Lexington To Concord

My energy levels seemed to be a little low today or these hills have grown since I traveled them last. I didn’t find a good place to eat breakfast until 10:15 AM and by then the restaurant wasn’t serving breakfast anymore. So I adjusted my taste buds and had lunch instead at Smokey Joe’s Barbecue in Lexington. This is the town that has life size pigs throughout the town at selected locations. Smokey Joe’s had one too. I asked the waitress why they were all over the town. She looked at me with a smile and asked where I was from. I told her, Florida. “This is the barbecue capital!” she said loud enough for everyone in the restaurant to hear. “Oh!” I said just as loudly. “Where I come from, we have space shuttles all over our town.” She gave me a look like we just came to a draw in a game of chess and then she filled my coffee cup for me.

I feel like I made more rest stops today than normal. Maybe it was because I had to start hitting the hills early rather than later in my ride. The weather was very good most of the day and I managed to pass out a few more of my cards at my rest stops.

I’ve decided I’ll be retracing my route back to Charlotte where I forgot my rain jacket. Shawn and Stephen welcomed me back for a second “couch surf” at their home. I can already picture that nice comfy bed with the tupperware container full of mixed nuts and dried fruit on the table next to it, along with two small bottles of water and two granola bars. What class!

From Charlotte I’ll migrate over more to the east along the coast to cover new ground. Eventually I will stop in Daytona to see my friend Ron Alley who promised to make me a lasagna dinner!

When I rode through Kannapolis this time I stayed on Rt. 29 (Main St.) rather than the side roads I took coming up the first time. I’m glad I did because I got to see the Dale Earnhardt memorial that was built with funds from his fans and friends.

The bike is holding up rather well but the brakes are going to need some attention. Especially the rear brake. Between the pad wearing down and the cable stretch, the lever is making contact with the handlebars when I squeeze it. The calipers don’t open up too well either because of all the dirt that has worked it’s way into the moving parts.

Total mileage: 2,241

© Ron Wynkoop and Bike2Cloud9, 2011.
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Update

What a strange feeling now that I have accomplished reaching my destination after 2,153 miles of traveling by bicycle. I’ve had a sense of mission. A sense of reaching a goal I’ve set for myself. A path. Now it’s all gone. It’s like reaching the top of the mountain and not having anywhere else to go. A void. Yes, I know I still have a much bigger goal ahead of me and that will come soon enough, but this feeling is the empty space between paragraphs. Something I’ve never paid that much attention to in the past. Something I’ve taken for granted because it seemed so minute. The feeling is neither positive or negative, just strange and unfamiliar. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never challenged myself in this way before or perhaps it’s because it’s all so open to me now. A very strange feeling indeed.

Another strange feeling I’ve had is seeing my first coyote. While in High Point I found a place where I could lay my head down for the night. It was near the woods but not in them. Just as I was getting ready to remove the bungee cords that hold my sleeping bag in place, I noticed a dark silhouette moving about fifty feet away from me. At first I thought it was a larger than usual feral cat. As I strained to see better in the darkness it started looking more like a dog and I resolved for myself that’s what this creature was. He noticed me and would move quickly from spot to spot but not away from me. We both stood there looking at each other for a few minutes. I took my headlight from the quick disconnect on my handlebars and aimed it him. His eyes reflected the light back. It wasn’t enough light to illuminate him so I could see for sure what it was but I was more interested in trying to scare him off.

Since he didn’t approach me I felt he would be no danger and continued to reach for the bungee cord again. That’s when he let out a very loud, raspy sounding growl. Not like the romantic sounds you hear in movies. That’s when I realized it was not a dog at all. That’s when I realized I was probably not welcome to stay where I was. I put the light back on my handlebars and grabbed my air horn. I slowly got back on my bike and rode around and away from him. I kept my eye on him and hoped he wouldn’t charge me from the bushes that were starting to come between us as I turned to go back the way I came. He didn’t come after me and it’s a damn good thing because I was ready with my dog tested air horn and my roll of toilet paper.

