Archive for May, 2010

Day 10: Then There Were Two

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

59.21 miles (Total: 401.23) Average Speed: 10.8mph Max Speed: 30.5mph

I was up and waiting for the motel breakfast to begin as I was keen to get an early start towards Radford. Last night I rang Dr Lee, whose card I had picked up from the bike house. He did the TransAm back in 1998 and now he lets cyclists stay at his home. I devoured waffles, cereal and eggs then drank a 5 hour energy shot which I had picked up the previous day.

Good morning America

I’m often sceptical of these energy drinks but this thing was immense. I knew the first 20 miles were going to be mostly uphill towards Catawba but I powered through them staying in a pretty high gear the whole time just sprinting over the hills. It was Sunday and really early so the roads were quiet and the weather was perfect. I found a turtle in the road and moved him off to save him from certain death, they crawl out to sun themselves which is pretty stupid.

Ello Ello

Loved riding this morning, damn cables ruined shot though.

After climbing over the crest of one hill I suddenly spot another cyclist up ahead, hes not local, he has pannier bags like me, he must be on the TransAm! So I stand on my pedals again and sprint, remember I was on fire today. He soon heard me charging up behind and glanced back to see me. It was 26 year old Cooper from Minnesota and he IS on the TransAm, I asked where he was heading today and he says the Lee’s house in Radford, me too! They had told him an English guy was also staying, that guy being me. We talked bikes, bags and equipment whilst forgetting about the ride, the next 20 miles flew by. We both agreed a week after starting it was great to have company, it also turns out he stayed at the motel I was at in Lexington the same night.


Cooper needed to take a leak at the side of the road so we stopped, seconds later a truck pulled down the driveway right where he went, uh oh. But the they just smiled and waved oblivious to what had just went down. We stopped at the small town of Ellet to refuel on some gatorade and bananas and talked about the cookie lady. He had slept in the bike house alone too which is a VERY scary place in the dark with all that old stuff hanging around and the old furnishings.

Thought I had travelled further than that.

We had another 20 miles until Radford, the next 7 were going to be a killer uphill towards Christiansburg. It was tough but seemed to finish alot early than either of us had anticipated. From there on it was an amazing downhill coast all the way to Radford. We stopped in at Arby’s to get some grub before finding the Lee’s house. We were welcomed in with glasses of iced water and then told we could shower, do laundry before flipping for the bed/sofa for the night. AMAZING.

I'm thinking Arby's!

We flipped for the bed, I lost. Sofa is good for me!

We also finished our first map today the new one finishes off Virginia then takes us midway through Kentucky. We later worked out by mileage we had completed 10% of the trip.

Day 9: Dullsville

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

46.86 miles (Total: 342.01) Average Speed: 10.2mph Max Speed: 33.5mph

I would like to tell you I have an exciting story to bring you today but in truth it was as bland as the final destination, Daleville. It began really foggy and the road was still wet from yesterdays storms, the 76 route signs that had stopped coming into Lexington picked up again.

I was soon onto some of the quietest back country roads I have been on all trip, I could tell it was going to be a dull one from the off so pulled out the iPod and put some essential Bob Dylan on. It helped pass the first 20 miles and then I finally had some company. I spooked two deers on the field next to me and they started running parallel with me along into the forest, they then realised I was no threat and stopped to chew on some leaves a little further up.

The rest of the ride then ran alongside the interstate which wasn’t much fun, even though I had this road to myself the noise was annoying. It did have frequent services though where I could stock up on food and gatorade. I decided to treat myself to some handlebar bag snacks so picked up Hawaiian Punch jelly beans to munch on.

He looks cooler to ride than Bullet

I continued on some fun rolling hills where I could generate enough speed going down to get me back up again as I have had a few days ago. I past through Buchanan and then Troutville which was my first option for the night, camping at the park but its Memorial weekend and it was rammed. So I pushed on another 5 miles towards Daleville. Here I had a decision to make either go another 15 miles towards Catawba or get a motel here. I knew in Catawba I could camp but tried ringing the supplied number to no answer. It wouldn’t have showers either and after spraying past some puddles early in the day I needed one.  So I swallowed my pride and got a motel again, it doesn’t really make a difference as my destination for tomorrow is Radford anyway so my 2-day schedule that I keep hasn’t changed.


