April 8 - 23: Virginia

4/20 - Rosedale (33 miles 501 total)
33 mi to eagle garden united methodist church (founded 1788) near rosedale, va.
beautiful day today. it was nice to start out on a sunny day.....a little bit cool at first, but sunny. all 10 of us (9 inside & 1 on the porch) managed to cycle in & out of the 1 bathroom in the apartment. patti fixed delicious french toast & sliced fresh strawberries & cantaloupe for breakfast. the riders who'd stayed at the other 3 locations in town walked from their overnight stays to breakfast in the driveway. for our lunch sandwiches, patti put together some delicious tuna salad with capers. once we had our breakfast eaten & daytime snacks concocted, we packed up & left. clarence pruitt took video footage of some of the riders as they left. he & fluffy were out to bid us goodbye.
before leaving town, sari, phyllis, & i biked down to the little town park where they have an arch under which people walking the appalachian trail pass on their way thru town.
you'll see me standing by that wooden arch in the picture. you can get a feeling in the background of the photo for how beautiful the countryside is....& how hilly.
people have been telling us that the hills/mountains we're encountering now will prepare us for anything the rockies can throw at us.
speaking of heights, you might be interested to see marcia's report of feet climbed per day. her altimeter watch keeps track of the feet she climbs ... but doesn't subtract the feet she descends. our total climb to date is 25,060 feet.
ap 9 - 1150
ap 10 - 800
ap 11 - 1450
ap 12 - 2600
ap 14 - 2900
ap 15 - 1750
ap 16 - 2750
ap 17 - 3000
ap 18 - 2490
ap 20 - 4000
ap 21 - 2170
biking the first 23 mi today was relatively easy; there were hills, but not too bad. virginia continued being its beautiful self. we stopped to look at a very old & desserted mill; it had a huge water wheel along one side, but the little stream nearby wasn't very close to the mill. we can't quite figure out how it used to work, but it was lovely to look at. from our vantage point, the sides seemed to be of well-worn metal.
that's me & the mill in the photo. i noticed today as i watched for road signs how many 'gaps' & 'hollows' there are in these parts.
then came clinch mountain. that ended up being a 1500-foot climb in about 3.7 mi. it took sari, phyllis, & i 50 mins to make the climb. i spent the whole incline in my lowest granny gear going about 5 mph, stopping 4 times to drink some water & stretch my legs. we were very glad to take a breather--& just to breathe--when we got to the top. we had a snack or 2, then ventured down. the down part is what makes me nervous. it turns out that the descent was so curvy & steep that i wasn't the only biker going down slowly.
sarah had a mishap on the way down. she had a flat tire, which she fixed, then got on her bike to continue. that's when she noticed that while fixing her flat she'd rotated the front wheel 180 degrees, so when she grabbed for the brakes they weren't accessible & she ended up flipping over her front handlebars headfirst onto the pavement. fortunately a couple of other riders were nearby to help her onto the side of the road; she was a little dazed. other riders rode on down the mountain to alert gloria, who brot the suburu back up to where sarah was & took her & her bike down to the church. sarah seems ok now.
since it was such a short riding day, everyone got to the church by early or mid-afternoon.
you'll see in the photo what happens when womantours goes to church. we pretty much fill up the parking lot & grounds with our various activities & gear.
there are no showers here at the church, so taking time for that chore isn't an option. several of us washed out some clothes, then strung our clotheslines out near & inside the little shelter house on the grounds of the church. i'm sitting in that shelter house as i write this, with beautiful warm breezes wafting by. it's a lovely spot.
we're all enjoying some extra relaxing this afternoon. some pocketmailers are here in the shelter house & out front on the grass, card-players are shuffling in the church's fellowship hall, & nappers are on the altar. we're camping out in the sanctuary of the church; there's thick plush red carpet in there, which will make sleeping quite comfy. the church is very welcoming to bikers coming thru, who are permitted to camp out in the church as we are doing tonight.
now it's after supper; i have to add a supper report: patti fixed a huge pot of beef stew; what a hit! for those of us who don't prefer meat, she renovated the leftover tofu spaghetti sauce from a couple of nights ago into the most marvy tofu creole sauce....truly a cultural transformation. you'd never have guessed that it was leftover anything. how DOES she do it?? we can hardly wait to get copies of the 'meals on wheels' cookbook she's promising to prepare after the trip. anyway, we ate the stew/creole over bismati rice & also enjoyed a fabulous green salad & steamed broccoli & cauliflower. oh, & oreos for dessert.
the pastor of the church stopped by to chat; he tells us that the mountain we'll climb tomorrow is just as bad as today's. but then we have a layover day at breaks interstate park; we'll be glad to give our knees & various other worn-out parts a rest.
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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