My visit at Victory Junction was awesome and enlighting. Sammie Barkley was an excellent guide and gave me a tour of the camp on a beautiful sunny day. Camp was in session and I saw many of the children in groups going about their activities around the many centers on site. Interacting with the kids is not allowed while in session for privacy and security reasons. It’s a very colorful place with fun looking buildings donated by many of the NASCAR drivers and sponsors of some of the race teams.

As I approached VJ on my bike I saw the big water tower that looks like the hot air balloon on the VJ logo. It rose up above the horizon and the trees as I crested the hill leading to the entrance. When I reached the main entrance my odometer read 2,153 miles.

I will write more about my visit in the next few days but for now I need to plan where I go next and leave this beautiful Bed & Breakfast where I spent the night thanks to owner Alice Brunner and her son, Daniel of Hill Top Bed & Breakfast in Randleman. It was a very pleasant and very comfortable stay in this two story historic home. It holds 5 bedroom suites complete with their own bath and/or shower. Out back is a separate spacious honeymoon suite for couples. I highly recommend Hill Top Bed & Breakfast for anyone wanting to stay within 100 miles of Randleman! God bless you Alice and Daniel.

Hill Top Bed & Breakfast in Randleman NC

When I started my trip I packed two pairs of jeans. Sizes 36 and 34. Last night I wore the size 34 for the first time and they fit just a little loose on me. I haven’t been on a scale in a while but I’m sure I’m somewhere between 165 lbs. and 170 lbs. Down from 192 lbs.

I’d like to say a special thank you to Dan Hodgson and his team- Kristian, Kim and Tracy of Acknowledging Christ Through Service (A.C.T.S) a ministry of Home to Home in High Point who approached me and asked if I would like a sandwich and chips. Dan and his team scour the streets looking for the homeless and people in need so as to lend them a helping hand.

Dan was adamant in making sure I had everything he could help me with and I think I put him to the test. After giving me a sandwich, chips, cookies and a bottle of cold water, he continued to grill me about my needs. I told him I needed to replace my balding back tire on the bike, thinking this request would choke him. Not a chance! He hooked me up with Spinz Bicycle Shop in High Point. Dan tried to absorb the cost of the tire for me but his friend, R.P. Hughes at Spinz, refused to take any money from Dan and covered the cost of the tire and service for us.

I left High Point with such a feeling of gratitude and humbleness that I cannot thank Dan and his team enough, not only for what they did for me, but also for what they do for their community. Special thanks to Dan and his team and R.P. Hughes for their kindness, generosity and caring nature. High Point is very lucky to have people like this living in thier town.

© Ron Wynkoop and Bike2Cloud9, 2011.

The High Point Of High Point

My “Couch Surfer” contacts in High Point never replied to my requests for a couch which left me spending most of the night at Walmart and then later finding a nice dark, quiet spot next to large delivery truck that was backed up to a loading dock. The driveway was sunken between two grassy banks which provided privacy for me during the night. Since the next day was Sunday I wasn’t worried that truck would be going anywhere in the early hours while I was catching up on much needed sleep.

I found a Wi-Fi hotspot not far from there at a McDonald’s and did some online work. (playing games) Thanks to my anchorman, Bondo, I was able to afford a burger and a coffee. I packed things up so I could go back outside and get warmed up when Okey Dokey the goat pulled up next to me in the parking lot. With the back seat all to himself he was very content and seemed very comfortable.

The owner of Okey Dokey, whose name escapes me right now, explained that he is in the process of moving to Switzerland with Okey Dokey where he owns land and a house. Because of legal red tape he must take Okey Dokey to Canada in order to get him to Switzerland.

If you look at Okey Dokey’s horns you’ll see rubber horn guards. The owner says they are bicycle hand grips that he glued on. He said nothing about how many miles he rode Okey Dokey to get to High Point but I’ll bet I got him beat.

In the morning I’ll make contact with Victory Junction and work out the fine details of my visit. In the meantime I may move further down the road to Archdale and wait for the green flag to VJ.

© Ron Wynkoop and Bike2Cloud9, 2011.

