Total mileage -211
Time in saddle - 10h 45m
Total trip time - 12 hours
Wildlife spotted - chickens, dogs, turtles
Years from now, if you ask me what I remember about Virginia, I will answer with one word..."hills."
We got up pretty early to pack up our tent and belongings at the fire station in Mineral so we could get on the road early and avoid traffic, and hope to get into Charlottesville at a decent time. As we have been finding out for most of this trip already, it seems that the first 10 or 15 miles of our day seems to fly by very quickly. We did get rained on for quite a while early in the morning, but soon the sun came out, along with the humidity and we were glad to dry out a little throughout the day.
It wasn't long until we encountered lots of hills. And the thing about the hills here in Virginia is that there is nothing like them in Indiana...no way we could have trained or prepared for this. In fact, I'm not sure there are bikes with gears that would get a person up the hills we have faced. Every time we sped down a hill, we found another wall of hill we had to climb. And...we take no shame in this...but we had to get off of our bikes more than once and walk up the hills, pushing our bikes. At one point, Erica said "This is what they should do on The Biggest Loser!" It was definitely one of those days where we were very aware of the fact that we were burning tons of calories and spending lots of energy.
Despite my complaints about hills, Virginia is gorgeous. We passed by beautiful farms and fields...places where history has been made and it truly is wonderful. However, if you plan on visiting Virginia anytime soon, do it by car.
We stopped for lunch in the town of Palmyra and ate at the Two J's Smokehouse. Just as we walked in the door, we met a group of folks who eat there every Saturday and we talked about our trip to them. Another group was checking out our loaded down bikes parked in front of the restaurant, and we talked to them for a while, too. If you are ever in Palmyra, stop in and eat at this place...the food is amazing! We could go on and on about their hush puppies!
At this point, we were 20 miles from Charlottesville, so we thought it would be easy sailing into town. Ha-freaking-Ha. The last 20 miles were absolute torture. It was constant up and down hills and became a total mind game. We rolled past Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and a number of vineyards in the area. Wouldn't you know it...Charlottesville is up a hill, and the hotel we were trying to get to for the evening was up several more hills.
We finally rolled in to the Hampton Inn after 12 hours of biking and have never been so happy to arrive anywhere. We owe a big, huge "Thank You" to the Hanley's for sponsoring a hotel room for us...after two nights of sleeping in a tent on a one inch air mattress on top of concrete, a bed never felt so good!