Rolling hills

I do now consider a 46 mile day a short day however which suggests my saddle fitness is improving. There is no rushing Virginia, I know its one of the longest states on the trip as the route goes up and down rather than just west. There is plenty of flat farmland out in the mid-west to crank out 100+mile days. The motel has been given some life by the hordes of hikers that turned up who are on the Appalachian Trail which intersects my path for the next couple days.

Day 8: Zero Day

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I woke this morning to the news of flash floods and storms in the area and although it was sunny outside they were forecast for midday. I had washing that needed doing and my bike also needed a tune and clean up so after putting in an extra 20 miles that anticipated the previous day I took the day off.

It was spent doing all of the above and finishing off the pizza from last night, it was a good job I stayed in though because bang on cue the sky went black and the storms rolled in. Tomorrow I will be going either Daleville or Catawba.

Day 7: Going Up!

Friday, May 28th, 2010

53.57 miles (Total: 295.12) Average Speed: 9.8mph Max Speed: 34mph

The sofa in the bike house was so comfy I slept soundly, then got up around 8am and fixed breakfast. June had said to go round anytime after 8:30am. She was up and ready with the door open waiting, she shouted to come right in. she seemed really happy and soon asked about the bike house, because she hadn’t been down to it for a while. I gave her a big hug and just before setting on my way she pointed me towards the table next to the door where she had piled a few things for me. Some chocolate bars, postcards of Virginia and another copy of her address so I could mail her. She then asked if I would come visit again before she headed up to her balcony to wave me off.

Me in the bike house.

This is what I have in store today!

The climb continues straight after Junes house and she stood out to wave, as I climbed round the first few bends I looked back down to Afton and could still see her standing there, we waived one last time and I was off. Today was going to be the killer, for the past few days I had glanced over at the huge elevation profile forcast. I would be going up and over the blue ridge mountains of Virginia. Many previous TransAm cyclists I’ve read of have said these are as hard as the rockies despite the fact they are much smaller because of the gradients.

There are (look away mum) black bears on the mountain but apparently they are very rarely seen up here, so I didn’t see any. The climbing was really tough crawling up at 4mph, I was going no faster than walking. I stopped at the visitor centre for a rest stop and saw and adventure cycling coach pull in. The driver was leading one of the official van supported groups you can pay thousands to go along with. That option never interested me before the trip, he informed me the group is just behind me and will be staying in the small settlement of Love tonight halfway up the mountain. Thats exactly why I wasn’t with them, I want to have freedom of doing and going wherever I like. I planned on finishing the Blue Ridge in a day so sucked up some more gatorade and cranked out.

Further up I continued to stop at the spectacular lookout points and met another bunch of cyclists going the other way, they instantly offered to fill up my water an gave me a sandwich before telling me whats ahead, lucky for them it was all downhill now the other way. This is where things got really hard as I began to tire but the road just kept bending up. Eventually I made it to the top with the sweating literally pouring of my arms and dripping of the tip of my nose. Now for the fun part, I flew down the other side of the mountain to Vesuvius and what had taken about 3 hours to get up must have took no longer than three minutes to get down.

Best riding of the trip so far.

These grades never seem to look steep in pictures 🙁

I knew I could camp at a place called Gerties in Vesuvius but went right through town without seeing it. I was only 10 miles from another campite so decided my exhausted limbs could make it. I arrive at the nicely named Mallard Duck Campground to find what seems like half trailer park/half rubbish dump with nobody in site or a store. Lexington is about another 10 miles away, can I go anymore? I ration my last half bottle of water out and set off again its only around 3pm. The weather and wind is now the hottest and warmest yet an can feel it burn right through the sun cream.

