Today we got a bit of a later start than usual (let’s just say that Dylan and I enjoyed sleeping in our own beds), and so we hit the road at about nine in Kinston, North Carolina. Even after our late start, we still managed to proceed at an incredibly slow pace, as all these dadgum people kept stopping to talk to us. Honestly, the support today was overwhelming. We had four people pull over and ask if we would like something to drink. We may have set a record in the number of car honks/shouts from out of the window. And we definitely set a record for the most interesting shout out. At around ten o’clock a man drove by, rolled down his window, and screamed “BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER!! Ayiyiyiyiyiyiyi!!!!!”, then turned around, drove by again and screamed “YAYA TOURE!!!”, and then he turned around again and this time screamed “XAVI HERNANDEZ!!!” before driving off. If you don’t follow soccer, those are three prominent international players, which opens up a whole slew of questions. Did he mistake us for them? Was he comparing our abilities to theirs? Both are likely possibilities.
At around 11 we met with Katie Banks from WNCT Channel 9 News and interviewed with her. Even though she’s a Duke graduate, she somehow still managed to do a lovely job, and you can find the story here. After that, we had a quick lunch with our friend Thaier Askar, and then realized that with the late start and all the wonderful stops we took this morning, we had pretty much gone nowhere.
So we kept up a pretty rigorous pace throughout the afternoon, and managed to reach the outskirts of Cove City before we had to stop at 5 p.m., putting todays total at 16.9 miles and 390.33 miles for the trip. We then hurried back to New Bern to speak at Garber Methodist Church, who were something like AWESOME. To be honest, I actually wrote about twelve different descriptions of Garber and then erased them all because they sounded too much like a Nicholas Sparks novel, so I’ll just put it simply: we loved Garber. They were kind, receptive, made us feel famous by letting us sign lots of shirts, and even made us the best banner ever.
We’ve got three days left of dribbling across the state of North Carolina, and I’m really sick of dribbling a darn soccer ball. However, one thing that I know I’ll never get sick of no matter how many states I kick across is the people that I see along the way. We met so many gracious people today, summed up perfectly by the pure awesomeness finale that we got at Garber, and it was pretty incredible. Three days left, and I’m still in shock that we’ve already started! As Dylan put it, it feels like we’ve been dribbling for about 40 years, but it also feels as if we’ve just started. We’ve met great people along the way, and with their support we’ve made it more than 380 miles, a pretty nifty accomplishment if I may say so myself. Today has really been a great summary of our trip as we started slow, picked up speed, and finished strong with a lovely crowd at Garber. Our only hope is that these remaining few days are as amazing and eye-opening as the past 19.