Home > ultralight bicycle touring > Beaufort to Oriental and back to Belhaven

Beaufort to Oriental and back to Belhaven

There’s not much to say about the road to Oriental.  The ride turns north and inland with long straight flat stretches through the Croatan National Forest, which by Smoky Mountain standards is pretty bland.  I noticed one species of tree, White Pine, and they looked sickly; a short ferry ride (free) and more long flat stretches.  When you reach Janeiro you are back out near the coast and it turns scenic again.  A few more miles and Oriental comes into view.  The Oriental Marina and Inn was our rest stop for the night.  They have a great restaurant and a beautiful view overlooking the marina.

That night we switched on the local news for the next day’s forecast.  The local weatherman, a sufficiently nerdy looking meteorologist type, predicted 25 to 35 mile per hour winds the next day.  Lovely.  There’s a reason the Wright brothers chose coastal North Carolina to launch their flying machine.  The wind here tends to pick things up off the ground and hurl them through the air.  I have my doubts as to whether they were really flying or just being hurled.  Either way, they were very fortunate. 

The ride from Oriental to Belhaven is flat, open and for the most part, treeless.  The wind blows unchallenged for miles hunting for something or somebody to knock over.  I’ve been riding a bike since childhood and I can honestly say I have never ridden in winds as strong as that day.  The cross-winds were strong enough to lean yourself against and that’s actually how we had to ride to stay upright.  Headwinds were worse.  We rode without stopping for fear of being blown away till we reached the Wayside Restaurant, just six miles from the only ferry crossing of the ride. 

Raquel asked the waitress “what’s the biggest burger you have?”  She answered with this, the half-pound double cheeseburger with all the fixing’s, which in the Carolinas means dripping with chili and slaw.  With our bellies bulging with burgers, we headed back out into the wind pleasantly surprised to find it had turned into a tailwind that blew us speedily towards the ferry station.  From there it is only a short ferry ride (again free) and a very pleasant ride back into Belhaven. 

We tour the coast every year and this trip was the best yet.  I think what made this trip better than previous ones is the pace at which we traveled.  We kept our mileage low (about 50ish miles a day, although neither of us have computers on our bikes) and we spent two full days exploring instead of traveling.  Although the rain and wind made the ride challenging, it only made the accommodations, food and brew that much sweeter.  I can’t wait to head out again.

Thanks for reading, Jack

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  1. April 11, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Jack,
    We had a great time meeting you yesterday and I enjoyed riding with you very much. I’m only sorry we didn’t get to talk more. Riding single file doesn’t always lend itself to conversations.

    I hope we get to do it again!

    Hugh

  2. The Velo Hobo
    April 11, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for the ride Hugh. It was a lot of fun. I’ve never connected those two rides together…Great way to add mileage to the Burning town loop! Very scenic area. We we will have to ride again, I’ll get the post up soon. Jack

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