The Second Half-Century

This post is an update on my stationary bike ride across the USA.* 

Some of you may be cyclists, who use the language with ease. I'm learning...even though my bike is stationary, and I'm going nowhere when I register my mileage. In cycle parlance, a century means a 100-mile ride in a day. So, the half-century of the title would mean a 50-mile in a day, right? Right...but wrong! My (new) half-century goal is 50 miles over three days, not one. And then I shall rest. I've already posted about 1/9/2014, so I'll start with the second day of this particular segment.

Ride on 1/10/2014:
I left North Wilkesboro Speedway, making my way to see M-i-c-k-e-y, via US 421, more or less. And the more I mapped out this section of 421, the less I saw in the way of interesting roadside stops. So, I had to take a little side-trip in order to find a place where I would want to stop...were I doing this ride for real. I rode 17.7 miles in 1 hour and 40 minutes, which puts me near Purlear, NC, near the...


Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest

On land deeded to the state by Judge T. B. Finley in 1926, Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest serves as a 1,780-acre haven for the flora and fauna living within its woodlands. It opened to the public in 1984 as one of six educational forests in North Carolina...with trails are being developed for a 50 mile multi-use trail system.

Rendezvous Mountain takes its name from a legend dating back to the Revolutionary War. As local legend has it, Colonel Benjamin Cleveland rallied his militia of mountain patriots from its summit before leading them on to a decisive victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain. On an immense trumpet scaled to the size of its owner, himself an imposing 300 pounds, Cleveland blew long blasts facing north, south, east, and west, and then he watched as his men in the valleys below saddled their horses and galloped toward the mountain. It was said that the strength of the trumpet's blast was such that the sound echoed and reechoed until it finally broke on the Blowing Rock, some 30 miles west.

Rendezvous's small but commanding peak lies at the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge escarpment, in the foothills that separate the Blue Ridge Mountains from the gentle rolling hills of the Piedmont. Rendezvous rises to its narrow summit at the southeastern extremity of Judd Mountain, a larger mountain mass that forms a steep ridge between the Reddies River and the Lewis Fork Creek, both tributaries of the Yadkin River. This ridged rock formation, known to geologists as the Alligator Back Formation, was uplifted and thrust westward in mountain-making collisions more than 570 million years ago.

The same steep terrain that made the spot ideal for a military rendezvous also restricted timbering in the area. Undisturbed by man, a natural forest community of hardwoods flourished with oaks, yellow-poplars, red maples, hickories, and dogwoods, some now more than 200 years old and measuring 30 inches in diameter. Under this canopy, bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, pink lady slipper, columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), and, more rarely, ginseng (Panax quinquefolium), bloom in early and late spring. Wild turkeys and ruffed grouse, many varieties of warblers, and indigo buntings make their home in the forest with the occasional white-tailed deer and black bear crashing through the brush.

A highlight of Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest is its Talking Tree Trail, where trees "tell" their own (recorded) stories, from their fears about forest fires to the history of their site. A Forest Demonstration Trail offers a scenic introduction to forestry practices. Ranger-conducted programs are also available to groups visiting the forest.

From information found on the website The Sherpa Guides: http://www.sherpaguides.com/north_carolina/mountains/grandfather/rendezvous_mountain_ed_state_forest.html

BTW, the name "Rendezvous Mountain" reminds me to share something else with you. I am DVRing a Learning French course that comes on the UNCTV educational channel at 4:00 a.m. It is taught as an immersion course, where everyone speaks French...and only French. Big challenge for me! Each class is 30 minutes long, and I watch two classes while riding: first, re-watching yesterday's class, then today's. Then, I watch something less taxing for the rest of my ride...usually a Castle rerun.

Ride on 1/11/2014:

Left Purlear area today, bound for the intersection of Highway 421 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, at Mile Post 276.4 (this is how the BRP is measured and marked), a riding distance of 17.8 miles. There is little of nothing to comment upon on this stretch of road (although in real life, the woods on the roadside are a beautiful lush green in the Spring and Summer). Fortunately, I had my Tigers to keep me occupied during this potentially boring ride: Memphis was playing Temple in basketball this afternoon. We won! And I made it to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Finally...on both counts! This snap shows the end of the game...and me still 5 miles to go...so, I watched a Castle rerun, since it was a Saturday and no French class...:-)


From this point, I will be using a superb guide you can find at: http://blueridgeparkway.indigofiles.com/directory_planner/BlueRidgeParkwayDirectory64thEdition.pdf

Here's what it says about where I am at the end of this ride:


This means I completed my second 50-mile segment or half-century. Actually, with a total of just over 110 miles, I've made my first century mark! And I earned a Rest Day on Sunday. 

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* Footnote: To bring you up-to-date, in case you are just joining me...

My plan to get/keep in shape for gardening this year is to ride my stationary bike. Because I always need a reason to do something...or at least to continue doing something, I have decided on a program based on a distance of 2600 miles...which is the distance from our house to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, as Google-mapped using the (beta) Bike function. I started 1/3/2014...and am continuing the saga today. 
BTW, I am tagging all the posts about my ride "Where in the USA is Patricia" on my blog, and #WhereintheUSAisPatricia on Twitter. While I won't be blogging about my ride on a daily basis, you can check my Twitter Feed over there in the right column for daily updates on my ride and location. Happy pedaling! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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