4/28/23 – Myrtle Beach, SC to Wilmington, NC — I’m In North Carolina Now!!!

Miles: 84.23 Today / 1189.22 Total
Elevation Gain: 1076 ft. Today / 12,011 ft. Total

We had to clear out of the Trinity United Methodist Church by 7:00 AM, this morning, because they had to set up to serve either veterans or homeless people in the room our bikes were stored in. It was a big rush to get out the door, but somehow, I made it. We had an over 80 mile day ahead of us, and there was definitely going to be rain. There was also supposed to be a tailwind, but that never really materialized, and instead, we had a cross wind and sometimes a headwind. Good thing I got the weather report out of the way, eh?

I left clothed in my rain gear, and there was a slight drizzle, but that stopped after about 20 minutes, so I stopped, took my rain gear off and stowed it away. As we rode out of North Myrtle Beach, we crossed the Intracoastal Waterway, a US Army Corps of Engineers project I’ve crossed several other times, and I learned a few things. First that North Myrtle Beach was also known as Shag Town, per the water tower, and also that the gas price at the local Circle K was the lowest I’ve seen so far: $302.9 per gallon for credit / $292.9 for cash or debit. Can you believe it?

As the day wore on, I put my rain gear on and took it off about 5 more times. It was crazy! It would drizzle, and I’d start getting cold and wet, then it would stop 40 minutes later. Then start, then stop, then start, then stop, etc.

I crossed over the North Carolina State line, and nothing about the roads, terrain or weather changed. Here is a place I stopped to take a photo off the scenery to my right, but then I looked to my left. This is a really pretty place.

This group of BTUSFMS supporters were at our morning rest stop with peanut butter and honey tortilla wraps. The middle guy in the photo was going to ride with my team, but he injured his shoulder and had to have surgery, so will not be able to do the ride until next year.

At about lunch time, the route delivered me and Ed up to a ferry landing and our lunch stop. We had a few minutes to grab a few bites, then had to get in line to board the ferry for its 4 mile trip from South Port to the Fort Fisher Historic Site, just outside of Kure Beach.

Once off the ferry, Ed rode off, and I stopped to learn about the history of the fort. A Confederate defensive fortification, it was built to protect the vital Confederate supply route from Port Wilmington. Basically a series of large sand berms with arms emplacements, it was manned by a Confederate force of just 1900 soldiers, the majority of whom were from North Carolina. In two brutal attacks by 55 Union battleships and additional ground forces, the small unit of Confederate soldiers were able to hold off the Union forces, but they were defeated in a third attack, sealing the fate of the Confederates in the Civil War. I don’t remember hearing about any of this in the 7 years of America History I had in school. Do you?

After goofing off at the fort, it was time to move down the route. I rode through Kure Beach, a quiet beach town a few miles down the road, and walked out to check out the beach. It was beautiful, but the water was rough, due to the wind.

I rode through a bunch of areas where new homes are being built on what looked like sandy and swampy land. How does that work? Got this photo of a swampy area, then before I knew it, I was fighting rush hour traffic in Wilmington.

We are being hosted by the First Baptist Church, in the basement of a building adjacent to their historic 1808 church building. The building we are in was originally the home of a prominent man who made his fortune in the shipping and railroad industries. From 1892 to the 1950s, the home was owned by the Wilmington Light Infantry and used as an armory, then at some point converted to a city library, and then later sold to the First Baptist Church for church offices.

The guy on the right treated us to pizza.

The basement has a lot of classrooms, bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities and 2 kitchens, which suited our group nicely. We spread out and all had some privacy for the day off we’ll be having tomorrow.

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