Day 018 – Ashland, VA to Chickahominy River Front Park, VA
I woke up this morning to the sounds of nature and dew filled air that comes with sleeping on a screen in porch. Fabulous! I should of gotten more pictures of Bruce and Eve’s house because Eve has done an amazing job with her garden. Take a look at the picture of where I slept and imagine a Home & Garden Magazine spread of the rest of the yard – big green back lawn with a small shed matching the style of the house and a chicken coupe hidden behind a fence with one talkative and one brooding hen. A variety of plants and flowers around the edge of the house and of course a table with umbrella sitting on natural stone pavers next to the outdoor shower that is attached to the bike room addition (pic) – still jealous Bruce.
On the way out of town I stopped in at The Caboose Wine & Cheese, also serves coffee in the morning, to get refueled. I devoured a big hunk of tallegio, on olive oil and rosemary crackers along with a big cup of steaming joe – my perfect breakfast (pic). Since I don’t have refrigeration gourmet cheese is a real treat. If I did have refrigeration I would throw out all my other gear and just take cheese with me.
I spoke to PJ (pic) and Hank (pic) for a bit about my trip. PJ is retired and moved to Ashland after living in a log cabin on 10 acres for over 20 years. He was happy to have the solitude, but likes being back amongst people. He also likes to bike around town. Sounds like a good life to me. He and Hank both told me I should stop in at the Dismal Swamp on my way to the Outer Banks. I’m going to try and do that. PJ also suggested I try some of my ride along the Intracoastal Waterway. I had no idea that there was a protected waterway from New Jersey all the way to Brownsville, Texas. Composed of natural and man made canals it provides a much safer shipping lane then going along the coast on the open Atlantic. Yes I did grow up on the west coast of the America.
Hank took me over to his real-estate office across the street and we explored a Google Map of the area I would be riding though. For his computer wallpaper he had a fabulous family photo – everyone in frame, composed nicely, complete with an adorable granddaughter with the perfectly timed goofy face smile. His daughter is a professional photographer, but she had to leap into frame just like we all do when taking a group photos during the holidays. I love getting glimpses into peoples lives. Even if it’s just a few minutes looking at a family photo and the story behind it. Thanks Hank and PJ for the info.
The ride felt easy today. Even though it was 93 degrees and 66 miles, the hills weren’t bad and as long as I was drinking plenty of water and moving I was comfortable. This bodes very well for the rest of my trip through the hot south during the summer time.
I stopped at Charles City for lunch at Cul’s Courthouse Grill (pic). The only other things in Charles City is the Courthouse so the restaurant is aptly named. I was absolutely starving, the piece of tallegio was too damn small, and devoured a massive lunch. I had the honor of being served the first, second and third beer ever pulled by my bartender Carrie (pic). She was a bit nervous on the first one, but by the third she was getting the angle of the glass right and control of the tap. Other interesting things about Carrie – she is the first in her family to go to college (also the oldest of many sibling so probably setting a trend) and she is also a few weeks away from leaving on a trip to the Kibera section of Nairobi, Kenya to aid local women in the areas of health-care, education and nutrition. Kibera is considered the largest urban slum in Africa so I can only imagine the challenges the locals there must face. Carrie said her dad wasn’t a big fan of her decision, but she convinced him it was a worthwhile challenge to take on. Best of luck to you on your trip Carrie and thanks for the beer 🙂 Please feel free to post anything else about your trip or how you feeling about it in the comments section of the blog.
Another 10 miles down the road I stopped at Chickahominy River Front Park for the night. I had just got my camp set-up and my clothes out on a line drying when I heard the sounds a long ways off. For the next couple of hours I could hear it off in the distance while I was updating Day 017 on the blog. During that time I also got a neighbor, Ulrike, who was in WA DC for a conference on gene & cell therapy and decided to take along her camping gear and spend a week and half touring around Maryland, Delaware and Virginia camping and seeing the sites. I had a hard time turning down her offer to join her for a look around Williamsburg, but really wanted to catch up on the blog and make sure my clothes got dry.
It was a good choice, because shortly after she left there was a sudden change in the air and I had just enough time get all my stuff either packed up or in the tent before there was a massive storm. While I was huddled in the tent I decide to google how safe it was to be in a tent during a thunderstorm. As it turns out not so safe. A ground strike could send stray current though a person laying in a dry tent on wet ground. There really wasn’t anyplace else to go, Ulrike took her car to Williamsburg, so I took off anything metal and sat upright on my pad and sleeping bag and hoped for the best (see video). After what seemed like a really long time the lightening receded into the distance and it continued raining for the rest of the night. So much for the campfire I bought wood for. It was a good test of the tent and waterproof cycling bags and trailer. All passed!
Sleeping on the porch