Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 17, 2017, Saturday. Norfolk, Virginia

June 13, Tuesday, I called local news media outlets, went grocery shopping, then finished my previous blog post.  At the grocery store I bought another gallon of milk and a whole fryer chicken.  10 kilometers traveled this day riding into town and back.

June 14, Wednesday, I left my campsite at Chesapeake Campground with the knowledge that we were going to meet with a photographer for WTKR News 3 at the Waterside District in Norfolk, Virginia.

Along the way I had stopped to admire a bridge (South Norfolk Jordan Bridge) off in the distance and take a couple of shots with my camera.  Finished with my brief stop I had pulled up Google Maps to verify that the out-of-the-way route I was on was, in fact, still the least out-of-the-way route to be taken.  (It is evident that there is no such thing as easy directions here in Norfolk, and often while on the route to any given destination, one finds themselves going in the opposite direction.)  It was then that I realized that that bridge would need to be crossed.  Double labors where in my immediate future but I convinced myself that the vistas from the apex of the bridge would be worth the work getting to the top.  Indeed it was.  

Regarding shared photo albums, now and in the future...I will more than likely bunch all the photos together in my photo album according to the days ride, and not necessarily one particular location.  For instance, if I name an album by the city, it may include the ride into it, the ride out of it, or both, and not just scenes from the city for which the album is named.  I digress...

I met with Darryl Townsend of WTKR News 3 and shared our story with him and and answered questions at Waterside Marina in downtown Norfolk Virginia.  As soon as the story comes out, I will try to remember to locate the link and share it with y'all.  There will be some great Daisy shots in this one, I hope, for Darryl had Daisy do some unique things on film!

Following the interview, I traveled around downtown just a little, to prepare myself for a later visit and a more thorough picture taking session at that time.  As the day was winding down, I thought it best to make the 12km ride to the house of a very special person I met and whom subsequently invited me to her house for a brief visit.  My new friend Katie Perkins arrived to her home just seconds before Daisy and I pulled into her driveway.  Talk about perfect timing!

I apologize to you all and most of all to Katie Perkins for not mentioning her sooner.  I have given much thought about how I wanted to introduce her, give thanks, and layout exactly how significant her contributions were to our mission.  I've come to the conclusion that I could sit and think about it for a good long while and attempt to make it perfect, but my lack of writing skill will certainly prevent that from happening.

Katie is a most remarkable person and fellow cross country cyclist.  Although she has not completed a cross country, she made the attempt a few years back.  She left San Diego CA, visited the Imperial Sand Dunes (aka Glamis) (many films have shot on location here instead of the Sahara desert since it is much closer to home.  It is as beautiful as it is dangerous terrain) along the way.  When she arrived in the Phoenix area, in a city that was my last place of residence before I became homeless, the city of Mesa, AZ, she was struck by a Penske Rental van by a hit and run driver.  Katie was hospitalized for two weeks.

After meeting with and talking with Katie, I have since learned that the hit and run driver, although he indeed struck her and did in fact leave the scene, in fact left her for dead, and in fact neglected to call for emergency services, he was found not guilty for hit-and-run and all of the other aforementioned sins/crimes.  Katie hopes to, I am left with no doubt that she will, pick back up where she left off and continue her cross country. 

Last year Katie qualified for the Boston Marathon, not an easy feat.  She has been a wealth of information with regard to trail and giving guidance on sights to see while here in Virginia.  She's an avid hiker, kyaker, and all around outdoors man.

She showed me her house, the room that she offered to let me stay in, and pushed me in the bathroom.  Hint hint, nudge, nudge, take a shower.  lol

Her friend Richard, shown in one of the photos, arrived to her house as Katie kept an eye on the TV for the news story on Channel 3 news.  We gave up on seeing the story and I was treated to an amazing dinner at Uno's.  It was an amazing dinner, a most memorable occasion to hear these two talk of their 50k runs, their acheivements, and their interest in mine and Daisy's adventures.

I declined the room she offered and opted to stay in our tent in the backyard; the room was so done up I didn't want to mess it up.  

