I selected a halfway point between Edenton and Wilmington as the small town of Dover, not sure at all what the vibe would be like except that there was one church, and that is enough for a good nights sleep. Upon arriving at Dover around 4:00 pm with the sun approaching the horizon, I wanted to settle in and set up camp.
After passing this church I was wary of setting up behind it as the windows were boarded up and the lawn overgrown. The town itself had a similar feeling, windows were boarded up and shutters were drawn closed. I recalled some conversation I’ve had back home with some professional “stealth campers”: the art of finding a quiet spot in a small town or even city, or just by the side of the road, in which the surroundings cover you just enough to not be seen and bothered, so my senses were alert and ready to pursue one of these prime real estate locations.
After riding up and down the town, which was a whole five blocks west to east, I found one house with the lights on and decided to head down the drive way and ring the bell, but was chased away by a couple of angry dogs. I’ve found dogs in the countryside to be quite amusing; they protect their property and chase you since you are slow enough to chase and not as fast and dangerous as a car, but little do they know they are racing against the New York State track category four silver medalist mind you…
A few houses down, I found one woman outside raking leaves. She wore a grey, hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants, moved with determination and caring attention and I felt as though I was intruding on her delicate task. I spoke softly at first but unable to get my voice across the lawn, I spoke up and her head turned first away from me towards the railroad tracks, then towards me. I explained to her my story, my journey, and that I am just looking for a safe place to camp. She was a bit confused at first, and asked where I lived, and then told me that I can sleep under the roof of her three walled barn. This was the coldest night of the trip so far, so having something to block the wind and retain at least a little bit of warmth was the difference between a grumpy morning and a happy one.
The next morning I did wake up happy.