The road between Roanoke Rapids and Raleigh (the sister town of Durham, but more on that later) was largely unremarkable, so I decided to leave the interstate and instead followed signs for an unspecified historic site. It never materialised, although some signs did indicate that the highway I was on was in some way historic, though in this country that could just mean that it’s at least 40 years old. In fact, the road just seemed to lead towards a prison and a stretch of it was actually sponsored by the local correctional institute. I’m not sure why a jail would need to advertise to passing motorists, maybe the crime rate has dropped too low in North Carolina.
These roadside sponsorships have been commonplace in every state we’ve passed through (and that’s a lot now: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina and the Canadian province of Ontario). The oddest was in New Jersey, where an environmental group had sponsored a stretch of highway, but down here most sponsorships seem to have been purchased by college fraternities and sororities with strange names consisting of three letters of the Greek alphabet.
Things are definitely warmer in the South; the temperature was still 93F (about 34C) at 6.30pm, so the best time by far for cycling appears to be in the cooler mornings.