Day 6: Fayetteville — Elizabethtown

Oct 6, 2014 • 35.8 miles

Abandoned gas station

This abandoned gas station was at the intersection of Turnbull and Squatting Bear Drive. No joke!

Today’s entry is dedicated to everyone involved with the most recent paving of NC 242. What an awful stretch of garbage.

I thought tacking on an extra 5 miles yesterday would help me get similarly farther today, but no luck. The ranger at Singletary Lake State Park (maybe 10 more miles down the road) told me over the phone that their grounds are for group camping only and suggested I try Jones Lake State Park (now 2 miles behind me). My original plans had me blowing through 63 miles tomorrow to get to Wilmington, but I doubt that’ll happen, especially if it’s anything like the second half of today. I’d likely have to set up camp next to a church along the way.

This morning involved 14.8 miles along the same road (Turnbull). The road was smooth and the wind was low so it went fairly easily. I stopped to eat at the intersection of Turnbull and 242. Good thing I did because I needed that boost to get through it. 242 required less distance than Turnbull but definitely more time. The road was super gritty, with decent-sized pebbles embedded in the asphalt. Like, hide-a-key rock sized. The only way to make it manageable was to skate in the traffic lane, over the general area where the tires of cars and trucks before me had gone, smoothing it out the tiniest bit.

Of course, this meant a lot of weaving back to the shoulder to let traffic by. And there were a bunch of semi trucks hauling livestock today. The worst was when they came at me and zoomed by, because the huge draft following them was not only strong enough to zap all my momentum, it smelled like a mountain of old poop.

Instead of making camp at Jones Lake, I decided to venture into Elizabethtown to get water and other supplies. It looked close enough on the map, but I didn’t have the satellite view on, which would have shown the giant highway bridge I’d have to cross. Clevelanders, think the Valley View bridge but thankfully about half as long and not quite as high. I went over that thing once, with semis rumbling next to me, and I’m not going to do it again! Time to plan a new route into Wilmington.