Friday, November 5, 2010

This is a title.

So, after departing the dry breakfast restaurant and saying goodbye and thank you to our new friend Lucy, we headed on down the road in the rain. We stopped to get some groceries and it looked like there was no end in sight, so we decided to make it a short day and get a hotel. That way, we could wash clothes, clean bikes, and let everything dry out from the past 15 or so hours of rain.

It was a pricier hotel than we usually stay in, but pricy hotels mean nice continental breakfasts! We loaded up on yogurt, waffles, weird egg concoctions, cereal, juice and coffee. Bicycle jerseys have three pockets in the back, which are convenient for storing extra breakfast items (sans syrup, of course).

We happened upon a marching band practicing, so I wanted to stop and reminisce. They were, perhaps not as good as the legendary Woodlands High School Marching Highlander Band, but they had heart and they made me smile. We stopped at a random convenience store and were greeted by the delicious aroma of barbecue. Ah yes, we were truly in the South. Pulled pork sandwich....yum!!

Went through Fredericksburg, where they had a park dedicated to the civil war battle, and then hit Ashland, VA the next day (I think?). It's the home of Randolph-Macon college as well as a really cool train town. There were tracks running right through the middle of town. We hung out for a bit at The Station Cafe and talked to the owner (nice guy) and also picked up some groceries.  We went across the street (and across the tracks) to a wine shop, where they were having a wine tasting. Camped out nearby that evening, and came back to The Station the next day for coffee, hot dogs, and a few electrons to put into our cell phone batteries.

Ashland, VA

We got on the road and headed toward Richmond. We hadn't covered a ton of miles in the past couple days, but we decided to stop and snap a few photos and then stop and get a pint of beer and watch college football at a bar. Nice people there - a bit strange, but very friendly.

Richmond, VA state capital building

Stayed out near the airport in Richmond and got dolled up for Halloween the next day. Ed had a Frankenstein mask (see the photo stream above) and, well, there are no words for my costume:

Some kind of bicycle fairy princess..?

We got a lot of friendly honks and waves that day.  Rode through a Civil War battlefield site, complete with cannons.  We made it about 30 miles early in the day, and after stopping to have some beans, Ed's bike started making funny sounds, and the back derailler (the thing that changes gears) basically fell off. We limped to a bike shop, about 6 miles away. The shop is called Pedals, Chains, and Things. The owner, Gary, was closed that day but answered the phone and came out to help us out. (Thank you, Gary!)  He, unfortunately, didn't have the part we needed, but gave us a ride to the only motel in town, a super classy one that didn't smell terrible at all. (Can you sense my sarcasm?)

Anyways, after some emergency surgery, we shortened the chain and turned Ed's bike into a single speed. He secretly wants to be a hipster anyways. We were stuck for the day, so we had some beers and watched Forrest Gump.

The next day we got up early, stored our bike trailers with the hotel manager, who spoke approximately 12 words of English, and booked it into Richmond (30 miles away) to get to the next bike shop in hopes of finding our part. We stopped about halfway and got a free coffee from some nice ladies (and a nice dog, Whiskey) who had bought an old bait and tackle shop and were turning it into a little market and art shop.

We ended up at the Bunny Hop Bicycle Shop, where they had our part and even sold Ed a new (used) mountain bike derailleur for a great price.  While we were waiting on the repairs, we went to a local barcade - a bar that had tons of arcade games - and had an interesting Thanksgiving sandwich - turkey, stuffing, and even cranberry sauce. It was tasty! We had a good time playing Mortal Kombat and there was even a game where you were playing as a bartenter, getting drinks to people before they got too angry, catching empty glasses, and picking up tips. Super fun!

Random picture from DC. Look, we look like normal people!!

Things worked out well in Richmond, we ended up with a working bike for Ed (yay!) and we got back to our motel in Hopewell get our trailers back.  The hotel manager had apparently misunderstood how long we'd take in Richmond, and yelled at us for taking too long and making him have to move our trailers around. He was un. happy. We apologized but he basically told us to get lost. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. We camped out behind the motel that night - it smelled better and it was free.

We got on the road the next day and finally got to covering some serious miles.  Southern Virginia and northern North Carolina were pretty remote, so there's not too much to report from those days. The land is pretty flat, luckily, so we can get some good mileage in.

Welcome to North Carolina! Yes, I'm still wearing my tiara.

We went through some swampland in North Carolina, where we saw tons of ducks and even a bald eagle! Definitely didn't expect that.  We camped out behind a little roadside cafe and almost got carried away by swarms of mosquitoes. It was awful! We hid in the tent and were mostly spared from them. The next morning, the owner came out and told us it was fine we'd camped there (it was already closed for the day when we showed up so we hoped for the best) but to be careful where we camped because in rural North Carolina we might get shot by folks who weren't quite as welcoming!

We had a great breakfast at Peggy's cafe and went on our way, hoping to avoid the rain that was forecast for all day.  We were headed towards Kitty Hawk and the outer banks of North Carolina.  We did well, but it started pouring on us the last 20 miles.  We did happen to stop by the home of Grave Digger, an apparently super famous monster truck:

There were tons of trucks everywhere and a huge garage where they rebuilt the crashed rigs. Sounds like it'd be a cool job!

We stopped into the Weeping Radish Brewery for a pint of beer, since the rain wasn't letting up. The folks there weren't very busy, so they asked us lots of questions about the trip, and gave us huge glasses of beer and some delicious homemade broccoli cheese soup and some pizza. Yum yum yum!

At the brewery, totally soaked but happy to be drinking a beer.

While we were there, Ed got a call from his old roommate. Bar exam results had come out. Ed passed! Conveniently, we were at a brewery! Congratulations to Ed!

One of the brewers, Brian, invited us to stay in a spare room in the house he was living in. He had hiked the PCT (Pacific Crest trail, like the Appalachian trail, but on the west coast) a few years ago and had been lucky enough to meet a few 'trail angels', people who feed hikers, leave them water, or put them up for a night. So he was kind enough to put us up, since he knew what it was like to be in our shoes. We stayed last night in a great house, drank a few beers with Brian to celebrate Ed's passing the bar, and ate some fantastic Cuban salad and bratwurst which was a gift from the brewery. Thank you, Brian, for your amazingly generous hospitality! You're awesome!

Now we're taking a day off, might take another one tomorrow (we'll see) and we'll be riding down the outer banks hoping for sunshine and no rain. Stay tuned!


The Czajka Family said...

Love reading about your journey! Living vicariously through you!! Have fun. Paul, Nancy, Emily and Baby "M"

Troy said...

I want to do what you're doing!! Except, I want a motorcycle, five star hotels and a support team. I'm spoiled, so what? ;-)

Glad to see things are going well most of the time, and I'll say it here and elsewhere, CONGRATS to Ed on passing. Bigger props though for being gone and not thinking about it.

Take Care!