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    Archive for June, 2009

    Day 1.178 – The Capitol And Her Sisters

    Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

    0 km on bike. Ca. 15 km walk.

    Text to come…

    As usual, mouse on photos = text box pop-up

    The stylish Smithsonian Renwick Gallery...

    The stylish Smithsonian Renwick Gallery...

    The stylish Smithsonian Renwick Gallery...

    The White House, in b/w

    USA it is!

    The Ronald Reagan Trade Center, D.C.

    The Ronald Reagan Trade Center, D.C.

    The Ronald Reagan Trade Center, D.C.

    Homeless in D.C.

    Looking up at the Old Post Office in D.C.

    The Capitol at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue...

    The Capitol at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue...

    Looking at the Old Post Office in D.C.

    Me in front of the very impressive Capitol building...

    The very impressive Capitol building...

    Ray of Light + Capitol

    The Capitol in all its glory...

    Photo session on the stairs...

    The Library of Congress, D.C.

    Fountain at the Union Station Plaza...

    Homeless in front of the Union Station...

    Homeless in front of the Union Station...

    Inside the Union Station...

    Inside the Union Station...

    Dinner at home with Trina and Mike...

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    Day 1.177 – Architectural Wonders of D.C.

    Monday, June 29th, 2009

    (Text to come…)

    Dupont Circle, D.C.

    John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

    John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

    Hall of Nations. John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

    The Watergate Complex...

    WHO Building...

    The Lincoln Memorial, D.C.

    The National Mall, Washington, D.C.

    The National WWII Monument...

    The National WWII Monument...

    The Washington Monument.

    The Washington Monument.

    The National Museum of American History...

    The Original Star-Spangled Banner

    Kermit The Frog...

    Hotdog street food.

    Environmental Protection Agency, Wash., D.C.

    The Old Post Office Building.

    The Old Post Office Building.

    Pin dealer in D.C.

    Living in a shooping cart in D.C.

    Monument on Thomas Circle...

    Dinner with Mike, Trina, and D.C. friends...

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    Day 1.176 – The White House

    Sunday, June 28th, 2009

    0 km etc.

    (Text to come…)

    Le Chef (aka Mike Clark)...

    Brekkie with Mike and Trina...

    Demonstration in front of the White House...

    D.C. Lunatic?

    Pillars on the National Archives...

    Hi-Tech tourism in Washington, D.C.

    National Gallery of Art, D.C.

    The Classic. National Gallery of Art, D.C.

    Mike and I in front of the White House...

    The White House, in sepia.

    National Sculpture Garden

    The dimly lit Washington Metro...

    Another delicious meal, made by Mike/Trina...

    Mike and Trina at home on Q Street, D.C.

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    Day 1.175 – Washington, D.C.

    Saturday, June 27th, 2009

    La Plata (MD) -> Washington, D.C.
    Distance (km) : 63
    Time on bike : 4h 16m
    Brutto time: 10.30 – 17.00
    Avg : 14.6 km/h
    Max.speed: 52.9
    Total (km) : 50.426
    Altitude: 20 m
    Difficulty: 2 of 5

    (Text to come…)

    New morning, new bed, new town, new adventure...

    The kind Roscello family and I...

    Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge...

    Arlington downtown...

    Welcome to Washington!

    My first lady in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

    Me in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

    Buy this day – and become part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Washington Memorial

    In front of the National Mall, Washington, D.C.

    The Capitol, D.C.

    The Koga, me, and the Capitol...

    The Federal Triangle, D.C.

    Different housing in front of the White House, D.C.

    At the Lalibela Ethipian Restaurant with Mike and Trina...

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    Day 1.174 – Impeccable Hospitality in Maryland

    Friday, June 26th, 2009

    Saludo (VA) -> 5 miles N of La Plata (MD)
    Distance (km) : 142
    Time on bike : 6h 51m
    Brutto time: 07.30 – 18.40
    Avg : 20.7 km/h
    Max.speed: 52.1
    Total (km) : 50.363
    Altitude: 30 m
    Difficulty: 4 of 5

    Saludo Wild Camp, Virginia/US.

    Poor Bambi!

    It’s never too alarming when nature calls in this country, ‘cos you’re never far from a fast food restaurant. Thus, Burger King was also my Rescue King today. Afterwards, I opt for two dollar-menu burgers – I sort of felt I had to since there’s no free gift in this world, and since I’m a well-manered guy…

    Buy this day – and become part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    A rare sign in an otherwise flat-flat east coast USA.

    Tune of the Day: Only - Nine Inch Nails

    In the afternoon I reach the Potomac River that separates Maryland and Virginia. It’s quite heartbreaking for me to see a “no bikes allowed on bridge”. Now Houston, what do we do?

    Next thing I know is a man waives me over to his car on a parking lot next to the bridge entrance. It’s Walter, and Walter is one fine man. He kindly offers me a ride across the bridge along the rush hour busy 2-lane road and I happily accept. Soon turns out that Walter lives with his family just 15-20 miles up the road, and since Walter is a fine man he offers me to come and stay for the night. Those angels up there definitely need a huge tip from my hand once I’m done with this WT Odyssey.

    La Plata real estate building, Maryland/US.

    T-storm looming behind my hosts' house near La Plata, Maryland...

    At “home” Walter and wife Zoa warmly greet me, and treat me to a tasty dinner, my first root beer drink, good talks and general, impeccable hospitality. The kids Evan (10) and Maia (5) are full of youthful (surprise!) energy and – along with the cats, of course – make this educated, warm family complete.

    Bike map studying with Walter...

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    Hello from the roads…

    Thursday, June 25th, 2009

    Just a quick hello from an a/c cooled Newport News Public Library where I’m taking a ½ working day with my laptop while the heat of noon passes by…

    Wifi, privacy, live radio from Wimbledon (tennis), and I can keep an eye on my bike through the window next to me. A treat!

    There are a few updates in the diary. You know where to access them.

    Am on my way to Washington D.C and that classic pose with me and my bike in front of the White House. How exciting that’s going to be…

    The log and the day-sale is updated too, btw… :-)

    Saludos from a sunny Virginia/US.

    Nicolai

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    Day 1.173 – Is that insensible?

    Thursday, June 25th, 2009

    Portsmouth -> Saluda
    Distance (km) : 108
    Time on bike : 5h 20m
    Brutto time: 07.45 – 20.20
    Avg : 20.2 km/h
    Max.speed: 41.6
    Total (km) : 50.221
    Altitude: 3 m
    Difficulty: 2½ of 5

    Wild camp in Portsmouth, Virginia.

    House on stilts, Virginia/US.

    Tune of the Day: Typical Situation – Dave Matthews Band

    I spend half the day at the Newport News Public Library, updating WT, listening to live radio from Wimbledon (tennis), enjoying the great services of yet another US library.

