to Raleigh, NC

Submitted by Ben on Fri, 03/25/2005 - 00:00

Today's plan was simple enough: I would bike from Durham to a shopping center on the near side of Raleigh, meet my sister's old friend Amber for lunch at 11, and then ride north to Falls Lake in the afternoon.  But about a mile from the rendezvous, I got a flat on my left trailer tire -- the first one it's had in the whole trip.

I went to patch the tire and found that I was out of patches.  I tried using a scrap of an old inner tube, as I remembered doing when I was a kid, but it didn't stick; evidently I have the wrong kind of cement for that old trick.  So I got out a new tube, and for the occasion a new tire as well.  Pumped it up to within 10 pounds of the recommended pressure.  A few seconds later, it exploded.  I had no other tube.

When I called Amber to say I couldn't make it, she offered to pick me up in her SUV.  I was skeptical, but she routinely hauls a double bass, among other orchestral instruments, and lo and behold my entire rig fit in there!  So we had lunch after all.

Amber graduated from the same Oklahoma high school as my sister and I, and moved to Raleigh right after college in Indiana, so she's been here ten years now.  She teaches every kindergartner at a private school to play the violin, and the older kids she teaches any stringed instrument in the orchestra.  In her spare time she gives private lessons, plays in various ensembles, and sings in her church choir.

She invited me to stay the night at her townhouse, and since the day was drizzling and threatening thunderstorms, I accepted.  Naturally it cleared up as soon as I got settled, but it gave us a chance to talk some more.  She left me there and went off to work. 

I called Erik because I had left my trailer flag at his house that morning, and he obligingly brought it over, then drove me to a bike shop where I got a new tube and patches.  Amber came home for a snack and was then gone again to sing in the Good Friday service at her church.  I spent the afternoon and evening researching my route through Virginia, and I cooked dinner for the two of us: a "Gullah gumbo" mix I had bought at the Lowcountry Visitor Center in South Carolina.