Saturday, June 21, 2014

Friday The 13th

I got lucky on Friday the 13th. I struck out on a new perm, Sunset Boulevard, a 260K roll from Raleigh to Sunset Beach. I’m about 130 miles in, getting within striking distance, when I see the sign:

Road Closed
3 Miles Ahead

Well, hell, if you ride North Carolina backroads in the summertime, you know what that means. A bridge being replaced, oh, you betcha. 

Here’s the point where you do some soul searching. Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do ya? Because if you can’t make it across, you got 3 miles down to have a look. Then 3 miles back to where you are right now. AND THEN you gotta follow the detour for several miles. That's some serious heartbreak, right there.

I grab a seat on a soft patch of concrete and have a look at the likely detour on my iPhone. It looks like a crap alternative on a couple busy roads. Maybe good for cars, not so much for me.

Okay, let’s roll the dice. I head out, an easy pace but pretty uneasy about what I’m going to find. If I’m wrong, it’s going to cost me an extra hour.

So okay, I’ve already given away the punch line. But here’s how it unfolded. About halfway down, I see a guy on a riding lawnmower. He sees me and waves, so I stop and ask:

Can I get through?

He kills the motor. Yep. They just finished paving it. Today. It’s been out for three months. The detour has been miserable.

Well, okay then! Fine news, I say.

I start seeing lots of these signs.

 And more.

 And more...

 And finally, here's our bridge. Just swept! Fresh new blacktop.

And here's the machine that did the sweeping. And there’s the guy that drove it. He just finished. He smiles when I gave him the thumbs up. I might have been the first person across his smooth handiwork.

Yes, I got lucky. On Friday the 13th.


Larry Parker said...

I really think road construction should plan on letting cyclist through whenever, wherever possible. Empty roads make for great pedaling and the drivers on the alternate routes have to be happier without cyclists, right? A win-win! Just leave enough gap in the barriers for a bike and rider to roll through, and a little space in the work area.

skiffrun said...