The Riders

The Riders
The end at Yorktown

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The finalie at Yorktown and one day back to GR

Yorktown.  The final 79 miles from Ashland to Yorktown went fast and we arrived at 1:30 PM.  The ride today went through Mechanicsville and Williamsburg.  

The end.  We’re finished.  Pete rode every mile, all 3,740 of them. Dave rode most of them except for the 325 that Phil rode. We were expecting a welcoming parade of adoring fans with big bands and everything, but we forgot to tell them we were coming. In fact we arrived 6 days earlier than our original projection.  
The tire dipping in the Atlantic at Yorktown.

The Victors.

The final mile into Yorktown.

Here’s some stats:
72 – average miles per riding day
126 – the most miles in one day
20 – the least miles in one day
52 – days of actual riding
  4 – rest days
  5 – travel days
29 – nights in motels including travel days
26 – nights camping
  5 – nights in homes or church
  6 - flats
  5 - broken spokes
  4 - trips to bike shops for repairs
  0 - incidents requiring medical attention.  Thanks for your prayers for us.

We found a motel, showered, and then got a Revolutionary War history lesson at the Yorktown visitor center.  We are heading home tomorrow after a stop in historic Williamsburg.
Victory Monument at Yorktown
There's a lot of history here.

A Yorktown resident.


Travel back to GR.  823 miles,  12 hours travel time.
The riders thank-you for your interest. (Do you suppose he'll ever change that orange shirt?)

Phil, Dave and Pete.(and Gary too)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Charlottesville VA to Ashland VA 90 Miles

 10 The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth. 11 Then they set out from Oboth and camped in Iye Abarim, in the wilderness that faces Moab toward the sunrise. 12 From there they moved on and camped in the Zered Valley. 13 They set out from there and camped alongside the Arnon, which is in the wilderness extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.   Then they went from the wilderness to Mattanah, 19 from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where the top of Pisgah overlooks the wasteland.   (See Numbers 21 for additional info about what they did when they got there.)

These wandering Israelites are about to reach the promised land. Our 60 day trek has brought us 90 more miles to Ashland VA - just north of Richmond if you are looking for it on the map. We intend to get to Yorktown on Monday after experiencing some more historical sites along the way.

Tom had his standards
More bike problems.  Phil's bike had a flat hanging off the back of the car. (?)  Pete's bike had another broken spoke and tire out of round.  He had to disengage his back brake so the wheel would go around. He rode that way for about 40 miles to Ashland and a bike shop.  All fixed.

The state of Virginia has taken our route (published by Adventure Cycling)  and created road signs guiding us through the State.  It has also drawn the route on the official state map and on the scenic map of the state.  The signs have been very helpful in preventing us from taking the wrong road.

These signs guide us along our route through VA.

The top sign has a special meaning to the Zaruba family in CO Springs
The second one is for cat lovers.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Blue Ridge Parkway

Camping at the Mallard Duck Campground was great.  The morning dew is the worst part of the experience.  Unusually we are packing a wet tent or ground cover.  However the dew here seems less than we experience on bike trips in Michigan.
 The route today took us up to and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The "up to" part was a very steep climb for 3 miles. Dave said the "along" part was disappointing in that he expected a flat ride in the park, but the Parkway had many granny gear hills.  But it was beautiful. I saw one small bear and three deer along the route.

We arrived in Charlottsville after 61 miles and found a motel in the middle of the campus of the U of Virginia.  Thomas Jefferson designed the campus.  After the showers we drove to Monticello and toured the manor house and grounds.  Old Tom was quite a guy.
Tom's Place at  Monticello

Daleville VA to Vesuvius VA 51 miles

We decided to take on shorter days and avoid afternoon heat.  The mornings have been really comfortable.
The route today took us through Troutville, Buchanan, and Lexington.  On the way we stopped at the visitors center of the Natural Bridge, said to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world. We are Dutch therefore we declined to pay $18.00 each to see a rock formation.
The campground was about 10 miles past Lexington.  Again it had all the elements we require, grass, level, showers and electricity.   We met Dean, another rider our age and invited him to camp and have dinner with us.  He has been on the road since May and is headed to Washington, DC.  He was gone in the morning before we got up at 5:00 AM.
Canpsite near Vesuvius with our new friend Dean.

