June 3, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
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June 3, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Virginia

Elk Garden Hostel to just west of Breaks Interstate Park, Virginia. (49 mi.) Mile 622

Last night in Virginia

We are just one mile east of the Kentucky border this evening, about to leave Virginia. We have so many images of Virginia in our memory. Before we left home, friends and family reminded us to take "people pictures", but often the image is fleeting and destroyed by aiming a camera at someone who does not want to be caught on film. Here are a few of the hundreds of "people" images that stick in our mind from Virginia:

1) A horde of school children running wild down Monticello's Mulberry Row, more excited in the cheap plastic rain parkas they had been issued then the fact that Thomas Jefferson's slaves once lived and worked there.

2) The elderly woman outside her aging circa 1800 farmhouse early in the morning, still in her housecoat, checking on her flowers and garden. We wondered what history and soul that house held for her, and if there were adult children somewhere tearing their hair that Mother was getting too old to live there alone but too stubborn to move.

3) The old black man in tattered clothes and a straw hat sitting outside a small market where we stopped for something to drink, singing black spirituals to himself in a deep, beautiful voice. I could have listened for hours, but he eventually got up and tottered down the street, looking slightly confused.

4) The mock Colonist dressed in period costume and three-cornered hat in Colonial Williamsburg, trying not to break his early American accent as he yelled at some young tourists to stop playing around the tail end of the draft horse tethered nearby.

And everywhere, people of all types wishing us well and offering the best in hospitality, like Jim and Wendy of Williamsburg who were driving by and saw us studying the map, pulled over, and offered to guide us on our way.

And everywhere, people mowing those huge lawns. Virginia has been a very beautiful, interesting, and challenging state.

We had an opportunity to stay at Breaks Interstate Park, a few miles east of us, and even checked out the lush wooded campground, but opted again for shelter. It rained hard all last night and we expected rain tonight. Our new friend Walter joined us for breakfast in Honaker, then we said good-bye to go our respective paces in the same direction.

Walter Francke left Yorktown when we did on the same route

It was another day of hill-climbing along the Cumberland Scenic Route. We did have some flatter riding and even opportunity for me to draft Mike, which cuts my energy expenditure by about 1/3. We also had some long mountain descents, but Mike has had problems with a brake pad and we are having replacements mailed ahead to us. Tomorrow will be another challenging day of climbing, but we are grateful that the weather has been unseasonably cool, since we imagine that when the terrain finally flattens, we will have new challenges in heat and wind.

On to Kentucky tomorrow.

Birchleaf Post Office - entering an area of economic depression

View point over Breaks Interstate Park on the Virginia-Kentucky border

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