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.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Virginia. We're here. Saturday and Sunday 7/23 & 24/11

The last State
As we looking over the camp site choices in the Breaks Interstate Park in Virginia, the sky opened up dampening our enthusiasm for camping.  There is a lodge here so we checked in.  Nice room.

Note the US Flag on the porch.

This trailer is next door. Note the Rebel Flags outside and inside.  Tea Partyers??

The ride today ended 20 miles from here after 72 miles in the saddle.  These are the steepest hills we have encountered yet.  The down hill on one of them was on a 1.5 lane road with cars going both ways.  Pete had to do some fancy maneuvering to avoid one idiot.  After that incident they decided to give it up for the day, so we loaded the bikes on the car and drove the 20 miles to the park.  Tomorrow the riders will go back to the pickup point and ride back to Breaks Park where we will spend a second night.  This place has a lot of activities, so we are making it a quasi rest day.

The day started in Hazard in a rather heavy fog. The riders left later than usual to let it dissipate some what.. 
The road in and out of Hazard was heavily traveled, but it turned out alright. Much of the route today followed streams.  The valleys they passed through were beautiful.. There were many beautiful homes stream side.  There were many old junky places too.  We passed at least 2 coal mines that we could identify.
This is coal country and our bikes are covered in coal dust.

Sunday 7/24/11

The alarm went off at 6:00 AM.  Ten minutes later we heard a big boom and saw a flash out our window and the lights went out. Fifteen minutes later power trucks showed up. When I returned from delivering the guys, the power was back on.
The Bikes were loaded on the car at 7:00 AM.. The drive back 20 miles to Lookout KY took about an hour.
They rode back to Breaks by 10:15 AM.  So now we are looking to find a Church which starts at 11:00 AM. There are many, many Baptist Churches to chose from.

Lunch was in the restaurant in the park.  On the table we saw an ad for the play THE FOREIGNER at the Elkhorn City community theater.  The place held about 150 people.  The manager did a welcome and asked "where ya'll from.".  Dave mentioned Michigan.  She said where have ya'll  been in these last weeks - she had  been tipped off that we were bikers.  Dave told them to the OOHS from the mostly gray hair crowd. The play was very well done. The acting was as good as anything we've seen at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.

Homemade spaghetti, sweet corn, and lettuce salad for dinner.  To bed by 9:30 with plans to be up at 5:00AM.  The goal tomorrow (Monday) is Damascus VA.

Note the OPEN sign in the window. Can't tell OPEN for what?


Friday, July 22, 2011

Now we are in Hazard

Dave's alarm is going off at 4:30 AM every day, and since we are on the western edge of the Eastern time zone it's really dark.  By the time we get packed up and eat breakfast, the riders can hit the road with head and tail lights just as the sun is coming up. The day was long, but we came a long way.  93 miles.  The initial goal was Booneville at 51 miles, but that milestone was accomplished at 11:00 AM - too early to quit.  So on to Hazard, another 42 miles. ETA 4:00 PM. There is a thunderstorm moving in, and no camp ground available, so (aw shucks) we are in an air conditioned motel again tonight. The hills today were a challenge.  Pete counted 9 "mountains" which required the granny gear.  The very steep up hills results in very steep fast down hills too. We are wondering if this is a warm-up for the Appalachians.

Dogs.  Dave said that there were approximately 15 dogs which would like to have a piece of them, and all but one were constrained in some way.  The one that was loose made a lot of noise but did not get too close to Pete and it almost got hit by a car in the process.  I see by his blog that fellow tourist Rusty got bit and the EMTs came to patch him up.  He continued on.  Dave and Peter went to Walmart in Berea last night to get some wasp spray, but the container was too large to carry on the bike.  Dave does have some anti dog spray but has not had to use it, even though he had it in is hand a few times.

Dave, the photographer, did not take any pictures today. He could have taken some of the many tunnels of trees.  Some homes along the way had very large (many acres) lawns which were manicured. Those next to junkey dumps.

Off to supper.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

We're in Berea, Ky

A fixer upper in Kentucky

One of many houseboats on Herrington Lake

Many slate walls along the route.

Note the street name above the STOP sign
Sultry continues to be the apt description for the climate here.  The route today took us on very narrow even one lane roads.  It was 72 miles from Lincoln Homestead State Park to Berea.  The partial overcast made it bearable.  They finished the trip at 1:30 just as a drizzle started.  Dave checked the weather on his Iphone and discovered storms in the area, so we ducked into a Days Inn.


7/20/11 Lincoln's Birthplace

Lincoln Homestead State Park KY
Lincoln Homestead State Park KY

It was a hard day at the office.
This is the land of Lincoln.  The route passed by Abraham Lincoln’s Birth Place which is now a National Historical Site.  I was too early to stop in to see it. The campsite tonight is in the Lincoln Homestead State Park northeast of Bardstown KY.  The shower is in the golf club house a half mile away.  The campsite is a picnic area with a large covered shelter with a lot of tables and a lot of sloping grass for our tents. 
The ride today covered 70 miles from Sonora KY.  Dave says that as long as he is willing to accept being wet, this was a perfect day.  The route was rolling with few granny gear hills.

We see that the whole country is stuck in a heat wave.  We are eager to wave it good bye. It did not cool off all night, and we woke in a sweat.   Pete says we are blessed with free saunas every day.  Oh well. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave
I guess you could call this a "smell the flowers" day.  Pete & Dave rode from Rough River State Park to Sonora - 45 miles.  They said it was a good morning with a few hard hills but mostly a cruise.
We decided to get a motel, shower, then drive 35 miles south to Mammoth Cave. We joined hundreds of others for a two hour tour.  Fun.


