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July 31, 2002

Virginia Creeper Trail

I biked to Draper from Christianburg while my Christianburg host Greg drove ahead to the New River Trail station in Draper. We then rode the trail together 18 miles to Foster Falls. It's a beautiful extremely well-graded trail next to the New River. The trail is mostly shaded which was appreciated on a hot day. Greg turned around at Foster Falls and headed back to his car. I camped there, a beautiful spot along the New River. I went for a swim and then just watched the light get dimmer. I biked a few more miles along the trail in the morning and then got back on the country backroads. There was a beautiful, gradual climb on CR 603 through the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area. Then a really fun descent.

Mom and Dad had rented a cabin just outside of Konnarock which is short of Damascus. I pulled into the cabin only 20 minutes or so after they'd arrived. It was very quiet and peaceful and we had a good dinner they'd brought up. In the morning we biked a few miles to Green Cove and got on the Virginia Creeper trail. The trail surface was similar to the New River Trail, another "rails to trails" project. We had a 15 mile all downhill ride to Damascus along a beautiful mountain stream. There are bridges across the stream every 1/2 mile or so. We'd stop at a lot of them to look for trout in the creek. We all wished we had our poles with us. After lunch in Damascus we biked another 16 miles to Abingdon. Mom and Dad have taken a shuttle back to Konnarock, I think I'm going to stay in Abingdon for the night. It's been really fun having them join me for a day here and there.

Posted by Dave at 04:57 PM | Comments (5)

July 29, 2002

New bike!

Wow, a new bike! Dad has filled you in on some of the details of the last couple days. I had a really fun time biking with them on Saturday. We had a good day for riding, some views from the Parkway and not extremely hot. I ended up biking a fair amount more after they drove home. I had an ice cream in Lexington and then camped near Natural Bridge. I saw the bridge yesterday morning, quite a natural wonder. It feels a little strange coming across it after seeing all these signs and getting a ticket, but it's still quite a sight. I biked a long day yesterday through beautiful valleys. Near the end of my day I ran across a couple cyclists out for rides. One was a young guy from Blacksburg, the other from Christianburg. Since those were two of my possible destinations I was getting some route information from them. The guy who lived in Christianburg, Greg, offered to let me pitch my tent in his back yard. I accepted since I really wasn't sure where I'd camp that night. He had a little farther to go away from Christianburg since he was out for a metric century. I headed towards Christianburg and we met up near the last few miles of climbing up to Christianburg. He lead me to his house, fixed a smoothie! let me use the shower! We went for a bite to eat in Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech. Then a short driving tour of campus. We came back to Christianburg and I collapsed on a pull out bed way past my bedtime, but happy. He also has high-speed Internet :)

Dad, Andrew, and the guys at Paceline really out did themselves. The new bike so far has been a dream machine in comparison to my old bike. The shifting is amazing, quite a range available, and so easy to move among the gears. Dad and Mom, I would love if you came out for another section of riding, it was wonderful riding with you.

Posted by Dave at 08:56 AM | Comments (3)

July 28, 2002

Touring Setup

daverockfishsmall.jpg

Posted by Dave at 06:11 PM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2002

On the road again

Dave is back on the TransAmerica trail. Suzie and I drove up to Charlottesville on Friday evening with a new bike. Dave's old bike just doesn't have strong enough wells, and no replacement parts were available. He is now riding a bomb proof touring bike built on a Surly Cross-Creek frame with Shimano 105 components set up for heavy touring. The wheels are 36 spoke tough 700X32 touring.

We all cycled around the UVa campus before a good Italian dinner on the pedestrian mall with Alex. Early Sat am we hit the road again, resuming from the point of David's breakdown at RockFish Gap, the Northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Suzie and I played leapfrog with the car, so we could ride with Dave, one at a time. We needed the break, as the Parkway is steep grades at this point, upto 3200 feet. After 30 miles, Dave and I rode down to Vesuvius Va; the steepest grade on the entire TransAm trail; down 2200 feet in 2 miles. Suzie took up riding with Dave along the South River, while I went foraging for lunch. We left Dave in mid afternoon, in a light warm rain as he cycled on towards a campground near Lexington Va. He is glad to be back on the trail; looking forward to meeting people and adventures.

If my digital pictures work out, I will try and post one tomorrow.

Suz and I had so much fun, we may try and catch up with him for another day of riding on Wednesday, while he is still within easy driving range of Winston-Salem. I might add that on step grades with fully loaded panniers, Dave easily pulls away from me, even when he is trying to ride a slow pace so I won't be dropped. And me, I am riding un loaded on a top end racing bike.

