To Durham

Submitted by Ben on Sun, 03/20/2005 - 16:41

I slept well in the warm, quiet night of the spring equinox and woke to another beautiful day.  No one ever showed up to register me as they were supposed to, so I got the campsite for free!  I was the only one there, so they may not have bothered making the rounds.

I rode into town without incident and stopped at REI to upgrade some of my gear and spend my membership dividend.  Among other things, I got a larger (when inflated) but more compact (when deflated) sleeping pad and a higher-pressure tire pump with a built-in pressure gauge.  The staff also helped me track down a bicycle shop that has the parts necessary to replace my drivetrain.

I took my loot outside and pumped up my tires to their recommended pressure.  As I was trying to fit the new pump into the space inside the bike frame where I kept the old pump, the tube in one of the trailer tires decided it just couldn't take the pressure and exploded like a gunshot right beside me!  I got my hearing back after a minute or so.

As I left REI, I pulled alongside another cyclist who looked like he knew where he was going, and I asked if that was the best road to take into town.  He said a paved portion of the American Tobacco Trail started just two blocks away, and he led me there.  He turned out to be from Minneapolis, visiting his son and future daughter-in-law, for whom he had just bought a new bike.  I asked if she needed a pump ... and so passed on my old pump and pressure gauge to a new owner less than an hour after buying their replacement!

I followed the Tobacco Trail, which is also part of the East Coast Greenway (http://www.greenway.org) all the way into downtown Durham and then found my way to the home of my friends Tami and Erik.  Tami is a lichenologist who just returned this morning from a worldwide conference in fungal genetics with a suitcase full of specimens fresh from California.  Erik is working on a doctoral thesis on Russian poetry.