Face shade

There was another big climb up to Lexington and cars flying past, its a fairly big town with more colleges and its graduation weekend. I walk my bike through town dripping with sweat and slightly sunburnt, everyone walks past and looks at me like an alien. Finally I get down to south main street and find the Red Carpet Inn (nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds). One final calamity, I somehow manage to drop my bike and fall with it cutting some of my fingers, so stroll up to the desk sweaty, sunburnt and blood dripping from my hand. But I’ve just turned a really tough 30 mile day into a 50+ mile day.


Nobody said it would be easy.

I shower, rub antiseptic into my fingers then order a large “The Meats” pizza and 2 litre bottle of sprite from Papa Johns for only $10! Whilst watching My Name Is Earl on TV, Heaven.


Day 6: The Cookie Lady

Friday, May 28th, 2010

27.68 miles (Total: 241.54) Average Speed: 10.0mph Max Speed: 32.5mph

I knew today was going to be a shorter one so stayed in my comfy room until almost checkout at 12pm. I spent the morning strolling round town and had a sausage and egg bagel from a place Adam recommended last night. I would like to come back and spend longer in Charlottesville sometime, its a cool place. Over the past few days I have been looking forward to some sunshine, I would soon be praying for rain. It was in the 90’s by the time I left and there was traffic on the way out. As soon as my route took me onto a country road I pulled over in shade, lathered myself in suncream then spotted my first snake making his way across the road up ahead.

The riding was the toughest so far as the climbing increased again, not to badly though. I had to stop several times to get out the heat, first at Wyants Country store and then at a strawberry farm where I devoured a full box. Finally I was approaching Afton where the cookie lady, June Curry, lives. Its the top of a massive steep climb but I grimaced my way up slowly but surely and then saw the house. I couldn’t believe I had arrived at this place I had seen so many times on the internet. There is the bike house that holds memorabillia from TransAm cyclists way back to 1976, then her Dads old car garage sits dormant in the middle, whilst at the end of the row is Junes house.

The Bike House

The Garage, and June's house at the top

June is 90 now and had a stroke in 2005 and since taken several falls so I was concerned about bothering her and not sure what health she was in. I followed the sign and made my way round the back porch and rang the bell, then there she was with a warm smiling face. We sat an talked on the back porch for hours, I’ve heard she likes to talk but couldn’t believe just how many stories she had to tell! It reminded me exactly of the times I would go round my Gran or Grandmas. She told me all about the nice bikers shes had stay but also the state of America at the minute. She feeds the peacocks and the cats that wander around the back garden then returns with a set of keys and says “so you need a place to stay?” before handing me the keys to the bike house. She then invited me in her house and showed me tons of pictures of her family and Afton from when she was young.

June Curry "The Cookie Lady"

June instantly changes you in a way you couldn’t imagine, it feels like I’ve got a third grandma and known her forever. She began to get upset when telling me of her health and financial problems, she is desperate to keep the bike house open even though she can’t afford too or able to run it. She has a friend called Debbie who comes by a few times a week and helps out, but this is really all June has left. She never travelled and is not able to now so she travels through the stories that all the cyclists bring her. There is no charge for sleeping in the bike house she only asks for a donation. I grab my wallet and give her in cash exactly the amount of money I would have paid for a motel room. She was shocked and held my hand tightly thanking me, apparently this year hasn’t been so good for donations so far. I can’t believe some of the cheapskates ahead of me on the trail would give her any less!

June then tells me a thousand times to take as many apples, sandwiches and candy from the bike house as I can carry for the big ride tomorrow before informing me of what lies ahead. By this time its getting really late, I can tell she wants to sit and talk all night but I’m still sweaty and starving from when I arrived 4 hours ago. I go and get cleaned up before taking in every room of the bike house. Its a living museum, the pictures don’t reproduce the crazy feeling of strolling through room after room of bike shirts, postcards, stories, photos stuck to the ceiling, wall and cupboards. I sign my name in the register and see 5 other bikers on the TransAm stayed here 2 nights ago.






