Started the long road west on route 76 aka the TransAmerica Trail aka Bikecentennial!
Today was a awesome day the roads and weather were perfect we did a whopping 83 miles, my longest day ever (Ben you would be proud). We officially started to head west on the Trans American and have done a total of 564 miles.
We managed to catch up to our target after our unscheduled rest day due to the weather.
“We knew we had hit the country when we saw the bullet holes in the road signs.
On the ride we stumbled on civil war park where we shot some cannons.
Saw some amazing derelict buildings where nature has reclaimed it’s space (Baddon you would love these).
Had a mountain of meat and the best ever bbq ribs with nuclear sauce at Lake Anna smokehouse and met some earthquake surviving friendly locals.
Now sleeping in a fire station hall, very random. Their fire trucks are so pristine and well maintained they look like they should be entered into a retro car show.
Big thanks to the Mineral volunteer fire department. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.
Today we are due to stay with Sue’s sister on a Vineyard in Afton. Well the day started out quite rocky as we began climbing the foothill Appalachian mountains.
We stopped in Charlotteville for lunch in a delightful cafe called the farm where we had a well needed rest and the day only got better from then.
There was a few showers with very sunny/humid weather which produced a beautiful rainbow.
Charlottesville is a pro bike town so Andy fell instantly in love, until we tried to leave and the bike paths came to a abrupt end.
Suddenly the roads turned into perfect riding terrain. They were quiet back roads with breathtaking views.
When the third shower hit our mood lowered only to be revived when Bill unexpectedly came to rescue us in his truck. This cut 10miles off the journey but couldn’t of come at a better time.
Diane and Patricia greeted us with open arms making us feel very welcome and we instantly relaxed. Bill stated that they will have to put us in the farm house because their was no room and it would be better to have a proper bed. We certainly didn’t expect this.
“The room was exceptional and we were greeted with Champayne.
Our disgusting dirty bodies didnt belong in there but after a shower we slipped on a silk robe and fitted right in. We were given port and truffles as a after dinner treat, we could get used to this midnight snack.
So this day literally couldn’t get any better. Oh yes it could we met Diane and Bill’s lovely friends David+Margret and Peter+Joyce and shared some interesting conversation over a phenomenal spread of roast Lamb, prepared by Diane. It didnt stop there she took us outside to look at the vineyard where we saw a array of fireflies. I managed to capture one in my hands it was like cradling a fairy (baddon you would of loved them).
We awoke after an undisturbed satisfying nights sleep to the smell of fresh pastries. We headed out on to the decking to a beautifully layed breakfast table. Here we were served fresh coffee, juice and fruit followed by steak eggs Benedict (Meg and Luke this would make you salivate) and bubbles (mum it reminded me of Christmas).
In fact if you mum, Vick or anyone else that appreciate the finer experiences in life I highly recommend a stay at this Veritas Vinyard check out their website, www.veritasfarmhouse.com.
So the day consisted of visiting a brewery for lunch.
Wandering aimlessly through the vineyards.
Wine tasting happy hour with Bill and Betty, not my god parents but a hilarious American couple that have lived all over the world. Only wish we could of stayed longer sipping wine in their company. Finishing with a delicious BBQ in the sun.
I can hardly put into words the generosity and kindness we have received during our stay.
“Diane and Bill made us feel part of their family and we were truly spoilt during our time here.
I wish we didn’t have to leave.
We experienced another fine breakfast minus the bubbles which set us up for the day.
“Today we experienced the blue ridge parkway and mind blowing views from the top of the Appalachians.
We may or may not have signed our name on the Rock Point overlook…
We stopped at a lovely local co-op for some Organic goodies.
When we found our next destination to be a beautiful farm tucked away in the hills of Virginia over a private bridge, we were blow away with its beauty.
“We arrived sweaty and warn to be greeted by Rebecca, she was truely welcoming, firstly allowing us to jump into her pool fully clothed, which was seriously needed.
Afterwards we shared a healthy and delicious salmon BBQ with and enjoyed family banter. We also got educated by Jessie in the art of eating artichokes and how to shoot a rabbit by Rebecca, which we will take home with us.
They were a kind Christian family with a strong emphasis on developing their artistic talents from music to pottery. Lee is a fantastic potter that creates truly individualistic works of art and all money raised goes to those less fortunate. We had a great tour and good chats in the pottery by his intern Toby.
The family was beautifully blessed with cool and interesting characters and we only wish we could of got to know them better.
