Day 3: The Crawl Before You Walk Day
From: Glendale, VA
To: Ashland, VA
Distance: 38.80 miles
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Sleeping in a church is like sleeping anywhere else. Except with really high ceilings. And with lots of windows. And pulpits. And pews. And hymn books.
I woke up a couple of times during the night sweating like crazy, and I don’t know if that was ‘cause my sleeping bag is just so awesome or I’d caught a bit of a chill from the rain riding. Every time I woke up, I could still hear the rain.
Ugh, so glad to be indoors!
When light finally broke, I was snug and comfy in my bright yellow cocoon. Guess what? Still raining. I didn’t want to get up at all. But I also didn’t want to overstay my welcome, so quietly extracted myself from its warm embrace.
For the next half hour, I dawdled getting my stuff organized and discovering what had dried since yesterday. Pretty much everything was wearable again, minus the booties and the shoes. Both of those were still damp. And the gloves.
The plan was to leave by around 8, but then I started writing the Day 2 entry and looking at photos and before I knew it, it was 9. I was then caught in a mad rush to pack everything into the trailer because I didn’t want to be shlubbing around there all stinky and bedraggled when the pastor turned up at 10am.
Finally, I got my act together and put rubber to the road by 9.30, having signed the guest book and cleaned up my mess before I closed the door on this episode of my adventure.
The breakfast in Glendale was…interesting. I procured a small cup of coffee at the gas station, which admittedly hit the spot, and then spied what I thought was a serving area for breakfast sandwiches. They looked hot and ready in their little foil jackets. But when I inquired as the to contents, I felt my snob gene raise its hackles when it heard “Cheeseburger, Rib burger, BBQ burger, Bacon Cheeseburger and Fish burger.” The man behind the counter then pointed out the wings and fried chicken pieces, just in case I hadn’t seen them glistening there in a post-dawn hot lamp.
“Oh,” I said. A small, disappointed exhalation.
I suppose 9.30 isn’t too early for a burger. Is it? I got the fish, which I figured would be the least offensive and stood outside eating it and sipping my coffee.
The rain had stopped. The sky continued to give me the eye.
As for the ride itself, it was quite uneventful. Lovely stretches in wooded areas, a lot more rolling rises than yesterday. Menacing skies taunting me to put my rain jacket back on in readiness for the onslaught of rain that never came.
Miles ticked by.
At one point, I entertained the idea of going hard in an attempt to get to Mineral and stay at the firehouse. It’s one of the points I see mentioned most in TransAmerica posts. About how generous and supportive they are. That you can use the showers and do your laundry. But some quick math had me arriving at 6.30pm. And that’s a little late, and truth be told it would probably be closed to 7.
I really have to start getting myself organized a lot earlier in the day so I can reach destinations and have time to look around!
Rolling into Ashland, I felt a few minor spits of rain and that was enough to push me over the edge of ‘screw it, I’ll get a hotel here’. As I was rolling down the street on one side of the railroad tracks, a trio of touring cyclists on the other gave me a wave and a holler. I waved back and said I’d turn around to come chat – I was running parallel to the tracks and needed to find a crossing.
This was a bit of a monster chat. About routes and gearing and Precious. I think ol’ P got a bit snarky when I lost my hold on him, and Zimmerman the Belligerent pulled him into the park position in front of spectators. How embarrassing for him!
These cyclists had ridden down from Maine and were nearing the end of their tour. They met just 14 days earlier, so I guess strangers riding together works out ok. We exchanged cards, and two of them who lived locally gave me their numbers in case I got in any bother while in Virginia. We talked a long time. Mineral was definitely out of the picture.
While standing there, I realized the error of my ways in choosing the Inn I had found on Yelp. It was right next to the railway tracks. In the short time I’d been yakking away, 2 Amtraks and a freight train had gone past. That doesn’t bode well for a good night’s sleep.
I am now currently bunkered in a hotel nowhere near trains. My laundry is done, things are dry, and I’ve even got myself organized enough to call the parental units.
Early start tomorrow! (she said, meaning it, but ready for the whole plan to get scuppered by a comfy bed and super-soft pillows.)
Go to Next Day > Day 4, Ashland to Crashland