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Old 02-25-08, 09:58 AM   #1
dmdellicolli
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3-4 day tour of North Carolina

Hey, I am doing a 3-4 day tandem tour with my girlfriend next week. We are from VA, but are going to NC to do some riding to hopefully stay a little warmer. We were looking to ride on the coastal side and would love any input on what it is we should ride. probably between 150-200 mile loop. We had ordered maps a while back from the state but they never arrived so this is plan C. I am also going to get a gazetteer, but we don't know much about the state in general so anything would be welcome. I am quite familiar with self contained riding, just need to know where to go/what to see. We would rather ride on small roads than US highways due to the unfamiliarity of the tandem. Thanks so much.
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Old 02-25-08, 10:59 AM   #2
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North Carolina has a good web page that lays out the major "bike highways" around the state, including a few that might suit your needs. Here's the link. The maps themselves are not great. I recommend a North Carolina Gazeteer, which shows the NC Bike Routes (you have to look closely but they are there -- check the back of the Gazetteer for details).

http://www.ncdot.org/transit/bicycle..._highways.html

It is nice and flat along the coast, including the inland port towns, but beware of the wind. It's often said out there that "the winds are the hills." I did a mini-tour of the Outer Banks last spring and was surprised by a change in weather that had us cold and in the teeth of the wind for several days. Just be prepared and bring layers, we we did, and you'll get through alright. In fact, thinking about that, you'd be better served with the "Ports of Call" route compared to the Outer Banks this time of year. Small towns like Elizabeth City and Edenton can be very charming in the off season.

Feel free to send me a private message if you have more questions.

Ken
Durham, NC
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Old 02-25-08, 01:12 PM   #3
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woo thanks for the reply. anything else from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-25-08, 10:37 PM   #4
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night bump.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:43 PM   #5
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what a convenient thread. i have been planning on touring in north carolina for spring break from march 24-29. i was originally going to travel from asheville to savannah georgia to meet up with my ride back to ohio, but now i may just follow one of the routes on the link instead. i think the blue ridge parkway would be the prettiest. thanks a lot for the resource! i wasn't too sure what the weather was going to be like, but your trip report has really helped out. i probably would have gone into that underdressed.

again, thank you.
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Old 02-26-08, 09:52 AM   #6
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+1 for the North Carolina Gazeteer.
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Old 02-26-08, 10:00 AM   #7
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grabbed myself a NC Gazatteer map last night. I am tentatively planning to ride around the pamlico sound, taking the ferry and such from ocracoke. I hope it can be done in 3-4 days. What is the ideal way to ride for wind, north or south on the outer banks? I hope wind doesnt get the best of us as it did CyKKlist. Does anyone know a slightly shorter loop than the one im planning?
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Old 02-26-08, 10:11 AM   #8
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Call about the ferry schedule. I know they run differently (less frequent) during the off season compared to the summer months.

The wind depends totally on larger weather patterns. When are you going to be on the islands? If it's more than a week away, it'll be hard to tell which way it's going to blow.

Last edited by eric von zipper; 02-26-08 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 02-26-08, 01:45 PM   #9
dmdellicolli
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Im going Saturday-Wed ish. the ferry schedule i looked up, and it claims to run 365 days a year at specific times (im trying to make the 1230PM sunday one) but ill call just in case.
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Old 02-26-08, 05:14 PM   #10
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Looks like Sat will be blowing WNW(off shore) and the rest of the time either S or WSW. The wind should be at your back if you ride S to N, for the most part. I'm not a meteorologist but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Have a good/safe trip.
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Old 02-26-08, 05:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by dmdellicolli View Post
grabbed myself a NC Gazatteer map last night. I am tentatively planning to ride around the pamlico sound, taking the ferry and such from ocracoke. I hope it can be done in 3-4 days. What is the ideal way to ride for wind, north or south on the outer banks? I hope wind doesnt get the best of us as it did CyKKlist. Does anyone know a slightly shorter loop than the one im planning?
Wind chill will not be pleasant on the Outer Banks this time of year if the highs are mostly in the 50s (which means some of the day when you ride will be in the 40s).

