Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Arrival in Virginia

I arrived in Williamsburg, Virginia this morning after an uneventful train ride from Penn station. The Amtrak worker in Williamsburg agreed to watch my two large suitcases, so I decided to take a look around before heading to pick up my bike. For my Detroit readers historic Williamsburg is an all-colonial Greenfield Village. If you buy a pass you can take tours of all the buildings and enter the shops to watch artisans practice colonial-era trades. I opted for a cursory history lesson, relying on the sparse informational plaques to explain which 18th century brick building I was looking at. I didn't have too much time because I needed to get to Bike Beat (the shop where my bike was), pack my panniers and ride to Yorktown. During my cab ride to the bike shop I told the driver my plans. She told me I was crazy if I thought I was going to ride a bike with the two large suitcases I had put in the trunk. I explained that the bike bags were in the suitcases and my gear would go in those bags, but it didn't seem to impact her assessment of my sanity.

By the time I got to Bike Beat, the mechanics had reassembled my Surly. The workers were gracious as I spent the next hour affixing my panniers and loading them up. Amazingly (unfortunately?) everything fit. Not so amazingly now my bike weighs a ton. I wobbled around as I did my first few laps on the loaded Surly behind the store. The mechanic at Bike Beat gave me directions to Yorktown and I headed out with a mound of camping gear strapped to my back rack. I couldn't have asked for a more ideal practice ride – thirty miles some of which was on a bike path and the lesser-traveled Colonial Parkway in beautiful weather. I won't be setting record speeds, but my bike still moves at a decent clip despite the weight.

After arriving in Yorktown I watched some folks fish off a town pier.

They wanted to pose for some fake action shots, though their cooler full of fish (including a large stingray and an eel) indicated that they had had a successful evening.

I'm staying the night at a house that the Grace Episcopal Church in Yorktown makes available to bikers. It's a beautiful setting overlooking the York River and it seems appropriate to start this trip relying on the kindness of strangers.


Anonymous said...

I love the "action shot" of the fisherman with the cigarette hanging out of his mouth! You should have gotten a photo of yourself with the them...Can't wait to read the next installment.


mav said...

so excited to see you at the start of it all. and what a great post. i'll be reading!! hugs, maria

Anonymous said...

good luck as you start your journey! looking forward to hearing about the first official day of the ride.


Lisa White said...

Hey Brian - Good luck and thanks for keeping such an interesting blog. I'm looking forward to reading about all your adventures. Have fun!

lisa white