Monday, May 7, 2007

To La Finca and Back

La Finca is the name I call my friend's property/farm about 80 km (50Miles) outside of Wilmington, NC.

Total distance: 148 km (92 miles)
Avg speed: 21 kmph (13 mph)

Outbound: Downtown Wilmington, NC 3rd St. to Hwy 421, Route 53, Shaw Hwy, the road the La Finca is on slips my memory.

Inbound: La Finca, Shaw Hwy, Route 53, Hwy 117, N. Kerr Ave, Park Ave, Downtown Wilmington, NC.

Some observations:
To the NCDOT, you suck and have done a horrible job with adding/building shoulders to NC Highways. The only section of road that I traveled that had a nice shoulder was Hwy 421. The rest of the time there was a 1' wide shoulder to ride on and this was true on newly paved roads, such as a major portion on 117. At times, I was riding the white line for miles upon miles. A good note about the drivers on these roads is that, for the most part, they gave me a lot of room. I was a bit surprised and happy about that.

People are not afraid to ask what you are doing when traveling on a fully loaded bike. In the [sarcasm] booming town [/sarcasm] of Burgaw, NC, I stopped at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store to pick up some food for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. As I finished locking my bike to a pole, two elderly ladies came up to me and one said, 'We was watchin' you and that bicycle and we was wonderin' if you were on some sort o' mission.'
I explained to them what I was doing and my plans to travel. They looked at me and at each other as if what I told them was even possible.
'What is your name?'
I told them.
'You should write that down,' one said to the other.
'That's a good idea. We just might see him on the television,' the other one said.
I spelled my name for her.
'Oh my, I'm not even gonna try to say that one.'
'Yeah, it's not so common,' I said.
'Well good luck with your mission and we'll pray for ya.'
I'm not really a religious person so whenever someone tells me that they will pray for me, I'm not sure how to answer. This time, I said thank you as if it were a question and slipped into the air-conditioned Piggly Wiggly.

Someone once said that people talk about the weather when there is nothing else to talk about. I think in the case of traveling by bicycle, this is not true; it's one of the first and most important topic to talk about. So, the entire way out to La Finca the sky looked as if it were on the verge of completely washing out every road in sight, but as it happened, not a drop until I made it to my destination and set up my tent. On the way back to Wilmington, the skies cleared and the wind blew hard. Luckily, I had it at my back for most of the ride which helped me cruise at a nice 26 kph (16 mph) compared to the 20 kph (12 mph) on the way there. Both days the temps bounced anywhere from 18C (64F) to 26C (79F), nice temps for cycling.

I think the most memorable, well there are two, one is the 'Solders' picture but there's nothing I can say about that, that the picture doesn't already say. The other was on the way back to Wilmington, along 117. I was pedaling along and I noticed a run down, white paint peeling off, building with cars parked along side of it. Farmland surrounded it and as I passed by, on the opposite side of the road, I can hear gospel music rumbling out of the cracks of the building, music poured out of the little church. I wanted to stop, but regretfully, I didn't.

Note to self: Next time stop. And take more pictures because you have plenty of time.


Breakfast at the Dixie Grill.


Keeping my eye on the bike.


Hwy 421


Along 421


Taking a rest along Route 53


My friend Rick. He is missed.


Rough sky, but it never rained on me.


The picture speaks volumes on its own.


Entrance to La Finca


The nutty goat at La Finca




Ruby-throated Hummingbird


Rusty


Dixie




Ruby-throated Hummingbird Sequence










Hwy 117


Along Hwy 117

12 spokes:

Justin said...

ahhhh i can't see the pictures :(

is it my browser or is it not working at all?

eric vithalani said...

Possibly the browser, I'm using IE and can see them find. Anyone else having problems seeing them?

wendy said...

what beautiful peaceful photos.

that two ponies poem, james wright, what is the end again? about breaking into blossom?

A Blessing said...

Just off the Highway to Rochester, Minnesota
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Hannah said...

i've always loved that poem. and the hummingbird pics are lovely. and the goat is mythic. did woodsprites then bound out and offer you grapes on platters of tree bark? thank god for piggly wiggly to keep things prosaic.

Justin said...

ahh i got it...sweet pictures...i can't wait for European ones!

de mayo said...

Since Eric's blog is now the preferred means of communication....thanks for the voicemails, Hannah and Tom. Scan results not in yet. "The waiting is the hardest part." (GROSS)

good vibes said...

call or email when you get them back. xoxoxo.

laura said...

What a good looking goat.

thehauntedtooth said...

Gorgeous pics, EV! Can I stuff myself into one of your backpacks and see the world from your bike?
Please.
Judging by all the diseases you had to get shots for, I'd say that your rock n roll lifestyle might not be worth it... You play with the devil, and the devil, he'll getcha.
PC

eric vithalani said...

Excellent poem, Wendy. Thanks.

And PC, I can't think of anyone better than you to stuff in my bag and take along.

stevie lynne said...

poetry? on a blog comment?? really guys, i thought we'd moved past poetry.