Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 136 ~ Jamestown Settlement ~ America's First Permanent English Settlement, 1607

A Re-creation of a Powhatan Indian Village

Inside a Powhatan home we found was a smoky place to be.

Gregory tries out a nice comfy bed of many layers of deer skins.

Grinding Corn with a pestle like the Powhatan Indians

Dried Corn

Checking out a Deer Skin... The Powhatan Indians use oyster shells to scrape the hair from the hide.

Gregory and I find a comfortable deer skin bed in one of the recreated Powhatan Indian Homes

Indian Tools...The knife on the left is made from a stone called chert. The California Indians use obsidian to make arrowheads and knives. Only a few obsidian artifacts have been found here. The costumed interpreter that was making tools explained that perhaps the obsidian came to be here through trading.

This is a replica of the Susan Constant ~ The largest of the three ships that brought the first permanent English settlers to Jamestown

Aboard the Susan Constant

Gregory on Guard

Mike points out our location on the map. This is the site of Jamestown Settlement. The river to the north is the York River where we were yesterday. These rivers and the Chesapeake Bay feed into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery followed the trade winds to make the 6,000 mile journey from England to Jamestown. It took them about 4 and a half months, coincidentally about the same amount of time it took us to ride our bicycle across the United States of America!!

Gregory found this armor was quite heavy.

Above Gregory is learning how to use a musket and below he gets some instruction on the fine art of using a dagger.

It was a gray and soggy day when we left the Jamestown Settlement.

Date: December 2, 2009

From: Williamsburg,Virginia

To: Jamestown Settlement and back to Williamsburg

Route: Hwy. 31 (Jamestown Rd.) via rental car

Miles Today: 0 miles

TOTAL MILES: 3,680 miles

Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph

Weather: Cloudy and Cold with Pouring Rain in the Afternoon

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

Flats: 11

Broken Spokes: 3

Cracked Rim: 1

When I awoke my eyes still burned with the reminder of the drama of last night and I wasn't quite ready to kiss and make up. Mike curled up to me and apologized for last night but I remained quiet. Usually I'm pretty quick to forgive but for whatever reason I needed some more time. After he showered I encouraged him to go up to breakfast to have some time to himself. He said, "You just want some time away from me." I simply said, "Yes." What is so wrong with that I ask you? We've been together 24-7 for 135 days!! Gregory and I joined him about a half hour later once I'd taken a nice long shower and Gregory watched a few cartoons.

Breakfast was quiet and I can't explain it but I almost cried just watching people getting excited over Ellen's 12 days of Christmas giveaways. I tell you I feel like I'm cracking up a bit. None of us knew quite what we were going to do today since our plan to go to Jamestown Settlement via bike was foiled by the weather forecast of 90 percent chance of rain. I honestly think that even if it was sunny and 70 degrees that it wouldn't have been wise for us to get back on that bike together today.

We all agreed that we'd like to go to Jamestown so Mike decided we should rent a car for the day. It turned out to be just the ticket and we had an amazing time at Jamestown Settlement . Gregory and I have been reading a piece of historical fiction called Surviving Jamestown by Gail Karwoski and we have really been looking forward to visiting this re-creation of America's First Permanent English Colony that was settled in 1607.

The rain held off just long enough that we were able to explore the Powhatan Indian village with its costumed interpreters as well as the replicas of the ships the Susan Constant, Discovery and Godspeed that brought the first colonists (104 men and boys including Captain John Smith) to Jamestown. We also thoroughly enjoyed poking around James Fort and seeing the musket demonstrations. One of the costumed interpreters spent quite a lot of time with Gregory showing him how to hold his rifle and how to load the musket. He then gave him some tips on how to use a dagger and let Gregory handle his personal dagger that he uses in reenactments.

Gregory had a chance to grind corn and lay down on deer skin pelts that the were used by the Powhatan Indians for their beds. He saw demonstrations of tanning hides, tool making and had an opportunity to hold some of the tools made and used by the Indians. At the fort he tried on some armor and got to see how the early colonists lived. We learned that each morning and night the colonists would meet at the church for a short prayer but also to get the news of the day. Often it was a way to see who had lived through the day or the night as the settlement was plagued with much sickness and death. Very few settlers survived that first winter. Even as more settlers arrived over the years the settlement was plagued with drought and a lack of food. They called the winter of 1609-1610 the starving time.

I think that reading the story and seeing the recreated settlement really made this part of history come to life for Gregory. He is really eager to finish the story and find out what happens to our main character, the young Samuel Collier, who was the real life page to Captain John Smith.

At around 4:30P.M. when we left Jamestown Settlement Museum (that was indoors and quite cozy) we stepped out into the pouring rain on our way to our rental car and I said, "I really wish we were hopping on our bike right now to ride the 7 miles back to the motel…" "Ya right Mom," Gregory chimed in.

We took advantage of having the car and stopped to get books at the used bookstore, grab some dinner and explore a couple of shops. The rain continued to come down in buckets and on our drive home we had someone pull out right in front of us. I literally screamed out loud and Mike had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting this guy. My heart was racing for a good long while after that incident. I'm so thankful that I don't have to report that after riding almost 3,700 miles on a bicycle that we were creamed in a car accident the day after finishing our journey!


  1. YAY! YOU GUYS DID IT!!!!!!!! I love the new header pic!!! Congratulations :-) ~ Blue

  2. CONGRATULATIONS to all three of you!!!!! As you discovered, this is not a trip for the feint of heart. For each person that finishes this trip, probably an equal number, for various reasons never do! Don't be frustrated by your reaction at the end. Emotions run high, I found the end to be bittersweet...... glad it was over, but somewhat saddened by the fact that we had to leave this "simple" life behind.

    Kudos to all of you and to Gregory! What a trooper he is! Embarking on this kind of trip with a child in tow says a lot. Good luck on your "down under" leg should you decide to keep going!


  3. I'm delighted that my book played a part of your amazing journey. Do you have an address where you can receive mail? I'd like to send you another story about this period - a nonfiction narrative about the ship that left England to resupply the struggling colony, but it got caught in a hurricane and went aground on an uninhabited island ... and ended up changing American history, establishing a new country (Bermuda), and inspiring Shakespeare to write "The Tempest!" (It's called "Miracle, the True Story of the Wreck of the Sea Venture.") Who knows, maybe your next adventure will be sailing?
    Gail Karwoski

  4. Well done, my friends. A truly impressive undertaking completed.

    As you know, I have continued to follow your journal entries as a means to "in-a-way" stay on the road/bike. The honesty of your journal (the emotional ups and downs) reflects the reality of such an adventure. I just finished a book by Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods) that chronicles his long-distance hiking along the Appalachian Trail ... lots of laughs and lots of similarity to long-distance biking.

    I admire you all for what you have accomplished ... hope to hear of your future adventures.

  5. Way to go! You guys are epic!
    Now what?

  6. i have been checking your site to see if you have started the second leg of your trip yet, or if you are starting a new blog for that one.... haven't seen anything on crazy guy yet

    anxious to follow your adventures!