Corn as high as an elephants eye

Pete and I  rode the 74 miles from Sebree to Rough River State Park.  It was hot again but we hydrated well and it wasn't bad.  The hills were generally rolling, but there were a few long granny gear ones. The park we camped in Dave rated to be a C+.  The shower were moldy but they did have hot water.
Marty was our serendipity event here.  He invited the three of us for dinner.  He was formerly a minister in the Southern Baptist church and is currently the manager of his families musical group. We had a great meal and conversation.
The heat did not diminish much over night but we have learned to live with it.
Rough River Kentucky

Kentucky Tobacco

Dinner at Marty's campsite

Rough River State Park Kentucky

I am again impressed with the beauty of this country.  Each state has it unique scenery and farm industry. When Jan and I ride in the morning especially along a Michigan lake, we usually sign a few bars of  "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma.  There is a line in that song  ..the corn is as high as a elephants eye..  I always thought that was hyperbole because corn in Michigan is knee high by forth of July.  Kentucky corn made me a believer.  There were  field after field of 10 to 12 feet corn.  We saw some tobacco fields but surprisingly few.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday 7/17/11. A rest day at 1st Baptist Church, Sebree, KY

Sebree KY
This is our fourth rest day of the trip.  There is a no better place to take it than here in Sebree.  I fixed the six of us breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs in the great kitchen.
Breakfast in Sebree KY
The young guys took off at 7:00 AM. The men's Sunday school began at 9:30, the worship started at 10:30.  We were warmly welcomed by everyone.  The rest of the day was a real rest.  We had a great sitting area in the youth department of the church where we read and napped. Pizza for supper.  To bed about 9:30 after the youth group meeting broke up.


A whole shower of GRACE in Sebree, KY

Another unique feature of this trip - a free ferry barge ride across the Ohio River.  The ferry was at Cave-In-Rock 11 miles from Elizabethtown.  The route however was very hilly and the riders were wiped out already.  So we had a second breakfast. before we got on the ferry to Kentucky.
Kentucky starts at the Rivers edge.

Ohio River Ferry Crossing

Ferry at Cave-In-Rock crossing. Ohio River
Our goal for today was Sebree, KY. 63 miles away.  We learned from Al and Keith (see their picture on the post from Scott City KS below)  that Sebree1st Baptist Church hosts bikers in church's facilities.  We experienced a whole shower of GRACE.  Pastor Bob and Violet Hardison feel they have a ministry to the wayfarers, and they have been doing it for over 30 years. In 2001 the church expanded and added showers, and laundry facilities specifically for bikers.  Pastor Bob showed us around, had us put three pins on a map on the place where we were from, showed us God's plan of salvation for our lives, and told us to help ourselves to the facilities.  It had a full kitchen, but Bob said Violet was going to fix us "a little something" for supper.

Later in the afternoon Jacob, Mike, Marcus showed up.  These guys never knew each other before they hit the road. The six of us had a good time sharing the facilities.  Jake had a rough day. He had a flat which totally destroyed his tube and he had no spare.  He hitched a ride to Sebree.  Resourceful Dave toured the neighborhood, bought a wheel from a resident off a rusted bike, and brought it back to Jake. That worked and Jake was back on the road.

Supper time. The six of us headed to the house where we met Glen - a neighbor - nine for dinner in all. That "little something" consisted of butterfly pork chops, chicken, mashed potatoes, lettuce salad, sauteed squash, fresh green beans, corn bread, muskmelon, and lemon pie with ice cream for desert. WOW.  We were overwhelmed.
Every dish had leftovers, and everyone including Violet was stuffed.  Violet related their history of this ministry including some of the unique bikers and their bikes they have hosted.  I looked back in the guest registry and found Al and Keith's entry on 6/12/11. There we 70 other bikers at that table between them and us!  We asked who pays for the food.  They said it comes from their personal food budget, and they have never charged any biker in all the time they were doing this.  I will be sending a donation to them when I get back.  Their ddress is PO Box 148, Sebree KY 42455.
Our hostel room n Sebree KY  1st Baptist Church.

We had use of a full kitchen.

Mike (from CA), Marcus (from PA), Jacob (from England)

After dinner Jake finished putting his bike together but he still didn't have a spare.  So I drove the three young guys to Walmart to get some in Henderson, 42 miles round trip.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Elizbethtown IL and the mighty Ohio River.

Modern version of an Illinois  Outhouse

The word for the day, ready - "crepuscular", adj. of resembling, or relating to twilight both evening and morning. Now if you were 13 and participating in a spelling bee, you would ask the judge to use it in a sentence, so here goes,  "Haywood, in fact, was quick to credit providence for this good fortune, when in the crepuscular light of dawn he --" from West of Here by Jonathan Evison. That word caught my eye because I read it in the crepuscular evening twilight sitting at beautiful spot on the Ohio River as the coal barges chugged past.    The word came to mind again in the morning as we watched the sun and mist come up over the River.
Barge coming up river.  Elizabethtown, IL

Breakfast on the River.  Elizabethtown IL

The River Rose Inn, a B&B is located in Elizabethtown, IL, is just a few feet from the  River. While waiting for Dave and Pete to arrive, I inquired about the room rates at the same time as mentioning camping.  The proprietor said, "Oh we let bikers camp in our back yard.  You can use this shower room and swim in the pool.  The rate will be $5.00 per person."   Now if that ain't a dripping of Grace, I don't know what is. There was a gazebo right across the street where we cooked our evening meal - meat, potatoes, broccoli, sweet corn and diet Coke.  The guys arrived and were very happy to stay here after 65 miles rather than going another 11 to a state park.
River Rose B&B.  Elizabethtown IL  Ohio River

Camping in back yard of River Rose B&B

River Rose Inn B&B. Elizabethtown IL