Day 34 Raleigh, NC to Dunn 56 miles 2,011 feet
There was a heavy mist in the air when I walked over to breakfast so I decided to delay my departure for a couple of hours to explore Raleigh a bit more.
There are several museums, with free admission, within walking distance of our hotel, unfortunately they are all closed on Mondays and Holidays. The Sacred Heart Cathedral, founded in 1879, the smallest Catholic Cathedral in the Continental United States was open, so I peaked inside.
The Governor’s mansion was very opulent, but not open to the public.
The same was true of the Heck-Andrews House, finished in 1870, it was one of the first homes built in Raleigh after the Civil War. The house remained in private hands till the government of North Carolina purchased it in 1987 and completed a major exterior restoration. The interior restoration was never completed and the house was sold to the North Carolina Board of Relators.
A few blocks away lies the North Carolina Natural History Museum with it’s exhibition hall shaped like the planet Earth.
The sun came out briefly and I hopped on my bike hoping to wear sunglasses for the first time in days. Within a few blocks, dense clouds obscured the sun, and once again I needed to swap to my clear lenses. In just over a mile I was off the street and riding the Little Rock and Walnut Creek Trails. Unfortunately the Walnut Creek Trail was a muddy mess. Friday’s storm dropped trees across the trail and caused the adjacent creek to overflow its banks depositing copious quantities of river mud along the trail. I guess this was my reward for spending over an hour yesterday cleaning my bike and installing a brand new chain. Had I known what the trail conditions were like, I would have plotted a detour. I STRONGLY advise against riding the Walnut Creek Trail, during or after heavy rainfall.
Once on the Neuse River Trail, the conditions improved dramatically. The pavement was still wet with fallen leaves but the trail was setback far enough from the river that there was no mud. The trail was well maintained with plantings of wildflowers and even a whimsical butterfly playground, adjacent unfortunately, to a water treatment plant and a landfill.
To my mind the only negative was the number of unnecessary signs. There were multiple warning signs for steep descents which were no steeper than my driveway back in California. Several even indicated a descent when in fact the path was climbing.
I also saw multiple signs warning that wet surfaces could be slippery. Have we really sunk so low in America, that good old common sense has been replaced with lawyers and lawsuits?
After about 20 combined miles on the various trails we were back on the road and rolling through Clayton which still had many of it’s historic homes.
Once we left Clayton we would roll on country roads through farms and past livestock. The only crop I saw was soybean but there was abundant livestock including, horses, cows, llamas, and goats.
I arrived into Dunn just past 1PM where Molly had driven down from Raleigh to meet me at the hotel. I was told not to expect much in Dunn but hoped we could find something better than a fast food chain for lunch. Google maps suggested the Broad St Deli & Market, 129 E Broad St, Dunn, so we drove over for lunch. The deli was located in an older part of town that appeared to be undergoing gentrification. Walking into the deli was like walking into a specialty food shop in Greenwich, CT or East Hampton, NY. The interior just reeked of Martha Stewart country charm.
The menu was simple but included salads and sandwiches, all made with fresh local ingredients, even the breads was freshly baked. We were pleasantly surprised when the food tasted as good as the store looked.
After lunch we explored the surrounding area, walking as far as the First Baptist Church from 1873, before returning to the central core, where I managed to get a much needed $20 haircut from Mo.
The most unusual find was an Organic Butcher that had fare nicer than we can get back home in Carmel, CA. Their products were all organic, antibiotic and GMO free, pasture raised or free ranging. I noticed that they sold 30 day dry aged certified angus ribeye for $39.99 per pound and wondered who in the town of Dunn could afford to pay such prices.
Dinner was at the Sagebrush-Steakhouse, 1006 E Cumberland St, Dunn, a Texas style steakhouse. The portions we generous, well prepared, and tasty.
Eleven states down, 4 more to go.
Feet Climbed 71,132
States Visited Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina
For more details on my route, see my Strava Link