“We also had a magical moment with the fireflys it was as if the stars had fallen into the trees, we have never seen so many.
Today started well with a tasty American breakfast of grits, eggs and bacon (it wasn’t gritty at all it was creamy and delicious). We followed a stream to Buchanan where we saw the storm clouds starting to gather. We thought it best to take cover.
“We were outside watching it under a shelter of a shop porch where I was crying like a little girl when the lightening was right above us.
It was too beautiful to miss it, plus we had the bikes, though I was pretty scared.
Decided it was safer to get a motel due to the weather. So the day ended up being part rest day and a bit of a right off.
We passed the time with some fun IQ test, of course I completed it with ease. Andy on the other hand took a bit of concentration.
Today was a long day to catch up the mileage lost yesterday which meant it was the longest day at 85miles.
We saw some beautiful Virginia scenery.
The butterfly’s are so colourful here, my favourite is the vibrant yellow ones but they are too quick to snap. So we managed this electric blue one instead.
We stopped in a traditional diner called Goodmans for some tasty breakfast. Here we experience good old American service from whats got to be one of the best waitress of the trip so far.
Andy spotted someone’s trophy wall.
“When we finally arrived at Thomas the bike fanatics house, our Warm Showers host for the evening, we were made to feel at home and chilled out with new friends over dinner and a few good beers exchanging touring stories.
A man after my own hart, 8+ bikes and counting!
We also met Sam who was also staying at Thomas’s through warm showers. We ended up joining forces the following day.
“This was a great day the weather was perfect and Sam brought a new energy to the team (don’t worry Benji your not replaced)
We stopped at The junction at Draper which was Thomas awesome bike shop. Recommend fellow tourers to pop in a get a service/parts. Though if you just fancy a break they have a fab cafe attached and ice cream parlour to come!!
Saw these cute puppets that reminded of Betti.
We pushed on hard and got to Rural Retreat to camp.
This was our view from the tent in the morning.
It ended up being a short day to stay with Sam’s friends in Damascus.
“It’s been my best day yet, possibly because alot of the riding was downhill.
This continued as we enjoyed coasting along the famous creeper trail into the town itself.
We stopped for a ‘little’ snack.
Decided to pop and see Julie and Helen then thought better of it since it was a bit of a detour.
Finally made it to Damascus which is where the Appalachian hiking trail crosses the Trans American. Sam, our new recruit, walked all 2200 miles of the trail last year. This area is huge for outdoor pursuit and was a lovely quaint town to boot.
We met Daniel and Sarah, Sams friends, that very kindly let us crash at their wicked house and introduced us to trail magic.
We didn’t really stay in here, though there is a regular tenant…
Rest day!! Since we were enjoying the company of Daniel and Sarah so much we decided to spend a extra day in Damascus. What a jam packed day of fun we had. We woke up to a mouth watering selection of breakfast foods prepared by Sarah to start the day off. We also met Nia then spent a lovely morning rambling in the backbone woods.
We were shown some cliff edges.
Hypnotic flowing creeks.
“We went through officially the shortest tunnel on the world.
Spotted a vibrant moth.
Swam and sunbathed in the afternoon followed by tasting some moonshine cherries, which were sharp but yummy at 100% proof!
Rounded the day off with a yoga session outside at an abandoned warehouse which was great to stretch and relax for tomorrow ride.
What a day!!
- Daniel ‘have you ever shot a gun?’
- Andy ‘nope’
- Daniel ‘would you like to?’
- Andy ‘hell’s yes’
“So me and Andy got to shoot a James Bond gun and a NYPD gun!
After all the excitement and nearly deafening myself (because i stood to close to the wall when I pulled the trigger) we finally set off. We managed to get 3 miles down the road before the skies opened on us.
“During the biggest climb and wettest day of the trip our spirits were lifted/shaken when we stubbled across mama bear and her three cubs.
Even though Sam wanted to stop and snap a picture me and Andy weren’t waiting around. I managed to get a photo of these animals instead.
We headed for Honiker and was recommended the Bearded Moose diner by some locals. It is a little hut right on the route.
Though the portions did not represent the premises. The chef (Hunter) came out and greeted us himself and the waitress service was exceptional. He rustled up an off menu gluten free sweet potato salad, delicacy, and the boys had epic burgers.
“The great service didn’t stop there Hunter offered his land for us to camp on that night though it was right on the road we still had a good nights kip!!
He even made us a snack pack of sandwiches, what a gent!! Definitely recommended fellow cyclists to pop in here!