Here is Braden on the road prior to my arrival at the Tennessee/Virginia border. I am told these where his domestiques.
Braden told me he ran into this character earlier in the ride but due to various disputes including dangerous high speed riding techniques, minimal use of gears and the constant Venga! venga! venga! ringing in his years Braden had to give him the slip in those of old Kentucky hills of Tennessee.
I was unable to view this tunnel which was close by my first night's campground. My view of the tunnel was impeded by the evening darkness and the morning fog. It reminded me of that old mountain song. "Life is Like a Mountain Railroad".
Obvioulsy this area inspired a lot of mountain songs. Somewhere the road was marked with a sign commerating the absolute for real birth of country music.
The road from Kingsport to Bristol had many names, from the home of both kinds of music (country and mountain) to Daniel Boone and finally several local politicians. The road of many names. I think the Virginia legislature must spend a lot of time naming stuff.
First day of the journey somewhere between Kingsport and Bristol,VA
Braden taking a break my first day his 85th or so.
Afternoon break on the first day somewhere outside of Bristol, TN
Tobacco harvest outside of Bristol.
Unique "RV" in the Applebee's parking lot in Bristol. This would have been a great support wagon, with this baby I could have really cut down on my motel usage.
The highly touted fish tacos weren't so good but the ambience was, can't recall the name of this place but enjoyed the outdoor dining area in Abingdon, VA. There was an historic theater here as well that numerous celebs had acted at but don't recall who (maybe William Shatner was one or maybe he is just everywhere now and I assumed it was him). Guess this place wasn't all that memorable!!
At the Iron Horse campground near Damascus VA. End of second day of the ride. Holston River background. The Iron Horse had a colorful owner with many stories including the one about his ride to the Sturgis motorcycle rally through Kansas that involved a high speed chase on his 140 mph 3-wheel Honda Gold Wing. He also had a collection of vintage cars including a 1938 Packard limo he bought in Mexico, not enough room for that story here.
West Branch of the Holston River near Damascus VA
Lynda and Braden going over the bike maps planning for the day's journey. Today it is Damascus to Rural Retreat.
On the way to Rural Retreat we took a 14 mile portion of the Virginia Creeper Trail.
A welcome sign. Hardly any pictures from Damacus to Rural Retreat but it was one of the most difficult and exhilarating of the ride with two 6 or 7 mile downhill runs.
First of Braden's chain of convenience stores in Radford, VA. Unfortunately it was being held up while we were there so we just snapped a pic and got the hell out of town.
Somewhere outside of Radford, VA on the Bikecentennial trail.
Same location outside of Radford heading to Christiansburg.
Camping out with bonfire at the Bethel Church Camp outside of Troutville, VA
Same shot, Lynda is cold and Braden is contemplative.
After a rain day the skys cleared and we left the Troutville area heading to Lexington VA.
Going down the road, somewhere along the backroads of VA outside of Lexington. Heading for Mallard Duck Campground. Note Braden is carrying all of his gear in a "Bob" Trailer.
Proof that we were on the Bikecentennial trail, looks like it was a little cool that morning.
This brought back memories of a hike in the Tennessee Appalachian's I did with a friend years ago. We saw quite a few Appalachian hikers roaming around the trail.
About 6 miles outside of Lexington, VA. leaving the Mallard Duck campsite. We had conflicting stories about the presence of bears in these parts from the locals. What would Stephen Colbert have done? On to Steel's Tavern and then Vesuvius for "the climb".
Leaving Mallard Duck CG and heading to toughest climb of the ride, Vesuvius to Blue Ridge Parkway.
Long and short tough climbs for three miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The summit and just a few pedal strokes away from the Blueridge Parkway, it's downhill all the way right???
During the climb met Greg from Wisconsin. This shot is at the end of that nasty climb. Time to take a rest. We would get to know Greg and his father this day. We are only two days away from the finish.
East is down hill, west is the climb from Vesuvius. Those 3 miles were the toughest of the entire ride. We are headed north to Afton VA and the days end. This is the beginning of our segment on the Blue Ridge Parkway. About 35 miles to go to Afton.
Behind is one of the beautiful vistas from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Me, I have about 2 weeks beard going and feel happy we have the roughest part of the day, possibly the journey, behind us.
Hanging out at 20 Minute Cliff. Great day to stop and take pictures, we think its all down hill to Afton. We were wrong!
Here we are in June Curry's house. She is the "Cookie Lady" who entertained us with stories of growing up in Afton, VA as well as how she started helping bikers back in 1976 during the bike centennial.
Almost everyday is Christmas at the Cookie Lady's house. Santa sings and dances around a bit. We got to see a demonstration of his moves.
Here we are, Jim, Greg and Bradon, at the Cookie Lady's Bike House. The Cookie Lady lets bikers stay for a small donation nice to sleep inside for a change. Greg and Jim of Wisconsin stayed here as well, we had a nice dinner at the Inn of Afton which overlooked the Shenandoah Valley.
The Cookie Lady's "bike house" is filled with memorabilia from riders around the world who have biked through Afton VA.
