Hot sauce, hot weather, hot coffee!

Hot sauce, hot weather, hot coffee!

posted in: Bicycle Touring, North Carolina | 22

Day 7, May 6th (cont) – Clayton to Raleigh

After my coffee in Raleigh I biked around town to check out the capitol and see what else was around. While I was in Washington NC someone had told me to check out a cool cycling bar called Crank Arm Brewing.  So I swung by just as they were opening to try a couple of their brews.  The place was very cool.  Open air seating, great decor, and most importantly good beer.  I chatted with the bartender at Crank Arm for a while… hungry, I asked for a good place to eat and he recommended The Fiction Kitchen just around the corner for some tasty vegan/vegetarian food.  I ended up have a noodle dish and while talking with the server I learned he was working on getting one of his homemade hot sauce into distribution in the area.  After getting to sample some myself he ended up offering me a bottle to take along on my trip.  It’s GOOD.  Soon available online 😉

After dinner I eventually made my way over to the hotel where Erik Lewinski (pilot and friend from Rockford) was staying.  He had flown into town that night and had a layover until he flew home the next day around 5 PM.  Awesome coincidence if you ask me.  Erik had brought a new replacement stove with him and we did some troubleshooting when I arrived.  It turned out that the new stove didn’t want to work either when I attached it to my gas canister.  We agreed it must be a problem with the canister… a problem to be resolved in the morning with a trip to the local REI.

IMG_4603I can’t recall what this globe was all about.  Sure looked neat though.  Near the natural history museum…


IMG_4605Crank Arm Brewery!  Founded bike cyclists… if you couldn’t tell.

IMG_5459Lot’s of funky bike artwork/mechanisms on the wall.

IMG_5464I give it the thirsty cyclist stamp of a approval.

IMG_5466Generously donated bottle of AMAZING.  Hot and flavorful.

Miles:  33 (lazy day)
Acts of kindness:  3 or 4?  Free hot sauce, dining suggestions and brewery sticker at Crank Arm, Erik sharing a hotel and bringing me a stove along with some miscellaneous extra goodies.

Day 8, May 7th – Raleigh to Carrboro

Erik and I woke up and had breakfast.  The hotel was pretty fancy.  Coy fish in around the continental breakfast area and a huge open courtyard.  Eric claims he doesn’t get that good of a hotel… more good fortune.  Off to REI and we were able to replace the gas canister and light both the stoves off.  The new stove was still working much better so REI let me return my old stove and keep the new one.  Love that store.  I got a few things to organize my panniers and then we swung by a bakery before I parted.  Thanks again for everything Erik!  It was great we were able to meet up on one of your work layovers!

The ride to Carrboro area was very pretty.  Lots of green and rolling hills.  While I was stopped at a stop sign jotting down some notes another cyclist, Rob, pulled up and asked where I was headed.  When he learned I was off to Carrboro he offered to ride with me most of the way there.  Rob was good company and was able to point out some cool things and share some great stories along the way.  After about 12 miles and contemplating calling in “sick”, Rob decided he better head back to work and we parted ways.

Once up to Carrboro/Chapel Hill I parked for a bit at the Weaver Market and then toured around UNC (Tar Heel campus) before heading on.  I was still unsure of my sleeping arrangements, but figured I’d scope out a camping spot in the countryside.  On my way out of town I stopped at the local brewery, Steel String Brewery, to try a beer.  Immediately upon parking my bike a group of guys at a nearby table struck up a conversation.  After about 30 seconds I was offered a place to stay… the generosity of people continues to blow me away on this trip.  I grabbed a beer and continued chatting.  It turned out they all worked at a local bike shop (four locations in the area) and the guy who offered me a place to stay, Mike, has done a fair amount of touring himself.

Mike gave me some directions to his place about 6 miles away and I rode out to meet him there.  His home was a beautiful place in the county.  Great riding location as well.  Mike had picked up some Arbys for us on the way home so we chatted over a beer and roast beef sandwiches.  I mentioned my pannier dragging issue and Mike ran off to the shed to get some tools.  We rigged up a solution to my pannier problem and celebrated the success with ice cream.  Awesome evening.

IMG_4609Erik scouting out airports along my route while I do some route planning.  Pilot maps are pretty neat-o.

IMG_4611Living large in the Erik’s sweet layover spot.  Notice the coy… don’t worry they weren’t on the breakfast menu.

IMG_4613Had to get a picture with the fish!

IMG_4617Erik took the rig for a spin.  Look out for that car!

IMG_4620I thought he might just take off… fortunately he returned.  Looks like your ready for a tour Erik.

IMG_4628Rob – The wind surfer, kite surfer, biker, sailing extraordinaire.  He also makes a good tour guide!

IMG_4624Cool overlook of Lake Jordan


IMG_5468Weaver Market

IMG_4634UNC campus.  Must’ve been graduation week.  I saw lots of students in caps and gowns.  Seems like yesterday I was doing the same thing!

IMG_4630This was either in Chapel Hill or Carrboro.  The two towns smushed together.



IMG_4637Ohhh yea.  Delish.

IMG_4647Mike’s sweet house that they built.  They are pretty much net zero when it comes to the energy bill thanks to solar heating and electricity.

IMG_4648Mike helping modify my panniers.

IMG_4652Oh yea!  Time to shoot some sparks around those corners!

IMG_4653Who’s idea was it to put Girl Scout cookies in ice cream??  I need to give them a hug.


