Day 1: Ride hard, and don't look back!
DAY 1! Well, we got this show on the road — and if the first day is any indicator, it's going to be dramatic. Along the ride, Beau asked me what my Top 3 Concerns were for this trip; it took me a moment, but my answers were... 1) Not letting all the smaller (or even medium-sized) inevitable concerns throw me off too much. Rolling with it. Remembering to keep some chill and some cheer through the many bumps in the road that are certainly on their way. 2) Improvising, especially when it comes to camping. Like, figuring out where to sleep for the night if we realize we can't make it as far as we planned in a given day. 3) Physical endurance.
The thing is, though, #1 is really the pole star, the thing I want to be consistently reminding myself to navigate by. We just got married. Also, we're biking across the flippin' country. If we can just keep rolling—through all the trivial frustrations and tiring, confusing, overwhelming moments and on towards all the amazing discovery and beauty—we're doing pretty good.
But enough philosophy! Here are some STATS! Okay:
Day 1: Virginia Beach to Surrey, VA. 67 miles. 1 ferry. 2 rainstorms.
We started off bright and early in C'Ville, where we hitched our steeds to my beloved mum's little Honda and she very kindly drove us on down to the coast. Technically, the TransAmerica Bike Trail (which we're basically following) starts in Yorktown, VA. But Yorktown is on a river, and (being perverse completionists) we wanted to dip our back wheels in the real-live ATLANTIC OCEAN. So we started out at the Neptune Statue in Virginia Beach. FYI: it is NOT EASY to push a FULLY LOADED bike through the sand all the way down to the water.
It didn't take us long after pushing off to realize exactly why the TBT starts in Yorktown. It was slow going getting out of VA Beach, with a bunch of road construction and stop-and-start riding — not so much the Scenic Route. Eventually we made it to Norfolk and the ferry across to Portsmouth...
(Ferry tickets are $2 each but we had no exact change, and didn't realize it was mandatory, so we ended up accidentally buying $20 worth of ferry tickets and gifting all the extras to other ferry riders. Yay being nice!) The minute we wheeled on shore in Portsmouth, RAIN. Lots of it. We hid under a covered walkway for almost an hour waiting for it to let up. Meanwhile, Beau serenaded us (hooray for the brave little Hondo guitar!). Eventually, we just took off because we didn't want to lose any more time. We got wet. Woo!
Once we finally made it out of the Norfolk area, the land started opening up. Lots of long stretches of farmland — dense, incredible fields of corn and (we think?) soybeans. Tidewater forests with roots deep in water almost like a bayou. Among other things, a very adorable town called Smithfield. Our goal was Chippokes Plantation State Park, which is only a few miles away from the Jamestown Ferry. We made it to the park and pitched camp later than we wanted, but mostly — we made it! There were cheap beers and quick sandwiches in our tent before crashing. Thank god (or, I guess, the internet) we put the rainfly on, cuz it poured again during the night... And again as we were packing up camp in the morning. Trying to stuff a wet tent into a bag at top speed so that you can start pedaling before you and everything else gets even wetter is... Well, 3/10. Do not recommend.
But wait! That's DAY 2! I've gotten ahead of myself already. More soon. On we ride...
Bonus pic! Beau goes Accidental Wes Anderson...