Braden sitting on my "bed" in the CL's bike house. I slept very well that night despite the sort of creepy bike stuff hanging around.
Cookie Lady's house on the right side of picture. Looking out from the Bike House in Afton. I believe the Cookie Lady is 85 years young and started her mission of mercy for cyclists back in 1976 with the Bikecentennial.
Loading up the car at the Bike House. We are definitely
thinking its going to be downhill from here. Wrong again, but the terrain is getting better as we head out of the Appalachian Mountains into the gently rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont, come on coastal plain.
This is June Curry, the Cookie Lady's home which is adjacent to the Bike House. I sure could have used some lower gearing on the old Seven.
Goodbye June! We appreciated your hospitality and really enjoyed our stay.
Taking a break and had some great BBQ at this little roadside stop. I think this was somewhere around Whitehall VA. We are headed to Charlottesville and its game day for U of V.
After some searching, battling the game day crowds, Lynda found this great and inexpensive hostel in Charlottesville. Wish I had a photo or two of us serving as guinea pigs for some woman who had just learned some kind of zero gravity/energy massage or something. The massage was unconventional and may have not worked as the massuse lamented that we had consumed too much beer.
I believe this is the Indian Fields Tavern along the Plantation Road between Richmond and Williamsburg. This was the best food I had the entire journey. We also hooked up with Jim and Greg who we had dinner with the night before in Afton.
Jim and Greg from Wisconsin. Jim, in green was a transamerica biker like Braden. We decided to ride together to the finish since we were only one day away!! The hills are pretty much gone, finally.
Leaving the Econo Lodge in Williamsburg for our ride to the bay. Our excitement was slowed by a flat, mine. Got it fixed quickly and we were on the road as I had plenty of observers guiding me through the process. The discerning eye will note that the photo has been digitally enhanced to disguise my weight loss during the ride.
The last day Jim and Braden pause to reflect on their impending accomplishment along the Colonial Parkway between Williamsburg and Yorktown.
According to Jackipedia on October 24, 1781 the Continental Congress was informed of the "glorious" news of the surrender of Cornwallis' army at Yorktown, on October 19th. In turn the Continental Congress authorized this monument to be constructed; it was actually erected many years later. Have to do a little more research on this; we have some unfinished business to take care of.
Success. Braden (left) and Jim finish their cross country ride. Both essentially followed somewhat similar routes but were seperated by a few days until the very end of the journey. This is Yorktown and York River at the Chesapeake Bay.
We had to document this event with a number of photos. These guys each had around 3800 miles and 3 months of biking to reach the end of the journey.
Jim was accompanied by two of sons on his cross country journey. Each son did about half of the trek. Greg here on the right joined his dad in Great Bend KS for the last half of the ride.
I think this is when I told a cheese joke to our friends from Wisconsin.
Well we finished. Braden 3800 plus miles and me a paltry 515. It was good to get done but I think Braden could have turned around and headed back to Astoria, Oregon from where he started this adventure.
Same guys, I will have to edit this site a bit. You get the picture, we done. Time for oysters and beer. Also it was National Talk Like A Pirate Day! I think I said aarrgg instead of cheese.
Standing on the dock of the bay. Coleman Bridge in the background which goes over to Gloucester and Virginia Marine Institute.
Greg, Braden and Lynda. I guess we still need to take more photos of this historic finish.
Lynda, Braden and Jim dockside. Cheapeake Bay in background. Looking southeasterly I believe.
Greg and his nicely equipped Trek 520. Greg, Jim and Braden all completed their trip self contained meaning carrying their own gear, around 40-50 lbs worth. I preferred not to attempt that approach.
Jack and his not so properly geared Seven. A fantastic bike but not quite set up right for the "hills of Virginia". The heaviest thing I carried was a water bottle or two and a credit card. Thankfully I was able to have Lynda carry my gear in the support car.
Ok, are we done with the pictures yet? No but we are close, same dock, same bay but with all four of the weary travelers.
Lynda gets a break from her photography duties and poses with Braden and I at the end of the ride.
A last shot or two and Lynda snapping Jim and Braden.
The four of us bikers, Wisconsin on the left, Kansas on the right. Our state politics might lean that way too, blue state, red state.
This the view from our table during the end of the ride feast of beer, oysters and assorted aquatic food. Today or tomorrow is my birthday I know Braden has a big party planned for me so I better save some room for an exotic feast tomorrow night.
After the ride we took a couple of days rest at Braden and Lynda's in-laws' home in Glouster on the Wilson River. What a party we had that night, I celebrated my birthday with the neighbors, got a "feely fish" from a retired law professor from William and Mary for my birthday. By the way a feely fish is a small wooden fish that you rub to relieve stress.
Got to sleep inside some more this will help me transition from a tent, but I don't think I will have much trouble.
Last day in Gloucester, nice home, beautiful day. I think that might be a partial shot of Braden sleeping on the couch. Heading to Richmond for flight to Wichita.
Braden puts his "horse" back on the trailer for some non-biking days in and around Washington DC and Virginia before a return to the heartland. The rest of us shipped our bikes back via UPS. I wonder what our next cycling adventure will be?