Sunday, May 31, 2015

Riding in the van

No one goes on a bike tour planning to do many miles in the van instead of on a bike...but stuff happens.

When I signed up for this tour it was going to be all about the bike.  Riding better, farther, stronger. Learning new skills. Seeing all there was to see at people speed and some of it where motor vehicles can't go or aren't allowed.

That changed.  Now it is about putting together a new life for myself and adjusting to a new reality.  Because my reaction times are slower, my depth perception/judgement are altered, my thoughts somewhat scattered and my short term memory deficient I can't do all that I had planned or wanted to do.

I have a finite amount of energy to cover physical, mental and emotional needs and when it is depleted I find it hard to function in any area, much less all of them. So I ride partial days, I choose the easier rides and I spend time in the van trying to conserve energy and organize my thoughts and feelings.

And ya know what? It's not a bad thing at all.  It pulls me back to a less intense interaction with the world we are moving through and at the same time lets me realize how much is going on largely unseen and unnoticed. I get the meta-picture as we drive and hear about the micro level as we share supper in the parking lots.

 Riders have seen bears on roads just a few miles from the highways, there are calm, green oases hidden in our nation's capital, there are people in small towns and rural areas that have incredible stories to tell - you don't see that from the highway, but once you know it's there you see the highway differently.  Charles Kuralt explored that idea in his TV show.  Some days I think I'm getting the best of both worlds.

And then there's tomorrow.  One hundred percent chance of rain, hills and bad roads - I'm going in the van with the sane people.

Random photos, some from the bike, some from the van, some from just walking around.

Crossing the Hudson River

Delaware River

Don't ever forget to stop and smell the roses

ps - Betsy and Barb, thank you so much for the delicious cookies!

My perfect day......

.....let me tell you about it.  

I bumped out a bit and started my day at the beginning of the NCRR rail trail.

And it just got better from there.  Lovely mixed use trail with a mostly good surface. Enough variety to be interesting, enough shade to stay cool.

Interesting sculpture

Some nice houses

More sculpture

At the midpoint of the trail we crossed into Pennsylvania and the trail changed names and nature.  The small town of New Freedom has centered it's economy around the trail and it's users.  There is a well-stocked bike shop whose owner graciously invited us to use her premises as a SAG stop, offered us free access to her bathroom (running water and flush toilets are scarce on many trails) and gave us a 25% discount on merchandise (I'm pretty sure she did well on the deal).  Her husband did some minor repairs and adjustments for a few riders and we enjoyed visiting with them.

The old railway station has been converted to a sandwich shop and a museum and there is a replica engine that goes up and down a short stretch of track.  It was rather interesting to ride on an old rail bed alongside an active track.

We met a woman who had placed these flags along the path for memorial day, they went on for at least half a mile. She does this every year.

Tumbling water sounded so nice and perfectly complemented the fresh smells of the flowers and greenery.

I love dedicated bike paths, so nice not having to deal with cars and trucks, so quiet and peaceful.  Someone complained that you can'take ride very fast on them.  Why would you want to?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Catching up

My phone, tablet, mi-fi and bike computer have been taking turns acting up on me so my posts have gotten a bit behind. But I am still here and still enjoying the tour.

The ride from Richmond to Fredericksburg was a nice one on mostly rural roads.  It was cool and overcast most of the morning, then got beastly hot and humid.  The small town of Ashland was quite lovely, with many public sculptures and flower gardens. The gentleman at the visitor's center was very friendly and gracious and told us a bit about the town and the trains that run through it.

A short time later we were seeing the beginnings of Virginia horse country - the natives were quite curious about us and possibly whether or not we had treats to share.

I found this ivy covered barn and sios quite charming.

We spent our rest day in Alexandria, VA.  I wandered the old town area in the rain and had a great time visiting small shops, people/dog watching and dodging puddles and drips.  The next day took us through Washington, DC via several interlocking bike paths.  Quite cool and bright, though negotiating the many twists, turns and street crossings was a challenge. What a treat though, to be able to get close enough to see things without getting run over by cars.  Virginia drivers unfailingly gave us the right of way to cross, though I am sure it slows them down. The bike commuters are very fast and know every inch of their paths, they weren'the always gracious, but they did make allowances for strangers on their "turf".  I'd like to come back and spend more tourist time here.

Next stop Maryland.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Feast your eyes on THIS!

Pictures from the Virginia Capitol Bike Trail - bike trails don't get much better than this. Starting at the Jamestown historic settlement, it goes for about 35 miles toward Richmond. They are actively working on paving more of it, so within a year or so, it should be possible to ride all or most of the way on a protected bike path.  A really wonderful ride.

Chikahominy river

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Another ferry, some history and a day off

I decided about a year ago that the day we went to Williamsburg, VA I would ride in the van so I could have as much time as possible to explore the historic town.

Beautiful drive through the country as the van wended its way to the James River where we crossed the James at Scotland.

Osprey nest

We passed Jamestown from the river side and passed it again on the road and soon were in Williamsburg. The Virginia countryside is lovely, the Colonial parkway feels like another place and time and everything is green and very clean.

I took some random pictures in Historic Williamsburg but not many, as there are many professionally done photos on their website -

Visitor with tin whistle joins re-enactor to perform a duet

This has been a happy place for me since I was a grad student trying to avoid the three papers, two tests, a stack of reading and a presentation that I should have been working on.  It was like walking into a time  warp where things moved at a slower pace and seemed simpler, but probably harder. That hasn't really changed, though I must say, it is easier to maintain the illusion in the fall when you aren't yearning for the nearest air-conditioned restaurant, or a bus to carry you swiftly back to your hotel.

Friday, May 15, 2015


This post was made a couple of days ago but all of us have had Internet issues, as in photos taking hours to load.  

Woo hoo!!! Today we crossed the Pamlico River on a ferry.  Not as windy as the last one, so more fun.  Maybe Ken is right, I should have joined the Navy.  But my favorite boats are ferries and tugboats - not much need for nurses there.

Ready to load, nice waiting area including clean bathrooms and shade.

Shelter for pedestrians - and bikes.

Potash production

So. To catch up.  Yesterday day  was highlighted by crossing  a bridge over the Albemarle Sound - 3.5 miles long. Followed by rides on rural roads with varying degrees of traffic and and surface repair.

Today we crossed into Virginia.  The first part of the ride looked a lot like Kansas, with fields of wheat spreading far and wide.  There were some huge installations of solar collectors too, somewhat incongruous with the surrounding croplands. We  we entered Virginia the landscape Became more wooded and green, winding roads with little traffic. 

 Our lodgings tonight are less than stellar but tomorrow we head to Williamsburg and a rest day.  I intend to ride in the van so I can spend as much time as possible in Williamsburg, it's been 25 years since I've been there and it holds fond memories.

And I've ridden 111 miles in two days, so I know I'm improving in that area too.