61 miles of East Coast Greenway cycling into Durham NC

Hotel breakfast food
Hotel breakfast food

Day 5: Our departure from Clarksville VA at 7:45AM was greeted by warmer temperatures and a bittersweet taste of excitement for what would unfold — and the realization that our cycling tour is closing in on the finish line.   Including today’s ride — we have 2 days of riding before our ECG WAY Tour 2015  comes to an end.  Today’s ride would take us to Durham – 61 miles.

For inquiring minds, here is the morning routine that gets you to the road:

  • the alarm clock wakes you from the ‘dead zone’ at 5:30AM
  • you fumble to turn the thing off — which can take up to 15 minutes
  • you realize that time is not on your side
  • you put down hotel-food-complimentary breakfast – which by the way does not include any vegetables
  • you return to your room to clean your bike chain
  • you hope you haven’t left any bike grease on the hotel carpet
  • you find a set of clothes that appears clean
  • you were wrong about the clothes and keep searching
  • it’s day 5 and best you can do is a quick scrub of day-old clothing
  • you line up the bike technology — the brick, the recharged headlights, back-lights and smart phone GPS
  • you shove as much food that will fit into your bike-carry-bag
  • you say good-bye to any hope of lally-gagging
  • you pack your bag onto the shuttle truck
  • you meet up with your fellow riders
  • you attempt to stretch – not much bends anymore
  • you hop on your bike
  • you begin riding
  • and you realize that there is no better start to the day

Snacks at a rest stop in NC
Snacks at a rest stop in NC

The bright sun made the farm fields glisten with dew, and we hadn’t finished 5 miles before it was time for our first photo stop.  We continued on country roads where the car traffic could be counted on one hand.   We passed more tobacco fields, horses and livestock and found ourselves in the middle of several dog chases.   Fortunately today’s dog chases included friendly dogs who were out getting their morning run.   We were even chased by a trio of chiuawas which was somewhat amusing.   They apparently thought they had longer legs.   That chase was shortlived.

Our route put us into North Carolina.   From here we meandered along more country roads, gentle rolling hills with great farmland views.   30 miles into our ride, we had reached Oxford NC – one of the larger towns since South Hill VA.   We took this opportunity to take a snack break, and get some minutes away from the bike saddle.

Bales of hay in rural NC countryside
Bales of hay in rural NC countryside

As we approached the Durham County line, the traffic picked up a notch but all very manageable on bicycle.  Ten miles from our downtown Durham destination we either found ourselves biking into a headwind, or were just getting tired.  Of course that didn’t stop anyone – we pushed on and bicycled the last few miles along trails.   Another day of great cycling with the FAB East Coast Greenway WAY Tour riders!!

But wait – the day is far from being over.  The ECG is treating the WAY Tour riders to southern hospitality at The PIT – a BBQ haunt.   With our bicycles tucked away safely in our hotel rooms, we took a walking tour of the revitalized Durham Bulls / Art District – and gradually meandered our way to The Pit.  While the BBQ ribs smothered in sauce was the star attraction, tucked away in a far corner of the room was a vegetarian menu – BBQ tofu and veggies.  Who knew that tofu could taste so good slathered in BBQ sauce?  We spent the evening getting to know our fellow riders just a little bit better, meeting ECG staff who are dedicated to advancing the Greenway, and meeting local politicians who are part of the sustainable-energy (cycling) equation.   One ECG WAY Tour cyclist shared his thoughts on the WAY Tour – that sums it up for many of us:

Route:  Clarksville VA to Durham NC (61 miles)

Clarksville VA to Durham NC
Clarksville VA to Durham NC
NC state line
NC state line
Arrival in Durham - hotel is next to Durham Bulls Stadium
Arrival in Durham – hotel is next to Durham Bulls Stadium
Our wonderful bike mechanic takes care of all our bike issues
Our wonderful bike mechanic takes care of all our bike issues

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