Also, bring cash because some placed on the Outer Banks don't accept credit cards.
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Old 02-26-08, 07:21 PM   #12
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Thanks a lot for the weather reports. I believe I will ride S to N so I can ride the ferry first. The wind chill is something i overlooked. Ill be loaded with cash. dont rob me! thanks.
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Old 02-26-08, 07:59 PM   #13
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Sounds like you'll be duplicating my mini-tour from last spring (see link to my CGOAB journal below). One other factor about that route -- few/no services between Manteo and Swanquarter on US264 after you cross back to the mainland. My son ran out of steam in between towns, and we relied on a road angel (young local fisherman with a pickup truck) to get us back to Swanquarter. Friendly locals + sense of adventure = happy ending.
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Old 02-27-08, 02:09 PM   #14
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well I guess its a crapshoot with the weather. that makes me a bit nervous. Luckily we are on a tandem so hopefully we will be truckin. Anyone elses' opinion is welcome.
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Old 02-27-08, 02:17 PM   #15
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I'd really like to ride down to Wilmington from Durham via NC Bike Hwy 5. Anyone taken this route?
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Old 02-27-08, 07:18 PM   #16
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March 24th is pretty early for Asheville, and even more so for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Watch the weather, you could be OK. I am not sure when that portion of the parkway opens. It is closed right now. You can check their website for updates.
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Old 02-28-08, 01:15 PM   #17
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Are you doing a fully loaded tour? Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is gorgeous for riding, but speaking from experience, your climbing abilities must be top notch. Prepare for the weather and check ahead to see if sections are closed due to icing. I rode from Asheville to Mt. Mitchell a few years ago. It was a workout climbing from 2200 ft to 5300 in the first 17 miles, but man, it was worth it! The traffic is very light and very slow. The views are amazing! There are flatter areas at high altitudes to ride, especially if you go south of Mt. Pisgah. Also, you might want to check out State Route 11 in South Carolina as it goes past Ceasar's Head State Park.

Check this link for BRP info and elevation profiles.

Here a link to SR11, aka Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway.
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Old 02-28-08, 01:52 PM   #18
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Yeah we are pulling our gear in a BOB. I am in top notch climbing shape, however I have no interest in pedaling a tandem pulling a loaded BOB up any major inclines. I am thinking of sticking to Eastern NC, going to check out some of those port towns i think.
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Old 02-28-08, 02:58 PM   #19
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Answer to Cutman, regarding Bike Route 5, RTP down to Wilmington. There are plenty of lightly traveled roads in eastern NC, and it gets flatter as you go further toward the coast. I rode much of Bike Route 5 as part of the Tour de Cure, when we rode from RTP to Wilmington over two days (overnight at White Lake at a 4H camp). We formed a double-wide 24-rider paceline and it felt like we were flying the entire 2nd day going into Wilmington (this was on my faster road bike, not my touring bike).

It's an enjoyable ride. Once again, winds can play a factor, so if the winds are unfavorable, drop down a gear or two and don't wear yourself out!
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Old 03-05-08, 02:24 PM   #20
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I'd really like to ride down to Wilmington from Durham via NC Bike Hwy 5. Anyone taken this route?
yeah, I've done this one from start to finish. I've gotta dust off some memory cells here because it's been a right good while, but I remember it being a comfortable ride with no major issues along the way. There are a few places that have been undergoing heavy development pressure since I rode it, so traffic may have picked up in some spots such as near Apex where the route begins and in Brunswick County before it crosses over to Wilmington, but traffic should be pretty light in between. Once you get out of the Wake County area, the terrain levels off pretty quickly. If you're camping, there is a KOA near Godwin in Cumberland County and good camping at Jones Lake State Park in Bladen County. For me, it was a three day ride and these campgrounds worked perfectly into my riding regimen. If you're not camping, there are some motels in roughly the vicinity, though the ones in White Lake may be pricey since that's a touristy area. As best I can recall, the roads were well maintained and smooth riding.
I say go for it.
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Old 03-05-08, 02:36 PM   #21
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Yes. The traffic going to/from Wilmington to/from Brunswick County has increased over the years especially during rush hour times, like I need to say that.
Another thing for anyone coming this way: There are two drawbridges coming into Wilmington, the south one (Cape Fear Memorial) has about 2 inches of shoulder and the grating is horrible. I would never attempt to ride a bike over it. The north one (Elizabeth Holmes Bridge) is much better in terms of shoulder and gating.
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Old 03-08-08, 06:37 PM   #22
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Yeah we are pulling our gear in a BOB. I am in top notch climbing shape, however I have no interest in pedaling a tandem pulling a loaded BOB up any major inclines. I am thinking of sticking to Eastern NC, going to check out some of those port towns i think.
So how was the trip?
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