The kitchen was stocked!

Original "Bikecentennial 76" Trail Map

I fall asleep on one of the sofas thinking about June all alone in that house and I feel helpless and heartbroken. What does she do during the rest of the year when nobody is stopping by to see her? I take one of the business cards in the house with her address on so I can send her postcards and more donations.

Day 5: Bottoms Up Charlottesville

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

53.20 miles (Total: 213.86) Average Speed: 12.4mph Max Speed: 35.5mph

A freight train passed through Mineral about 5am. Despite sleeping soundly on the mat in my tent I couldn’t get back to sleep so I eventually packed up and got going by 7am. I stopped at the station for a delicious egg & bacon sandwich on the chunkiest bread I’ve ever seen. As soon as I was riding it started to rain for the first time on the trip. Most of my stuff is waterproof and I had my jacket on so kept on riding, as I keep saying its humid so I’m never cold.

The climbing increased again today, but I don’t mind because the downhills that follow have been too much fun. There are lots of rolling hills where I can almost generate enough speed on the way down to get back up, I even hit a new max speed for the trip of 35.5mph! The only town along the route today was Palmyra where I stopped for food and refreshments but I was motivated again by the thought of a motel room in Charlottesville so didn’t hang around.

When this happened I heard the voice of Track & Field say "New World Record!"

Charlottesville is actually one of the biggest places on the trip being the home of University of Virginia. It was a horrible climb into the city from the welcome sign, I had to go almost the whole way in my granny gear. When I made it though it was worth it, college bars and quirky food places dotted along main street and a beautiful campus. Not to mention everybody was around my age, it made a nice change to be back in a busy town.

After washing up in my room at the Red Roof Inn I headed back out to the Mellow Mushroom bar just next to where I was staying. I’ve only read great things about this place from other cyclists that pass through. I had an amazing Mighty Meat pizza whilst sat at the bar sampling some of the incredible range of micro brews they offer.

The bartender Adam was really cool and we chatted a little along with the other faces around the bar. I did my best to get them enthusiastic about the forthcoming World Cup but the fact the US were playing a friendly against Czech Republic on the screens and were getting beat 4-2 didn’t help. Having only had maybe a bottle or 2 of beer for the past couple of weeks I felt these tonight. My favourite was the Drifter Pale Ale from Oregon which I found fitting being my destination. Adam then offered everyone round the bar a free shot. It was a great night but I had to stop there before I went from tipsy to drunk.

Blurry Adam, I blame the low light not the drink.

Tomorrow I will only be going around 25 miles to the cookie lady house, a women that has let cyclists stay in a bike house next to her home since the trail started in ’76. I probably won’t have wifi for about 3 days now though so updates may be slow.

Day 4: Mineral Take Two

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

45.20 miles (Total: 160.65) Average Speed: 12.6mph Max Speed: 31.5mph

After yesterdays false start I got up and going by 8am, I knew my bike was completely fine now it felt great and was shifting smoothly. Last night I gave it an extra special clean too, I’ve named the bike ‘Bullet’ cos it rides like one. I breezed past the place where it all went wrong yesterday and laughed. The riding all day was a combination of frequent short climbs followed by some nice long downhills. I passed through quiet countryside with pretty homes dotted along the way and some spooky abandoned buildings.

Clean as a whistle

I know not to ride with my mouth open as it drys out the back of the throat but got caught out today when a bug went straight in and hit the back of my throat, after coughing it up I wasted half a bottle of water gargling. It was overcast and threatening to rain, there must have been showers during the night as patches of road were still wet. Suddently I notice what looks like bike tracks coming out of each wet section of road I’m passing. Up to now I’ve only met local cyclist, could this be my first fellow TransAm rider just up ahead? Then I get confused as there seems to be two thin tracks running only about a foot apart, perhaps they are towing their gear on a trailer like some do rather than have racks like me. I start getting excited thinking I may have a riding partner today so stand on my pedals and power out for abit.

They used to be cream

I pass through a town called Bumpass and then stop at the store for dinner and refreshments. The shop has everything including freshly baked pepperoni pizza, I grab two slices, some Oreo ‘cakesters’ and 2 bottles of gatorade. I inhaled the first bottle of gatorade and than necked the pizza.

Best pizza

One young guy comes out the store and clocks my bike, he asks “How far ya taking that thang?” I’ve started to really enjoy replying ‘Oregon’ becuase they always have the same astonished reaction. His dad then rolls up and he tells him where I’m going. I ask them for advice on the next section of the route. I was on road 618 which gets to Mineral in about 8 miles but my maps tell me to take a right and cycle round Lake Anna which is 16 miles to Mineral. I was tempted by the shortcut but knew there must be a reason for the detour. They inform me alot of trucks go up and down that section of road with the logging. He then offers to put my bike in his truck and drive me to Mineral, I obviously decline saying I’ve got to cycle the WHOLE way.

The ride round Lake Anna was nice but there was still quite a few semi-trucks, I can hear the horns creeping up behind me and hug the very edge of the road trying not to go into the gravel. I had to deal with my first dogs today too some were tied up and just gave me a fright when they start barking out of nowhere but others gave chase along the front gardens of the homes they lived at. Kentucky is meant to be really bad for dogs but my experience cycling near dogs is that they just gave chase, as soon as you stop and shout ‘No’ they just stand still barking pretty much like every dog does to a stranger. There was one final nasty climb into Mineral to finish the day and I spotted the Fire Department across the street where I was hoping to stay.

I headed round the back to find 2 guys and sheepishly ask “is it ok if I stay here tonight?”. One instantly replies in the friendliest voice “sure!”. This time of year I imagine they get TransAm cyclists every couple nights. He shows me where the showers are and where I can pitch my tent. Not long after a big group of people show up on a cross Virginia ride. They have cars carrying their gear and soon set up a marquee and chairs outback after inviting me to eat with them. The food was amazing, pasta, potatoes, salad, cheese etc. We talked and drank some beer until around 9:30 when we retired to our tents. I can get used to this hospitality.

Day 3: Epic Failure Followed By Saviour

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

7.69 miles (Total: 115.45) Average Speed: 7.7mph Max Speed: 29.5mph

So today started well enough, I felt great still following the big ride yesterday and spent the morning casually updating this blog. I got on the road around 9am and was cruising the first 5 miles when disaster struck.

I was about to start climbing up a big hill and dropped down to my lowest rear gear for the first time on the trip. All of a sudden the bike jammed and made an awful metal bending sound. I stop and assess what happened, my rear derailleur is bent in towards my spokes and my chain dangling all over the place. What the hell just happened! I take my bags off and flip my bike over, my sleeping bag and mat roll down the hill I had just started on.

I try to stay calm but I’m sweating like hell and it looks REALLY bad. A closer inspection shows the dropout on the very end of the frame has completely bent inwards towards the spokes and drivetrain. I know immediately that this is unfixable and would have to go to a bike shop.

I can fix spokes, flats and chains but this is crazy and I’m still trying to get my head around how my steel frame has just bent itself inwards. My heart sank as I had been enjoying the riding so much and knew how serious this was. So I tape up my chain and derailleur to the frame, turn the bike around and start walking back to Ashland. I figured this would take about an hour, I free-wheeled down any slopes but had to push it up a few hills.

It was still early Sunday morning so not many people were out, EXCEPT for cyclists :D. A guy coming the other way sees me walking my bike and asks me if I’m ok. I told him no and explained what had happened, his name was Wat, and he gets out his phone and starts making calls straight away. I felt completely helpless an knew this guy was my only real hope. He must of known too because even though he had plans of his own he wasn’t going to leave me till I was sorted.

Scene of the crime

The very end bit of the frame with the hole is the bent part, I had to tape the derailleur up so I could free-wheel.

