman with the beard said it is what they do in the coffee shop.
Meeting new people is one of the biggest parts of this trip for me. I love talking and meeting with people and getting to hear their stories. I noticed this girl just sitting outside watching the world go by and figured I would go say hello. Dropping another quarter in the meter I asked if she wanted any company. “Sure” she said, and I took a seat. She told me how she was going to school for education and I found out that I drove right by were she used to live. She just recently moved to the city and was loving it. We talked for a bit and she gave me some more recommendations of what I should see before continuing south.
The rain had stopped. I let the girl at the coffee shop know how much of a pleasure it was talking and hearing a bit about her story, and thanked her for all the wonderful recommendations. As she headed to class, and I started my moped, she wished me well on my trip. I think the world is full of beautiful, fascinating people and I am so thankful for my opportunity on this trip to meet some of them.
Heading down to the river front, I noticed this massive ship sitting across the water. A huge battleship from world war 2. I had to see it! Hopping on a small ferry across the river they dropped me off right under the stern of this 729 foot ship.
Let the exploration begin! It was a small town under the deck. All the different areas like the barbershop, laundry room, mail room, ironing area, washroom, mess hall, dish washing area, shoe repair, machine shop area, and much much more. Here are only a sample of the pictures. The battleship North Carolina was fascinating from letting you climb into the turret for the 16 inch big guns to the stories from the crews notes all throughout the ship. I learned a lot and don’t want to spend all day delving into the complex on board systems, daily routines, crew stories etc.
I was really surprised how much of the ship they left open for the public to explore and learn. I didn’t keep track of the time but know I was on the ship easily over an hour. It is extensive!!! Two fun fact from their brochure: “It could carry almost 2 million gallons of fuel oil and averaged 166 gallons PER MILE; 32 feet per gallon. the battleship has 15,000 tons of steel armor plate, which is about 42% of her weight.”
From here I headed south to take another ferry and continue hugging the coast! Gotta love ferries! (This one was 3 dollars)
On my way down I went past some huge shipyards and was followed for a good sections by a police car. I kept waiting for him to turn on his lights, but he must have had bigger fish to fry. There was no way he didn’t notice the back of my moped not having NC registration as he stopped multiple times at stop signs behind me.
Close to the ferry I found a massive puddle and of course hit that baby right on a few times.
The ferry was fun with some lightning and heavy rain in crossing. After unloading and driving for a while on 211 to route 17. I moved to route 179 before 17 bumped up to 60MPH! Ah… its nice to have less traffic and be able to go slower. There are a lot of signs saying “share the road!” but its not conducive to biking here at all. There were sections where the shoulder was just a rumble strip. While drivers legally need to share the road, it should be less dangerous for bikes. Don’t just put up a sign for two lanes, one way at 55mph with semis, and say “ahhhh . the bicyclists will be good now that we got that sign up.” I would be riding on the grass if i was on a bike going 15mph near the shoulder.
I found Hugh’s family campground and called it a night. Making some good progress South! This last pic is from the campsite right along the river. More tomorrow! I hope everyone is enjoying these blogs. They take a LONG time! : /