took off for a nice long ride today in what turned out to be an unusually warm day and possibly weekend... the original plans were to go riding tomorrow and meet up with a couple buddies. but the weather is calling for thundershowers, so we reschedule for today.
the plan was for two of us to meet in smithfield then head to greenville to meet the other guy - if he was showing up. from there, we'd decide what to do...
i took off late morning towards smithfield. i couldn't believe the warm weather we had today. as i was approaching smithfield, i spotted a few clouds that looked like they could be holding some rain. they weren't calling for rain today. soon, i rode under a could of the clouds and could feel the temp drop. the drop in temp gave me a chill and i thought about how cold it felt. then i realized it was still january and this wasn't cold at all. thankfully those were about the only clouds i saw all day - the rest of the day would remain sunny and (relatively) warm.
when i got to smithfield, doug was already there waiting - about ten minutes. figures since i was about ten minutes late. after jabbering for a couple minutes, we headed to hooters in greenville. we decided to opt for the more scenic route. it would get us to greenville a little later than planned, but what the hell?? always better to take a scenic route and more time. besides, there'd be less traffic along this road.
having the gps adds a level of comfort while riding. instead of having to plan out the route, either remember of write down the route and then try to remember to look for all the roads, let the gps do the work. it gave me a lot of confidence that i was along the right roads and knew when i would need to turn. it's really going to make exploring unfamiliar territory nice.
we cruised along for about an hour and a half, enjoying the scenery along the mostly two lane roads. at once point we passed two people on the side of the road painting. they had their canvas on their easels, painting away... i looked across the road to see what they might be painting. to be honest, all i saw was an empty field - can't figure out what was there. and maybe that's what they were painting.
we finally made it to hooters... not too much happening there - seemed kinda dead. a lot more kids and families than i expected. not that there's a problem with it - just not used to seeing so many families and kids. after downing some wings and drinks, we decided to head to the hospital. a friend/colleague was recently injured while riding his bike. he's been in the trauma icu since before christmas. while we knew we wouldn't be able to see him, we thought it would be nice to visit for a couple minutes with his family.
i figured this would be a good test of the gps. i tried to plug in the name of the hospital - no luck, could find it... seems you have to have to correct name - which i did not. i was searching on pitt memorial and i should have been searching on pitt county memorial... so we plugged in the address for the hospital, which doug retrieved from his crackberry. following the directions on the gps only lead us to the wrong place. i kinda got the feeling we weren't going in the right direction when i saw a sign for the hospital pointing in one direction and the gps telling us to turn in the other direction. after ending up in the wrong place, we decided to follow the road signs. even those lead us to the wrong side of the hospital. eventually we ended up in the right place.
we managed our way up to the icu waiting room and talked to dave's wife for a couple minutes. the waiting room was cramped and hot. the heat forced us out sooner than we wanted, but it was time to go. it was getting late and we needed to get home.
deciding not to take a major road home, i tried to use the gps to track our way back to smithfield. i quickly discovered another problem with the gps - i really need my glasses to see the roads clearly. as i couldn't see the roads, we ended up on 264, heading west. not wanting to be on 264 the whole way, we eventually pulled off and wounds our way around on some two lane roads until we got back to smithfield. at that point, we split off and headed home...
it was a great day for a ride - can't believe how warm it was today - hard to believe it's the first weekend in january. well, i guess winter will be arriving tomorrow. as long as it's not snowing or sleeting, i should still be out there - maybe on shorter (much shorter) rides, but i try not to let the temps stop me.
you can check out the 2007 ride map to see the route - this one is in red...