Posted by: rustymccain | July 24, 2011

Washington and Lee and Ray and Me

Today’s ride got off to a great start. I mentioned yesterday that we (or I should say “I”) decided to try an interstate ride. Today was nothing like that. We got off to a little earlier start due to the excessive heat and long distance in the hills of the Shenandoah Valley. Our motel was a little off the mapped course, so we worked our way back to the course and enjoyed a flying downhill ride for the first mile. Life was good. Then we got to the bottom of the hill and it just didn’t feel right so I stopped Ray. After a 5 minute team meeting, we realized we were right on course. However, we were going toward San Francisco. Not a good thing, So we had to climb back up the hill we just rode to get back to mile 0. Not the best of starts, but we finally got it straight.

Riding near Christiansburg, VA

Within 5 minutes, we were in the country again. It was a very warm but another beautiful morning for us to enjoy. We are both totally worn out, so the going was slow and we settled into a pace that both could handle and just enjoyed the ride, knowing we would eventually roll into Lexington, our goal, some 90 miles away.

Sunday morning traffic was super light which made for a comfortable ride. We ran into a lot of cyclists. However, none of them were touring. They were all roadies. We figured that we were on one of the popular local courses. While we did not stop to talk, it was still good to see them all.

Farm near Catawba, VA

We had no services for the first 28 miles or so of our ride, but we did stop at the village of Catawba, just to rest for bit. While there, a lady drove up to ask directions and we made a new friend. Miki is a really nice person who was searching for the location of the wedding of a friend. We were able to help her because we had just been on the road she needed. She was very encouraging to us about our ride. She is a professor at Vassar College. What are the odds of meeting a Vassar College Professor on the back roads of Virginia on a Sunday morning while riding bikes? Great fun.

We rode on, eventually making it on to the village of Buchanan. Along the way we ran into several old farms that had signs that read like a history book; Circa 1778, Circa 1802, Circa 1848. It is amazing to see all of the history. One particularly beautiful home was Circa 1806 and it was right beside the interstate. I couldn’t understand that, with all the land available to them in 1806, why would they build right by the interstate? Go figure.

Near Dalewood, VA

The weather was heating up, clouds were building toward afternoon thunderstorms and we were dead tired, but we kept turning the pedals over. Soon, we were cruising into the town of Lexington. Lexington is a lovely, historic town and home to Washington and Lee University and VMI. Really a treat to see all the history there. It looks like a town to make a note for a re-visit and spend some more time there.

Ruggedly handsome dude I met riding

We made the long day. By taking a few chances and getting a bit off the map, we saved a couple of miles and ended up with 90 miles for the day. Tomorrow, we try to squeeze out one more huge climb up and over the Blue Ridge mountains. After that, we should be able to start thinking about…the next day. One day at a time. We are still in good spirits. Wish us luck tomorrow!


  1. I love the self-portrait! It’s great to see you’re smiling face. Enjoy your last week!!!

  2. Ruggedly handsome guy,
    Impressed by your dogged – pardon the term – determination, pedaling on through heat and humidity, up hills that seem vertical. Glad to read that you are well on pace to complete the journey on schedule. I not only enjoy each blog but am learning alot.

  3. Have a good last week of riding. I know you are happy it’s about over but sad it’s about over. Good stuff.

  4. Bring it home.

  5. You are correct Rusty that a return trip is in order to Washington and Lee. You must go and visit the grave of Robert E. Lee as well as the grave of his horse; both are on the campus. You and Ray enjoy the remaining rides. Your efforts are motivating for sure.

  6. Rusty, I saw two old friends yesterday. One of them asked me how my bike trip went…I soon figured out they thought you were me. You’ll have to forgive them…they had just finished Music City and I’m sure they were suffering from brain damage…lol. Now I know people have confused John Minton and myself for years and years…somebody asked John on Saturday if he and I were twins…but that’s the first time anyone has confused me with someone who is 10 inches taller than myself.

    Oh…that other old friend was your gorgeous wife.

    Just a few days of fun left…enjoy them all!

  7. You two are so close! Rooting you on BIG TIME from Boulder. xoxo

  8. You’re traveling in some of my favorite country. Lexington is special. Will be so sad when your interesting travelogs end, but imagine you will both be very happy to wet your toes in the Atlantic. Savor every minute as it will soon be a memory.

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