    Another WT working day at the mobile office. Newport News Library, Virginia.

    Seen on a sign in front of a church:
    A sharp tongue is usually the result of a dull mind

    Going north...

    Tonight I don’t feel like getting off the bike at all. Just want to keep riding (sort of) silently in to the balmy night of Virginia.

    Stillleben. Virginia/US.

    A church at the outskirts of small town Saluda does tempt me, however, with smooth turf and privacy. As always, that’s all I need for the night. Sometimes I wonder if sleeping naked in my tent behind all these Houses of God is ethically insensible…

    Buy this day – and become part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

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    Day 1.172 – 50.000 km bagged!

    Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

    Nags Head (NC) -> Portsmouth (VA)
    Distance (km) : 140
    Time on bike : 6h 59m
    Brutto time: 06.40 – 20.30
    Avg : 20.0 km/h
    Max.speed: 41.9
    Total (km) : 50.113
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 3 of 5

    (Text still to come)

    Morning camp behind the church in Nags Head, NC.

    50.000 km. Near Brandy, Currituck County, North Carolina, USA

    River crossing in northern NC.

    No firearms in the Currituck County Library - no problem for me!

    Diner in North Carolina.

    North Carolina cruising...

    Virginia!

    Reflections...

    Chesapeake...

    Buy this day – and become part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Dinner at a parking lot in Chesapeake, Virginia...

    Sunset cycling in southern Virginia, USA.

    Sunset cycling in southern Virginia, USA.

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    Day 1.171 – The Outer Banks

    Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

    Frisco -> Nags Head
    Distance (km) : 96
    Time on bike : 5h 51m
    Brutto time: 11.30 – 20.20
    Avg : 16.4 km/h
    Max.speed: 36.5
    Total (km) : 49.973
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 3 of 5

    (Text still to come)

    Andy

    Just before leaving Frisco, Hatteras Island.

    Entourage: Jesse and Heather...

    Cycling along the Hatteras Island, North Carolina.

    Buy this day – and become part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Hatteras Island, NC.

    Pea Island, The Outer Banks, NC.

    Bonner Bridge, from Pea to Bodie Island.

    View from Bonner Bridge, from Pea to Bodie Island.

    Vacation houses in Nags Head, North Carolina.

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    Day 1.170 – Surprise in Frisco

    Monday, June 22nd, 2009

    Cedar Island -> Frisco
    Distance (km) : 38
    Time on bike : 2h 40m
    Brutto time: 07.00 – 16.00
    Avg : 14.2 km/h
    Max.speed: 27.8
    Total (km) : 49.877
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 2 of 5

    (Text still to come)

    Renegade Camp at Cedar Island, NC.

    Cornflakes at Cedar Island...

    Ferry ride from Cedar Island to Ocracoke Island.

    Vacation house near Ocracoke...

    Ocracoke Lighthouse.

    Ocracoke Island, North Carolina.

    Buy this day – and become part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Sunset chat with Heather in Frisco, Hatteras Island/NC.

    Fish taco time with new friends in Frisco, Hatteras Island.

    Chilling with new friends in Frisco, Hatteras Island.

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    Day 1.169 – The Holy Ghost

    Sunday, June 21st, 2009

    Newport -> Cedar Island
    Distance (km) : 87
    Time on bike : 4h 30m
    Brutto time: 14.30 – 19.40
    Avg : 19.0 km/h
    Max.speed: 38.6
    Total (km) : 49.839
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 3 of 5

    Alex fixing my tie before the church...

    The Glass family is member of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church in Newport (see more here), and – naturally – Sunday means church time.
    It’s been years since I last had a tie on, and (ashamedly) I never really got the hang of the tie knot, so Alex’ helping hand is appreciated, as is the suit + shoes he lends me this morning.

    Cute Cooper, ready for church...

    The boys ready for church!

    Me, Ian, and Mini-Cooper, ready for church.

    Without a doubt the service at The Sanctuary in Newport is one of the strongest cultural/religious experiences in WT History. Alex shows me around the place – an immaculate, new building that also houses a bible school, where the kids go. Before the service starts, people meet up in a dimly lit room where they individually try to prepare themselves for the service, the clear their minds and get ready for the holy contact (please excuse my complete lack of correct biblical terminology here). It’s quite a scene in here. Some people walk around in circles, speaking in foreign tongues, other sit contemplatingly on benches, and others yet cry out whatever they feel like. It’s clearly a very special, emotional moment for the believers in here.

    The Sanctuary - An Apostolic Pentecostal Church in Newport, NC.

    The service itself is a joyful and highly interesting act, with music, singing, clapping, Hallelujah Lord’ing, and strong preaching by Brother Bradford. Powerful stuff, I tell you.

    The Proud Dad...

    Everyone in the church’s really friendly and welcoming to me, and the community feeling is strong and vibrant among the worshippers, young and old, black and white, male and female. It’s been a while since my anthropological observant genes have been so actively stimulated.

    After the service we all have a great lunch at a Mexican restaurant nearby where I’m treated to a good mole poblado totally hit the spot. Thanks Alex – and Happy Father’s Day to all.

    At the Mexican Restaurant El Cerro after church...

    Last night I got bitten by a few bugs while playing “corn bag” with Alex, Mary Helen, and John. That’s no news, but news is the swollen hand that the bites left me with. I swallow a few antihistamine tablets and hope the hand will get back to normal a bit faster than my Tibet hand back in 2006.

    The result of some unknown bug bites...

    Ready to leave Newport and the kind Glass family...

    Buy this day – and become part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    My heart is full of the goodness of Alex and his family as I leave Newport mid-afternoon. Am pretty sure that there’ll be two Thursdays in the week the day I forget my short, but spiritually very powerful stay here…

    Another bright and sunny day in North Carolina...

    Luckily, the day provides me with lots of opportunity to digest the last 24 hours, as I pedal towards Cedar Island and the Outer Banks…

    Sunset light near Cedar Island, NC.

    At the village Cedar Island there’s a grassy campground to the right side of the road. I turn left and find an equally grassy spot for my late night camp.

    Expenditure: 0 USD.

    Sunset at Cedar Island...

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    Day 1.168 – King of Sudoku?

    Saturday, June 20th, 2009

    Hammocks Beach -> Newport
    Distance (km) : 49
    Time on bike : 2h 31m
    Brutto time: 08.00 – 16.00
    Avg : 19.6 km/h
    Max.speed: 41.9
    Total (km) : 49.752
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 1 of 5

    Relatively bug-free morning at the Hammocks Beach State Park entrance…

    At the wild camp at Hammocks Beach, NC.

    The Stars 'n Stripes + The red/white Dannebrog!

    I have a few hours to spare this afternoon and decide to head down to the Emerald Isle Beach and chill a little. The beach is packed with American families this Saturday, all ages, with their sunshades and fancy thermo boxes full of beverages and snacks. I never tire of the smell of sunscreen.

