40 miles (64 km) – Total so far: 178 miles (286 km)
Last night, as I rolled into the campground I met three fellow bike tourers. John, from Peoria and a married couple from Switzerland, Ruedi & Heida. We all headed out to a Pizza Hut for dinner. Where I proceeded to convince them to find a post office and dump some stuff!
Come morning, we each set out to “do our own ride” with plans to meet up in the next town. Unfortunately, figuring out the next town is really challenging. There are three towns at 55, 75 and 105 miles respectively. Much phone and interwebs research revealed that the town at 75 miles, Palmyra, has no camping facilities, nor does it have any motels, warmshowers.org hosts, available churches, or campable parks. So, it is either “go short, or go long”. My knee has been a little sore as I get warmed up to this, so I was thinking a light day until lunch and then take it easy is a good idea, but my nature is to try and get to the longer goal. This debate raged in my head for most of the early morning.
Which, of course, is totally stupid. I didn’t quit my job so I could have another job. I should just chill and relax. As my new buddy John mentioned, “going for distance gets addictive.” In fact, not only should I go for the short distance, but I should take off some of the distance by going more directly than the “official” trans-am trail. As I turned off the main trail onto a side road I was greeted with this beautiful road.
A little later down the way, I came across a purty little country store. They had 2 oranges and a few tomatoes. I am astounded how wrong my belief that fresh food would be easy to find has proven. The little convenience stores are all about Hormel chili, Doritos and cigarettes. When I find a store like this one, with a little bit of fruit and veggies a battle rages within my soul between the urge to hoard produce and the urge to lighten my packs. More tough choices! Yarg!
Entering the town of Mineral, VA is as pleasant a biking experience as can be wished. They have a little bike lane, and lots of cute old timey charm on display just for the cyclists. Even better, the local volunteer firehouse lets bike tourers camp, and even sleep in the firehouse space permitting. Much to my surprise, the campsite out back was completely full… WITH THE COUNTY FAIR!. That’s right, the county fair starts tonight. Frick vegetables, I’m getting me a corn dog. The friendly firelady directed me down the road to the city park, where bike tourers can setup their tents during the duration of the festivities.