Katie Perkins, thank you for having us.  Thank you for granting me the freedom, allowing me to leave Daisy and camp, so that I may tour Nauticus, USS Wisconsin, Downtown Norfolk, and Portsmouth.  Thank you for your valuable guidance and warnings of various routes through Virginia.  Thank you for allowing me to upload files on your WiFi, and Daisy thanks you for the bath!  (I am writing this on Tuesday June 20, 2017 rather than visiting Jamestown, Virginia, mostly because I mismanaged my last dollar.   I couldn't be happier.  Our meeting was by far more meaningful to me.  My friends and I can Google Jamestown and check it out online.  ;-) )

To all of my friends, I would like to ask you to consider opening your home to Katie Perkins when she picks up her cross country tour.  She enjoys the solitude of the experience, but your assistance to a person on bike tour has certain joys, for the rider and yourself.  Don't pass up the opportunity to meet this wonderful person if you have the chance.

38 kilometers traveled today. 

June 15, Thursday, I awoke, saw jelly fish, went to thrift store and hopped on the light rail (light train/tram) to visit Nauticus, USS Wisconsin, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.  The all day pubic transit pass, $4 an change, allowed me to board the ferry to Portsmouth and back.  At the thrift store, I finally found a replacement walking shoe as well as a book on Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  $4.22 cents.  Can't beat that at all.  Now I have a pair of shoes for which to climb aboard the USS Wisconsin.  Again, this day was courtesy of Katie!  ;-)

I think that the photo albums will speak for themselves.

13 kilometers were traveled via actual bike travel today.

June 16, Friday, I uploaded photos, shopped online for shoes/cleats, trailer wheels, fished, and mostly spun my wheels trying to prioritize my needs...thinking of all that I needed to do first rather than just "doing".  I did manage to irritate a certain news desk, "Yes Harold, this is like the third time you've called."   Ooops, my bad.  (I'm gonna blame this one on Nathan Konz of Carroll Broadcasting Company (1380 AM KCIM radio)  lol

June 17, Saturday I rolled up camp, damp, for during the night the rain was steady, all night.  I got a late start for rains poured down just as I had my ride packed.  When I left Katie's house, the clouds were barely holding back their rains.  I stopped at two businesses, both of which looked at me funny when I asked to shelter for a moment from the passing storm.  I found my first shelter of the day at a weekly motel just down the road from today/s origin.  When a break in the storms appeared, about 45 minutes later, I made a run for it and found shelter, twice in fact, at two different automated/self serve car washes.  These places don't get used much when it's raining.  One of the photos I posted was of a Car and Dog Wash.  Yes, a dog wash.  Check out the photos!  Which reminds me, Katie helped me wash Daisy.  Daisy got her first bath of this tour at Katie's house!  Ride On!

****My brand new Cateye Padrone cycling computer finally failed entirely.  No more guessing as to what the LCD display reads for it is entirely blank.   Distance traveled this day I'll have to input my origin and destination in Google maps and arrive at an estimated figure.  This will not include all the wandering around that I do while on a days ride. 



(I am writing this on June 20th, and I have to get this one posted and start working on the next.  I'm getting behind and it's driving me nuts.  I want to dedicate this post to Katie Perkins (Ride On!), and the boat pix to Jax, a special young fella whom is already making a difference in his community and for "Veterans and Their Pets", military veterans, and their pets.  Thank you Jax!!!!)

Check out my photo albums.  I will include June 17, Saturday's - travel day-  on the next post!  Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 12, Monday. Chesapeake, Virginia



June 10, Saturday.  I arrived to Elizabeth City late in the previous afternoon (here is my photo album for Hertford, North Carolina.  I may have forgotten to upload it in my last post), a total of 50 kilometers traveled this day.  Seeking a safe camp, I decided to call the local VFW and try my luck.  It seemed quite a distance to the VFW from where I was at the time, but having permission has its own peace of mind and I was dedicated to catching a second wind to arrive there if I was granted permission to stay.  

I rang VFW Post 6060 and spoke to a lady that I had assumed was tending the bar and phone, asking for either the Post Commander or the Quarter Master.  She politely informed me that neither was in and offered to take a message.  I gave her a brief description of my mission, what I was seeking (a place to make camp for the night, behind  the VFW building and out of sight), and my contact info.  After she wrote my information down, she asked me to hold.  The person that picked up introduced himself as "Bill".  Again I stated my mission, what I was seeking, and received a firm "No".  This is a response I am familiar with, though in recent history I have been very fortunate to find welcoming and hospitable folks at various VFW's and American Legions along the first part of this tour.

Along the way I spotted some park benches at a church next to Jeffry's Florist and stopped to hydrate and scan my maps for a likely location to "stealth camp".  As the sun was dipping down, I rolled my ride to the treeline where we would stay the night.

From this tree line, I packed up and policed the area to assure that the spot remained as I found it after preparing Daisy's breakfast.   Since deciding that today was a touring day (not making forward mileage progress) I put WalMart on the agenda.  WalMart in relation to where I had camped was a long way away, in fact I actually had to back track quite a few miles, and then that would put me even further from Elizabeth City.

The route I chose to get back to WalMart, turned into a gravel road after three quarters of a mile.  I let Daisy out of her crate to let her jog beside me for the first time this tour, to save me the energy needed to drag a weighted down trailer through this loose gravel, and because she enjoys getting out, something she is not always able to do due to the heavily traveled roads I have been riding on.  After Wal-Mart, I rode towards Elizabeth City, North Carolina for a tour of this beautiful area.  Along the way, I found a bike route that abruptly came to an unannounced end.  What I mean to say, is that there was no "Dead End" sign indicating that a dead end was to come.  I turned around, and about 200 meters back, I met a fella on a motorized wheel chair with an umbrella.  I stopped him and warned of the dead end just ahead.  We talked for a few minutes and before parting ways, wished each other well.  After back tracking and getting back onto Church Rd into Elizabeth City, I found my recent friend was ahead of me.  (I will include a video of this later, in a separate post, for the video shows me passing my first vehicle on this tour.  My new friend in his 4x4 wheel chair.)  He had cut across the lawn to get back on the road, something that I was unwilling to do with my trailer behind me. It is a bitch to back up, even if only for a few yards.

I toured Elizabeth City (here is ...My Photo Album of Elizabeth City, North Carolina) for the rest of the morning when I came across the Elizabeth City Water Front when out of the blue, a fella introduced himself as Chris Day of 'The Daily Advance" asked me for an interview.  This is a first for me...on this tour and the last.  We sat and chatted for a good long while, and before parting, told me about Muddy Waters Coffee shop and gave me the change needed to purchase myself a coffee.  My Facebook friends saw the result of my visit to Muddy Waters.  Thank you Chris Day of "The Daily Advance" for the coffee and the interview, for sharing our story with you readers!  Here is my photo album... Arriving In Virginia .)

I sat at the Water front after another tour of the town.  As the sun was going down, around 7:45, I left to seek a camp.  As I was passing the afforementioned, not so hospitable, VFW, I ran across a Catholic Church with a huge lawn.  I took pictures of the VFW's back lawn from the church property, then proceeded to the very back of the property out of view from early church arrivals.  Here I made a simple dinner of packaged rice and noodles with a can of tuna.

At the end of this day, I traveled over 38 kilometers.

June 11, Sunday, I rolled up my bed roll for we slept under an open sky.  I haven't used the screen tent or its rain fly for quite a while.  I have been opting for quick camps and fighting bugs with DEET.  We left the Catholic Church, next to the VFW Post 660 and arrived at the Citgo,  north along Highway 17.  Here is where I learned of Chesapeake Campground.

This day would mark my arrival in Virginia, leaving the wonderful state of North Carolina behind us.  Surprisingly, there was no "Welcome to Virginia" sign.  Here is my photo album... Arriving in Virginia .I did find, three miles into Virginia, a welcome to Chesapeake County, Virginia sign (should be included in photo album attached).  I also found a bit more roadside shoulder for which to ride on, separated from the highway by continuous rumble strips (a form of vehicular Braille to wake up drunk drivers or those unaware of where the road ends).  

