Saturday, May 10, 2008

Reasons to Love Virginia

I thought I better focus on some good things about this state because I know I'll be cursing it over the next few days. Truth be told Virginia has treated me well so far. Some of it's best attributes after four days:

1) Route Markers. I have not really needed my route maps so far because Virginia has done such a thorough job of marking this portion of the Transamerica Trail, known as Route 76. All the roads on the trail are marked with both road signs and Route 76 signs. Though I made one wrong turn yesterday, adding six miles and several hills to my route, these signs have otherwise kept me on course. (Note the dozens of bikes in the yard in the background of the picture above. I was a little concerned about what happened to all those riders.)

2) Log Books. At each place that I've stayed (save the Omni in Charlottesville), folks keep log books for Transam riders to sign. Even in small stores on the route I've been asked to sign their books. It's cool to see how many people have stopped in so far this year and where they have traveled from. It also provides a nice connection to the locals.

3) The Drivers. I'm only four days in and it only takes a few bad drivers to change one's perception, but so far Virginia drivers have been almost universally courteous. They give a wide berth as they pass and they wait patiently when they don't have the sight lines to pass.

4) The Scenery. Much of the route has been on narrow country roads running through lush green farmlands and an occasional wooded area.


Anonymous said...

Hi Brian,

Your entries are a good read. Are you thinking of publishing?

I'm glad that you met up with a few other bikers. Signing a few shopkeeper logs is not a bad idea either.

If your muscles start to ache Dr. Whittaker says to buy some DMSO at a health food store. It's a horse linament. He uses it when he bikes long distances.

Thank you for the flowers and Earth sandals for Mother's Day. The sandals will be going to Ireland in a few weeks.

Hope you have good weather or safe shelter your entire trip.

OK, Eve is reminding me that "Forgetting Sara Marshall" is starting soon, so Happy Trails.


Anonymous said...


I am enjoying your blog. It is raining here so I will get my miles in todoay on my spinning bike in the basement. I'd rather be outside. I have two suggestions for bike safety and comfort; 1. A helmet mounted rear view mirror. You'll always know who coming behind you. 2. Fenders and chain guard. These items won't keep you dry, but you will be amazed by how much better you will feel if you aren't covered with all the road crud that your wheels and chain throw up on you.

Have a great day.

Tom O'Keefe

Anonymous said...

Hi Brian --
What great reading. It's not helping to make it a productive day at work but I really enjoyed your writing. It reminded me of a book I read a number of years ago that Joe Kelly recommended to me and that I could not put down. Earlier, I see you requested recommendations. It is "A Walk Across America" by Peter Jenkins. He spends a lot of time in the Appalachia area. It was written (and occurred) in the mid-1970s. Anyhow, I look forward to reading more.

Safe and happy travels,

Mike Gill

Anonymous said...

Hi Brian,

The Champions (Jen, Greg & Connor)are enjoying reading about your travels (more accurately, Jen & Greg are reading and Connor is listening, but it's fun for all nonetheless).

I visited Charlottesville about ten years ago and agree with you that it's a wonderful town.

Good luck powering though the mountains with those midwestern legs.


Greg T. said...

Virginia is for lovers! (See, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)).

Anonymous said...

Good Luck in the moutains!