Day 23: Durham to Raleigh

Yesterday morning, after waking up, I had a cup of coffee at Kade’s place. As usual, I packed up my things and prepared the bicycle. Caitlin already went to work so I bid farewell to Kade. I rode into downtown Durham and had a hearty breakfast at Beyu Caffe before finding the American Tobacco Trail, which the East Coast Greenway uses.

Breakfast at Beyu Caffe

The morning is perfect for riding with cool temperature, sunny sky, paved trail, no cars, and few pedestrians. This is what I call an idyllic bicycling experience.

Perfect day for riding

When I was taking a rest break by a bench to take my jacket off another cyclist stopped. It turns out this man is the executive director of the East Coast Greenway. His name is Dennis. I didn’t know their headquarter is in Durham. After a brief chat, we exchanged business cards.

I rode on the American Tobacco Trail about 20 miles then made a left turn onto the trail going into Cary. Around 11 AM, I was getting hungry and wondered where would I get food since I’m on the trail. An hour later, I arrived at a shopping mall in Cary on the trail.

Cycling over some swamps

I decided to get some Chinese food so I ate at Orient Garden, which serves American Chinese food. I had their General Tso Chicken.

I stayed at the restaurant for over an hour charging my phone and texting my Warmshowers host Akshay to see what’s a good time to arrive. I had two options, one is to go on a direct route to Akshay’s place that’s 7 miles on the road, or continue on the East Coast Greenway that’ll take me through William B. Umstead State Park. It’ll be a total of 20 miles. I decided to choose the latter since Akshay won’t be home until 5:45 PM and I had plenty of time. Plus, it’ll be mainly riding on trails.

A few miles on the trail, I realized that I might have a made a mistake. There was construction on the trail and I encountered a detour. Looking at the map, I thought I could get back on the trail through a residential neighborhood. When I got there, there was no place to get on the trail unless I trespass someone’s backyard. I decided to try somewhere else.

After riding on a busy road, I was able to join back on the trail. Not far along, there was another detour. This time the trail flooded, but I had to go over it somehow. Looking at the situation, I decided to take off the panniers and carry them over the slope then push my bike over. Luckily, I didn’t slip and made it over.

The flooded trail

I rode on some gravel and rocks while going through William B. Umstead State Park. I thought that the rocks might puncture my tires, but they didn’t. I always worry about that for some reason.

After riding on some city roads, I arrived at Akshay’s place at 4:15 PM. I was just 0.02 miles shy of riding 50 miles.

I hung around the back porch and saw a really big owl not too far from me. I don’t think I’ve seen a wild owl before. Then I took a short walk to the disc golf park next door before coming back.

A wild owl

Akshay came back home around 5:45 PM. He works as an industrial designer and has done some multi-day bicycle tours. We talked about cycling in India. Akshay said that it’s hard to cycle there since the main roads are busy and the local roads have potholes, but people still do it.

I took a shower and after a dinner consisted of ramen noodles I relaxed a bit and listened to some music before going to bed.

Today, I will explore downtown Raleigh. Akshay’s place is about 5 miles west of downtown. I will ride my bike over later.