Dark skies this morning and a threat of rain, along with poor planning on our part provided us with a real dilemma. We were headed to Charlottesville VA but due to University graduations there was no lodging within 50 miles of the town. Camping in the rain was not an option (for me). We sat in the local library for an hour, using their internet, searching for options.
We made the big decision to bypass Charlottesville and head south to Scottsville where we found a room at a bed and breakfast. Off we went.
It was a long wet day of 50 miles in the drizzle and rain, but when we climbed to the top of the town and saw our accommodations we were thrilled.
This was once the summer home of the Dilliards, of the department store chain. The grounds were designed as an arboretum so it was gorgeous.
After a long bath and rest we headed into the town, which super cute and clean, all on the James River. The big thing in town was Karaoke at the local brewery, but it started at 9pm, past our bedtime. Had a wonderful meal at the local pub.
The most amazing thing about our B and B though was the now owner was a retired Navy guy who spent his life designing aircraft carriers! How cool is that! And Jean, his wife with her needlework! Swoon.
Coffee by the pond in the morning and a lovely breakfast followed.
The whole thing was a bit of a splurge for us, but what a treat!
Once again we woke to beautiful weather, though the forecast said rain. Heading out of town we ran into two women riding the Transamerica bicycle trail, the same route as us, it was so good to connect and ride with others. We rode through roads littered with downed trees, pooling water, and flooding. Schools were closed and so were roads.
We continued on with Brythnie and Keri and listened to their interesting story.
There is a non profit for military veterans which provides wilderness experiences totally free of charge for those accepted into the program.
This program provides experiences such as hiking, biking, kayaking. Once accepted they support you on your experience. Brythnie and Keri, both veterans had been accepted into this program and were riding beautiful bikes with all wonderful supplies, sponsored by companies. What a gift!
We rode with them until Mike and I decided to take a different route to our destination, we all met at the Mineral Fire Department.
Mineral is a small town with a huge heart. The fire department for years has been hosting cyclists, providing camping or indoor shelter, showers, electric and bathrooms. No charge. It was rain in the forecast so we headed into their large meeting room and all staked our claim to floor space.
Feeling the generosity and goodness of others today.
Rain again this morning but no more postponing the inevitable. We had to move forward. Off we went towards Ashland, a small railroad town. Before long the sun came out and we had a very nice ride through the outskirts of Richmond, the huge houses and yards, more historic buildings and plantations.
We got to the cute,very well kept town, found a great coffee shop and after a little break headed out to ride through the gorgeous campus of Randolph-Macon.
We found a cheap hotel, an extremely good farm to table restaurant and listened to the rain. Again. I mean a downpour!
We have begun to rely on Uber at night to explore the towns in the rain!
We got to our hostel just as it started to rain again, but the hostel was so gorgeous! Found a local brewery before getting to bed early.
We had a lazy morning doing wash and sending another box home before heading out for the Capitol building tour. It is quite an amazing building because Thomas Jefferson designed it with the help of a French Architect, and they modeled it after a Roman building, perhaps a little kick in the pants to the British and the Colonial designs they favored.
Our tour guide was so good, so knowledgeable. We both love a good tour guide.
Finished the tour in time for another downpour so we ubered it out to a local popular pub for dinner, then back to the hostel.
The morning was sunny and calm, like nothing had happened at all. We woke up to the sound of the William and Mary University Rowing club on the river next to our tent, their rowing venue based in our park.
We packed up and were back on the beautiful bike trail by 8am, passing plantations and roadside commemorative plaques. We stopped to visit Sherwood Forest Plantation, home of President John Tyler (10th president) Of Tippecanoe and Tyler Too fame.
Late morning we came upon a cafe, rather nondescript, but we decided to get a early lunch. What an amazing fresh, creative meal we had! Homemade bread, fresh dressings, crisp lettuce, really rare to find on the road.
Vivian is 78 years old and makes the bread fresh every morning. She worked in the kitchen of a plantation most of her life.
Back on the road the day was quickly getting very hot and muggy. We decided to go off route and head into Richmond, the capital of Virginia to see the Capitol Building as we had heard the tours were fantastic. So very hot we decided at the last minute to get a room at the downtown hostel and not continue on to Ashland as we had planned. We needed more time in this historic town!
