April 8 - 23: Virginia

4/13 - Charlottesville (0 miles, 197.5 total)
0 miles & still in charlottesville 4/13
not much biking news to write about on a bike-ride rest day. it was an overcast, cool day here in charlottesville. only the profusely blooming dogwoods kept the notion of spring alive in this town today.
this morning many of us went to monticello, thomas jefferson's home, for a tour of the house & of the grounds. we left the motel in the womantours van at 8:45 thinking we would beat the rush, but when we got up into the monticello parking lot it was half full of huge tour buses. as we bought our house-tour tickets at 9:20 we got our time assignment for entering the house....10:40. that meant waiting 1-1/2 hours before we could start the house tour.
but the time went fast, as we linked up with some guides & enjoyed some very informative walking tours of the gardens & slave quarters. i had forgotten...if i ever knew...that jefferson was first & foremost a farmer. he loved growing things & had extensive gardens to feed the 200+ persons who inhabited the top of the mountain where monticello stands. (they call it 'the mountaintop' around here.) he was mostly a vegetarian, growing 250 kinds of vegetables. today we saw carefully tended gardens with rows of kale, many herbs, & peas. jefferson particularly loved peas; he grew 19 varieties. even the flowers were considered crops; we saw beds of tulips today with pansies & other edible blossoms interspersed amongst the tulips.
you'll note that in the picture of me & jo. perhaps from the photo you can also get a feeling for the beautiful, expansive vistas we enjoyed from the mountaintop. today was the 250th anniversary of jefferson's birth, so there were extra festivities going on at the jefferson gravesite further down the hillside.
jo is one of the ride's staff people. she took the whole morning on her day off to take us in the womantours van to monticello & we were very appreciative. jo drives little bo peep some days. she also knows a lot about bikes & has helped many of us out of our various mechanical dilemmas. she lives in virginia & will be returning there this weekend. we hate to see her leave the group. i think she closed her eyes for this photo to prove to me that she indeed did NOT want to have her picture taken.
some of us made the trek last night to the laundromat about 2 blocks away. but my roommate sari & i waited 'til this afternoon after we got back from monticello. actually, right after we got back from monticello we had lunch at a deli/grocery a couple of blocks away. WOW what a marvy collection of tasty treats. it was so hard to choose that most of us picked out bits of at least 3 different things, then took them to a little dining area for our lunch. (being a bike rest day, we were on our own for meals today.)
THEN laundry. sari offered to take my laundry & do it with hers...a real treat for me. i stayed in the room to do some email. but the big excitement for me this afternoon was that i finally pulled out & completed my census form. it's now in the mail. whew---i'll no longer have to fear the feds sneaking up behind me as I pedal across america.
i've been kidding my roommate sari that she pretty much sleeps, eats, bikes.....& pores over her pocketmailer. of course she points out that i should talk...considering all the time i spend pecking away at my ibook. with all the pocketmailers & laptops being toted by riders in this group, these motel phone systems pretty much go into electronic arrest once womantours settles in for an overnight stay.
speaking of hightech devices, jackie came around to our rooms this afternoon to take orders for dog dazers. those are little gizmos that you carry on your bike to daze menacing dogs. some of the riders already have them. jackie will order some for 9 of us. we hope to receive them before venturing into kentucky.
marcia, sari, phyllis, judith, joan hendricks, & i decided to return to the deli for supper this eve. as at midday, we roamed googly-eyed up & down...scanning all the delectable dishes behind the glass of the deli counter, finally deciding on 3-4 dishes each that the helpful counter tenders put into little plastic containers for us: a wonderful cream of mushroom/rice soup, ratatouille (sp??), calamari salad, marinated mussels, dolmas, tabouleh (sp?), tortellini salad....you-name-it. this evening most of us had made our selections & made our way to the little dining area, pulled a couple of tables together, & were laying out our 3-4 little plastic containers of food when sari finally arrived with HER supper (see picture).
how does that little girl eat all that food? i imagine next time she'll need a grocery cart.
oh, i want to relay a good story that judith told at supper. (there were quite a few good stories told at supper, but only this one will fit on a coed web site.) when trying to decide what type of new bike to get for this ride, one of the calls judith made was to the terry bicycle people. she asked about a titanium model, but was somewhat put off by the cost, considering her age & how much good she thot she'd get out of it. then the terry person told her that the company was in the process of building a titanium bike for an 83-year-old customer, whose only requirement was that the bike be painted to match her racing kayak. let that be a lesson for all of us.
the forecast for tomorrow morning is very cool (mid 30's) & cloudy, so we'll delay our start a bit....probably 'til about 9. that oughta help us avoid frostbite & also the worst of early-morning rush-hour traffic. we'll ride only 35 mi or so, but it'll be very hilly. most of us are happy to have had a day of rest from biking. but most of us also realize that we quickly tend to get out of the groove, & that 2 days of rest would be a bad idea, since we'd probably be on a plane for home by the evening of the 2nd day. we won't have to worry about too much rest for a while, as the next rest day doesn't happen 'til after 8 more days of biking. so there's not much chance to slip out of the groove any time soon.
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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