Archive for the ‘Virginia’ Category

Day 46, Appalachian rollercoaster

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

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It rained pretty hard throughout the night, but no thunder and lightening, at least as far as we knew. The sky was just clearing up as we awoke, so despite getting a little wet yesterday, our luck weatherwise has been extremely good. David the proprietor of the B&B and Hindman historical society treated up to nice continental breakfast, while Pewter and Inky a couple of his cats entertained us. David had stayed up the whole night documenting geneology of the area.

Our spirits were up. We had full stomachs, a good nights rest, and the weather was looking great for an Autumn ride in the Appalachians. We haven’t been able to make the progress we would like as we’ve entered these hills/mountains, so we’ve been a little discouraged. The climbs are not extremely high. The larger ones usually not exceeding much more than 1000 feet so far. They are very steep though and after 2 or 3, you might as well have climbed a high mountain pass. Today we were well motivated because we’d finally be entering our ninth and final state Virginia.

The days ride took it’s toll. We had several of those steep 1000 ft climbs. When we reached the top of the worst one, we had another canine incident. This time from 2 frolicking puppies who wandered down a gravel driveway at the top of the mountain. No barking, no growling, just curious licks and muddy paw prints as they tried to climb our legs.

We finally reached Virginia and Breaks Interstate park around 5:30. The park looked beautiful, but we decided to press on another 11 miles of climbing to Haysi, so tomorrow’s ride might be a little more managable. The one catch with Haysi is the motel is the Hill Top Motel. It’s name is very accurate. We had to ride a mile or two off route to the top of another hill/mountain to get to it. Hopefully we’ll get a great sunrise view in the morning thanks to our hill top location.

Day 47, Short cut

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

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When we left our motel this morning, we were greeted by a heavy fog over the mountain. Since our motel was in the middle of nowhere (and pretty crappy, no tv, no Internet, definitely no continental beakfast – but that’s what you get for $31) we had to make do with a quick breakfast of bananas and granola bars. I miss the hospitality of David and the historical society already. We figured that we would pick up something more substantial in the next town.

Just our luck, the next two towns did not have an open restaurant, so we settled for some weak coffee and microwaved sausage biscuits at a gas station. Maybe lunch would be better -no such luck, we were stuck with gas station food again and my chicken sandwich was raw in the middle – which I only realized after I had already eaten half of it. My stomach was so turned that I didn’t even bother getting a new one. Now I am anxiously awaiting my spagetti and meatball dinner to arrive. But, back to our day, there was plenty of bike riding along with all the attempts at eating.

We had two big climbs today, one with a peak over 3,000 ft. which is as high as we’ve been since Colorado. 60 miles into our ride, we decided to go off route and head east to Marion VA, instead of south to Damascus. The published route we have been (mostly) following takes us very far south, nearly to N. Carolina, and up some mountains. I am sure it would be beautiful, but, we’ve climbed plenty of mountains, and our new route will save us nearly a day of riding, which we need in order to stay on schedule. Tomorrow we will get back on route, that much closer to home.

Day 48, Hokie country

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

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When we stay at a hotel with free continental breakfast we like to take advantage. This mornings breakfast was a little weak. No hard boiled eggs, no fruit, no yogart, and a waffle maker that didn’t work. Ah well we just had to fill up on cold cereal and bad donuts. Last night we checked the web for the progress of some of our riding campanions. We found that the other Mike had to interrupt his trip because of a family illness. We found his post regarding his ride with us.

The ride itself was pretty uneventful. After about 12 miles we reconnected with our route, our shortcut saving us at least 30 miles and a lot of climbing. We’re out of coal mining country and seem to be passing through the southern edge of the Shenandoah valley. The terrain has changed to rolling grassy farmland. We still have the momentary gut wrenching climb as we dip between hills, but no major climbs.

We reached our destination Christiansburg after 81 miles. Tomorrow we start on our last map, with only 367 miles to go. We’re excited because tomorrow we’re going to meet our friends Eric & Meg, and their family. Eric has boldly signed up to ride with us the next few days to their place outside Charlottesville. One of those days will be our last really hard ride of the trip, climbing up to the Blur Ridge Parkway. My prediction? PAIN!

Day 49, Eric joins the ride

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

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It was supposed to rain early this morning, unfortunately it didn’t actually start raining until we went to get breakfast around 9am. We let ourselves sleep in a bit and got a later start today because we were meeting Eric early in the afternoon, and our mileage today would be relatively short. Because of the unfortunate rain, we ended up hanging out in our motel room until check out time at 11am. Luckily, by then the rain had stopped. Our good fortune with the weather remains, if not perfect, still pretty darn good.

The weather today remained overcast, but this only seemed to intensify the beautiful fall colors of the landscape. After a short 28 miles of rolling hills, we reached Catawba. Mike and I stopped at a gas station/deli, ordered a couple of Italian subs and waited for Eric and Meg to arrive.

Once Eric joined us, we only had an easy 20 miles left to ride. We arrived at our destination, Daleville, around 5pm, which gave us plenty of time to hang out with Eric, relax in our hotel room, drink beer and eat Mexican food. We only rode 48 miles today, but it was a pretty fun time, and we are still right on schedule.


Day 50, Lightened load

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

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When we met with Eric and Meg yesterday we decided to unload a few things that we could do without the next couple of days. Since we didn’t plan on camping the next two nights we wouldn’t need our tent. We also temporarily unloaded the bourbon we had picked up in Bardstown, as well as some spare bike parts. In all we probably unloaded 10-15 lbs of gear. Riding with the reduced load was a nice relief.

We were only planning a 50 mile ride today to get to Lexington, since that is the last place with a motel before reaching our approach to the climb up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. On our way we crossed paths with yet another group of west bound transam riders. They were carrying a lot of gear and would probably need it since cold weather should be rapidly approaching in the West and Midwest.

We reached Lexington fairly early and stopped at the Stonewall Jackson cemetery to check out the tomb. Scattered around the statue of the revered confederate strategist were fresh lemons. Legend has it they were his favorite treat. After a quick late lunch we secured our motel room. Our ride tomorrow will be a lot more difficult, about 65 miles with a lot of climbing.

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