Cycling for The Longest Day

27 Apr

TLD Tuesdays_TerryMiller-01

Terry Miller’s brother Jerry decided to use this summer to remove one item from his bucket list, and cycle/camp across the country from the Atlantic (Neptune’s statue in Virginia Beach) to the Pacific (San Francisco), and Terry decided to join him for the first week. Terry’s father, Jack W. Miller, passed away this past October from complications from Alzheimer’s, and he thought The Longest Day would be a good way to raise money for The Alzheimer’s Association, and to honor his father. Below is Terry’s adventure in his own words. If you would like to create your own adventure or honor your loved one, you can register for The Longest Day to raise funds and help #ENDALZ.

First off, I want to thank everyone that has contributed the Alzheimer’s Association for the Longest Day. I also wanted to catch you up on how the trip is going.

On Saturday we got down to Creeds and were told my a Virginia Beach police officer that the Knott’s Island ferry would be down for a couple of days because the high winds had pushed the water out of the sound. My kind and lovely wife cancelled a pedicure and dinner with friends to rescue us. We ended up spending Saturday camping in a Econolodge in Elizabeth City.

On Sunday we made it to Gatesville, in.spite of very strong winds, where we camped out in the woods in a county conservation area. 36 degrees overnight. Perfect for hammock camping . Oh, and no cell phone service to speak of. That didn’t prevent my cell phone from turning itself back on and killing the battery. No handy 115 volt trees to plug it into either.

It warmed up quickly on Monday, and we met some very nice people at a deli that had just closed up from their opening day in Severn, NC. They gave us ice, water, and some very good cheese biscuits left over from lunch. They took pictures of us looking really great from a hot sweaty day on the road. They said they wanted to tell about our fund raiser on their Facebook page.

Monday night we camped out in the woods off the road between Severn and Margaretville. Haven’t they heard of cell phone service out here in the country?

On Tuesday we got an early start, crossed I-95 and made it to Gaston for a long lunch and use of the only outlet in Hardee’s dining room to charge the phone. I got to send off some thank you emails for donations before leaving with full stomachs, charged batteries, ice, and water. Jerry also got caught up on his on-line journal.

We spent Tuesday night near Eaton’s Ferry on the south side of Lake Gaston. Pretty uneventful, bet we were able to hand wash our laundry, but it didn’t dry overnight, so we bungeed wet clothes to the top of the trailer with the erroneous though that the sun and wind would dry it all out. Ha! Anyway, we hit the road at 8:35 this morning, after a 30 minute delay due to mechanical problems caused by pilot error.

The trikes and trailers have done so much better than the legs, especially with all of the hill climbing around Lake Gaston. It does seem to be some kind of unwritten rule that whatever you need at any particular moment is always at the bottom of the trailer hamper.

We had lunch Wednesday in Warrenton, a very pretty town just east of 85. Another Hardee’s. Don’t these little towns have Chick-filet?

After lunch and a long ride in the country we crossed 85 and ended up at Nutbush Creek Camp Ground on the southwest side of Kerr Lake. A real campground with hot showers and indoor plumbing! First thing we did was put up a clothesline for all of those clothes that were already supposed to be dry. A nice dinner of bagged tuna and Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat. Hammocks set up, and off to bed to send emails.

Met a nice couple at the campground, They are semi-retired documentary makers, and are currently working on a documentary about what happens to young adults that graduate out of the foster care system. Got out of camp fairly early, and put in some serious up and down mileage (up takes a lot longer than down) to Roxboro, NC. We saw lot of pretty scenery, not much car and truck traffic, which is good. We stopped for pizza at lunch at a little country store that seem to be at a lot of state highway intersections. We came across one of two of these every day, and stopped at all of them, if only to get water. I am carrying three 25 oz water bottles, and they don’t last a whole day.

We are averaging 40 miles per day, which isn’t as good as I thought we would, but is pretty good considering that we are towing trailers full of clothes, camping gear, and food. Since we are camping wherever we find a patch of woods at the end of the day, we need to be self contained. We even stop to get water in our solar camp shower’s toward the end of the afternoon, and strap it to the top of the trailer to warm up. Four gallons of water makes the trailer just a tiny bit heavier.

We spent the night in Roxboro at an America’s Best Value Motel, with the emphasis on value, not on best. We went to Budget Inn originally, but it looked a little to budgety, and we forgot our body armor.

The America’s Best has free Wi-fi, but it won’t even register on SpeedTest. The iPad and Jerry’s computer keep saying “no internet connection”, so we ended up using my phone as a hot spot again to get to the outside world. On the subject of America’s Best Value, their free breakfast includes your choice of Coco Crispies, Captian Crunch, Fruit Loops, or Frosted Flakes (well, the generic versions), and coffee. Sorry, they just ran out of milk. We walked across the street to Sheetz and got breakfast. Sheetz sets the standard for mediocrity, but it was food.

Thunder storms were predicted for early morning, and, while we remembered our rain suits, we forgot our lightning suits. The rain came in at 9:00 am while we were deciding on whether to try to move forward or stay for the day. It’s going to get worse as the day goes on, according to radar, so it looks line a day cooped up in the motel. There is a laundromat next door, so Jerry is braving the rain to get our clothes really clean and dry.

We have met some very nice people along the way, especially Cheryl at the newly opened Main Street Diner in Severn, who gave us the food, water, and ice.

You can still make donations to Terry here.

We have met some very nice people along the way.

Thanks again for all of your support,
Terry Miller
Mid-Atlantic Business Communications (MABC)

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