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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Everyone who likes the commonwealth of Virginia raise your hand

Let me tell you about some of our experiences in Virginia. Coming into the
state, up to the welcome to VA sign, we were going up a steep hill. Okay,
actually we were still in the Appalachian Mountains. That has continually
been the theme here.

Remeber Kentucky when I commented how the roads curve but do so in the
attempt at maintaining a level surface or easy grade. Seems all the smart
people moved to Kentucky. Virginia, in contrast, has winding roads but
they seem to do so in the attempt to locate every small hill possible.
This gets kind of ridiculous as you go down a road and travel up 100 feet
then down 100 feet, up 100, down 100, 100, 100, you get the idea. I feel
like someone should introduce the concept of grading to the Commonwealth of

What's up with the name "Commonwealth" anyway? I mean, seriously is this a
state or a just a group of people sharing money? But I digress, let me tell
you more of our wonderful VA experience.

As you go further East the humidity increases and VA seems to have reached
a pinnacle in our trip. We have been more hot and more uncomfortable here
than any other state. And of course with the heat and humidity come the
bugs of all color shapes and sizes. Nothing motivates one to ride faster
than trying to out pace the insects. In fact, today we were swerving all
over the barren road like a couple of drunk college students just trying to
avoid killing the caterpillars crossing the road.

The heat kept up on us until it rained then we froze our sore butts off.
Now the rain has cleared up so we have more heat to look forward to. Which
would be so bad if we did not have to constantly keep on guard on our bikes
from passing cars.

To start with so far every place we have been we get friendly waves from
oncoming and passing cars. Sometimes they initiate it, sometimes we do,
but the results are always uplifting. That is, every state but Virginia.
Here about 1 in 10 will wave back, the rest glare at us through their air
conditioned windows. Glares and stares I can handle but that is not the
only down side to being on the roads here. We have had more close calls
with cars here in VA than our whole trip combined thus far. I don't know
where they think we can move to since the winding hilly roads here do not
have any shoulder to ride on.

Did I mention we have yet to see a flat road here? I think VA may not know
what flat looks like. So if there must be hills you would think they would
at least make them straight. If they did attempt that then they must have
been using non-Euclidian geometry (I think I spelled that wrong).

Look back at the title of this post. Do you think my hand is up. Well in
the interest of suspense I will let you figure it out for yourself. Some
good things have come out of this state. For example, we have several
friends in VA (hi Jenilee and Amy) close to DC and my mother was raised in
Mclean VA (I did not want this to be an all ranting post).

Good news: we made it up the last big climb. We spent a good portion of
the day yesterday stressing over the hill. Our maps, while good at keeping
us on course, are woefully deficient at describing climbs and terrain. So
all we had to go by were the numerous comments from cyclists coming the
other way. We were expecting the worse and were not sorely disapointed.
It was a TOUGH climb, but not our most difficult. it certianly was steep,
as steep as our steepest climb yet. It was not more steep than others we
have done, but it was longer. 4 miles of very steep uphill winding road in
the heat of the day after doing a steady uphill ride for 30 miles just to
get there. When we reached the top we were ready to enjoy the Blue Ridge
Parkway with its flat straight road along the crest of the mountain.

That's a joke folks, if you have ever seen this parkway (like all roads in
VA) the makers went out of their way to find extra hills. The motel we
planned on stopping at half way along the ridge was gone. This seems to be
a reoccuring theme in America's small towns, we noticed. So we were forced
to do the entire trek and get off the parkway.

We made it 58 miles in the mountains to the Afton Inn. You may have
noticed all this recent talk of hotels seems to differ from our earlier
travel experiences. Well remember about 400 miles ago when we were both
ready to quit and were really down about this silly bike trip. So one way
we have raised our spirits is to say (oh if you are young or are sensitive
to expletive vernaculars then don't read the next sentence, parents be
warned) "screw camping".

We are staying in hotels now and will be for the rest of the trip. Which
equates to about 2 more nights I think.

That's right you read correctly we will be there around Saturday or Sunday.
Since Gallaudet will be closed on the weekend we plan on making our big
entrance at 11:00 am on Monday morning. We will stay with some very good
friends just outside of DC (ironically in VA) for a night to rest up and do
some much needed laundry.

I am actually finishing this post in the morning. As you may have noticed
in my previous posts, I tend to doze off while I am writing the post for
the night. Not not because I am bored with them, I just want to wait until
the last possible moment to write them so I can include you, our faithful
readers, on every possible experience we have. Well, last night exhaustion
got the better of me and I passed out with my thumbs on the key pad of my
phone. So as the new day starts we are getting breakfast and eagerly
looking forward to the day ahead. Take care, I will write again soon.


Ps Sarah thanks for the offer we will for sure use the butt butter but (pun
intended) we really just want a tall glass of water and some Gatorade to
drink :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep it up! I'm sorry to miss you... I'm in Staunton, and I'm not too far from Afton. Did you stop and see the school?