So sunny and warm as we left Yorktown this morning. We got back on the Colonial Parkway and headed towards Williamsburg and then on to Jamestown. As usual we stopped for a long breakfast where we happened upon a fantastic 50’s diner (Shortys) owned by a retired harness racer from near us back home. Small world. He retired, opened a diner, and is more successful than ever. Crazy.
We made it to Jamestown to explore some more before getting on the Capital bike trail, a 51 mile long bike path that runs from Jamestown to Richmond. Easy riding!
We made it to the county owed park of Chickahominy River which boasted two swimming pools, canoe rentals, ect. Being near 95 degrees we were so excited to get there only to find pools were closed and tent sites without water or electric $32 a night. We took it. All alone in the campground.
We set up our new super light weight tent, cooked dinner and settled in for the night before suddenly the wind became unbelievably strong (a derecho we later found out) we could hear trees falling around us and ran in the dark to the bathrooms.
Rather exciting and scary night. We have been in terrible storms before in a tent and have great respect for the weather.
A short 14 mile ride up the Coloniel Parkway (record breaking heat, 95 degrees) brought us into the very small village of Yorktown, much smaller than we had imagined.
The downtown area is all beach and cute little shops, tons of traffic and beachgoers and a farmers market.
We called the contact number we had for the church in town which offers free lodging for cyclists and we were overwhelmed with the offerings! A whole house used just for things like this! The house sits on a bluff overlooking the York River and was adorable.
We spent the night and next day visiting the Revolutionary War Museum and Yorktown Battlefields. As a reminder, Yorktown was the location of the last battle of the Revolutionary war. Lord Cornwallis surrendered here. Big Stuff.
Saturday night we ran into this super cute couple who were as addicted to self employment and fun as we are. Patty and Matt live nearby but decided to spend the night and enjoy the music.
And of course last but certainly a blast to watch, this little spitfire, fastest bartender in town. Stephanie, who always matches her hair to her shirt!
Woke up pretty early to spend the day visiting Historic Williamsburg.
I talked Mike into participating in a court proceeding. He was found guilty
This was pretty fun for me because I have always wanted to be a historical interpreter, and we both love history. We had our bicycles so we were able to buzz around the village and the slow moving groups very nicely, highly recommended in fact. The village was quite empty, I think we came at such a good time of year.
Once again one of the most interesting parts of the day came after our tour rather serendipitously. We stopped by a renowned seafood restaurant for dinner, Berret’s Seafood And Taphouse Grill. Sitting at the bar, as we usually do, we met the most interesting guy. Tommy Leggett is an oyster farmer who harvests and delivers his oysters fresh everyday to this restaurant. He works alone, and loves his work. He told us of the many years he spent in college working towards his PhD in marine biology, but found the physical work much more satisfying. We could have listened to his stories all night, his life not unlike Mikes.
Travel day! We leave Washington DC pretty early on the regional Amtrak route for a 3 hour ride to Williamsburg. Find our non descript hotel, shower, and head into the downtown area to explore. A huge thunderstorm has us running for cover and we spend a few hours staying dry and chit chatting at the bar with a Chicago native named Shannon.
A group of middle school girls on a field trip were practicing cheers in the bathroom, so, of course, I had to show them mine from 1974. We all laughed so hard!
Make it back to the hotel without getting killed by lightening.
The train arrives in Washington DC early! It is just past noon and beautiful here! The Azaleas and Bradford pear trees are in full bloom. We ride the 2 miles to our VRBO in a cute edge of Capital Hill row house. Super cheap, clean and a $7 uber ride to the Capitol.
We quickly shower and head out to explore. Riding our bikes in the bigger cities is actually not difficult because the bike lanes are well marked and drivers are used to sharing the road. Tons of cyclists in DC and the bike share program seems to be very popular.
We only have one day in town so we choose to do a guided bus tour. These are really pretty cool. You get a knowledgeable person telling you interesting things and driving you around. We love them. We have been in DC several times before but learned so much more on this bus tour. The our tour guide April is my new BFF.
After our fantastic tour we headed out to lunch and back to our apartment to clean up before meeting a fellow transam rider for dinner.
We had met Lee last summer while riding and spent a great evening reminiscing and plotting future rides together! Love that guy!