Tour de Lakes '97

Ride summary by Jack Powell

bicycle chain

Following is quick recap on TdL97,( a self supported fully loaded bike tour, no sag support)

Most important note is we did not have any sickness, equipment or bike break down, nor bad accident for the entire 515 miles 8 day tour. We even got through it without a single flat! Everyone's (Jerry Allen, Monica Hitchcock, Donna Powell and yours truly) resolve was tested the first day Saturday 3 May as we left Durham, NC towards Hiberina State Park , NC right behind the sever thunderstorm of that morning. We got rained on a little but the weather started to clear as we arrived at Hiberina. There were few camp site available due to high water. We had to make a 6 mile detour on 2nd day due to high water at Grassy Creek bridge, thus a hard day made a little harder going 70 miles to Stunting River Park, VA.

Day three was an easy ride to Ochennechee Park, but the shower house and drinking water were not available due to a broken water line. That was a bummer and hard on the ladies. It rained over night but to our good luck stopped right at day break.

On day four to Bracy, VA we encountered more high water and made another detour and then waded one bridge which only had inches of water on it. It is a nice ride to Bracy, VA and this stage runs junction with my loop around Kerr lake so Donna and I were familiar with some of the roads. It was a sunny day and the view was beautiful at the Kerr Dam. Day five took us to Skippers, VA on roads where there were not many homes/farms nor automobiles and not many stores either. Day five was a long 75 miles via Weldon, NC back to Kerr Lake's Nutbush Park, NC. We were lucky to not have western winds till the last 40 miles.When we got to Nutbush Creek bridge it was under water and also about 700 feet of its dike. We did not want to detour because the park entrance is just on the other side and it would be 15 miles to go around Nutbush Creek via Henderson. After seeing a car drive across we realized we could wade it Old Nutbush if we wanted to and so we did. Our front panniers got a little wet but not our bottom brackets.This put an interesting twist to the tour and Monica Hitchcock wants to rename it " Tour in de Lake". Day seven was our bonus ride as we had not lost a day due to rain. Thus we did not have to tear tents down Friday morning and without the panniers (unloaded) we road my Kerr Lake Loop. KLL is a 77-mile loop where cheaters and bonkers can not short cut unless they swim the lake. Once you get half way you are committed to 77 miles. We had planned to eat out in Henderson for supper. Upon seeing a weather front building to the north/west we put the hammer down going to Henderson. It started to rain 5 miles out of town but we got to the restaurant about 15 minutes before the thunderstorm and wind hit big time. It was only 4:30 PM so we stood in the lobby till they opened at 5 PM. We congratulated Monica for having held on to the pace line for 30 miles from the dam to Henderson, as she is not accustom to 'A' Pace. After eating we kept our table as long as possible not wanting to venture out into the storm. After Jerry drank about 10 glasses of ice tea the waiter did not return to our table to refill. I think they were trying to tell us something. Before dark we made a run for it on wet roads, but the rain had stopped, it was only 7 miles to camp for a total of 88 on day seven. Day eight took us back to Durham where we all went to a Golden Coral to celebrate the completion of the tour - 515 miles. It was a fantastic tour for only a few dollars a day. We all look forward to going again. Next time hope you can make the trip too.

Page maintained by David L. Cole and last revised on Saturday, May 24, 1997.
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