Posted by: rustymccain | July 23, 2011

A Weekend with Virginia

The Virginia countryside is really amazing. This part of our ride is more like a history tour than a bicycle tour. Every town and village has reminders of a very active past. This holds true from the tiniest villages that have been long since been slowly suffocated by the nearby interstate to the larger cities that have survived and thrived. Only on a bicycle will you see a lot of this history.

As I mentioned yesterday, it is humbling to see where so many others have lived their lives, some to a historic end that we may all know, but many others just living their lives. All of it makes you just that much more curious to know more. I have learned that someone could spend their entire life simply travelling and learning just small parts of the rich history of this country.

Wildflowers near Wytheville, VA

Enough commentary on life, I will move on to today’s ride. We kept the adage intact that “there are no easy rides.” Tomorrow’s ride we figure to be close to 100 miles. Then on Monday we cross the Blue Ridge with a massive climb. I am thinking the Trek electric-assist bicycle would be a great option for me at this point. But alas, pedaling is still the only option we have.

With two hard days coming up, we had hoped that today was going to be an “easy” ride of 55 miles or so. It was a beautiful ride, it was a fun ride, but it was not an easy ride! Looks like we are going to finish this adventure with none of those. I am not complaining, but it is one of the lessons we have learned on this trip. Riding day after day, not knowing the terrain, and carrying everything you need with you on the bike requires a much different mindset that preparing for the group ride on a weekend. I think we have made the adjustment pretty well, but it has been an adjustment.

Near Newbern, VA

Today was filled with rolling hills in the beautiful Western Virginia countryside. There was enough climbing to challenge our tired legs. We have gotten to the point where sometimes we simply say, “That hurts”. That is all the energy we can muster. The other guy usually just grunts agreement. However, we made some great memories. One was riding on a road that was filled with wildflowers on both sides and two mountain ranges in the distance. The other was riding for 3-4 miles right beside the New River into Radford, VA. And yet another was the Number 1 combo at Arby’s when we pedaled into Radford.

Thunderstorms were building as we cruised into Christiansburg, so we were anxious to find our motel. It was a little off route, so we had a little trouble finding it. You might say a lot of trouble since I caught myself riding down the entrance ramp into an interstate. I turned to tell Ray we had made a mistake, but he was at the top of the ramp. He is a little smarter than me.

Near Max Meadows, VA

We made it to our destination, a ride of 56 miles in dry weather. We had time to do laundry today. We needed that. Buzzards were starting to point us out to each other and dive-bombing our bags. The next two days will be a challenge, but then it’s all downhill to the beach! Thanks to all of you who are reading and commenting. We hope to be able to thank you individually in person or via email when this is all done. Your support has made a fun adventure a great adventure!



  1. Two more hard days… Sunday and Monday… then it’s downhill for Tue, Wed, and Thur. 5 days guys. You can make it.

  2. Hope all goes well the rest of your ride. Have a good one and thanks for the updates.

  3. I have told many of your journey and have sent the blog address as well. Ray will know Bill McCord and others from college.

  4. You 2 still amaze me…stars of the biker world..we will cross into Va, tomorrow… the hills have turned into mountains!!

  5. Keep going! Melonie and I had dinner with Gail last night. We talked about your adventures (and misadventures with a certain pack of dogs…sorry to hear about that Rusty). The commentaries are great Rusty.

  6. I saw Gail in court this morning, but she was able to leave before I wa able to speak to her. You guys are awesome.Bill and I have read every blog entry and can’t wait for the next entry. You’re almost there and we are so proud of your accomplishment!

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