Friday May 15, 2009, 46 miles (74 km) – Total so far: 157 miles (253 km)
Loaded touring again today, and we made a bit more distance. My wife left for home today from Ashland, so we loaded everything up (including sleeping bags this time) and rolled west. Weather kept threatening rain, but only a few spits on us. Still much more humid than earlier, and starting to get hot.
Ashland’s professors’ houses yielded to horse farms as we left town. Hard to complain about climbing when you’re riding through tunnels of wild roses, being serenaded by wood thrushes and woodpeckers (including one pileated). Horse farms in their turn yielded to smaller farms as we approached Scotchtown, where Patrick Henry lived during the time his speeches set the world on fire (1771-1778). I was a bit surprised that he only lived here a short time (compared to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson’s homes); did he have wanderlust or better sense than to sit still with the British after him?
Finally smaller farms, just some small houses near Bumpass, and pulp (pine tree) farms as we approached Mineral. Note Bumpass is pronounced ‘bump-us,’ #2 on the list of things you never want to say in an airport, right behind, “Hi, Jack!”
No service stations or stores for the 30 miles between Ashland and Bumpass. The lady at the service station in Bumpass noted they saw a lot of TransAm cyclists, probably because of that! Past there, before we got to Lake Anna, we saw a road-kill black vulture. I thought buzzards were supposed to eat road kill, not be them!
The Mineral Fire Department lets cyclists use their facilities – wonderful hospitality. I started feeling human after a shower and another half hour in air conditioning. We camped out behind the building, and they allowed us to use the restrooms and kitchen areas.