Virginia Montage: Part One

Alright, this is how I’m going to do this, state-by-state recap. This could take a bit of time. A lot happened in every state we visited. And it make take awhile it recall the events. Not to mention I’m a bit slow at writing, all the spell check and grammar and proofreading and just typing slow. So bare with me on this. Good things are to come.

I can almost remember the first day like it was yesterday. Which for me is pretty bad. I can’t remember what I did yesterday. But I can recall us all being in high spirits on day one. After some slight communication issues, we all meet up at the beach, Virginia Beach. We started with some posed snap shots by Neptune then dipped our wheels in the Atlantic to mark the start of our epic quest.

On the road laughing and joking as we bike around the Hampton Roads area. I think we hit almost all seven of the Seven Cities and one we had to hit twice. As we head to our first stop at Frank’s brother’s place just outside of Richmond, Va, we work out a few kinks. Nothing major but the gear seemed a bit much for some of the racks. But we come up with a quick fix and the rest of the day goes pretty smooth.

Rolling through Smithfield, we all start to crave lunch. We quickly grabbed the attention from the locals. Everyone was very friendly. We sat down and all got a ham sandwich of some sort from a local deli called Smithfield Gourmet Bakery and Deli. The food was great. While there we had a lady from the town paper run over and take a quick interview. I was pretty fun. They took some pictures as well.

Back on the road again and flying towards Richmond. We start to break down. I don’t know if it was because we pushed it so hard that first day or if it was just because it was the first day. But I had the worst saddle sore ever, but I was riding good. Justin how ever was not. With only a few miles until our stop for the first leg of our trip, he started to cramp and lock up. I chose to stay back and keep an eye one my brother, while we sent Dan and Frank ahead to make preparations. I’m unsure of how far ahead of us they got, but we had made it and before we had planned.

We shower up and loaded up on the water before hitting the town. We had two goals for that evening. One: get some grub and Two: watch Iron Man 2. So we head over to the theater and hit up a CiCi’s Pizza, which really hit the spot. Iron Man 2 was kind of a let down. The first was a lot better in my eyes. After the movie, we went back to Frank’s brother’s house and I pretty much just crashed for the night.

Operation Smile

Day two and we were already losing one of us. This was as far as Frank went with us. And we will miss him, but we’ll continue to make jokes about him throughout our quest. So Dan, Justin, and myself head towards the mountains. Early on in the day we ran into another cyclist, just out for a morning ride. He tells us about his trek across the country and how the Appalachians were tougher than the Rockies.

Still with no sight of the mountains we break for lunch. We pull over in a small town, it’s name escapes me. But I can still picture it in my head. It was in a valley of some hills, nothing big. It was pretty much a “T” shaped town with two main streets. We pull over at the town park. I think we all had rice for lunch that day. It felt a bit odd this being our first time cooking on the road. It took too long, and I think this was the last time we cooked for lunch. Preferring the quickness and ease of peanut butter and saving the warm meals for dinner.

Back to the road. And a fun time we had on the rolling hills. That was until a cop pulls us over because, well I’m really not sure why. He explain to us that he would never bike on the road that we were on and tells us he couldn’t pass us. Which I don’t know why no one else seemed to have that problem.

Finally seeing to mountains come into view. We try to track down the “Cookie Lady”. Thinking we made a wrong turn we give up and start our first real climb. I think it was a rude awakening for my companions. I was the only one in the group with some, and I mean very little, climbing experience. I came out to Wintergreen a fee weeks before. But I had gotten some good advice and tips from my more experienced teammates. But I was still tough.

Almost to the top, Justin realizes that the Cookie Lady was nearby. All we had to do was go down a steep road, a road we would have to climb back up. It was a tough call on weather some cookies were worth the trouble. But we decide they were. That was a fun decent. And before we knew it we had made it. But the place a quiet, too quiet. I knock on every door I could find but no one answered. We take a breather and filled up on some water.

There we met of first active tourist. Not what we had pictured for a tourist. He was riding a mountain bike and carried all his gear in a framed backpack, one like you’d see a hiker using. He tells us about his trip, we tell him about ours. I’m sure he is still on the road, if not he’s quit.

Climbing back up the hill to the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We got there, later that planned. The information center was closed. And we run over to the parkway’s sign and tack a few snapshots. I thought at the time that, that was the worst we would see in the east. I celebrate early. We trek on and the night sneaks up on us. We’ve been going up for a while now. with no end in sight and it’s getting dark and cold. I had not planned for that kind of temperatures. We set up camp, probably almost a high up as we could. But there we were just across the road from a lookout/picnic area.

Operation Smile

It was really cold that night. I froze and didn’t get much sleep. The view was amazing but we really didn’t want to go near the chilly wind, so we road on. Starting the day we had a down hill stretch just a few meters down the road. We learn a valuable lesson the day, set up camp in the valleys. Because the last think you want to do after freezing all night is descend at 50 mph.

We quickly had to stop to warm up. Luckily there was a rest area with a heated restroom halfway down the first bit of descent. We filled up on water and warmed our toes before heading back out

I don’t remember this day being very eventful. We just put on a ton of miles and enjoyed the scenery. I do believe this was the first day for me to get a flat. This was also the first full day in the mountains, and we quickly hated going down just to go back up. I mean, why can’t they just go around?

That night we settled on a campground, which wasn’t open for the season yet. So we bypass the gate and grab a spot kinda near a back, to avoid getting noticed. We got a fire going and felt like kings. Just having a campfire raises moral. I stayed up a bit that night and updated the website. But I still slept well.

Operation Smile


~ by Adam on July 28, 2010.

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