At this point another cyclist pulls up called Troy and discusses my options and tells me about a few other bike shops, there aren’t any in Ashland so I would need to get to the next city Richmond, about 15 miles. Wat only lives 2 miles away so cycles home to get his car. He returns swiftly honking his horn, a true American hero. We load my bike up and he drives to Peformance cycles first, at this stage I can either try get mine fixed or think about replacing the frame. They don’t stock the right type of frame for me but point me in the direction of Conte’s Bike shop who might be able to fix it.

They check the bike and say they can fix it although they are fully booked up for the day but can see I’m pretty much stranded so offer to get it done by 3pm. Relief washes over me, Wat even suggests we go for food to kill some time and at this point he has already halted plans with his wife for their Sunday so I can only apologise again for that and make sure I cover the bill to at least repay him a little. Not only was he incredibly helpful he was also tuned into some great music, the short time we were in the car we had Phoenix, Passion Pit, Anberlin, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon!

This man is a hero and should be given the key to every city and town in England.

Before returning to Conte’s I nip to the shop to grab a crate of Newcaslte Brown Ale for the guys to thank them for squeezeing me in. On returning they tell me straight away I’m all sorted and ready to go, I can believe they have fixed me up so quickly. They trued my wheels, sorted my spokes, fixed my bend and even fitted a nice new Shimano Tiagra derailleur all for under $50!

If Carlsberg did bike shops, this would be it!

One of the guys even gives me a few spare allen keys that I don’t have on my multi tool. They explained the reason it happened was because the stopper on the derailleur that prevents it from bending into the spokes wasn’t secured. I don’t know why this was but it must have been done when my bike was boxed up. I only had a problem today because it was the first time I had used my lowest rear gear so it buckled and just pulled everything in. I was assured it would not happen again and took a test ride before grabbing a taxi with a great driver called Charles back to the motel I was at last night, tomorrow I will head to Mineral once again.

Day 2: Smells Like Dead Possum

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

72.20 miles (Total: 107.75) Average Speed: 12.7mph Max Speed: 27mph

Fishermen wake me up around 5:30am loading their boats back into the river, I figure I have alot of mileage to cover today so get myself up and washed. I pack my tent and equipment up chew down an energy bar and hit the road by 6am. Its still a little dark so I don my hi-viz jacket and look like a big highlighter pen. On my way out the park one guy in a bowling shirt with a crooked eye comes over and says “Thats a reeeeeal nice biiiceeeeecle”, the virginia accent sounds deep south to me.

Its overcast but really humid again and I soon have to take it off. The first 15-20 miles are fairly easy through wooded roads and light traffic. I encounter 2 dead Possums within a mile or so of each other and as always stopped to take a picture for the obiturary, they stank.



I stopped at a few country stores to top up on Gatorade and chow down on Oatmeal banana bread, which I have become addicted too. A Harley rider pulled up and we jokingly compared disc brakes and average speed, he had already done 100 miles an it was barley past 8am. I came to another section of road where a detour had been put in place, luckily for me I had read about this on another cyclist blog and found the road was only closed for car traffic so I went right past all the signs with my bike.

Love these.

At this stage I had covered around 50 miles, and devoured a burger and corndog at another gas stop (petrol station, I know). The last third of the day was tough partly because I was tired and the fact the roads were now very busy being a Saturday. I had to cross a few interstates which was like running a gauntlet, I almost can’t believe the route passes through Mechanicsville. The roads and area are way too busy, there must be a better way. After clocking 70 miles I was approaching Ashland, I was exhausted but desperate to get a motel for the night and relax. A big motivation for the day was sleeping in a nice bed and having wifi so I could call home to let people know I was safe.

Funny sign

These signs saved me today.