    Buy this day – and become part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Bridge to Emerald Isle, North Carolina.

    Emerald Isle Beach, NC.

    On the beach, I don’t need any iPod to entertain myself. My neighbours in the sand are two sort of posh women in their 50s with the most terrific broad southern accent taken straight out of Forest Gumps’ mouth. That, my ladies and gentlemen, is beach bum entertainment!

    Ian (5) in the new pool. Newport, NC.

    In the afternoon I meet up with Alex, Mary Helen and their two wonderful kids, Ian (5) and Cooper (2) who’ve invited me to stay with them (through Warmshowers.org) in Newport.

    Alex, the Grill Master of the Day!

    We all have a very pleasant arvo/evening in the grassy backyard, kids splashing around in their new pool. Alex’ brother John and their mother is here as well, and we all enjoy a great BBQ dinner (shrimps, chicken, steaks, the sweetest corn, veggies) prepared by the Grill Master of the Day, Alex: :-)

    Lovely dinner in Newport with the Glass Family...

    Playing corn bag in the back yard...

    Cooper and Ian are the most wonderful and well-mannered kids I’ve been around for a long time. Oh, if I could ever get beautiful kids like them. Will see what I can do when I get back home…

    Ian in his newly designed "Couch Rocket"

    Ian (5) and me (33)...

    I may be the self-proclaimed King of Sudoku, but Mary Helen happens to be the Queen of Sudoku and throws a Sudoku (level: EVIL) challenges at me. It was a pretty evil sudoku and yes, I lost the game, and thus I feel my title is in peril. Mary Helen, you are the well-deserved Queen of Sudoku! Respect…

    My comfy bed for the night in Newport, NC.

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    Day 1.167 – The Scrub of Your Own Self-complacency

    Friday, June 19th, 2009

    Wrightsville Beach -> Hammocks Beach
    Distance (km) : 112
    Time on bike : 5h 19m
    Brutto time: 11.00 – 19.15
    Avg : 20.9 km/h
    Max.speed: 36.4
    Total (km) : 49.703
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 3 of 5

    4½ hours of sleep was all I got. Roads are calling again, which mean goodbye to Bryan and Robby with whom I’ve had such a superb time here in Wrightsville Beach.

    Robby gives me a ride to the bike shop (Two Wheeler Dealer) in Wilmington where a brand new front wheel is waiting for my baby.

    Again, Robby gives me a great discount and, very kindly, gives my a new pair of cycling shorts as a kind of goodbye present. Such good people (and thanks again, Robby, if you’re out there. Will miss your and Bryan’s company).

    New front wheel on my baby!

    I feel thoroughly happy back in the (new) saddle as I leave Wilmington, heading north towards the Outer Banks and Washington D.C.

    When you’ve climbed to the top of the mountain of happiness, the only potential pitfall is the risk of stumbling down the mountain side in the scrub of your own self-complacency. That’s the premisses for all mountaineering, be it on mountains of happiness or mountains of snow, and I’m more than willing to play the game. For now life’s just too good to worry about stumbling…

    My Koga after the make-over in Wilmington...

    Landscape is piney and monotonous today. Inside my mind it’s all but monotonous.

    Pines...

    Sun Rim Rhyno Light...

    Buy this day – and become part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    North Carolina cruising...

    With just 4½ hours of sleep I manage to rack up 112 km today. Just before sunset I find a little spot for my tent at the entrance to the Hammocks Beach State Park (closed), off the hwy. It’s right next to a private house, but setting up my camp I’m silent like a puma and remains unnoticed to the human eye. Bugs don’t seem to care much about me either. Hallelujah! Exhausted…

    My take on fast food...

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    New Photo Album From Guatemala

    Thursday, June 18th, 2009

    View photos (80) as a slideshow: Click here!

    View photos as a standard Flickr album: Click here!

    It’s that simple…

    Nicolai (Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina/US)

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    Day 1.166 – Band of Horses

    Thursday, June 18th, 2009

    0 km etc.

    Nearly 50.000 km after I bought my first-ever pair of cycling shoes, the worn Diadoras below, I decided to call it a day on their behalf. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too hard emotionally to just dump them in the bin after 3½ years of trustful cooporation. Ungrateful is the human beast!

    Old meets new...

    New saddle, new handle bar tape are among the visible changes that Robby made on the bike the other day. Can’t wait to put my hands on that fat handle bar!

    New saddle perspective...

    So tonight’s the night I’ve been waiting for for quite a while. My first live gig with the heroes in Band of Horses. Cameras were not allowed at the show in Myrtle Beach’s House of Blues, so no visuals from the concert that I’ll never forget.

    Bryan, Robby and I, the Wrightsville Beach Trio, cruise down to Myrtle Beach, some 70 miles south, in Bryan’s Honda Accord, and get to the doors 15 minutes after the Horse guys started rocking. Shock! I quickly forgot about the shock though, as we entered the show. Wow! Could hardly believe it was all happening before my eyes, in my ears.

    I could write a novel about the show, I guess. But my time is short here at the library in Virginia, so suffice to say that it was a fantastic show, goosebumps and head-rocking, and it was definitely worth cycling almost 50.000 km to see that show. They played all the tunes that I’d hoped for and then some. Even a tune from their upcoming album Night Rainbow (Read review of the gig here)…

    Robby, me, and Bryan in Wilmington after the Band of Horses gig...

    The trio heads back to Wilmington where the joyful times continue in the bars and on the dancefloors of Wilmington that actually puts up quite a vibrant night life this Thursday night. How I’ve missed hanging out in cool bars with cool guys and girls…

    Dance venue in Wilmington, NC.

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    Day 1.165 – Corvette + Banjo

    Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

    Wrightsville Beach, NC.

    Wrightsville Beach, NC.

    Wrightsville Beach, NC.

    Corvette, 1988.

    Corvette, 1988. 5.7L. Scary stuff!

    Me and Robby in his 1988 Corvette...

    Snake Dog India Pale Ale...

    Nicolai and Robby at the Mellow Mushroom Restaurant.

    Bryan and his band, Possum Creek...

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    Day 1.164 – Patient At The Operation Table

    Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

    The Band of Horses gig is on Thursday so it looks like I’m going to hang around town for a few days. Since I’m in good hands here in Wrightsville Beach with Bryan and Robby that just seems like a chance to rest my weary bones for a little while. Body thanks me. I thank the guys.

    My bike getting ready for the big operation!

    Bryan’s made hash browns and scrambled eggs + coffee for brekkie, all ready as I wake up late morning. As said, Robby’s a bike mechanic in town and he’s kindly offered to have a good look at my bike that’s been needing a bit of love for some time now. My idea was to get things fixed once I hit New York, but I just can’t let this opportunity go. So off to the “hospital” (Bike shop Two Wheeler Dealer) we go, Bryan and I, with my Dutch lady patient in the back of Bryan’s Honda Accord.

