Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Yesterday was more about sightseeing than riding. (Unfortunately, I did not see the attraction advertised above.) I spent the morning in Lexington, touring Jackson cemetery, Lee chapel, and the campus of Washington and Lee. After walking around Lexington, I returned to the motel to get my gear. As I loaded my bike, the motel maintenance man gestured at it and said, “It's the only way to travel these days.” (Gas stations serve as a common rest stop for me, so I hear a lot of anxiety over gas prices.) He asked about my trip and provided some directions. He reminded me of a younger Hal Holbrook. There was something reassuring about him sending me on my way.

I didn't get out of Lexington until after 1pm. Then twenty miles into my ride I stopped to talk to a woman who was at her mailbox. She convinced me that I should make a short detour and see the Natural Bridge. It didn't seem right to bypass what is billed (albeit in its own brochure) as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. June had also recommended it but protested that “they should make a charge for a natural site.” Charge they do ($12), and they even went so far as to erect wooden fences on both sides of the road that runs over it, so no one sneaks a free peek.

The bridge, which is 215 feet high and spans 90 feet, was carved by Cedar Creek. Allegedly, George Washington carved his initials in it. After taking in the bridge I biked about thirty more miles to Troutville. I had another hour of sunlight, but the town park guaranteed a free place to camp. I pitched my tent as kids played on the swings and couples walked laps on the park track.


Mary said...

Hi Brian!
Just got done reading all of your trip notes. Sounds like an interesting trip so far. I like your attitude of taking the time to stop and check things out whenever the spirit moves you. You are meeting some unforgetable characters.

All of the kids are coming home for the weekend with their fiances. So, it's going to be a full house. Hope to catch up with you in the coming weeks. You are passing through these small towns that United Express flies into.
Uncle John

Sarah P said...

While it's no natural bridge or cookie lady, I will be thinking about you when I go bowling tonight. Sounds like the trip is going well so far, despite the rain (which looks like it may plague you for a few more days).

Enjoying the travel-blog. Keep it up! (when you get a chance, can you tell me how to set up the interactive route map? I want one for my Alaska blog that you've inspired me to set up)