Across the Marsh to the Crystal Coast

While Jeffrey loaded the trike this morning, we were treated to blasts of Harley thunder as a group of bikers made an early exit.

Cedar Island has a Road Less Traveled.  Crustacean traps near the sound.

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In the wildlife refuge, the occasional lone tree.

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Trees that, viewed from a bridge, look like a frog.  Or maybe you had to be there.  And marsh so vast, it stretches to the horizon.

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We stopped to listen to the birds, the water and the wind.  The few cars we saw did not upset the birds.  We, however, are unusual, so at our approach, birds dived or flew.  We couldn’t snap their pics to share the fun.  Sorry!

North Carolina takes care of its babies.

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We did not make it to Patti’s last night, so we met her for lunch in Beaufort.  She treated us to blackened mahi mahi sliders at Clawson’s.  Delicious!  Patti works for a state agency.  One of her duties is to prevent the sale and consumption of shellfish raised in questionable water.  Patti moves in human rights circles.  She just lost a dear friend for whom memorial donations are requested for a fund to help Haitian refugees.

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Outside the restaurant, Jeffrey was approached by this couple.  They were full of questions about the trike and about Human Rights First.  He grew up in Brooklyn, she in Little Falls – New Yorkers both – and now they live in Manitoba!  They went on their way, then doubled back and handed Jeffrey a cash donation for HRF.

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East of Bogue, at the edge of the Croatan National Forest, we saw Brandon.  He let us take his picture.  Despite breathing vehicle exhaust for a living, his color is better than Lady Liberty’s, who is a bit green about the gills.  When Brandon went with his dad to the observation deck in the Empire State Building, the weather was clear.  What a view for a kid from small-town Virginia!

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The overwhelming majority of drivers are courteous to us.  This sign says we belong.  But on NC 24, what passes for the shoulder is a line of low-set concrete slabs covered with debris.  We couldn’t stay near the curb.

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Jeffrey generally waves at drivers we pass at intersections — to be friendly, and to see them wave back so he knows they see us.  When he waved at one young man, the guy looked startled.  Jeffrey thought he had awakened the guy from a daydream.

Minutes later, we were passed by the same guy, who flagged us down.

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Graham witnessed a deadly accident involving a recumbent tricycle (or maybe bicycle, according to the news report we found on-line).  A nearly blind 89-year-old driver crushed the cyclist with an SUV.  Graham and his friend, a Navy corpsman (medic), tried to help.  Graham was traumatized and evidently had a flashback when he saw Jeffrey.  Graham begged us to get off the road.  (Graham has a conscience.  He is interested in law and nursing.  Both professions could use a man with his head and heart.)

Jeffrey accepts the risks of cycling.  But Graham convinced him that at this hour of the day, with the sun in the eyes of drivers approaching us from behind and the busy Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune gate a few miles ahead, we would be better off continuing to Jacksonville in the morning.  A Hampton Inn was just down the road, we already had clocked 68 miles today, so we decided to stop in Swansboro.

En route to the hotel, Jeffrey talked to Marty, who owns the Church Street Irish Pub.  Marty is a farmer, military veteran, former smoke jumper, chef, etc., etc.  Like the Harrier pilot we met yesterday, Marty was surprised to hear how many refugees come to the U.S. and disturbed at how many of them are jailed (sometimes for years) while their cases are processed. He said some of his neighbors complain that “Mexicans” are “taking jobs” from Americans, but he answers that newcomers do hard jobs that Americans don’t want.

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At the hotel – whose manager was so taken with the Ride that he put a link to this blog on the hotel’s Facebook page – Jeffrey met Pat, a salesman for Bil-Jac dog food.  Pat is particularly worried about the persecution of Christians abroad.  Pat, a Navy veteran who did two tours in Vietnam, discussed family, languages, theater, movies, the Supreme Court, NYC (he loved to visit way back when), dogs – and the ethical duty to help the stranger, something on which thoughtful people seem to find it easy to agree.

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6 thoughts on “Across the Marsh to the Crystal Coast

  1. Ahem, your charming wife also convinced you to stop for the night when she saw where you were on her iPad and heard about the bike accident.

    • She’s Jeffrey’s charming wife, not mine! Sometimes we must condense our stories. It is true that Jeffrey listened to Nancy on this as on everything. She is the brains of that duo. As the guy on the ground, though, Graham weighed in more heavily on this one. He gave us a long talk, a graphic description of the victim’s injuries, and a detailed look at the map. –Joey

  2. Jeff, I think of you as adventurous, not reckless. It is good to meet townsfolk who take care, one way or another. I hope Nancy is holding up.

  3. A Hampton Inn was a good bet instead of sun – blinded drivers. I hope you fed up well at their breakfast before heading thru USMA traffic,

    Cousin Joel

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