Miles:  35.5 (another lazy day)
Acts of kindness:  3  Erik brought me to REI and sent me of with some delicious bread; Rob joined me for a good portion of my ride; Mike kindly offered his home, fed me, and helped me fix my panniers.


Day 9, May 8th – Carrboro to Highpoint

After a good nights sleep I woke up and Mike made me coffee and oatmeal.  Once packed up and ready to roll again, Mike provided some road suggestions back to my planned route and I was off.  The roads are getting hillier and the weather is getting warmer.  Lots of sun screen today.  It was mostly winding roads and rolling hills through farmland so I pedaled all day minus two much needed rest stops.

I passed in between Carrboro and Highpoint.  There wasn’t much too see and riding into town didn’t seem like a bike friendly option so I headed straight to the campground I had picked out earlier in the day.  It was a nice place; Showers, water, and electric hookups for charging my things.  After a long ride I didn’t mind paying the money for a campground with all the fancy amenities.

IMG_4655Mike is an oatmeal artist.

IMG_4657I’d call it Master Mikes Oatmeal Delight… or something.  It hit the spot!


IMG_4665Hops!  Just starting to grow.


IMG_4666I was thinking this probably wasn’t the best way to abbreviate…


IMG_4669Carb heaven.  Thank you Erik.  Adding some ghee because I love me some calories.

IMG_4667Getting hilly out here!

IMG_4683Farm country indeed.

IMG_4684This provided a surprise rear tire lock up.  No damage thankfully.

IMG_4688After devouring a quart of strawberries my container became a pillow for a siesta in the shade.


IMG_4690Camp spot for the evening.

IMG_4695Cooking!  Finally!

IMG_4698Curry couscous with my new favorite hot sauce.  Notice my visitor in the background.

IMG_4697This friend came waddling up as soon as I started preparing dinner.  What a coincidence.  Good dinner companion none the less.

Miles:  74.3
Avg:  11.9
Max:  37.0
TOTAL:  533

Acts of kindness: 1  Mike’s famous oatmeal and ride directions


Day 10, May 9th – Highpoint to ???

Slept great and woke up to watch the sunrise across the lake.  Found out they had wifi when I opened my computer so I’m enjoying sipping some coffee (love having a working stove) with my breakfast and updating the blog.  Not sure where I’ll make it to today.  I’m thinking a 65 mile day sounds doable.  Supposed to be hot again!  Happy Friday y’all!  At least I think it’s Friday?  I can’t keep track 🙂

IMG_4701My view through the screen of my tent this morning.

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22 Responses

  1. Bill Knutson

    Great posts Brad. I’m really enjoying following your adventures. Glad to see your stove is finally working.

    • Bradley

      Thanks Bill! I’m stoked on the stove too. Coffee in the morning is great!

  2. Kara Brandt (DeCook)

    Brad – I’ve been enjoying keeping up with your journey through your blog! Love the photos and the “acts of kindness.” You’ve been lucky to meet some nice folks along the way. Keep it up!

    • Bradley

      Thanks Kara! The people I meet are definitely awesome. I may be doing the trip alone, but it sure doesn’t always feel like it!

  3. Gramma & Grampa K

    So happy for you with all the good people and assistance along the way…you look wonderful…won’t be too long until you are at gramma Jeans. Have great day and take care. Love

    • Bradley

      Thanks Grandma and Grandpa! Made it to Grandma Jean’s place. Love you too!

  4. Erik Lewinski

    It was fun being part of your journey for a day!! Happy trails!

  5. Tom Jakab

    533 miles so far, thats awesome! I love how your lazy 35 mile days would be a small miracle for me to accomplish 🙂
    And awesome views Brad!!

    • Bradley

      Sometimes it feels like a miracle was involved by the time I make it to my destination for the day!

  6. Paul Phillips

    Meth Church….Awesome!

  7. Ellen Jakab

    I really enjoy reading these accounts of your trip–have an awesome journey!

    • Bradley

      Thanks Ellen! Glad you enjoy it. Since it’s a solo trip I’m happy to have a way to share it with people.

  8. Jeff Brown

    So I have to ask, did you feed your Ducky friend any tidbits?
    Looks like you saved your spokes from breaking off due to road F.O.D.

    • Bradley

      I gave him a few pieces of my bread. He wasn’t too fond of the curry… he made a break for the lake to get a drink after he tried it. Probably too spicy haha.

  9. I was thinking that you probably wouldn’t want to crash at a meth church. Looks like you found an awesome campsite! And I’m psyched you now have a working stove. Next dish I’d like to hear that you cooked with some of your tasty new-found brews.

    • Bradley

      I actually tried to pick a good one up for dinner that evening but the place I tried finding from my phone didn’t seem to exist!

  10. Christy

    I am loving these updates and photos! It sounds like you’re having a great trip so far!!! Plus, anywhere with good people, good food, outdoors and hot sauce is a good thing!!! That sunrise doesn’t hurt to view either 😉

    • Bradley

      Thanks! I might have to send you some hot sauce once in Uganda! The sunrise sure beats the rain 🙂 Having fun!

  11. Natalie Byrne

    Hope you enjoyed my fresh squeezed lemonade! 🙂

    • Bradley

      It was pretty good! I’m surprised it’s the first time I’ve had it… you failed to mention you distribute lemonade.

  12. Corine Knodel

    So glad to hear you are having a fantastic trip! This is an experience of a lifetime for you! So glad to hear you are encountering kind and generous people along the way. Take care and we’ll keep praying for your safety during your journey.

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