Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lemonade, Lotto, and Larry

Another week gone by...tomorrow is our one month anniversary of this trip! Wahoo!

Since last writing, Emily and Margaret have settled their score for the number of flats. Emily got one en route to Chesapeake Beach, MD. However, unlike Margaret's which was a slow leak, Emily's was a fast kaboom!

After a week of being so inactive, we felt as though we'd lost momentum we'd gained the previous weeks. We were happy to start up again on such flat terrain. Despite our sore legs, we still arrived at Chesapeake Beach with enough time to enjoy the ocean, some sun, and our books. After we asked several men fishing on a nearby dock what they were fishing for ("anything that bytes") and how deep the water was ("I have no idea"), we were reminded to the present and not worry so much about concrete details.

The next day we headed towards the Potomac river. Again, the back roads were flat, and not heavily trafficked. Around lunch time we stopped at a gas station to refill water bottles and grab a snack. Our appetites had returned!

One thing that became especially evident that day was how we tend to notice different elements about the exact same scenario. This often comes out when we try to share observations along the road and ask each other, "Did you see X?" and the other replies, "No...did you see Y?" "No." It's kind of funny. We like to think that together, we create a pretty complete picture.

On a whim, Emily bought a $2 lotto ticket at the gas station and won $20! Yay Maryland lotto! To put it in our terms, that four diner servings of eggs and toast!

Riding along route 301 towards VA, we saw a sign with a phone number that "unusual vehicles" should call to cross the upcoming bridge. Sure enough, we fit into that category...the Maryland Transportation Authority loaded our bikes in a truck and escorted us to the other side. After biking a few miles on route 3 - a busy, noisy, fast moving road - we pulled off into a gas station to ask about local camping options. We were getting discouraged since it was approaching dusk and most people informed us that camping was 15+ miles away and the roads leading there were treacherous. We decided to ask one more person. Enter Larry Brookes, an avuncular gentleman with an extra house he'd recently moved out of that he kindly offered to us for the night...and he happened to be driving his pickup truck in that direction. Hooray! Our problems were solved.

Wednesday the 7th we fought our way against the wind on no-shoulder route 3 to Fredericksburg, VA. We were happy to make it and eager to find alternative roads to reach a site for the night. However, while in a bike shop with 3 other touring cyclists from Germany, we briefly met Jay, who little did we know, would later offer us a place to stay that night. The 3 of us ending up canoeing on the Rappahannock River before meeting up with other friends of his for dinner and tea that night.

Alexander, Karen, and Jay - Thanks for a great night!

Thursday was the epitome of excellent bike touring. Back roads, abundant sun, shoulders, slow courteous traffic, scenic views, good energy. We passed by Lake Anna and arrived early to our campsite in Louisa, VA. We had our first food thievery by a raccoon who left guilty footprints all around the picnic table. We've been finding simple pleasures such as reading, cooking dinner, showering, and retiring early so satisfying after a full day of activity.

Can you believe we fit all this and more on our bikes?

We got an early start on Friday and arrived in Charlottesville, VA well before noon. We spent the day exploring the downtown pedestrian mall, which reminds us a lot of the mall in Burlington. We also took a free trolley to UVA and saw the famous rotunda that Jefferson envisioned. That night we went to an art showing of our host friends art. It's been so nice to have these personal connections along the way - this is an example of just one of many things we've experienced along this trip that we wouldn't have been able to otherwise as anonymous travelers.

A welcoming note from Sam and Hal, our hosts in C'ville. Thanks so much for everything!

Saturday was spent exploring Charlottesville's farmers market, eating a Spudnut (locally famous potato flour donut) and Monticello; Jeffersons estate.

U of Va

One thing we realized after staying in the DC area was that a week off our bicycles is too much! As much as enjoyed visiting folks and seeing sights, we prefer to keep on the move. We plan to head out tomorrow towards the Blue Ridge Highway!


En route to Chesapeake Beach, VA

At the C'ville Farmers he doesn't know we took this picture.


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