This day would also bring me to the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, a wonderful and beautiful trail dedicated to bicycles, hikers, walkers, and runners.  I should have some videos uploaded soon to share with y'all!  Along this trail, I stopped to make lunch, a bag of ramen with a half cup of par boiled rice.  I made two glasses of milk from my powdered milk supply to keep the cramps at bay.  I also threw a hook in the canal, hoping to catch anything that would jump on it.

In the late afternoon, I arrived to Chesapeake Campground ($21 per night to pitch a tent).  I arrived to my campsite then thought better...food.  Before setting camp, I rode to and from the Food Lion Grocery store down the road.  I brought back a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, a 5.25 pound chicken, and a couple cans of beer.

I arrived  at camp and quickly carved up the chicken, see photos, and boiled the whole thing in one of my larger pots.  I ran to the showers and scrubbed off at least a weeks worth of grime, DEET, sweat, salt, and sunblock off.  I went back to camp with my washed laundry, two riding outfits and 3 pair of socks and hung them to dry.  I set up my tent screen, and Daisy and I started working on that chicken.

This day, I traveled 69 kilometers.

June 12, Monday was a down day...all day.  I woke, or should I say Daisy woke me, and prepared an awesome Daisy meal with chicken stock, milk, an egg and dog food.   She loved it!  I had lots of milk, eggs, and oatmeal in my coffee. Raw.  Here is my photo album... First Days in Virginia .

I researched local media outlets, made calls and followed them up with emails.  I went to the camp office to pay for another night, to utilize WiFi that is only available at the office and not at the camp sites, and to work on my blog post.  I was able to upload most of my photos since my last post, but the videos have yet to upload for the WiFi is slow.

For lunch I dug out a package of lentils, split peas, alphabet noodles, rice, barley and other grains.  I seasoned this, added some chicken and had a huge lunch.  (see photos). 

I made a pot of beans for later and with the leftover chicken and chicken stock made a rich chicken and rice soup.  Between Daisy and I, none of this chicken went to waste!

2 kilometers traveled this day.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

June 9, 2017, Friday. Elizabeth City, NC



June 7, Wednesday, after having arrived in Edenton yesterday late afternoon, I realized that my phone was on its last leg.  The mini USB phone power port was no longer holding the cable and therefore no longer charging my phone.  Leading up to this day, the entire trip thus far, this issue has been present.  There would be no more fiddling with this connector.

Martin, the Post Commander (pictured above), was kind enough to spend the day with me as we went to two local cell phone and service retailers.  While we waited for the transaction to complete, we went to Dairy Queen for a treat!
In the evening I had a phone interview with iHeartDogs.com .  The story, I'm told, will publish this weekend.  Yay for http://www.veteransandtheirpets.org !!!

June 8, Thursday, I made a solo bicycle outing to tour the town of Edenton while leaving Daisy and camp back at the American Legion.  Thank you American Legion Post 40 for your kindness and hospitality!

I spent a few hours on the tour and was in awe of how well preserved the neighborhoods were.  I shot over 200 photos on my new phone!  I later organized the photos into albums, uploaded them, posted and cross posted as well!  What a dramatic difference this phone has made!  I didn't realize until now  just how slow and overworked my old phone had been.  Here is the result of my Historic Edenton, North Carolina day trip.  , Just click the link... Edenton, North Carolina Photo Album

June 9, Friday, (50 kilometers traveled) I finished and posted the previous blog post, wrapped up camp, and got a very late start on the road.  I would make a long stop in Hertford, NC and have my first milk shake in a historic main street pharmacy.  It was similar to stepping back in time to days long past.  I considered calling an end to the days ride but the park had ominous ordinances posted all around as though the town has struggled with deviants.  I rubbed my tummy, full of ice cream, a huge milk shake, and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and made tracks for Elizabeth City.

Before departing for Elizabeth City, I managed to capture a little bit of Hertford, North Carolina for y'all.  Here's the link to that album.  Enjoy!! Hertford, North Carolina Photo Album

I hope you all enjoy this blog!  Until the next post, "Ride on!"

