Saturday May 16, 2009, 79 miles (127 km) – Total so far: 236 miles (380 km)
We went too far today, and only part of that was our fault.
Started out of Mineral. It was nice of the railroad not to run trains while we were asleep – or at least I didn’t hear any of them. Had some cramps in the night from a lack of salt, I think I drank enough.
We made the mistake of getting into Charlottesville the day before graduation. The hotels were jacked up to ridiculous levels, and I only found out the next day that the hostel / B&B listed had room and didn’t jack up their rates
The weather forecast for today was thunderstorms, with a front moving through tonight. We missed most of that. More of the front is forecast for tomorrow, but it’s supposed to cool down.
The day started out overcast and humid, but as long as the sun was hidden, it wasn’t oppressive. That lasted about 20 miles, through Tabscott. Unfortunately for us, the store at Kent’s Store was closed, so we pushed on to Palmyra. I drank my last water as we coasted up to the stop sign. This was definitely Piedmont – long flat plateaus, then sharp, short dips to cross a creek, then back up that short, sharp climb. I’m not ashamed to say I was reduced to walking some of them. By now, it was into the eighties, and sunny (meaning hotter), and still humid. I was soaked on every significant uphill with sweat. Funny how all our rest stops seemed to be at the top of a hill, in the shade!
From there into Charlottesville wasn’t bad, except for the last 5 miles. I’d really like to see ACA find a new route into Charlottesville; the drivers should be named for flowers, like Rose, Lily, or Jack in the Pulpit, because there were some blooming idiots behind the wheels, passing dangerously, almost running oncoming traffic off the road, etc. Sure, it’s nice to go by Ash Lawn and Monticello, but is it worth the aggravation and outright danger? I don’t think so!
Knowing we had a long ways to go, we bypassed Monticello and Ash Lawn. Both of us have toured Monticello, but I would have liked to have seen Ash Lawn, which was also designed by Thomas Jefferson.
We made a bike shop stop to adjust Virginia’s pedals and my rear derailer, and then took turns getting lost. Finally made it out of town. Amazingly, the drivers on the west side of Charlottesville were diametrically opposed to the east side drivers, polite to a fault. As the sun sank slowly into the looming frontal clouds, a guy I’ll call ‘Tom’ hailed us and offered his extra house. We accepted, then raced into the thundershower. Didn’t make it dry, but as we were already soaked with sweat, it’s OK. The house is solar, disconnected from the grid, and a tidy little place. Then with his wife’s encouragement, he brought over ice cream, wine, chips and salsa, grapes, and promised breakfast for tomorrow morning. He said we looked so exhausted we needed it. He was probably right. The generosity of some people is a wonderful thing! The next morning Tom and his wife offered us breakfast — sure helped fuel us up for climbing the Blue Ridge!
We’re off the ‘net, out of cell phone coverage, so this will have to be posted tomorrow.