We woke the next morning to high winds and a dicey weather forecast, with rain predicted by early afternoon. Given our lack of enthusiasm for riding in wet conditions we, along with most of the group, decided to forego the 40-mile ride and instead do the shorter 27-mile route which gave us a better chance of getting into camp before the heavens opened up.
Under darkening skies, we set out and about halfway into the ride got to the rest stop where we were serenaded by a barbershop quartet, an interesting interlude as one admires this old art still being practiced. Battling winds on the return, we hit camp and secured loose items and covered anything outside with a tarp in anticipation of the coming storm.
The food we’d consumed at the rest stop a distant memory, we walked to Broad Street hoping to grab a bite to eat at the Governor’s Pub, but with most folks having done the short ride and rain starting to come down, it was crazy crowded and so we ended up at the Downtown Café and Soda Shoppe, a sandwich shop further down the street for an inexpensive meal that included a tuna sandwich for me.
Back in camp with the squall picking up we made sure all of the guy lines for the tent were securely planted in the ground and then waited out the storm inside as the sidewalls depressed from the force of the wind. Laying on our backs we stretched out our legs and with feet resting on the tent walls pushed them back towards the forces railing against them.
It was an exhilarating and yet nerve-racking occurrence and as we’ve experienced in the past (that incredible night outside of Tallahassee) our Marmot 6P tent held up admirably. And we came to realize, a bit too late to do anything about it that it would have been better if we’d just picked a site one or two spaces away from the water, allowing other tents to shelter us from the force of the storm.
The winds abated and the skies cleared, providing us with a window to head over to the beer event held on the other side of the camp, free glasses of local craft beer for the offering.
Most of our large group gathered there and we spent an enjoyable hour or more standing around, beers in hand chatting away, a moment made more poignant considering it would be our last trip like this with this great group of people.
Pretty soon another round of wind and rain blew in and many of us gathered under the porch of a nearby two-story building to watch the storm bluster through, which it eventually did and by then the beer event was breaking up. At this time a number of folks in our group decided to head into town for dinner, but not being hungry we declined.
Looking for a dry warm place to spend time before heading off to bed, we walked up Broad Street and stopped in at the Edenton Bay Trading Company, occupying a few rooms on the ground floor of an older building with a nice selection of wine and beer. The owner hosted a counter with wine by the glass at a reasonable price and we settled at a table near an electrical outlet to charge our devices (the charging station in camp was off limits as two phones had been reported as being stolen from it) and sip on our drinks while listening to a musician singing some hits from the past. Later, members of our group joined us as they were walking back from dinner and we sat around, talking (what else?) until we all closed it out and headed to camp.
The next morning dawned clear and rain free but quite windy; it would be an interesting day out on the course as many of us decided to tackle the 43-mile option. We took off as a group at a slow pace as Jamie, Maurice’s girlfriend, having ridden her longest ride of all time the day before, was settling in and trying to determine if she was going to do the whole ride. Riding in a group helped all of us out as we battled the high winds, eventually reaching the second rest stop leaving us with eighteen miles to the finish. We started out into a fierce headwind on Avoca Farm Road, cursing inwardly at the difficulty the wind caused and hunkered down fearing that the entire ride back might just be miserable.
Fortune smiled on us though and when as we made the turn onto Highway 47 which would take us across the bridge over the Chowan River and onto Queen Street into Edenton, that headwind turned into an incredible tailwind allowing us to race along at high speed, turning the pedals over with little effort all the way back into camp. And Jamie? She did all 43 miles, making for two personal records in two days.
We cleaned up in camp and enjoyed an extended cocktail hour there before walking to Broad Street and dinner at the 309 Bistro and Spirits. Jason and Karie had eaten there the night before and thought the food quite good, so reservations had been made and we arrived to a nice setting in the back of the restaurant to celebrate the coming end of a good weekend and mourn the demise of a circle of friends not easy to come by.
We ordered a Hot Crab Casserole for the table to share and for entrees, Joanna had the Day Boat Scallops with fettuccine and bouilli butter cream sauce (a garlic butter sauce), the dish of the night. I had one of the specials, a broiled Red Drum that was good but not necessarily memorable with the exception of two delicious sides, the Gruyere Potatoes and a Jalapeño Cream of Corn.
Given the size of the portions we did our best to eat it all but, in the end, left quite a lot on the plates. Waddling out of the restaurant we strolled back to camp for another good night’s sleep, made better knowing we wouldn’t have to deal with high winds and rain. We contemplated riding the next day before leaving Edenton, but the morning greeted us with windy conditions and then a phone call from Charlotte communicated an issue involving Joanna’s Mom that would need resolving. So, the decision made for us we packed up camp and drove straight home, first bidding our fellow cyclists and campmates the fondest of farewells.
It was on the drive home that the reality of our moving and leaving Charlotte began to sink in. Eleven years, our tenure in town, is a long enough period of time to form deep, meaningful, and lasting relationships. And this group of individuals, who we had shared numerous, often weekly, bike rides with and a number of camping excursions would be one that we would miss the most.
Downtown Café and Soda Shoppe: https://www.facebook.com/downtowncafeandsodashoppe/
Edenton Bay Trading Company: http://edentonbaytradingcompany.com/
309 Bistro and Spirits: http://309bistro.com/