The day had one last challenge, actually finding a motel. I thought Ashland was going to be a one horse town with the usual main street having motels and fast-food joints. What I found was a decent sized busy town with a railway that runs right through it. Huge long trains came past every few minutes I don’t know how they put up with it. I put on my nicest voice and asked a few old people for directions. They pointed me onto England Street which was a big road connecting to the interstate. I could see the light and then saw the signs, motels galore all housed next to each other alongside a Taco Bell, KFC and Long John Silvers. Heaven.

Looooooooooong train

I showered for about half an hour then even took a bath to soothe my muscles before washing my clothes in the bath, the dirt that came off them was incredible but its important to keep things clean to avoid nasty saddle sores. After taking a nap I felt great, tomorrow won’t be as long as I hope to stay at the Mineral Fire Station about 45 miles away. Sleep.



Day 1: Destination, Oregon

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

35.54 miles (Total: 35.54) Average Speed: 12.1mph Max Speed: 29mph

I was up and showered by 7am waiting for the motel breakfast to open, the ‘continental’ consisted of the usual select cereals, danish rolls, orange juice and coffee which I have become accustomed too in the last few summers in the US. I checked out and hit the road around 7:45 making my way towards the Yorktown Victory Monument, the official start point of the Transamerica trail.

A guy from Taiwan was out taking pictures and he offered to take mine infront of it, I explained my trip and he wished me luck. I then headed to the sea dragging my bike across the beach for the obligatory rear wheel dip in the Atlantic Ocean.

Formalities over I got riding along the colonial parkway, a beautiful tree lined road just next to the ocean. It was a hot and humid day already but the intermitent tree shade kept things just nice. I hadn’t ridden for 2 weeks so was suprised how easy it was to crank out the first 15 miles and I was soon in historic Williamsburg. This is a town of fully restored buildings from the 18th century formed by the early british colonies that arrived on the east coast.

Mission Control

Couldn't tell if this guy was real or fake.

After pondering around Williamsburg I eventually got sick of all the kids on school trips so got back on the parkway only to find a detour had been put in place due to road works. It joined a busy road with trucks flying past me, luckily I had a pretty big shoulder and it only lasted around 8 miles. I took my first rest stop at an information point on the trail. I was sitting chewing down some energy bars when 4 local cyclist pulled up for a chat.

Who ordered this?

They were really excited about my trip and told me a little about the local cycle routes.  After this break I wasn’t really concentrating on the directions and took a wrong turn, I quickly realised what road I was on from my maps and turned around. Feeling pretty stupid I pedalled twice as hard to make up the couple miles.

This ones for Irish Jim

Getting annoyed about a wrong turn in a car is one thing, but on a bike it can cost alot of time. I was soon off the parkway and onto the capital trail, a bike path that runs adjacent to the road through some more nice scenery. This continued for about 10 miles until I reached the Chickahominy Riverfont campground.

I was only going to stop at the store for a drink, but ended up getting food aswell. I then decided this place seemed pretty nice so bought myself a camp spot for the night. Only 35 miles in all but a nice day to get things rolling.

After pitching my tent, I took a shower then headed down to the small beach on the river and watched all the people driving their boats up and down. It seems more people are just here for the day rather than camping over because I can only see two other people with a spot, both RV’s.

Then just as I’m thinking of settling down for the night with a supper of peanut M&Ms the women in the next spot wanders over with her dog Buddy, her name was Christie and she asks where I’m heading. When I reply Oregon, shes pleased and heads back into her RV and returns with a bowl of salad, salmon and cheese. I’m already overwhelmed, then she gets me a beer! an amazing sierra nevada pale ale. I couldnt believe the turn around in my night, just as I think things can’t get any better her husband Serg turns up with 2 kayaks and offers to go out on the lake with me. So we spend the next hour paddling up and down watching Bass jump out the water till sunset before heading back to finish food and beer.

Christie & Serg

Tomorrow I want to reach Ashland which should be around 70 miles, no wifi here though and I can’t check the weather or call home, but life is good.

What's this?

My name is Ryan Anderson, in Summer 2010 I rode my bike across America. Starting on the east coast in Yorktown, VA and finishing in Florence, OR. Read more


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