I flew with my bike from Tucson to Jacksonville, NC. Got off the plane, found my bike box and started to assemble it all right in the baggage claim area. It's a little airport and everyone was friendly, asking questions about "where are you going" and such. I got the bike assembled, and then went outside into a major rainfall event. I think it rained about 2.5 inches that afternoon and I was right in the middle of it all. Soaked. Totally. My cash in my wallet was all stuck together. When I got to a Motel 6, I left a giant puddle in the lobby trying to sign in.
|Atlantic Ocean near Emerald Isle, NC|
Next morning I stopped at Walmart and bought a couple of things. The bike shop didn't open until 10 and I rolled out thinking I could get the chain lube I wanted along the way. I went along US 24 past Camp Lejune, a place I was at some 50 years ago for about 22 days. Then I took a turn and headed down the strip that Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach were on. Got to see the Atlantic for quite a bit. It was a fun easy ride in a little rain. As I turned back toward Morehead City I got dumped on again, hid out under the eaves of a long closed restaurant for a while.
Found that the bike shops didn't have that much, hoteled it for the night and the next day I rode from Beaufort over to Cape Lookout. I took the ferry with my bike, and first thing up was to climb up the stairs in the lighthouse. It was pretty neat, with great views at the top. I then rode along the beach for a good bit, found that "right place" between soggy wet sand and loose "I can't ride here" sand and I rode down to the tip of Cape Lookout. Then went up the other side, got hot, sweaty, took a path through the woods and found a few ticks and finally got out of there and back to the Atlantic side on the beach to camp for the night.
|Cape Lookout Pier|
|Tip of Cape Lookout|
Had a great breeze and kept cool that night ... only mistake was to leave the tent unzipped and I found a few sand fleas biting on me early the next morning. Around 8:30 or so, the boat came back and I got on and started riding.
|Mill Pond ... about 2 miles from where I crashed|
The first 30 miles went really nicely, flat, paved, pretty light traffic and then I had a problem.
I was checking traffic to my back, there was a bit of a drop off into mowed lawns on my right and I saw a styrofoam cooler in front of me. I didn't want to swing into traffic and decided to just hit the thing. Bad mistake. It took me right out ... I went down hard on my shoulder and back. I got up, winced from the pain, kicked the cooler hard and found it was one of those thick heavy things ... not your 99 cent Circle K job, but a heavy thing for shipping steaks or something in. I thought I could just ride it all out and so I did ....... got to a gas station and consumed a bunch of ibuprofen and aspirin and kept going. I made it to where the route got close to Jacksonville again and went off route, found a bike shop and got the sealant I wanted and some chain lube and a hotel for the night.
Up the next morning and still hurt but I was riding along. Had roads with lots of traffic for the first part and it was hot and humid. I made about 78 miles and got to Mt Olive. My shoulder was still hurting and I found a hotel around 5 pm or so, and got a small pizza.
I started for Newton Grove the next morning and the shoulder was really hurting. I found I could get into my aero position but getting out was hurting and riding on the bars was hurting and I think I walked about 2 miles on a perfectly flat road trying to get my act together. After a couple of ham biscuits at a Hardee's in Newton Grove, I made it to Dunn. It was still pretty early in the day, looking like rain and I stopped.
The next morning I rode a bit and stopped near a truck stop. A semi was turning in and I hurt when I stopped and then hurt when I started back up again. And I found I couldn't look over my left shoulder at all. So in that black pit of despair, I decided to quit and I went to Fayetteville to get a rental car.
|Bike in car, Mississippi River bridge in the distance|
I drove from Fayetteville to Johnson City, TN on Sunday and when I took my shirt off I saw this big red splotch on my left shoulder. Decided to look for a walk in clinic the next morning and the Doc there checked things out and thought I didn't have a break. Went to xray and it clearly showed a break. So I guess I had been riding on a broken clavicle for about 3 1/2 days.
Still had the rental car and so I met some relatives along the way, in Jonesborough, in Knoxville and in Oklahoma City and got back to Tucson late on Thursday night. Had an orthopedic person look at my xray on Friday morning and she said nothing for 2 weeks, some PT for 2 weeks and then another xray in 4 weeks. And so there we are.
I want to go back. This thing needs to be done.