Day 35 Dunn, NC to Fayetteville 35 miles 725 feet
I planned to ride this morning with sunglasses and no jacket for a change. When I got downstairs it was cool with dark clouds across the sky, I told myself, damn the torpedos, and headed out just as planned. After a brief ride through “downtown” Dunn, I was on the Erwin Rail Trail for about 5 miles. It was comprised of well compacted granite dust, and even though moist with wet leaf litter, it was pleasant to ride on, except for the frequent street crossings. Many of the crossings were on very acute angles which forced you to come to a near complete stop to access the cross traffic. We rode through Erwin on surface streets then were quickly back off pavement on the Cape Fear Trail. The trail was comprised of looser, larger bits of gravel mixed with sand and wound haphazardly through a dense forest. The trail was a bit technical but not very long and soon we were back on surface streets to cross the Cape Fear River and would remain on them till Fayetteville.
The ECG route was once again through forests and farmland, with a short stretch through Fort Bragg. There were abundant soybeans and small crops of cotton interspersed with grazing land full of cattle. The last 5 miles or so was industrial, commercial, and trailer parks mixed in with hotels.
The short ride only took 2 hours, so Molly and I drove to Fayetteville to see some sights. Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the world, with over 54,000 military personnel. It is home to The Airborne and Special Operations Forces. The area around Fayetteville was heavily settled by Scots in the mid-late 1700’s, many of whom remained loyal to the British Crown during the Revolutionary War. In March 1865, General Sherman marched through with 60,000 troops and destroyed most of Fayetteville. The city and surrounding area grew rapidly after Fort Bragg was built in 1918. The downtown area contains a few pre-Civil War structures but most, including the State House, were destroyed either by the “Great Fire” of 1831, or Sherman’s troops. There is an artsy feel to the current downtown area but it does not appear very vibrant, perhaps it becomes more so after the sun goes down.
We also went to visit the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, an 80 acre nonprofit garden used by Fayetteville Technical Community College horticulture students and other local horticulturists. I would describe our visit as more of a nature walk rather than a multicolor botanical experience.
Dinner was at the Mash House Brewery, 4150 Sycamore Dairy Rd, Fayetteville, great fish, steak, and even Fried Green Tomatoes.
Eleven states down, 4 more to go.
Feet Climbed 73,857
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