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Old 12-22-2012, 06:43 AM   #370
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 4,543
I ran the first mile at a little over the posted limit, ok, way over, kinda like a full systems check for body and machine, nerve ends jangling, instrument needles jumping to a crazed jive, exhaust spittin’ and cracklin’, all the lights on the bike lit up in the crude oil blackness, and I don’t think that the couple drivers of the vehicles I passed knew whether that thing was landing or taking off, rather just that it was gone, outta site right quick.

I had been tied up with obligations, and the bike was in the shop for an update and maintenance anyway, no matter, I don’t ride every day, no errands, no ride to lunch, hardly anything in the category of short excursions. My rides seem to belong under a title called “Manic”, an expedition, sometimes a brutal march, never boring, always entertaining…and an adventure.

So it was today, headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, determined to find, need I say consume, some fried pie, several flavors if lucky. It was a long shot for sure, a better chance in central to western Carolina than eastern, but much better in Carolina than Virginia. With an excuse that bold, and combined with some pitiful whining, well, ya got yourself a day trip most every time.

At the five mile mark I was facing an unfortunate conclusion, mainly, it was damn cool and I wasn’t garbed quite right for it. My Olympic riding jacket is a good one in many ways, but leave warm off the list, it isn’t that, even with the liner. Not sure of the temperature, but the frost was so heavy it looked like a good covering of snow, and was the kind that crunched when you walked on it. Roadside ditch water was iced over. Downgrade that cool setting to outright cold, head back for an extra layer or two, ya got to be kidding, the march had started, no retreat was in the cards.

The merge onto VA17 south during early rush hour had about the same feel as being involved in a catastrophic dam failure, a flood of vehicles, bumper to bumper, man, every single one must be late for work, maybe some other event, anger and rage palpable. Never, ever, call customer service first thing in the morning.

I would have enjoyed it more, but my visor was solid with ice crystals, couldn’t see much, and when I ran into that cold fog at the York River, heck, I mostly couldn’t see anything at all. That was my excuse, ‘cause I couldn’t see the GPS, and missed one of my turns on the Colonial Parkway, now I had to put up with that incessant Garmin “recalculate, recalculate…”, lucky I didn’t have a freakin’ hammer in the tank bag. I was seriously frozen, but a ferry ride was coming up right quick, I could regroup onboard.

The sun was almost up when I got to the landing at Jamestown, only a few cars in line, and this ferry would take me across the James River to Scotland Neck.

The Virginia DOT runs two boats, so the wait is never long, and I was parked on deck in no time, hopped off, danced a little jig to get thawed out some, my brain waves had been reduced to fuzzy AM static, no stereo, and I stopped to talk with one of the DOT deck hands, a black guy, only about twice as big as me…and I’m big, he was in a league called freakin’ huge.

He was wearing one of those uniform hats with the ear flaps, they were down, no kiddin’.

“Cold day to be ridin’ ain’t it?”

“Naw, I’m good, sun comin’ up, bound to get warmer, where y’all from?”

“Southside, over to Surry County, that way”, and after only a few words, I knew I was going to like my chosen direction of travel today. Southside, and keep on a goin’, into the land of the plainspoken, unlikely to encounter anyone fluent in Marie Claire or Depeche Mode.

“I’m lookin’ for some fried pie, know anywhere Southside where a man could get some?”, and that question brought out a deep rolling laugh from my new deck hand friend.

“Ain’t thought about fried pie for a long time, old folks on my Momma’s side used to make those, but they’re all gone now, don’t know of anyone who sells them, sorry.”

Damn, struck out, but the chase had just begun, and I was a hound dog on the fried pie trail, confident I’d catch the scent. I was living in the moment once again, and as everyone knows, hope dies last.

(to be continued…)
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