Campsite near Vesuvius

There was a river near our Vesuvius campsite.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grahams Forge to Daleville. 84 Miles

We considered having this guy for supper.

Camp Ground near Grahams Forge

In camp ground in Grahams Forge
Do you know how dark it is at 5:30AM in a camp ground.  Very dark.  We have packed up our camp about 25 times in this tour and can pretty much do it by feel.  We had already decided that Micky D would prepare our breakfast, so we only had to pack the tents in the car and take off.  Micky did a good job and the riders were on the road by 6:30AM.
Again the temps were in the 70s, and the humidity was low.  Dave said he feels like this was the best day ride he had on the tour.  There were many rolling hills, and he was either peddling up or coasting down.  He could work up a momentum on the down side to get most of the way up the next hill.  The net effect was very little sweat.  Dave is enthusiastic about how beautiful this area is.  We see the Blue Ridge range ahead of us, and we have been warned that there are some challenging climbs ahead.
 Pete had another animal attack - a dog this time.  The dog got the worst of it.  Pete has a 12 inch long special dog defense. The toe on his biking shoe was planted firmly into the dog's shoulder which gave the dog pause.
It started to come back for another shot, when its owner called him off.

We could not locate any campsites in Daleville, so it's another motel night.


Damascus to Grahams Forge 75 Miles

It was a great day.  Temps were in the mid 70s in the morning warming up to the high 80s in the PM.
We loaded the bikes in Abindgon and drove to Damascus, 11 miles.

Damascus is one community along the Virgina Creeper Trail. (The Appalachian Trail also goes through here.) Jan and I rode the Creeper Trail a few years ago.  It starts at White Top at about 3,000 feet and goes 36 mile, ending at Abingdon.  There are many bike tour companies in Damascus and Abingdon.  They will rent you a mountain bike and drive you up to White Top and turn you loose to ride downhill about 20 miles to Damascus or longer to Abingdon.  Jan and I had rode our own bikes. When we arrived in Damascus we hired one of these companies to drive us back to White Top.  We noticed that the road back to White Top was quite steep and we were happy we had a ride up back to our car.  Guess what, that was the hill Dave and Pete rode along our route.  It went up about 4 miles, but Dave and Pete said it was not the toughest one on the trip since it was not that steep.

This is beautiful rolling hill country.  We are seeing very few junky yards as we did in the eastern part of the state.  There are many beautiful horse farms.  Dave and Pete report a bonus animal sighting.  A medium size black bear ambled in front of them.  It happened so fast that Dave could not get a picture.
The one they actually saw was a bit smaller than this one.
Pete was nearly run over by a gopher but the rodent thought better of it and made a super fast 180. Pete swerved to avoid it and Dave had to swerved to avoid Pete.  That little sucker nearly caused a pile-up.

We noticed a camp ground as we approached Grahams Forge.  The $15.00 price was right.  The grassy, level sites, and the hot showers were a draw.  The weather was absolutely perfect for camping. We cooked a dinner of pork chops, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mellon pieces. Life is good.
The temps cooled off to make it a good sleeping night.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Damascus VA. Rain. Bike Troubles.

Lots'a issues today,  fog in the AM leaving The Breaks Interstate Park,  many hills some very steep and many sharp hairpin curves,  Pete's bike broke a spoke, the wheel went out of round, and rain.

In the process of attempting to fix the spoke, another another one went.  So what to do.  Just then Phil showed up in the Yukon with the reserve bike.  Pete rode Phil's bike while Phil drove the broken one to a bike shop, an hours drive, 35 miles away in Abingdon.  The bike shop got to the bike after two hours.  They found a third spoke which was nearly a goner. The tire showed a lot of ware, so they put on the extra one Pete brought along.  The rear brake pads were shot too. All fixed.

The rain started while the bikes were being switched and continued the rest of the afternoon.  Man did it rain - in squalls.  Dave and Pete did not use rain gear since they were wet anyway.   We all met in Damascus while it was still raining.  A do it yourself car wash stall served as a good loading point including getting out of dripping wet bike clothes. 

Where are we going to sleep?  In a tent!  In the Rain!! Are you kidding?!!  There are no motels in Damascus according to Garman, so back to Abingdon, 11 miles, to a Days Inn.  I doubt we will cook tonight either.