May 24, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
Go to content

Main menu:

May 24, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Virginia

Lake Anna to Charlottesville, Virginia. (83 mi.) Mile 258

The ups and downs of bike touring: bonking into Charlottesville.

Today was representative of some of the good, the bad, and the ugly of bicycle touring. We finally got an early start on our day and it felt great. Perfect temperature, sunny skies, air perfumed with wild rose and honeysuckle, birds singing,.... and hills? No problem. We felt very lucky to be cruising along seeing the country this way.

Morning at Lake Anna - packing up
Mike without mustache
We even stopped for a leisurely cup of coffee and put away a dozen donuts between the two of us while sitting in the sun watching motorists fill their gas tanks. Another advantage of cycle touring is that there are more opportunities to strike up interesting conversations with people you meet, such as Carr Apple, a local contractor, who talked to us quite a while about area things of interest.

By noon, however, we were starting to run low on fuel and become a little more focused on reaching the reported cafe in Palmyra, the only eatery on a 60 mile map section. The Adventure Cycling TransAm route takes the cyclist through scenic back roads with light traffic, but also without many services. We were starting to "bonk" when we pulled into Palmyra at 2:55 pm after almost 60 miles of riding, where we learned that if we had been 5 minutes later, the cafe would have closed. Fortunately, they stayed open to serve us. Besides lunch, Marilyn had two chocolate milkshakes and some ibuprofen, which seemed to help the situation a bit.
Carr Apple
From studying the map, it became apparent that there were no overnight accommodations anywhere until Charlottesville, almost 30 miles away. We didn't see much choice but to push on unless we did what one previous cyclist had done, (according to a local): pay $5 to have someone haul him and his bike into Charlottesville in the back of a pickup. But we are both too stubborn to cheat it this way, so on we pushed.

Traffic picked up as we neared Charlottesville on winding, hilly roads. None of the roads had any shoulder and all are narrower than the combined width of 2 cars and a bicycle, yet drivers take these roads at 35-
40 mph, even when the limit is posted 15-25 mph. Sometimes we would look in our mirrors and see a logging truck barreling down from behind, with a car coming toward us ahead simultaneously. It seemed the @&^$% hills would never end, and to top it, we encountered our first murderous bike-chasing dogs. Marilyn's legs were Jell-O and nerves were shot when we finally pulled into the Charlottesville motel, where another guest commented, "You two look completely played out!". This was true. We have earned a lay-over day.

Back to content | Back to main menu