I got off to an early start today and made good progress from Mechanicsville toward Ashland, the next town on the route. The area between the two was pretty heavily populated, but after Ashland I entered rural Virginia – an area with a lot of farms, and a lot of logging. Logging was obvious everywhere and is apparently the areas largest export.
The weather this morning was great for riding, it wasn’t as hot as yesterday and there was a cooling wind (shame it was a head wind!). I Reached Mineral, a place that I had considered as a destination for the day, about 60 miles away from Mechanicsville by about 1.00 and decided to push on about another 25 miles to Palmyra.
It was at rhis point that my day started to get interesting – I was assured by the guy at the garage where I bought lunch that there would be camping at Palmyra. There was a campsite there, but it was shut for the summer – so were the other 4 that I tried in the area. This left me no choice but to push on to Charlottesville, which was a lot furtherdown the road – and a seriously hilly road it proved to be!
I really got a feeling today of why Virginia has the greatest total elevation on the route. This entire portion of the state seems to be comprised of rollercoaster hills which are a nightmare as the narrow bridges at the bottom prevet you from carrying any momentum up th other side. I also had my first experience of dogs today – I was chased by two medium sized ones that managed to chase me for about 500 meters despite me pedaling furiously. The owners just seem to leave their dogs to their own devices – just letting them roam. I’ll have to get some pepper spray soon.
About 10 miles outside of Charlottesville the weather changed quickly and I was caught put in a pretty heavy thunderstorm that made the last couple of miles interesting. Even when I had reached Charlottesville i had to look hard for a motel with the first 3 places being fully booked. By the time I stopped I had registered the biggest distance I think I have ever covered in 1 day by bike – 119 miles. I am now out of the weather and drying my gear out by the fan. I think I’ll have a bit of a lie in tomorrow and try not to go as far!