    Robby at the operation table...

    While Robby takes care of my bike (she’s rushed to the emergency room and operated immediately :-) ) I’m given a beach cruiser bike and go sightseeing in historical downtown Wilmington that’s situated on the eastern banks of the Cape Fear River. Lots of great architecture, very relaxed and charming feeling around here.

    Clapboard house in Wilmington, NC.

    Different transportation. Wilmington, NC.

    Cape Fear River, Wilmington, NC.

    Cape Fear River, Wilmington, NC.

    Cape Fear River, Wilmington, NC.

    Meanwhile, Robby’s been working on my bike all afternoon and has done a great job:

    *New rear cassette
    *New chain
    *Brakes (front + rear) cleaned and adjusted
    *Cables cleaned and oiled
    *Front hub overhaul (new ball bearings + grease)
    *New slim saddle! (and a kind of sad goodbye to my original Brook’s saddle after 54.000 km)
    *New bike shoes! (and a sad to-come goodbye to my Diadora bike shoes, the only pair I’ve ever owned, after 54.000 km)
    *New handle bar tape (on top of the other 3-5 layers of ad hoc tape, dating back to autumn 2005)
    *New pulley wheel
    *Extra break pads
    *New rear tire
    *New teflon oil

    54.000 km and goodbye to the great Brook's saddle...

    All that would’ve been 264 USD, but thanks to Robby I get it all for an amazing 152 USD. I’m such a lucky bastard sometimes. A huge thanks to Robby for his expert overhaul. I now feel so much more ready for West Africa and rumour has it that my Dutch companion has never been happier.

    This is how I like it!

    As if all of the above wasn’t enough, it turns out that my front wheel rim is worn after 54K km. Braking with the front brake is very uneven and I decide to call it a day on behalf of the good old Mavic 721 rim. A new rim’s ordered and on Thursday a new front wheel will be built for me (at an additional 100 bucks, but that’s what it takes to get my baby rolling smoothly again). Exciting!

    Chilling with Robby and Bryan...

    Robby, me, and Bryan at the beach house, Wrightsville Beach...

    At night Bryan, Robby and I go out for dinner at the Bluewater Restaurant in Wrightsville Beach Marina. Three guys, three beach cruiser bikes. I like that. Setting at the waterfront is great as is the food…

    Wrightsville Beach Marina...

    BlueWater Restaurant, Wrightsville Beach.

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    Day 1.163 – Wrightsville Beach

    Monday, June 15th, 2009

    Shallote -> Wrightsville Beach
    Distance (km) : 93
    Time on bike : 4h 52m
    Brutto time: 07.50 – 18.20
    Avg : 19.0
    Max.speed: 40.2
    Total (km) : 49.580
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 3 of 5

    Jehovah’s Witnesses was a good decision. I don’t know if it’s generally like that with the Witnesses, but last night it was, ‘cos I slept like a child for some 9 hours, until the sounds of birds and traffic woke me up. No mossies, no worries.

    Wild camp behind a Jehovah's Witnesses church near Shallote, NC.

    Instead of staying on Hwy 17 that goes straight in to Wilmington, I turn right on Hwy 211 that goes to the ferry at Southport. Fresh headwinds are following me all day. The ferry ride is 30 minutes, 2 USD.

    Become part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Leaving Southport, NC.

    Seagull on the Southport ferry, NC.

    Pleasure Island is the name of the island where I’m dropped off at Fort Fisher. The coastal cycling through Kure Beach and Carolina Beach is quite a pleasure.

    Carolina Beach, NC.

    Through Warmshowers I’ve been in contact with Bryan in Wrightsville Beach (just east of Wilmington NC) who’s invited me to come and stay. I give him a call from Carolina Beach and it’s all green lights. 5 minutes after my arrival at Bryan’s rented beach house one block from the beach, I have a cold beer in my hand and there’s no better welcome to me.

    Pier at Wrightsville Beach, NC

    Bryan with his banjo. Wrightsville Beach, NC

    Bryan (computer programmer, banjo player, ironman etc, 26) shares the cool beach house with Robby (22, who happens to be a bike mechanic in town – something that’ll come in handy tomorrow!), and together we go for a little walk down to the beach at the Atlantic Ocean and later have some great pizza at the Mellow Mushroom Pizzaria in Wilmington.

    Pizza with Robbie and Bryan...

    Not only do Bryan and Robby take care of the bill, they’re really cool guys and great company, and we have an all together pleasant evening that ends after a few stubbies over a game of pool at one of Wrightsville’s bars.

    Bryan behind the delicious Mellow Mushroom pizza. Wilmington, NC.

    Over the dinner I mention the Band of Horses gig in Myrtle Beach on Thursday that I’ve been dreaming about for quite a while now. I’ve been mesmerized by the band’s music ever since I first heard about them late in 2007. There’s no hesitation with these guys and they immediately go: “Let’s go then!” and I can hardly believe what I hear. The logistics of getting down there for the gig myself has been a bit of a pain for me, but not it suddenly seems like I’m (we’re) going to make it. Goosebumps stuff!

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    Day 1.162 – Black skies

    Sunday, June 14th, 2009

    Georgetown (SC) -> Shallote (NC)
    Distance (km) : 99
    Time on bike : 5h 04m
    Brutto time: 07.30 – 19.30
    Avg : 19.4
    Max.speed: 36.9
    Total (km) : 49.488
    Altitude: 2 m
    Difficulty: 2½ of 5

    First look at the world, June 14th, 2009:

    Wild camp near Georgetown, South Carolina.

    Second look at the world, June 14th, 2009:

    Wild camp near Georgetown, South Carolina.

    South Carolina inlet...

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

    I love the way the lacuna in my stomach just grows and grows every quarter of an hour that I push it in the saddle, the feeling of the next hunger pang finding its way through my system, and knowing that those peanut butter + jam sandwiches or those baked beans will do a damn good job filling up that expanding vacuum of nothingness in my guts.

    You can buy this day here – and become a part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Myrtle Beach seems to be a pretty happening place. Nice beach, lots of young graduates on holiday, heaps of crap souvenir/bikini/surf gear stores. I’m not really part of all that, so I opt for a little cat nap in the sun instead…

    Chilling in Myrtle Beach...

    Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

    Myrtle Beach entertainment...

    At a Dunkin’ Donuts I set up my laptop office and enjoy a few hours of free wireless in return for buying a 1$ coffee latte, small version. Pretty good deal.

    Oh-ohh...Coming MY way...

    Yup, I got hit by the crazy downpours just minutes later. I found shelter in a Dollar General store where I walked the aisles for some 25 minutes, waiting for the rain to stop, and ended up just buying some cans of food and a soda pop.

    The necessity of finding an elevated spot for my tent tonight is greater than ever after the heavy rains near the state border between the Carolinas.

