April 8 - 23: Virginia

4/12 - Charlottesville (57 miles, 197.5 total)
again today---what a beautiful ride! well....if you don't mind hills, that is.
going back to the beginning: few had a really good sleep last night; we're spoiled with our motel accommodations 'til mineral, so sleeping all together in one big room on a hard wooden floor with only a thermarest underneath wasn't as comfy as we're used to. & we all found out what a few already knew: some of us snore (no, i'm not going to name names).
this morning patti fixed scrambled eggs, which we piled into tortillas with salsa on top. she also fixed our lunch today, too, out of the galley of the luggage trailer parked in a bank parking lot in palmyra. the cooked angel hair left over from monday night's chicken picatta looked nothing like a leftover by the time she'd added veggies, olives, & a wonderful dressing to make it into a scrumptious pasta salad. the southwestern bean/tofu soup she made tasted good on a coolish day. (that is, cool going down the hills, really hot going up, & a bit chilly sitting on the grass at the bank.) to top it off, she passed out peppermint patties for dessert. of course there was a big bowl of fresh fruit, too. how am i ever going to go back to subsisting on peanut butter on those baby carrots??
this morning's ride was beautiful....often seemed more beautiful than the past 3 days, even tho' i didn't think that was possible. you'll see a picture of just how beautiful;
note the church steeple, the cows in the pastures, the isolated country road on which we're riding. i know i've overused the word idyllic lately, but when it fits it fits. that's phyllis in yellow stopped along the road snapping a picture, & riding in the red jacket is sue, one of our staff people. (sue doesn't always ride in the middle of the road like that.)
a little later several of us found ourselves hanging around a little country store perched up on top of a hill....the main attraction being the restroom.
in the picture you'll see, front row first: lee (in orange) from new mexico, sari (i misspelled her name earlier; it's pronounced shah'ree) from california, & standing in the white t-shirt is judith from maryland. back row: joan from new mexico, sarah from massschusetts, phyllis from calif, marcia from alaska, & darlene from colorado.
sarah's the youngest rider (at 40), darlene's the oldest (she'll turn 70 during the ride....on june 4). they share an important ride distinction, in fact. both are the only riders so far to have gotten lost. on the 2nd riding day sarah rode an extra 14 miles before she was found & returned to the flock. on the following day darlene put in an extra 15 mi on a self-designed route. so at 15 mi, darlene's been lost for the longest. we make a competition out of everything.
by late morning we started encountering more & more hills & by the end of the day...oh my. as we neared charlottesville the hills got steeper; i'm pretty sure there were more uphills than downhills. my least favorite segment was a long narrow downhill road crowded with traffic. a big truck was tapping on his airbrakes at our heels....holding back quite a line of cars. we couldn't get off to the right without hopping over a guardrail & into a ravine....not an option. but big cities are like that & i'm sure we were routed into town the least harrowing way possible.
oh, the chocolate: there was a cute little country store out near jefferson's winery on the outskirts of charlottesville. many of us stopped there for deli items or other specialties. there was a cute little patio outside for dining. i bought an amaretto praline truffle....& a teensy dark chocolate bar; i ate them both on the spot. there's nothing like a few hills to make a person crave dark chocolate, i always say.
this evening we dined at the dragon lady...an oriental restaurant up the road from our motel, which is a best western. great food. tomorrow many of us will go in the womantours van at 8:45 to tour monticello....probably an all-morning activity. the primary P.M. pasttime will likely be laundry....with some snoozing thrown in. i understand there's quite a bit of body-part icing going on, too. some women are icing their knees not only to ease the discomfort caused by the hills to date but to prevent even more discomfort as the hills get steeper & more numerous...which we're promised for the rest of this week after our rest day here in charlottesville. we plan to take the REST part of tomorrow very seriously!
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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