Posted by Dad at 08:03 PM | Comments (1)

July 25, 2002

Back in C'ville

After enjoying a day around town, visiting Monticello and the UVA campus, I left Charlottesville yesterday morning early and had a beautiful ride through some country roads and on up a big hill to Rockfish Gap. Just before the gap, in Afton, VA I visited with a very famous person along the TransAmerica trail, June Currey, or the Cookie Lady. She has been welcoming bikers to her door since the first cyclists inaugurated the BikeCentennial trail in 1976. She has a house next to hers called the bike house which is full of couches, postcards, photos, and much other memorabilia from touring cyclists. She lets people sleep in the house, cook, eat, or just relax. She keeps it stocked with food and drinks and takes your picture when you visit. Since '76 she has had over 11,000 bicyclists stop by. She has story after story about various people who have visited and become part of her life. All in all, a very special person, generous and loving.

After I got up to the gap I started climbing on the Blue Ridge Parkway. At the crest of a hill I realized I'd broken a spoke on my wheel. This was the second spoke so far which I thought was a lot this early in the trip. Unfortunately it was on the freewheel side of the wheel and I didn't have the tools to take off the freewheel. I coasted back to the gap with the rear wheel wobbling quite a bit. I called my friend Alex who has been wonderful to me and he drove from Charlottesville and picked me and my bike up. I was able to get the spoke replaced, but unable to get a new wheel which the mechanic said was the real solution. Also I couldn't find a freewheel remover for my Suntour freewheel. Not wanting to need a ride every few days I've decided after much good advice to purchase a new bicycle. So I am back in Charlottesville. My parents have contacted their bike store in Winston and I think I'm going to be getting a new bike tomorrow. My parents are driving up tomorrow and will join me biking for a day or two. So I'm not making the progress I was hoping for at this point, but of places along the trail to run into bike problems, this is one of the best. Many thanks to Alex for his hospitality in Charlottesville, and to my parents and brother for help and advice in getting a new bike. I hope to give my next update from down the road :)

Posted by Dave at 04:22 PM | Comments (3)

July 22, 2002

In Charlottesville

I've had some beautiful and tiring riding the last few days. As Mom wrote, I pushed a little hard the first day, but stayed in a beautiful state park at the end. A short day and a rest at Front Royal. I was up all hours enjoying Saturday night in Front Royal...Sunday morning early I started on Skyline Drive. I had a gorgeous ride with many hills. It was a hot day, but I got lucky with the shade mostly. Near the end of the day I was zipping down a hill and a black bear wandered on the road. He looked at me and then scampered across. I camped at a quiet campground after eating dinner at beautiful Big Meadows. Early this morning I passed a smaller (cub?) black bear as I cycled a few more miles on Skyline Drive. I came off the drive on 33 and meandered through some country roads to Charlottesville. I've driven through here, but never explored the town. I'm staying with my friend Alex Hang tonight, and probably tomorrow night. I'll go see Monticello tomorrow.

It's great to be underway. Already there have been some challenges, but I'm going to push on and I know it'll all be worthwhile. I want to thank everyone for their support, kind words, kind actions, and I'm sure warm thoughts. I had great help moving out of my place thanks to Surinder Thind, John Howard, and Li Lin. My mom helped me so much driving me back to DC and helping to clear the remainder of my apartment. Tehnaz came down and got the kitties. I'm really happy knowing they are in a loving home. Most of all, hearing your words of encouragement and love keeps me going!

Posted by Dave at 05:16 PM | Comments (8)

July 20, 2002

On Time Departure

David left from the Jefferson Memorial on Friday about 10am. He rode to the end of the bike trail (50miles), then 30 more miles to a nice campsite. He reports being a little tired :). Today he rode to Front Royal (20 miles), took a hotel room and gave his legs a chance to recover. He plans to ride the Skyline Drive, make his way to Charlottesville and spend the night with a friend there. He will then head west on the Transamerica Trail.

Posted by Mom at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2002

Welcome

Welcome to my online journal. I hope to update this site from time to time as I bike across the Unites States. I'm taking the TransAmerica/BikeCentennial trail from Yorktown, VA to Astoria, OR. I'm leaving July 19 from Washington, DC at the Jefferson Memorial, hence the title of my journal. I'll join the TransAmerica trail near Charlottesville, VA on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Posted by Dave at 10:45 AM | Comments (9)