Alas, our time at Emerald Isle had come to an end. Our checkout time was 10am, but we were ready in plenty of time before that. Sarah went to the realty office to check out while I finished the last of the packing on the bike.
My initial attitude towards bike packing was "self-reliance", and I insisted on packing almost everything for myself on the bike. This tended to make Sarah feel kind of left out, plus I was wasting too much vacation time shoehorning stuff onto the bike. This was my last shoehorning day and was clearly ridiculous. I had about three times as many t-shirts as I usually take on a bike trip, plus a windbreaker for walking on the beach, plus a pair of running shoes. Running shoes take up an amazing amount of space in saddlebags. I was able to get all this stuff crammed in, but it was a waste of time and I resolved not to do it again.
We basically had six hours to get to the Cedar Island ferry, which according to google maps is about an hour and a half trip. The road to get there is pretty remote, so it's not like we had a lot of interesting detours we could make. What we could do, we did the previous Wednesday.
So, we took a leisurely trip to Beaufort and just sort of wandered around there for a few hours, looking in shops and just hanging out. Since we had the time we went into a restaurant and sat on the balcony. It was borderline cold, breezy, cloudy, and crazy busy with just a couple of waitresses. From the time we were seated it took us over thirty minutes just to get our drinks, because the waitress forgot about us. We had about twenty minutes before we had to leave, and she made sure we got our food in plenty of time. We could have hammered her on the tip, but we left her 20% anyway, just to teach the principle of forgiveness.
Still we got to the ferry landing with an hour and a half to spare.
There were several bikes on our ferry. We had a couple from Venezuela on a rented Heritage Softail as well as three guys on very similar Honda Shadows. An older man on one of the Hondas turned out to be a Seventh Day Adventist minister, one other was a son-in-law from Ft Bragg, and the third was a prospective son-in-law. The three were on a whirlwind trip basically from Tennessee, up the Outer Banks, and ending up in Fayetteville.
We had a two hour and fifteen minute ferry ride which was pretty uneventful. We had a lot of time to share views on Venezuelan politics, how much Jesus talked about the sabbath in the Bible, a lot of personal history, and much much more.
We got to Ocracoke with just enough time to spare to get checked into the motel, ride about fifteen miles to the Hatteras ferry landing, and get back before dark.
The guys on the Hondas were heading north for an undetermined distance that night, but the Venezuelans were hoping to make Virginia. The next ferry was leaving at 8pm, and my guess would have been two to three hours to Virginia in the dark, wasting some of the most interesting scenery anywhere, so I hope they came to their senses and stopped on the Outer Banks somewhere.
We waved to them all at the ferry landing and headed back to Ocracoke village.
Sarah and I were both really tired at dinner, which of course was at Howards Pub, a traditional stop. The traveling was beginning to get to both of us.