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Published: August 25th 2005
Scooter the toe licking dog
Resident of the Richard Johnston Inn in Fredericksburg, VA
I've already lost count of the days!
Stafford to Fredericksburg
It was absolutely tipping down when we woke up, so we hung around at the motel writing up the blog and generally hoping the rain would stop - it didn't. At 11 am we got on the bikes and set off to Fredericksburg in a downpour. More traffic on route 1 but we got there without incident and sat outside a cafe dripping gently on the floor. We decided to stay the night as the weather was looking set in for the day and headed downtown to the visitor centre to arrange something. The nice man at the centre pointed us to the Richard Johnston Inn across the road and kept an eye on the bikes while we checked in. When we went back for the bikes he said "they're rather heavy aren't they?" - apparently they had fallen over and he tried to stand them up on his own. We definitely need to lose some luggage!
The inn has two resident dogs called Scooter and Sam, Scooter likes to lick flesh and found Vern's toes very nice, it must be the mixture of road dirt, bike dirt, sun cream
Blue Ridge Mountains
The view from the Parkway
(and why we applied that today is anybody's guess) and Vern's own special toe gunk that does it. Sam demonstrated a lot more sense, sitting by the range in the kitchen begging for titbits.
We've managed a new record low today - 13 miles!
Fredericksburg to Orange
Billie the innkeeper told us that temperatures would reach 100 today, but we figured we could make it to Charlottesville, so we loaded up and hit the road. At 10am the temperature was already so oppressive that we discussed going back to the inn, but sense prevailed and we continued on Route 3 towards Wilderness (don't you just love the names of these places). As we approached Chancellorsville I was following Vern on a section of the road with no shoulder, I could heard a large truck behind me, then the driver sounded his horn, it was so loud it made me jump. I looked around and all I could see was the front of a truck, it was so close it filled my entire field of vision and it seemed to be getting nearer. I screamed at Vern to get off the road and we shot onto a front garden. The truck went past us, then pulled into the outside lane, there was nothing in the nearside lane for him to overtake, he was just being a jerk.
We pulled into the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Centre for a break and to calm down, the staff there told us that kind of behavoir is usual on Route 3, but we were near to Wilderness where we would be turning onto a quieter road.
Thankfully the ride continued uneventfully to Unionville where we stopped at a gas station for cold drinks, we got talking to a local man on a Trek MTB who asked us if Lance Armstrong was French!!
By the time we reached Orange I was too tired to continue so we stopped for the night in a beautiful B&B (The Greenock), where we were given a carafe of wine to have with our take-out pizza and we sat on the verandah watching glow bugs and skunks in the garden.
Orange to Charlottesville
We had a most unusual breakfast, comprising fruit, bread, carrot cake, omelette stuffed with seasonal vegetables and a dessert of lime cake.
We stopped at Montpelier for a tour of the house restoration and to mooch around the gardens while the day got hotter and hotter. We both agreed that we would like to come back and see it when the restoration is complete.
The ride into Charlottesville is on terrain that rolls up and down, and we check in to the Budget Inn. We eat in a Bistro that serves a wide range of beers of the world - including Duvel (yaay!)
We decided to stay another night in town and get our final Japanese Encephalitis jabs sorted (we only managed to get two of the three before we left the UK). $450 and two painful arms later, we are now protected against JE for 3 years. We drown our sorrows at the same bar, sampling more beers of the world.
Charlottesville to Waynesboro
We set off early(ish) at 8:30, hoping to avoid the heat of the day. On the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway, we meet Nichole, a teacher from NY who is riding the Bikecentennial Transamerica route from Oregon to Jamestown. She told us about the bike lady, who offers succour to passing cyclists at Afton and is something of an institution. We promptly take the wrong road and miss her! We go all the way up the 250 to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and then all the way down again (to Waynesboro) since we have run out of cash. We have a great latte (and a smoothie each) at Micah's Coffee, which is a drive-thru coffee hut in a parking lot, and stay the night at the Quality Inn.
All the motels we have stayed in have the same carpet, is it a State Law?
Waynesboro to Lexington
We got moving fairly early, before the heat got too intense in the valley and headed for Sherando. We took the steepest hill in the area up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and about two thirds of the way up a nice lady gave us a lift to the top ("nice" does not describe this woman, she was an angel). We cycled about 15 miles along the parkway and then descended to Vesuvius as we were running low on food and water. The descent is famous in America, and we nearly wiped out on the first hairpin. By now Vern was carrying part of my load as I was having real trouble on the hills. We decided to stay in the valley and headed for Lexington, where we met a guy who has ridden the Transamerica trail, he suggested we follow it for a while as the route is mainly back roads.
We did our first 50 miler today and also broke our speed records (Clare: 48 mph and Vernon 74 kph). We have now travelled 286 miles.
We are staying a day in Lexington to sort out post, this blog and various other stuff.
Tot: 2.266s; Tpl: 0.044s; cc: 8; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0282s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb