Bicyclists complete Murphy to Manteo ride
Published 8:08 am Sunday, August 25, 2019
It was a trip to remember.
Thursday morning, Cory Farmer, 19, and Hunter Anderson, 25, both from Murphy, rolled into the Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire Department parking lot in Manteo, completing a journey that started 11 days earlier at the western end of the state.
“We made it,” said Farmer with a smile. “We didn’t die.”
Standing next to a highway sign on U.S. 64 informing motorists that Murphy is 543 miles away, the two friends and co-workers said they actually covered close to 750 miles following the NC 2 Mountains to Sea route.
Incorporating parts of U.S. 64, the Blue Ridge parkway and a series of other connecting roads, the popular bike route took them across 5,000 foot mountains in the southwestern corner of the state, plenty of piedmont farm country in the middle portion of the state and brought them out to trail’s end in the flatter eastern coastal region.
And how was their trip?
“The first day was definitely the worst,” explained Farmer. “We were not prepared at all for what we were about to do. The two biggest mountains we had to go over were on the first day.”
“They were the two steepest,” added Anderson.
“After that it was wake up, hop on the bike and get as many miles done as we can,” continued Farmer. “I think ignorance saved us. Because we didn’t know how bad it was going to be.”
“Mostly we would make do,” added Anderson. “It was wake up that morning and look at a spot about 75 miles away or this spot is 100 miles away so we would see if we can make it there. Get to a camp site or hotel, we were not picky.”
Both agreed that when they finished that first day, their thoughts were that it was their worst day and that it was going to get easier.
It didn’t work out that way.
“It was the same way all the way through,” said Anderson. “No day was any easier, we just thought it was going to be easier so we kept going.”
Farmer said his preparation left a lot to be desired.
“I think I rode about 38 miles,” said Farmer. “That’s about all I did to get ready. So it was not much. We both worked out though.”
Both cyclists work and work out at CrossFit Murphy, a gym Farmer’s parents own in his home town.
And while there may not have been a lot of preparation for the trip, Farmer’s athletic background may have helped.
In his senior year on the football team in 2017, Farmer racked up a team-high 161 tackles and then went on to win a state wrestling title in the 195-pound weight class.
In fact, he said, that state title played a small part in deciding to make the trip.
“I wrestled against Jonathan Zafra for the state title,” Farmer explained. “He was from Manteo. I’ve always known about the sign we had (Manteo 543 miles) and thought that would be something fun to do.”
While on vacation earlier in the summer, Farmer said he tweeted that he would ride his bike from Murphy to Manteo if he received 500 re-tweets.
Less than 24 hours later, he was committed.
Farmer also admitted that he was a little bored at the time.
“I was really bored,” he confessed. “I’m not in college playing sports anymore, so I wanted something to do. It would be a good challenge.”
For his part, Anderson said it was an adventure he couldn’t pass up.
“I’ve kind of lived all over the place and this was kind of a way to see the state that I always considered home,” Anderson explained. “And we saw every intimate detail of it at a pretty slow pace.”
Into mixed martial arts, Farmer also considered the trip as a good way to get ready for a fight coming up.
Keeping in touch with his mother Brandy Farmer, the two would bicycle throughout the day and Mrs. Farmer would locate places to stay for the night.
With most stops at campgrounds, others nights were at bed and breakfast homes with a couple of hotel stays. The trip from Murphy took them to Franklin, Mt. Pisgah, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, to Little Switzerland, Taylorsville, High Point, Cary, Elm City, Goose Creek State Park, Englehard and then to Manteo.
While Anderson said they were blessed with no major problem along the way, avoiding major problems did not mean there were none.
“Somebody stole my wallet,” advised Farmer.
Farmer said after stopping for groceries at a roadside store, he set his bag of items on a nearby rail. About a mile down the road he realized it had been left behind.
“We went back but the only thing left was the Tic-Tacs,” said Farmer. “Somebody made off pretty good. But that was the only big hiccup on the trip.”
Both said along the way they met lots of friendly people.
“Most people we met were super nice,” said Anderson.
“They were the nicest people,” added Farmer. “In Elm City, the lady we stayed with there let us bring our bikes inside. And she washed our clothes for us.”
So what’s up next? Not another bicycle trip.
“I’m very glad we did it,” said Anderson. “But never doing it again. Not that ride at least.”
After a few photographs documenting the end of their trip, it was off to a hotel with Mrs. Farmer for showers, food and then a trip back to Murphy with bicycles in the back of a truck.