    North Carolina

    Just before sunset I turn off Hwy 17 at a Jehovah’s Witnesses church, tempted more by the huge lawn in the back than anything else. It turns out to be a great spot for a bit of guerilla camping. I’m sort of out of sight from the traffic and no one attends this church on a Sunday evening = privacy and another free night for me. The frogs are having an intense frog party in the rain water pools just a stone’s throw away from my camp. Interesting soundtrack.

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    Day 1.161 – On The Road Again

    Saturday, June 13th, 2009

    Charleston -> 10 km E of Georgetown
    Distance (km) : 122
    Time on bike : 5h 28m
    Brutto time: 12.30 – 20.00
    Avg : 22.1
    Max.speed: 48.7
    Total (km) : 49.389
    Altitude: 2 m
    Difficulty: 3 of 5

    Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston.

    Cycle wise it’s a fairly uneventful day today after the architectual highlight of the day. The long Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, at 4 km the longest cable-stayed bridge in the US!

    Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston.

    Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Charleston.

    After a bit little detour (unwanted), I somehow end up on Sullivan’s Island and catch the Isle of Palms Connector road to get back on track. Hwy 17 goes through the huge Francis Marion National Forest (pines), flat, monotonous and lush. I keep cruising through the light afternoon showers that make the temperature drop from 34C to 27C within 15 minutes.

    Near Sullivan Island, SC.

    Road side fans!

    South Carolina swamp...

    South Carolina waterway...

    You can buy this day here – and become a part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    I like the monochromatic feeling to this (next) photo:

    South Carolina skies...

    In Georgetown I didn’t find any place to put up my tent, too many people around this Saturday night, so I continue north towards Myrtle Beach, and eventually find a little clearing in the pine forest, just 100 m off Hwy 17, not too bad mosquito-wise (espec. with my new heavy duty Deep Woods repellent, 25% DEET).

    Dinner at my wild camp near Georgetown, South Carolina.

    Tent is up in less than 3 minutes. My spaghetti rings with meatballs down in less than 5.

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    WT = Words + Photos

    Friday, June 12th, 2009

    Just a quick note from Charleston, South Carolina to inform you that the diary is now tiptop up-to-date. You know where to enter the latest entries, I assume. Log is updated too, as is the Milestone page

    May the warm summer breezes encapsulate you.

    Nicolai

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    Day 1.160 – Quiz Time in Charleston!

    Friday, June 12th, 2009

    Ahh, such a great and relaxed morning on Sheppard St. Patricia has left a fish fillet with grits and veggies + coffee for my breakfast. So sweet.

    It’s all about Charleston today. I pack my survival kit (cameras, lenses, iPod, sunblock, city map, wallet) and head in to town, flip-flop clad under the bright southern sun.

    Charleston post man...

    Musician, Charleston - South Carolina.

    Charleston Library Society.

    Charleston (126,567 inhab. (est.)) is easily manageable on foot (flip-flops) and boasts lots of beautiful southern architecture, numerous wicked churches (I’m still in the Bible Belt after all), and an all together chilled atmosphere.

    Charleston Broad Street.

    Horse carriage, Charleston.

    “This is such a great place”, I keep repeating to myself all day as I wander the historical streets of Charleston.

    At the same time I know that part of my joy for the city also covers the joy of having taken the decision to stay another day here in Charleston instead of just letting my urge to keep moving take control.

    Walkway, Charleston.

    Charleston scene...

    I LOVE YOU

    Obama

    Gone fishin'!

    3 hours non-stop sightseeing creates a huge vacuum in my stomach. An Indian buffet (6.99 $) on King Street takes care of that. I’m the only costumer in the restaurant, and I eat and eat and eat.

    Now it’s your time to participate here: It’s quiz time!

    Indian buffet, Charleston...

    In that Indian Restaurant I eat so much:

    a) that I could almost fit my jeans again
    b) that it felt like my solar plexus would explode anytime soon, or
    c) that Daddy Indian in the kitchen started thinking that this 6.99 $-buffet thing wasn’t such a good business after all

    (Answers further down this page…)

    Cobble-stoned street in Charleston's French Quarter...

    Classic Charleston

    Woman making sweet grass basket...

    Charleston downtown...

    Lamps. Charleston Market.

    More carriages. Charleston dwntwn.

    Carriage in historical Charleston...

    Colonial Street, Charleston.

    Charleston wood and steel.

    Charleston Museum.

    Answer of today’s WT quiz:

    If you answered a), b) or/and c), you’re right! All three answers are true. Congrats!

    Iron works. Charleston.

    Empty church in Charleston.

    After a cat nap, dinner (deliciously made by Patricia and Kathy), and playing with the furry animals in the house, Patricia and I go to a nearby bar for a series of good beer, talk and socialité. Surprisingly, this time I manage to stay on my feet all night (what the Hell are you talking about, Nicolai?), and it’s a great night out. To find Funny The Way It Is with Dave Matthews Band on the hightech jukebox made my night musically.

    Squirrel in Marion Square, Charleston, South Carolina.

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    Day 1.159 – Charleston Charms

    Thursday, June 11th, 2009

    Near Osborn -> Charleston
    Distance (km) : 40
    Time on bike : 2h 0m
    Brutto time: 08.00 – 12.00
    Avg : 21.5
    Max.speed: 38.8
    Total (km) : 49.246
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 1.5 of 5

    Luckily, the mossies were so exhausted after last nights’ human flesh (Nicolai!) BBQ that they slept in this morning, leaving me pretty much to myself. Something I appreciated immensely.

    Wild camp near Osborn, west of Charleston, South Carolina.

    It’s an easy if somewhat unpleasant ride into Charleston. Hwy 17 has no shoulders whatsoever on this final stretch in to town, and traffic intensifies as I get closer to downtown. I’m just focused on the with line below me and don’t see much around me.

    Bridge across Ashley River, to Charleston.

    At the impressive Visitors Center in Charleston – situated in a beautiful building that used to serve as the city’s main railway station – I grab all the tourist litterature I can, sit down on a bench outside in the shade (it’s 95F/36C degrees today!) and catch up on what’s to do in Charleston. Then it’s sightseeing time! On my fully-loaded bike.

    You can buy this day here – and become a part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Charleston Visitors Center.

    My head keeps turning like an owl’s because of the many beautiful facades (I was expecting them) and short, short skirts (I was not expecting them).

    The Confererate Museum, Charleston.

    Carriage in Charleston.

    St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Charleston.

    Shop front, Charleston.

    Charleston dwntwn...

    Colonial Lake, Charleston.

    King Street, Charleston.

    Via Warmshowers.org I’ve contacted Patricia (31), an environmental law student here in Charleston, who’s kindly opened her doors to me. I meet Patricia and her roommate Kathy (and their respective dogs, Zoe and Rosie and Patti’s black cat Tela, who secures my cat fix of the week) in the early evening, am handed a smooth summer ale, grab a shower, and feel human right away.