Update To Victory Junction

My travels have brought me to Thomasville NC where I am a stone’s throw away (+-20 miles) from my destination, Victory Junction at Randleman. I am at the library trying to make accommodations for a couple of days so that arrangements can be made for my visit at the camp. I’ve contacted a couple of “couch surfing” hosts and hope to have a place to stay tonight and hopefully tomorrow.

I spent two days in Lexington because of a slow steady rain. I discovered that somewhere along the way I either lost or forgot my rain jacket. My options for a place to stay in Lexington were few. Someone suggested the homeless shelter but I would feel guilty taking a cot from someone who needed it more than me. I ended up finding a place at a church in town with a nice little secluded courtyard.

My ride from Lexington to Thomasville was a damp one due to a heavy mist hanging close to the ground. My shirt soaked up the moisture and I stopped a few times at convenience stores to let the air conditioning dry me out. The coffee wasn’t half bad either.

I hope to catch up on some of the missing gaps in my journey due to the lack of time it takes to produce these entries. Libraries and McDonald’s Wi-Fi just doesn’t provide the time I need.

Total mileage: 2,093

A few more photos from the past few days.

Home of Dale Earnhardt and my 2,000 mile mark!

A cute little train station

These pigs, in different varieties, seemed to be all around Lexington. This one was at the library.

A giant chair in Thomasville

© Ron Wynkoop and Bike2Cloud9, 2011.

More Photos

Three Rivers Columbia SC

Derwin Jeffcoat and Scott Schafer responding to a call the night I stayed in Kershaw

Behind Jeff & Scott's EMS station

Lugoff SC

Every town has their sign

Calvary Church Charlotte NC

Charlotte Skyline

NASCAR Hall Of Fame Charlotte NC

Rock Ridge NC

Total mileage: 2,035

© Ron Wynkoop and Bike2Cloud9, 2011.

Victory Junction Meeting

I’ve made it to within 100 miles of Victory Junction and expect to be there in a few days. I have contacted the wonderful people there and will keep them updated on my progress. Unfortunately, Nicole Studer, the person I’ve been communicating with since the start, will be on vacation during my time there and I won’t be able to meet her in person. Sammie Barclay, a member of the development team will be my new guide for the tour of Victory Junction.

I’ve been looking forward to my visit there and feel pretty good about my accomplishment in making it to Victory Junction thus far.

Many thanks to everyone who has been following along and giving support during my ride here. More to come when I make my visit to Victory Junction.

Update

Posted on

I am at a McDonald’s now just to make a brief post. When I leave here I will cross into North Carolina within two minutes.

Early this morning I had another dog encounter. Heading north on SR 521 out of Lancaster three dogs spotted me and started running towards me from the other side of the highway. They didn’t cross the road and I turned and went back the way I came. There were two Doberman’s and a Rottweiler. I waited for about five minutes contemplating what to do and then called 911 for an officer to assist me. The officer met me and I showed him where the dogs were. He approached the area and all three dogs barked and surrounded his car. As I watched from a safe distance, the officer assessed the situation. After a few minutes the 911 operator called me back and said the officer believes the dogs have shock collars and would probably not leave the property. I told the operator I didn’t feel good about testing shock collars. She said the officer would wait in the median until I got past. I asked if the officer would get out of his car while waiting in the median to see if the dogs crossed the barrier. She reported the officer said no.

The officer came back to where I was to see what I wanted him to do. He was unable to locate owners by running tag numbers on cars parked in the driveway. I told him I was not familiar with the area and asked him if there was another way around the dogs. He gave me directions to get around and I was on my way.

Enjoy some photos for now.

My first encounter with the hills of South Carolina

My first glimpse where everything else was below me.

Gervais St. Bridge, Columbia SC

Gervais St. Bridge over Three Rivers, Columbia SC

Walkway bridge along Three Rivers Greenway, Columbia SC

Railroad bridges over Three Rivers Columbia SC

I thought my journey came abruptly to an end!

© Ron Wynkoop and Bike2Cloud9, 2011.