Day Fourteen, Part Three: The Part About Susan and Bob

Note: cell service dropped completely on Okracoke. I you missed Day Fourteen, here it is:

We’ll resume where we left off last evening — across the Graveyard of the Atlantic, pedal pedal into Okracoke, nine miles to public campground, pitch the tent and hurdle another 4.5 miles down the trail in fading sun to find some dinner. Pass a few decent options, including Gaffer’s Sports Bar, which was Tristan’s recommendation (“get wings and beer”) but island marooners are we and we clamour for seafare. Head to Marina to pursue recommendation from fellow ferry-goers: get to the Marina and “you’ll find two fish places on the left, both are good.”

8PM: Hit marina, most everything closed down… wait, S’mac patio lights are on, I see restaurant dwellers, I see waitstaff, I see beer! What’s this — fellow ferry-goer friends run outside to greet us! They want to buy us beer?!


We drink beer with Bob and Susan Carroll, longtime Norfolk residents, Susan is a hardcore road cyclist and Bob more of reluctant counterpart when it comes to cycling, prefers trail riding. Susan is a med-tech who worked in a lab (are you reading, Mom!) and Bob a nuclear scientist/engineer with massive amounts of experience working with reactors as well as shipyards. Susan brims with Virginia and Carolinas cycling know-how, rides the area threadbare. Bob keys us in that Susan’s cyclist hand is being underplayed, Susan confides an account of the Extortion 17 Memorial Ride, referring to the largest loss of life in history of US navy seals. The idea was to ride until you couldn’t ride any further. Susan and her family put up unfathomable numbers:

  • Matt (future son-in-law): 350 miles
  • Jessica (daughter:) 300 miles
  • Susan: 210 miles

210 miles?! Unfathomable. As boats knock in harbor and moon ushers in the stars over twinkling marina, night accelerates around us and I think to myself these are the kinds of experiences this adventure is all about.

[harbor pics]

Bob, heartfelt thanks for buying us dinner — your execution was brilliantly coy, we didn’t know it had happened! Visit us in New York or on the Cape and we’ll return the favor, and bike some trails on fat tire bikes :)

Bullfrog symphony

Sated by plastic cup IPAs and blackened mahi, retreat 5 miles back to campground, heads spinning delightfully in breezy black sea of starry night. Bullfrogs lay on ragtime of plucky and absurd harmonies, Lizzie and I join in, PLUCK! TWAANG! BUHGOOLP! Crickets now, too, buzzing multiple octaves, alien-like, everyone going at it on this unlit road, Lizzie and I laugh out loud together for miles and there’s no policemen living in our heads tonight.