    Emily, Shane, Patricia, and Kathy in Charleston...

    Friends Shane and Emily join us for a delicious round of homemade pizza made by Patricia. It’s a great evening, lots of talk and laughter, and even though I didn’t know any of the people I’m surrounded by just a few hours earlier, everything seems relaxed and natural. When they start telling me more about Charleston and its attractions, it’s quite easy to decide on staying another day in Charleston.

    Couchsurfing in Charleston...

    I crash on a soft and tempting couch in the living room and soon fade away in front of the cable-TV, feeling happy being here…
    (more…)

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    Day 1.158 – Georgia to South Carolina

    Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

    Savannah -> Near Osborn
    Distance (km) : 135
    Time on bike : 6h 28m
    Brutto time: 10.20 – 19.30
    Avg : 20.9
    Max.speed: 43.8
    Total (km) : 49.206
    Altitude: 2 m
    Difficulty: 4 of 5

    Leaving Don's home in Savannah, Georgia.

    Don left me a kind letter when he left (work) this morning. I take it easy, getting ready for the roads and enjoying the last comforts of a coffee machine, a fridge, CNN and stuff. My bike gets a quick rinse in the front yard. I’ve been spoiled here in Savannah and I want my dear bike to feel a bit of that too.

    Bridge over Savannah River...

    Highway 17 crosses the Savannah River via a huge concrete bridge. At the entrance a sign says “No cycling” and since I’m in an obedient mood today, I turn around, find a cop and ask him how to get to South Carolina on my bike. The sheriff just looks indifferently at me, shrugs his shoulders and points towards the bridge. I tell him about the no cycling-sign, but he doesn’t seem to care at all. Had the police men on the bridge over the Mississippi River done the same when I entered New Orleans a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have had to spend the last 400 meters on the bridge in the back of a locked up police car. The world is an inconsistent place sometimes.

    Welcome to South Carolina!

    It’s a hot day in South Carolina. Mid-90s (35-36 degrees Celsius). Nothing too interesting to look at. Roads are often shoulder-less but drivers are considerate as usual here in the US.

    During an afternoon drink break Henry, a retired gentleman from Colombia (SC’s capital city) starts talking to me, I fend off the questions with the usual WT rundown answers, and at some point Henry takes his brand new Blackberry and starts interviewing me while videoing the whole thing. Should’ve probably asked for a generous tip after the interview. I mean, this fellow could easily sell this live interview once I get rich and famous…

    I don’t find any quarters, dimes, nickels, or even pennies along the road today.

    River in South Carolina...

    After Jacksonboro I turn off Hwy 17, hang a right on to the SC Dep. of Transportation road and find a very nice clearing in the woods, perfect for camping. I’m starving and exhausted after todays’ 135 km. My eyes look hollow like a ghosts’. Need a loong nights sleep.

    My Facebook Status: (Nicolai Bangsgaard) was surprised to see how many mosquitoes attended last nights’ open-air “Free Human Flesh BBQ Everything-Must-Go Midnight Madness” at my wild camp site in the woods in South Carolina. My neck and arms, in particular, were very popular among the buzzing bugs…

    It actually wasn’t quite that bad, and the bushman spray (repellent) did a great job again.

    At 20.20 I’m on my stomach (favourite sleeping position, BTW), ready for a massive 10.5 hours of sleep. Insects and nocturnal wild life of the woods are just getting for action now…

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    Day 1.157 – Savannah treats

    Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

    While Don was working all day, I was doing the same on my laptop at home (yes, it sure feels like a home to me here, if only for a little while). Having enjoyed my time here in Savannah away from the WT Updating Room, there sure was a lot of work to be done, especially when you’ve taken hundreds of photos in a pretty place like Savannah and feel they’re all kind of special to you. It takes me most of today to put it all out there.

    If there is such a thing as a universal karma barometer (and I do believe there is), I hope that the time and effort I put in to WT counts as a sort of “counterbalance” to all the friendliness and hospitality I receive here in the US.

    Don in front of the Sweet Potatoes Restaurant in Savannah.

    Tonight is my last night in Savannah and what better excuse for going out eating with Don and Kathy.

    Sirlion, biscuit, sweet peas, sweet potato...Hmmm...

    The Sweet Potatoes Restaurant satisfied my steak hunger and then some. Now sometimes people just don’t let me pay for my stuff, and this night is no exception as Kathy generously takes care of my bill. Nick Cave was definitely in one of his gloomier moods when he wrote People Ain’t No Good, and he was not right at all. People are definitely good (around here :-) ).

    Having a great dinner with Kathy and Don at the Sweet Potatoes Rest., Savannah.

    Chilling at Kathy’s condo over a choc brownie + ice cream dessert that totally filled me up for the day/night/day to come.

    Delicious dessert at Kathy's house.

    I’ll be leaving Savannah tomorrow with my head full of great memories from Savannah, of memories with and of my new friends that has made my stay here unforgettable. My sincere thanks go to all you guys and girls! Without you Savannah surely wouldn’t have been the same…

    Don and I at Kathy's house.

    Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – People Ain’t No Good

    People just ain’t no good
    I think that’s welll understood
    You can see it everywhere you look
    People just ain’t no good

    We were married under cherry trees
    Under blossom we made pour vows
    All the blossoms come sailing down
    Through the streets and through the playgrounds

    The sun would stream on the sheets
    Awoken by the morning bird
    We’d buy the Sunday newspapers
    And never read a single word

    People they ain’t no good
    People they ain’t no good
    People they ain’t no good

    Seasons came, Seasons went
    The winter stripped the blossoms bare
    A different tree now lines the streets
    Shaking its fists in the air
    The winter slammed us like a fist
    The windows rattling in the gales
    To which she drew the curtains
    Made out of her wedding veils

    People they ain’t no good
    People they ain’t no good
    People they ain’t no good at all

    To our love send a dozen white lilies
    To our love send a coffin of wood
    To our love let aal the pink-eyed pigeons coo
    That people they just ain’t no good
    To our love send back all the letters
    To our love a valentine of blood
    To our love let all the jilted lovers cry
    That people they just ain’t no good

    It ain’t that in their hearts they’re bad
    They can comfort you, some even try
    They nurse you when you’re ill of health
    They bury you when you go and die
    It ain’t that in their hearts they’re bad
    They’d stick by you if they could
    But that’s just bullshit
    People just ain’t no good

    People they ain’t no good
    People they ain’t no good
    People they ain’t no good
    People they ain’t no good at all

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    Day 1.156 – Visuals at Bonaventure

    Monday, June 8th, 2009

    Spanish moss clad street in Savannah.

    It’s a very visual day for me in Savannah. Don, aka My Kind Taxi Service, drops me off at the impressive Bonaventure Cemetery at the easthern end of Savannah, and picks me up 2½ hours later. Meanwhile, I cruise around the huge cemetery and enjoy the sights.

    Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    There are a lot of visuals today, but please, take your time with each photo. That’s what I did, and I think they deserve it.

    Welcome to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia/USA:

    Gathering at the Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Sculpture in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Bark, Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Danish ancestry in Savannah, Georgia.

    Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Spanish moss in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Spiky plant in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Vintage Buick in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Vintage Buick in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Oh no! Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Back in Savannah’s historical district:

    Owens-Thomas House (Museum). Savannah, GA.

    Owens-Thomas House (Museum). Savannah, GA.

    Lucas Theater, Savannah - GA/US.

    Street sign, Savannah downtown.

    Spires of the Cathedral of St. John The Baptist, Savannah.

    Spires of the Cathedral of St. John The Baptist, Savannah.

    I liked this one…

    Front porch, Savannah - Georgia/USA.

    Dinner (big steaks, salads, baked potato, and a mouth-dripping dessert) with Don and friends Judith and Emily at the Outback Steakhouse, Savannah. I will remember this dinner when my diet is back to the baked beans and peanut butter sandwich shortly.

    Dessert in Savannah, Georgia.

    Eye candy in night time Savannah…

    Fountain, Forsyth Park. Savannah, Georgia.

    Fountain, Forsyth Park. Savannah, Georgia.

    Mansion on Forsyth Park Hotel, Savannah - Georgia/US.

    Mansion on Forsyth Park Hotel, Savannah - Georgia/US.

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    Day 1.155 – Savannah Time

    Sunday, June 7th, 2009

    Park in Savannah, Georgia.

    I’m having a great time here in Savannah, with Don and his friends (Kathy, Caroline, Judith, Emily).
    I’ve managed to get out of the gotta-get-moving expedition mode and am not in a rush to get back on the road. Plus Savannah is a fine, fine city, Don’s a great host and is the epitome of southern hospitality to me. Couldn’t ask for more.

    Park in Savannah, Georgia.

    The tennis final from French Open in Paris, a little tennis with Don on some free courts near by (it was great, but kind of frustrating to be back on the court, ‘cos that long line right hand has become so rusty, and that backhand seems to be not working at all), going to the movies (Goodbye Solo, a low-key social-realistic US movie that I really liked), dinner at Ardy’s with Don and Kathy – was all on the agenda today. And a bit of a drizzle from above, but that’s no news.

    Going to the movies in Savannah, Georgia

    Don's tooth is just as sweet as mine!

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    Day 1.154 – Mandala & A Fainting Fit

    Saturday, June 6th, 2009

    Watching tennis from Paris with Don in Savannah...

    Breakfast at Clary's in Savannah with Don, Kathy, and Caroline...

    Mandala making at the Jepson Center, Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah. Interesting and a beautiful piece of art.

    Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah/Georgia.

    Making of the mandala at the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah...

    Making of the mandala at the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah...

    Making of the mandala at the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah...

    Making of the mandala at the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah...

    The buddhist mandala at the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah...

    Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah/Georgia.

    Watching the live soccer match between Denmark and Sweden on my laptop this afternoon, I had no idea what was waiting me later…

    Watching Denmark vs. Sweden live on my lappie in Savannah...

    Action in Savannah.

    It’s Saturday night so I decide to go out and have a look at the Savannah night life. Just me. Don takes me in to town and drops me off in the center of the bar district. I do some solo pub crawling and end up at The Rail, a curious looking, chilled pub/bar with lots of memorabilia on the walls.

    At some point I strike up a conversation with a girl and her brother. Nature’s calling so I leave my drink and go to the restroom to do my business. Back with my glass of beer, I take another sip, is feeling good, not drunk at all. Within the next minute I start feeling really weird, dizzy and I instinctively know that someone put something in my drink.

    I don’t even get to tell anyone or to get a hold of the table or anything: BANG! and I’m on the floor, one man down, and Houston we have a problem. Consciousness just left me like that. Some guys help me to get back on my feet (I think my unconsciousness lasted just a few seconds) and it’s all very shocking, my heart racing, legs shaking. Wallet is still in my pocket.

    I feel pretty scared and see just enemies in the bar all of a sudden. I tell the bartender that someone just put something in my drink and that I need help. He calls the ambulance and tells me to wait outside. I sit down, waiting, still shocked about the whole thing. 20 minutes later the ambulance comes, lights on, and the kind guys put me in the ambulance, take my blood pressure and a blood test. The guys do a good job and don’t seem too alarmed about the situation.

    I’m told that my blood pressure is very, very good (pulse rate:52, didn’t get the other results) and that they can’t see anything wrong at all. They assure me that whatever I got in there won’t come back to me (that was my worry), I sign a paper saying that I accept not getting hospitalized, thank the ambulance guys, and get a taxi back to the house. We don’t mind a bit of WT action once in a while, do we, but to me, this was a bit over the top.

    End of the night for the Silver Monk, and how fair is that…?

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    Diary Updates

    Saturday, June 6th, 2009

    Please help yourself:

    Day 1.143

    Day 1.144

    Day 1.145

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    Day 1.153 – A Perfect Setting in Savannah

    Friday, June 5th, 2009

    0 km etc.

    I spend most of the day chilling out in the house on East 52nd Street, while Don’s teaching. It’s the perfect setting for me after some long days on the road: Live semifinals from Roland Garros/French Open in TV, wifi in the house, great coffee in the kitchen. Weather is fairly gloomy over this part of Georgia, but I don’t care today.

    An advanced downpipe, one of Savannah's minor landmarks...

    Weather clears up in the late afternoon, so Don gives me a ride in to town in his Honda CR-V, to the historical part of downtown Savannah (oh, I love the sound of Savannah, and graphically it looks charming too). And though I’m still tired most of today, I really like what I see here in Savannah.

    Sculpture in Savannah...

    River Street, Savannah...

    East Bay Street, Savannah.

    Don and I at an Asian restaurant in Savannah.

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    Day 1.152 – Pitbull Mode & T-storms over Georgia

    Thursday, June 4th, 2009

    Kingsland -> Savannah
    Distance (km) : 177 (!)
    Time on bike : 7h 48m
    Brutto time: 07.10 – 19.00
    Avg : 22.6
    Max.speed: 44.3
    Total (km) : 49.071
    Altitude: 3 m
    Difficulty: 4 of 5

    Another frustrating and bug-infested morning in Woodbine, behind a church.
    Second night in a row, I’ve been sleeping in awkward positions and my neck is sore and stiff all morning. Damn, when will I ever get back to life with pillows?

    Wild camp in Woodbine behind a church.

    Hey guys, what have you done to my road?



    Word of the Day:
    So much of what happens in life comes a s a result of your approach. Chris Gardner.

    So true.

    Coffee break in Eulonia, Georgia.

