Week 6 - Into Virginia!
Quick Recap of Week 6 (5/21 - 5/27)
Week 6 brought us through North Carolina and into Virginia!
We were so happy to make it through the heatwave. Saturday was a scorcher, but we felt pretty good at the end of the day. The rest of the week brought much nicer temperatures and even a few chilly days (for me, at least). We wrapped things up with a crazy weather system that brought high winds, thunderstorms, and tornado warnings - but after that, we had no more humidity! We'll see how long that lasts.
Week 6 highlights include a welcoming committee in Raleigh, a meet-up in Bond Park where we saw East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA) friends, a reporter from the local ABC news station, and a group of runners and cyclists who had heard of our mission from Jerry (our unofficial NC-and-beyond PR person). We ran/rode with a lot of folks on the amazing trails in the Raleigh/Cary/Durham area and really enjoyed the Neuse River, Walnut Creek, and the American Tobacco Trails (and others - too many to name!).
This week we decided to send our camping gear back home. We hadn't been able to use it since Day 3 - we struggled to find campgrounds that worked with our mileage, and we've had a lot of luck with friends, cyclists and runners hosting us, and with finding cute little affordable motels - so we lightened our load. Now we have more room in the trailer for other essential items like food and beer and wine. It's also a smidge easier for me to climb the hills with 15 fewer pounds of gear.
Some facts from Week 6
Miles this week
Shan (running) - 269.77 miles
Josh (cycling) - 311.38 miles
Total Miles Ran = 1564.33 (more than halfway?)
Money raised for ECG = $5300
Week 6 Highlights
Most delicious dinner: Brewery Bhavana - an amazing Asian fusion restaurant/brewery in Raleigh, NC. Cool spot, awesome food. Awesome beer, too.
Most delicious breakfast: Mexican-style eggs platter at Taqueria el Palenque in Stem, VA
Favorite local beer: Sprout, Sneaky Fig Dubbel - from Brewery Bhavana in Raleigh
Cool people we met:
Jacqui Lewis, Shan's cousin, came out to our Airbnb in Raleigh along with Becky and Larry Deckard, Shan's parents' friends. They showed up just as we were finishing our day, with watermelon and cupcakes and donations! It was a really nice welcome. We're so grateful for the support and I was happy to meet more of Shan's family and friends, too.
Jerry and Nancy hosted us at their home in Cary and also came out to Raleigh to greet us. Jerry gave us a ton of PR, bringing a lot of supporters to Bond Park, the nOg run club, etc. Nancy made us dinner and was also kind enough to stop at the UPS store to ship our things back home for us. I used their office to work, we did our laundry, and really felt at home chatting with our new friends. After dinner, we went out to the Trophy Brewing Co. (excellent beer - Trophy wife was super yummy) to meet with some of the runners from the nOg run club. We both think it was the best day of our expedition so far. :)
Dave Connelly - one of the supporters who met us in Bond Park. He accompanied us from there to Jerry's house on the American Tobacco Trail (ATT). And in the morning, at 6AM, he met us on the ATT again, ushering us to the ECGA headquarters before heading back home. I really enjoyed his company. He shared a lot of background on the Greenways in the Raleigh/Cary/Durham area, which have been growing and growing since the 70s. Dave and his wife are Warmshowers hosts; I would recommend them if you're in the area - he's a super nice guy and can tell you everything about the trails there!
ECGA folks met us at their office and then ran/biked 6-7 miles into Durham where we had a delicious breakfast of crepes and cappuccino and talked a lot about the Greenway and fundraising, etc. It was a great morning and so nice to see Mary-Paige and John again (we'd met them in Fayetteville on our drive down to Key West - a lot has happened since then).
Bob from ABC News met us at Bond Park and did an excellent piece covering the expedition. Great meeting another New Englander. We were also really impressed with how quickly he pulled everything together into a very nice story. You can check it out here.
We met a bunch of nOg runners including Ben, who ran the trivia event at their Monday evening group runs. Looking forward to hearing about Ben's trip on the East Greenway from Raleigh to Wilmington - let's do it, Ben! It was great to chat with everyone and to be the topic of one of the trivia questions (which we did get correct, thankfully). Hats off again to Jerry for the idea - we were able to share the expedition with a new group of runners and shine a light, again, on the ECGA's mission. Go, Jerry!
Dennis's and Jonathan's kids ran and rode their bikes with us and were beaming with excitement when they met the man who is running across the country (again). Such a nice treat, and great to see people getting into our sports at such a young age. Keep it up kiddos!
Matt Brewer, owner of The Trailhead Collective in LaCrosse, VA, made our day on Friday. Apparently, he's also an early bird - he met us at the little red caboose (the "halfway point" on the East Coast Greenway, right near his bike shop) as we passed through at 5:30 - 6:00 am. He cheered us on and had a little "You made it halfway" sign, too. I spent some time chatting with him about the town and about his nonprofit bike shop which provides free bikes to kids in need and also credit towards service to anyone who fills up a bucket with trash from the trail. Since the bike shop opened, the trails have been cleaner than ever - and we witnessed it firsthand. Nice work, Matt!
The hardest/easiest day: Friday was the hardest day so far. Because there were no lodging options between South Hill and Petersburg, and we didn't think it was the best idea to throw in a 70+ mile day of running, I fetched a rental car. I made it 71-miles to Petersburg, riding the last 20 miles in the rain. I got the car and pick up Shan at a 44-mile stopping point. It was a hard day but worth it. I felt kind of pumped, in fact.
Favorite view/stretch of trail: Neuse River Trail is amazing. Rolling through woods and fields and farms - awesome. There were lots of other cyclists and runners on the trail as well.
Most exciting animal encounter: Dogs - 4 of them. Shan gave me a heads-up about the nasty dogs off-leash. When I reached them I was able to ride fast enough that they mostly kept their distance - except for that one little punk, who got close to biting my ankle a few times. Shan's encounter was way more intense - he almost had to physically fight them off but was able to scare them away. It took a bit more with the meanest one (that one little punk), but Shan managed to escape unscathed. That's the first (and hopefully the last) bad encounter we've had so far with dogs.
Worst weather: Friday, May 27 - severe thunderstorms and tornado watches. We stayed safe and were each able to find shelter when the worst weather came through in the late morning, but we were very wet for the second half of the day.