Yesterday we took our son and went to visit the Virginia Creeper trail. It’s 2.5 hrs from our home and was an easy drive. We got up at 4:30 am and left by 5.22am. Watching the sun rise as we entered the mountains was lovely. When we got to Damascus we paid for the shuttle and then road up to Green Cove station. The first three miles of the trail before that was closed. It was all of 60 glorious degrees as we started out, reveling in the coolness of the morning after having had a week where temps reached 101 in our area. The forest was deep, dark green and the trail followed a babbling stream that became as river as we rode. Average mph going down the mountain was 13-15 without even pedaling! That part was really fun. We stopped frequently to let Josh stop and play on rocks in the stream. I took recordings of the sounds of the stream to listen to on hot, dry days:>. At one stop a rider who started with us at the top let me try out her Surly Cross check bike. I think I’m in love! It was so easy to get up the hill with that bike. Totally different configuration to my hybrid grocery getter. The trail is the bed of an old rail road track and was separated from local traffic except for a few careful road crossings. Down in Damascus we stopped for ice cream and to eat our packed lunch and I had the opportunity to speak with a Touring cyclist from Chapel Hill who was riding the TransAmerican Bikeway to Colorado. He was tall, lean, and in his 60s.
As the day crept on we got further and further up the trail. We started by coasting down a mountain then the trail leveled off and you had to start pedaling. 90% of the trail users quit in Damascus (this is what smart people call a Clue!). We continued on at Josh and Ryan’s urgings up the trail which gradually ascended up to Abingdon, Va. Sadly it was pedaling all the way up and most of the way back down with very little coasting. At the top of the trail beside the parking lot was a Yarn Store!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could have cried though cause it was closed down. Imagine my delight at finding a yarn store after 33 miles of bicycling!!! We stopped back down at Alverado Station for a light dinner and I had a lovely chat with a local farmer who raised Dorset’s and a breed of hair sheep. Sadly he shears and tosses the fleece in the trash. I told him I’d follow him home if he had fleece he needed to rehome:>. Remember how the day started for us at 4:30 am (and we hadn’t gotten to bed before 1am) so 8:30pm found us rolling up to our car back in Damascus having gone 50.75 miles. Actual on bike ride time was 5 hrs 20 minutes 25 sec which including the uphills and the downhills. Considering my goal for the fall was to get to the point where I could ride 35 miles I’m pretty happy! 35 miles of the 50 was pedaling. I now understand why they sell padded bike shorts though. I’m thinking of finding the casserole ice pack and just sitting on it all day:>. Josh was asking to go further still but we packed up and he was soon asleep in the back. Coal dust covered us from head to toe but we just took off Josh’s socks and let him snooze on thru morning.