    I feel under a mild pressure all day. I’ve got a contact in Savannah (through Hospitalityclub.org), Don, who’s invited me to come and stay for a little while. It’s nearly 180 km from my morning camp to Savannah, and I know that I have to give all I can in the saddle in order to get to Savannah before sunset. But I told Don that I’d be there today, and so I will. I’m in pitbull mode most of today.

    You can buy this day here – and become a part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    I pass the 49K mark today north of Eulonia, (see the other 1000 km markers here) and I do get to Savannah around 7PM after 3 hours of very intense thunderstorms over Georgia. I was on a mission and just kept pedalling. What else is there to do?

    I crack the 2nd century (100 miles) in 3 days, and I’ve pedalled a total of 461 km in 3 days, or 1.340 km since I left New Orleans, Louisiana 10 days ago. Wuhuuuu…

    Don, a school teacher in his 50s, meet me at his house in Savannah and it feels so good to be indoor, away from the mosquitoes, with a new friend and lots of southern hospitality around. I’ve even got my own room here, wifi, good company and the possibility of the final rounds of tennis from Roland Garros, Paris in TV…As Don and I joke about (though to me it is very true), this i 4-star luxury…

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    Day 1.151 – Springsteen Through the Monotony

    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

    Macclenny (Florida) -> North of Kingsland (Georgia)
    Distance (km) : 100
    Time on bike : 4h 35m
    Brutto time: 08.15 – 19.00
    Avg : 21.7
    Max.speed: 32.2
    Total (km) : 48.894
    Altitude: 3 m
    Difficulty: 3 of 5

    Morning camp near Macclenny, Florida.

    It was one of the worst mornings I’ve ever had. The bug mayhem starts as soon as I venture out of the tent. The tiny flies are ALL OVER the place and follow me in huge swarms. Very, very frustrating. Though they don’t exactly bite me, it is nonetheless quite uncomfortable having them on my tongue, in my ear, down there, e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Terrible morning.

    Breakfast on the road...

    I pass a sign saying “Library” in smalltown Bryceville on my way to Georgia, and decide to see if there’s any wifi around. Bingo. I spend some 4-5 hours in the a/c library, a tiny village library, quiet and perfect for doing a bit of WT updating. We’re small, but mighty, as the kind librarian told me.

    Bryceville Library, lunch's served!

    At some point a woman suddenly asks me Do you want me to go and make you a sandwich, darling?. Had this been a month ago, I’d have been dumbfounded, but I’ve come to learn that Americans are like this, extremely friendly, and I gladly accept her superkind offer. Honey, the woman, lives nearby and off she goes. 15 minutes later she’s back with a great sandwich, a Coke, a yoghurt, chips and all. How sweet it that! Having your lunch served in the public library by a foreign (and very lovely) woman. Thank you so much, Honey, for your little treat.

    You can buy this day here – and become a part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    I feel totally happy when I leave the Bryceville Library at 3PM after the noon T-storms over northern Florida have drifted away. If I could change anything to make this moment better, I simply wouldn’t know what to do…

    I put on some Springsteen (something that has never happened before actually – just got a hold of The Boss recently, have never really listened to his music, but somehow feel that now, here in the US, is the time. For an hour or so, Mr. Springsteen guides me through the monotony of the pine tree landscape of north eastern Florida.

    River crossing near the Florida/Georgia border...

    In the afternoon I take a little shortcut on Interstate 95 (one of the big highways where cyclist are not welcome), which “saves” me around 8 miles. It’s tongue-in-cheek cycling, and, sure enough, after just 5 miles of pedalling on Hwy 95 the police stops me. This is the 5th or 6th time in the USA that this has happened and I’m getting used to the process. The officer just tells me that cyclings along the Interstate is not allowed, asks for my ID, and tells me to get off at the next turn-off. Okay, officer. Will do. (Would’ve turned off at the next exit anyway, just didn’t feel like going all the way around that lake on minor highways)

    In the early evening I set up camp behind a missionary church in Woodbine just north of the Florida/Georgia border (in Georgia). Mossie Hell yet again. It’s is a very peculiar feeling lying in my tent knowing that no one, absolutely no one, in the world knows where you are…

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    New WT-movie out!

    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

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    Day 1.150 – Explosives In My Knees

    Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

    Hampton Springs -> Macclenny
    Distance (km) : 184 (!)
    Time on bike : 9h 13m (!)
    Brutto time: 05.55 – 20.30
    Avg : 19.9
    Max.speed: 34.1
    Total (km) : 48.794
    Altitude: 4 m
    Difficulty: 4½ of 5

    Pre-sunrise cycling in Hampton Springs, Florida.

    My legs are ready as ever this morning after the rest day yesterday. It’s thunder and lightning through the flat, northern Florida, on my way towards the Atlantic Ocean. At 2PM my bike computer displays 121.3 km in Lake City and I see lots of asphalt in front of me still…An absolutely crazy cycling day, more than 9 hours pedalling and 184 km. Time-wise, I think this was the second longest cycling day in WT history.

    Sunrise cycling in Hampton Springs, Florida.

    Sunrise cycling in Hampton Springs, Florida.

    You can buy this day here – and become a part of the WT Hall of Fame :-)

    Land for sale...Northern Florida.

    I see lots of mosquitoes around here. Taking a leak in the bush in the middle of nowhere, sitting in front of a supermarket having a drink, setting up camp at night: the mosquitoes find me wherever I roam. They are not my friends, though they act like that.

    The bugger that thinks I'm his best friend...

    And I see grasshoppers/crickets the size of sparrows here in Florida (well, small sparrows, anyway)

    Pre-video clip recordings in Buckville, Florida. June 2009.

    The US probably has the most careful and bike-friendly drivers I’ve seen so far, which – together with great, mostly shoulder-equipped roads – make for a great cycling country all together. Road conditions are near perfect. Thus, the US has so far been a very melodic tune on the WT Expedition, the soundtrack of my life.

    Smalltown Florida.

    An hour before sunset, I set up camp a forest behind a gigantic Walmart Distribution Center north of Macclenny. Mosquitoes are insane, but the privacy is unbeatable.

    Dollar General - one of several, cheap dollar stores...

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    Day 1.149 – A Sacrifice

    Monday, June 1st, 2009

    21 km. Dayride Hampton Springs -> Perry (return)

    Most of today is a pure sacrifice at the WT Altar. I pedal into Perry, find the public library, set up my WT-office in the kids section (surprisingly quiet all day, thanks kids, daddy’s working!) and spend the next 6 straight hours online.

    Some people call it “rest days”, but long distance cyclists with websites to update on the go know it’s not true. Nothing too relaxed about today, it was full-on concentration at the keyboard, working on the new video clip from the US (which is out now, rumour has it) etcetera etcetera.

    My bum did appreciate the mere 21.6 km ride today though…

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