Friday, June 9, 2017

June 6, 2017, Tuesday. Edenton North Carolina



May 31, Wednesday, I finished my last post at 1:30pm and packed up to leave the VFW Post 2514.  My goal for the day was to reach Vanceboro, North Carolina.  I lingered in New Bern shooting tons of pix of the town when the sky started to cloud up.  This indicated to me that great volumes of rain was imminent.  I had a place picked out as a possible place to shelter upon my arrival to New Bern, Glenburnie Park, and getting there proved challenging.   Each time I thought that the light rain would become a down pour, I pulled into a business overhang to shelter my belongings.  Had I not stopped so many times, I would have had time to arrive at my destination at the park and set up my tent.

As it would happen, I pulled into a gas station just one mile from the park when the sky let loose.  I stayed there or three hours waiting for a lull in the rain to make a bee line for the park.  The total mileage for the day was 24 kilometers.

June 1, Thursday, I rolled up my bed roll for we stayed under a pavillion at the park.  On my way out I contacted both the radio station, https://995THEX.com and http://wsfl.com/ and the TV news station located on Glenburnie Dr.  Immediately the radio station said that they were interested in sharing our story.

Upon my arrival at the radio station, I was told to bring Daisy inside.  Before you know it, a small crowd had gathered in the front lobby and welcome hands and humans greeted the four legged visitor.  We took a tour of the entire station while Blando set up for our interview.

The link to the Facebook Live interview is https://www.facebook.com/xblando/videos/10155366743350762/  Check it out and let me know what you think of it.  

June 2, Friday, Down Day, Met with Nate Belt and Allen Fairbanks of http://www.wcti12.com/ at the College of Knowledge at the VFW Post 11119 in Vanceboro, NC.  The resulting story can be found at https://www.facebook.com/wcti12/videos/1327799747267841/?pnref=story .

Following the interview, I replaced two spokes on my right side trailer wheel, then trued the rim as best as I was able given the tools that I had on hand.  I had some inner tube self sealing silicone/goo leftover so I put some in both tires.  On the left tire, after letting the air out, removing the stem, inserting silicone/goo, I replaced the valve stem and proceeded to pump up the tire.  At 80psi, I noticed that the inner tire bead had come off at the 5 and 7 O'clock position, pulling and therefore distorting the rim at both of those locations.  Talk about a sick feeling coming over me.  A needless adjustment had turned into another problem.  So much for the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"  I was able to pound out the distortions to hold the tire bead in place, but this rim will never again be trued properly.  I have it now where it will get me by, hopefully for the next few hundred miles.  I have included photos on my Facebook Group page.  I will assemble a Photo Album and place a link in a following post for your convenience.

June 3, Saturday Vanceboro, NC, to "Little" Washington, NC. 40km traveled.  I will attach a link to a photo album of my tour through town at a later time.  I called the local American Legion for a place to stay as well as rode to their location, dropped off a business card and asked for a return call.  Rather than wait for a call, I looked for a place to throw down a bedroll and found a park near by.  Last minute addition:  try this link to my photo album of Washington, NC.  Washington North Carolina Photo Album

June 4, Sunday, "Little" Washington, NC, to Williamston, NC, to boat ramp then Moratoc Park. 45km traveled.  A link to my Williamston, NC. Photo Album: Williamston North Carolina Photo Album

June 5, Monday, Down Day at Moratoc Park, met with WNCT Tamara Scott of WNCT 9 on your side.  Repaired Trailer hitch, bailing wire to bike frame.  The news broadcast link is http://wnct.com/2017/06/05/man-biking-across-u-s-to-raise-money-for-vets-with-pets/

June 6, Tuesday, Williamston, NC, to Edenton, NC, American Legion Edenton Post 40. 59km traveled.  On the way to Edenton, I visited Windsor, NC.  Here is a link to that photo album...  Windsor North Carolina Photo Album
I would not visit Edenton, NC until later, but since I have access to the links on my laptop, here it is... Edenton, North Carolina Photo Album

I apologize for my late post y'all.  I will endeavor to be more timely!  Enjoy