RICHMOND, VA TO
May 8 to 14, 2018
Day 18. 67.4 miles. It was good that we had a rest day because the hills started in earnest today. Most were 4 to 6% but one was a 12% climb. To place 12% in perspective, the Melbourne Causeway is about 4 1/2% so this was about 3 times that angle of climb. Every day will have substantial hills for the remainder of the ride. When taken one at a time they are not too bad. However, they do begin to take the spring out of one's legs by the end of the day.
Camping for the night was in a rustic outdoor facility with cold showers and no amenities. I wimped out and chose a nearby Hyatt hotel about a mile away. All of my fellow riders said it was an excellent choice.
16 days are in the bank with only 16 more to go!
Day 19. 83.3 miles. The hills are intensifying. Today featured 3612' of climbing. We arrived in Washington DC along a nice dedicated bike path along the Potomac River. Our first clue for the approaching of Mount Vernon was the gigantic line of tour busses parked along the adjacent road.
We spent the night in a Sheraton hotel in Arlington as there are not many campsites in DC.
Day 20. 68.8 miles. 2,538' of climbing. We started on the bike path along the Potomac. At about 4 miles, I hit a bump caused by a root pushing up the pavement. There had been other such bumps but this was quite large. It was hidden in the shadows so I did not see it until it was too late. It launched me into the air and I came down on my left forearm and right hand, dislocating my right middle finger. At least my head did not hit the pavement.
Duncan, one of our team leaders drove me to the emergency room where they straightened the finger and added a small splint. He then drove me to a spot where I could finish the day's ride. I am OK and ready, willing and able to tackle the remainder of the ride. We spent the night in a firehouse with a large downstairs room and showers. It also is adjacent to a large strip mall with at least 4 restaurants.
Day 21. 64.8 miles. 2,287' of climbing. Nice Rail-to-Trail bike path for more than half of today's ride. These were railroad lines that were turned into bike paths in later years when no longer needed for train travel. They are really nice due to the relatively low rate of incline or descent. We climbed over 1,000' but, with that elevation spread over 12 miles, we hardly noticed it.
There was a quaint restaurant converted from an old railroad station for lunch. We stayed in a church guest house that night and were nice and dry while it stormed outside nearly the entire time.
Day 22. 64.7 miles. 3,117' of climbing. The rain started after a few hours of riding and it continued for the remainder of the day's ride. But at least it was cold! Temps started at 50 degrees and went down to 47 later in the morning. We had been aware of the forecast so we were appropriately attired with several layers to stay warm. However, with several layers, it was difficult to find the correct pocket in which to place my various belongings.
After lunch, I placed my money pouch in what I thought was the right pocket but must have been between two of the layers. Obviously, it was not in a pocket because it was missing at the end of the day. It contained my drivers license, a Visa card, some cash and Bike the US for MS business cards with my contact information. If found, I would hope someone would return it. However, with so many country roads along the route, it may forever be missing. I have a backup credit card and ample cash to complete the ride and a duplicate license is on order.
Day 23. 34.5 miles. 928' of climbing. The weather was much better today. Cool and dry. Our ride took us through the Valley Forge Historical Park. We rode past the site of Pickett's infamous charge and also past George Washington's Church. Upon reaching Philadelphia, we rode in as a group on a dedicated bike path. There was considerable city traffic on the roads but we avoided all of it.
A CBS TV reporter did a video on our group. He shot footage on the way into town and conducted interviews upon reaching the destination. The video is interesting and can be viewed at:
Day 24. Rest Day. We are very much looking forward to the day off. Unfortunately, there will not be a project today. In large cities, it is now required that every participant be thoroughly vetted and that is not possible in the allotted time. Such vetting is not required in smaller towns so those may be the target in the future.
A few of us walked over to the original location of Tun Tavern, the site that birthed the US Marine Corps on November 10, 1775. The role that the Marines have played over the years has certainly changed world history. Being a US Marine certainly has had a major effect on my history.
We now have completed 21 riding days with only 11 to go. Unfortunately, there will not be another rest day during that interim. It will be a seriously long grind--and it starts tomorrow!
Every experience prepares you for the next one. You just don't know what the next one will be.