Date: November 29, 2009
To: Williamsburg, Virginia
Route: Hwy. 156, Back Roads to Capital Trail Bike Route into Charles City, Hwy. 5 to Capital Trail (across the Chickahominy River) and detour to Hwy. 31 due to Colonial Pkwy. closure because of bridge out
Miles Today: 73 miles
TOTAL MILES: 3,650 miles
Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph
License Plates Collected: 5 Montana, 8 Wyoming (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho (found in WY), 2 Colorado, 1 Kansas (Gifted from David of Baldwin City), 1 Missouri (To be sent to Grammy’s by our new buddy, Kansas City firefighter Shawn), 1 Illinois, 4 Kentucky (2 Gifted from Beth and Garry Feltus, one gifted from cousin John, one from Hwy. 127), 1 Virginia, 1 Maryland plate gifted from the McClure Family
Broken Spokes: 3
Cracked Rim: 1
I started this day thinking out loud, "It is nice to be able to ride without my knees hurting." That lasted about 10 miles and that was all she wrote. They started aching again. I was so disappointed because it was a beautiful day and we knew it was going to be mostly downhill grades. Thankfully it was downhill because I frankly don't know how I would have made the 73 miles otherwise. As it was, we started the day at 8:45 A.M. and we pulled into our motel at 5:30 P.M. right at dark! We plan on riding that distance back on Thursday after we finish our route (Yorktown) and make the rounds of the Historic Triangle. We're thinking we'll have to get up at the crack of dawn to do it considering it will be uphill on the way back. To top it off I've got another enormous saddle sore. Ugh! With no needle and nothing to sterilize the pocket knife I had to try to reduce the size of the thing by hand. From the bathroom Mike and Gregory could hear, "I can't do it! It hurts too much! Owww!" Don't fool yourselves into thinking that because we've biked 3,650 miles we are immune to the aches and pains we've encountered to get here. Oh. no. We are all sore and exhausted. We managed to get showers and walk to a nearby restaurant but as soon as I ordered my salad my head was down on the table and I was almost out before the food arrived. We all went to bed at 8:00 P.M. with not a complaint from anyone. (Gregory actually read his book for a half hour before we called for lights out!)
The weather today was beautiful and if it weren't for my knees and the fact that I felt a bit hormonally out of sorts all day it would have been grand. I just felt uptight and agitated and I couldn't relax. I had to keep trying to remember to be in the moment and enjoy the beauty of the day. I kept thinking, Take one pedal stroke at a time and you will eventually get there. You are stronger than you know.
As it was we met some great people throughout our day who saved us on a couple of accounts. First we met up with two tandem couples at the Horizon Store in Glendale on Highway 156. Winky and Juanita and their friends Leslie and Al quickly learned our story and when we inquired about the sign informing us that the Willis Church Road was closed up ahead, they quickly offered to show us a detour to the Virginia Capital Trail Bike Route that would lead us right into Charles City. We were thrilled to meet these great folks and I appreciated their kindness, but I felt like we were pushing hard to stay with the pack and felt like my knees paid the price. We did make one stop to let Gregory have a look at the freshly harvested cotton fields. Balls of cotton remained on the field looking a bit like patches of snow and we picked some up to investigate. I showed him the seeds and explained that before Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin slaves picked the cotton by hand and that the sharp plants took a toll on their fingers. Gregory pocketed a bit of cotton and we set off again. With two tandems and a triple we made quite a train. We took lots of pictures and said our goodbyes when we reach the Capital Trail where we were able to ease off a bit and enjoy a little more leisurely pace. While we were standing on the Trail taking pictures Gregory said, "Mom. Our bike seems incomplete without the trailer." "I definitely agree," I replied. I think we all were missing "Good Old B.O.B." just a bit. It felt strange that "he" wasn't making the last leg to Yorktown with us.
The Virginia Capital Trail isn't quite complete and we were on Highway 5 for quite some time before we rejoined it. We actually passed by several plantations including the Sherwood Forest Plantation, home of former President John Tyler. The Capital Trail crosses over the Chickahominy River and the bridge afforded us some breathtaking views of the Chickahominey River to the north and the James River to the south. Just after the bridge we found the Chickahominey Riverfront Park that provided a nice break. Gregory played on the playground and we visited with some nice folks. By the time we departed it was getting cooler and the sun was fading from the sky.
We soon came to a stand still trying to figure out which way to turn to get on the Colonial Parkway as the Adventure Cycling route recommends. We'd totally blanked out on the fact that Winky had forewarned us that a bridge on the Parkway had been taken out by a barge and this route wouldn't been possible. Luckily for us a nice family saw us with our maps out and pulled up in their minivan. They reminded us that the bridge was out and sent us right on to the detour route of Highway 31. If it weren't for them we would have gotten in well after dark. It was dark as it was!