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Your Favorite NC and VA Trips

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Your Favorite NC and VA Trips

Old 10-05-10, 02:10 PM
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safariofthemind
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Your Favorite NC and VA Trips

Now that NC is having awesome Fall weather, finally, the leaves are starting to change and we are all getting restless for a field trip around here.

What is your favorite trip in the Carolina/Virginia area (other than the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive of course)? Any of you do the old railroad rights of ways trails?

Curious to know what you all like, both for credit card trips and short camping trips under 1 week.
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Old 10-07-10, 01:07 PM
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Surprised no other NC riders have responded here...

I've been looking for people with experience riding along the coast... crazyguyonabike.com is thin on this too. This is the nicest one and it is 6 years old. https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...st&context=all

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Old 10-07-10, 04:10 PM
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I've biked all over the Pulaski area of southwest VA. The Rails-to-Trails is beautiful and low stress, but I found myself usually sticking to roads. Rte 693 following the New River. There are small hotels that cater to the cycling crowd in some of the tiny towns along the way.

You can just get lost on those roads. Be ready for some intense hills.

Amazed at how courteous motorists in rural SW VA are compared to TN and other areas. Nothing but good experiences over a few hundred miles in VA, whereas in TN I would get yelled at / nearly hit in my daily riding.
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Old 10-08-10, 02:44 PM
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I've toured just about all of NC from Winston-Salem east, with a little bit of riding in some of the more westerly areas. For me, it is almost impossible to call one area a favorite as I like so many of them.

Riding along the coast is nice, particularly when you can avoid the busier vacation periods. The Outer Banks from Oregon Inlet south is better than the northern portions which are more commercialized.

A favorite can also depend on what you expect to get out of a tour. I suppose one of my favorites is riding n/s or s/n along what some call the "inner" banks, which is the very flat and historic area west of the tourism centered outer banks. There are a number of versions for this route, but one I enjoyed was a line roughly following Wilmington-Oriental-Belhaven-Edenton-Elizabeth City. It passes through some historic towns and you get to ride on a few ferries, which is always a nice bonus. Most towns are quite small with few places to spend the night, and campgrounds can be far apart. Some planning can overcome these obstacles so long as you don't expect to stay in a five star hotel every night. But being a one-way trip, it leaves you with the problem of getting back to your point of beginning (assuming you need to return from where you started.)

A favorite four-day circular trip is:
Day one: Begin early in Morehead City, stop for awhile in Beaufort along the waterfront, then ride to the Cedar Island ferry and take the ferry (about 2 hours crossing time) to Ocracoke for the night. Ocracoke is a great stay right on the coast, and not nearly as commercialized as most of the other parts of the banks. Really only accessible by ferry, so it's a pretty peaceful place with NC's oldest continually operating lighthouse.

Day two: Take the ferry across the Pamlico Sound to Swanquarter, (about 2 1/2 hours crossing time). Ride to Belhaven and stay at the River Forest Manor or someplace. Another peaceful, down east town with a few restaurants and a very interesting museum with just about everything (only open during weekdays). Not a very long day in the saddle mileage wise.

Day three: Depart Belhaven and take the Pamlico River ferry (about 1/2 hour crossing time). Stop in Aurora at the fossil museum and then ride down to Oriental, a delightful town right on the water. Also some good restaurants, and a couple of small hotels.

Day four: Depart Oriental and take the Minnesott Beach ferry (about 1/2 hour crossing time) past the Croatan National Forest. NC 101 can be a little busy, but not bad during non-peak vacation season. This will take you back to Beaufort and into Morehead City.

Of course, if your interests are more toward fall colors than historic coastal communities, then somewhere to the more rolling west may be more to your liking as that has more interesting topography and denser areas of hardwoods.

Being from Raleigh, you also could consider taking the Amtrak to Salisbury (lovely historic town with nice architecture, good restaurants and an increasingly lively downtown) and touring your way back. That should provide some nicely scenic views with color, especially if you select a route near the Uhwarrie National Forest. The early morning and noon Amtrak departures from Raleigh provide roll-on/roll-off bicycle service (no boxing!)at no extra charge (advance reservations required). (Unfortunately, the afternoon Amtrak departure requires the bike to be boxed and does not provide baggage service in Salisbury, therefore requiring you to go to Charlotte.) In fact, the more I think of it, this is the trip I'd recommend. Heck, I may even go ahead and make plans myself.

If you would like, take a look at a map of NC and pick out a few possibilities for routes, then contact me by PM and I'll do what I can to provide more specific information.
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Old 10-08-10, 03:46 PM
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Thanks PurpleK. I've done a fair bit of backpacking and hiking in NC/VA but most of my cycling has been done elsewhere. Career, kids, the whole 9 yards as they say. Now the kids are older and there's time to tour again. Been going back with gusto.

Not too long ago I acquired a Surly Cross Check and made it ready for touring duty so I've been putting out feelers out there. Another person suggested posting at https://www.trianglecycling.com/ - will be doing that soon. Mostly I am interested in solo or very small groups, so things like MS rides are not as interesting. Been spending a fair bit of time out of the US but hopefully will get some touring in before it's too cold this year.

It'd be awesome to connect with RTP folks that have done extended touring. I have a custom touring bike on order for a planned trip abroad in the near future and first hand, recent data is invaluable.

The Amtrak idea sounds interesting. Thanks for the suggestion. I was hoping to go to the beach from Duck to Wilmington or from Virginia Beach to ???. I also like the Annapolis/Chesapeake area so looking for ideas there too. It's only 5 hours from North Raleigh and perfect for a 1 week trip.

Any ideas for off road touring (non technical since I only have a rigid-fork Jamis Diablo)?
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