Watch out for Mosquitos

Posted by on 29, May 2019 in 2019 - Orlando Northwards, Tilly the Tandem, USA

Watch out for Mosquitos

The further north you travel the more proper crockery and cutlery you find in places. Who knows, maybe it migrates north for the winter! We’ve now been able to pick cafes by their environmental criteria, Green seems to be the upcoming thing here, but only very half heartedly. We stopped at an environmental friendly cafe (it said everywhere) to find the food and drink still came in single use containers but they were compostable! The owner made the mistake of asking us if we had enjoyed our food after we had eaten and then got an earfull from us both of the benefits of PROPER crockery! He looked a bit shell shocked when he left! The food was good though.

Anyway, at the northern end of the Outer Banks lies Kitty Hawk, the place where the Wright Brothers made the first powered flight. There’s a great sculpture reproduction of the plane in a park at the site of the flight and markers to show the distanced covered for the four flights that day. It’s all done really well, especially the fact that the sculpture captures the moment of take off complete with bystanders and allows you to climb all over the plane too – somethings that the kids and me loved!

The Wright Flyer is hard to upstage, but a touring tandem gives it a run for its money and we were inundated with visitors coming to see us after having seen the plane!

We did eventually escape and headed off the island to a Warmshowers host right next to an Indian. Our accomodation was the garden shed, but it’s better than putting up the tent! And to be fair the shed was next to the water and had an outdoor shower and deck and within walking distance of the Indian.

We over indulged in the booze department, both with our hosts (more anti Trumpers) and at the meal and the next day got about 30km down the road and I couldn’t cycle any further. I put it down to the extraordinary heat, but I suspect the truth lies elsewhere. We crashed out at an Airbnb – the last stop for 50 miles – and slept soundly sans alcohol in air conditioned bliss.

Continuing the next day, the road to the outer banks is busy and not much fun. Small shoulders and a fair amount of traffic but we were advised that we should really try it at weekends when there’s so much more traffic that we’d be the fastest thing on the road as it’s stationary!

We had to follow this road until we took our next ferry at Currituck, which, when we arrived we found had crashed the day before and was in dry dock being repaired. This rather scuppered our scenic quiet route and we had to get back on the Outer Banks road to take a large detour around the river.

We even ended up on the motorway for a short while once we entered Virginia, which is “for Lovers” according to the number plates. So we stopped on the hard shoulder of the M1 for a quick snog in front of the signpost trying to take a selfie at the same time. I’m not sure what passers-by made of this, but it’s not us who said it was for lovers and after all we were only entering into the spirit of it!

We rolled up at our campsite 2 hours late (nothing to do with the snogging I hasten to add), to find the road flooded. Having once cycled into a flood “We’ll be fine” and ending up literally looking like a sinking canoe when the water got up to the handlebars we now take the precaution of stopping and waiting for a car to go through first. Having satisfied ourselves that we weren’t going to be submerged and eaten by alligators we cycled on to our campsite to find we were the only tent and had a prime space right by the water. Which then spent the next two nights steadily rising! With no rain. And still they don’t believe in Climate Change!

We camped there for 3 very peaceful nights, visited the beach and the Aviation Museum. We went there especially to see one of the only two airworthy De Havilland Mosquitos left. It’s my favourite aircraft and arguably the best aircraft in the second world war. It was in the garage for a service so we missed it!!

The staff felt so sorry for us that they gave us a VIP tour of an RAF control tower brought over from the UK a couple of year’s ago and which was being refitted in Battle of Britain style for a grand opening that weekend. Very interesting it was too.

We’d rested our legs for this trip so had a taxi back to camp to find the flood had got a lot bigger and for some reason our taxi turned out to be the smallest car we’ve ever seen in America and was in danger of floating away in a puddle let alone a flood. So the lady driver beached us apologetically on the wrong side of the shore and left!

Being the US, moments later a huge pickup came through the flood causing a wake that demolished a small village and offered us a ride back through, so we hopped in and kept our feet dry.

Virgina Beach, just north of the Aviation museum was our next stop and we went straight back to the hotel we stayed at last year, where they immediately remembered us! It’s a Great non smoking hotel where you can leave your balcony door open all night and not be smoked out by people smoking on the balconies around you. We love Americas attitude to smoking, very forward thinking.

The boardwalk here is nicely done and we enjoyed walking it and the beach for a couple of days and visiting our favourite bar too for the “You can’t tell it’s not beef” vegeburger. Which we can atest is unlike any other veggie burger and looks like meat. For all we know it was meat, but we did double check.

Leaving Virgina Beach and heading north your route is blocked by The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, a 23 mile long series of bridges and tunnels and it’s closed to cyclists. So we have to book a ride over with the CBBT authority who then transport you over in a van. The controller remembered us from last year and we had a very pleasant ride over – It’s definitely a bridge we wouldn’t cycle even if we could so we sat back and enjoyed the ride.

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