Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

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Check back here daily to read about our progress in our cross-country bicycle tour to benefit the FFB.
Recent postings will appear at the top of the page. All posts have links on the right.
Please feel free to leave comments for all to read!

Be sure to check out for more information about
the FFB, our motivation, retinal degenerative diseases, and more.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Day 4: Ashland, VA to Mineral VA (60 miles, 168 miles total)

Today, we got lost. It was supposed to be a nice 40 mile day, but we somehow made a wrong turn and ended up in the wrong county! Despite that, we still had great day. All morning we kept saying how beautiful everything was. The sounds and smells are the best, definitely not the experience you get from the confines of a car. That has also led to an overabundance of mucus. Both of us are allergy sufferers and we are feeling them out here. Nothing too major though. We are also really glad we aren't doing this ride west to east. The temps right now are in the 50's and 60's. August would be quite a different story.

We woke up at about seven, and scrutted some free continental breakfast at our $40 hotel. By the way, the hotel was way worth 40 bucks. We showered, slept on a real mattress with pillows, I washed some clothes in the sink, and we ate free breakfast... not bad for a couple of twenties.

We rolled out of Ashland a little past eight and quicky found ourselves cycling through some beautiful farmland. Wheat fields surrounded us on all sides, and traffic was extremely light.

At one point we passed a farm house with two young horses in the yard. I stopped and whistled at them. They approached hesitantly until Anne Katherine road up and called to them. They came trotting up to the fense eagerly. I guess I don't know how to speak horse. She spent a few minutes petting them and scratching their ears; all three loved it! As we rolled on, the horses followed us along the fence. It was as if they wanted A.K. to stay there all day.

On we went, and I guess we were enjoying the scenery too much and somehow missed a turn. In our defense, we've discovered many crossroads are without signs. But anyway, we rode ten miles out of our way before it became obvious that we were nowhere near Bumpass, the next town on our route. We flagged down a Virginia Department of Transportation crew. They stopped their trucks and shared their maps with ours. "You're in the wrong county!" they said. We got going the right direction and with the help of a few more friendly drivers we finally joined the TransAm route again in Bumpass, after a 20 mile detour.

We stopped in a local market for water, Gatorade, ice cream and a slim-jim beef stick (the slim-jim was snubbed by A.K. and she made me drink Gatorade because she said my breath smelled so bad), all good stuff for tired cyclists. While I wasn't paying attention, a local woman noticed our little signs about our ride for the FFB and slipped a 20 dollar donation into the gloves hanging from my handlebars. She almost snuck away before I was able to thank her. That is our second on-road donation.

The last 16 miles to Mineral took us past Lake Anna. The lake was big and very empty; it looked like it offers some prime, glassy waterskiing.

Exhausted, we pulled into Mineral. We had heard that the local volunteer fire department lets cyclists camp in the field behind their firehouse for free. When we showed up, the place looked empty, but soon a fireman named Brandon arrived and invited us in. He welcomed us and told us we could camp in the yard or sleep in the firehouse. As far as I am concerned, if we don't have to pitch the tent, we don't have to put it away in the morning, so inside it is. He told us we were welcome to use the kitchen, and he showed us the way to the local market.

In minutes, we were off to the store. We came back with green beans, chicken pot pies, pork 'n' beans (for me), and a can of beer (for me)! We just chowed down all the food and it feels good to be full.

The firehouse is really impressive. The have just added on to it and have begun to renovate the inside. Brandon took a few minutes to tell us about their three trucks and wagon. I guess it has been a long time since I've seen one up close, but those trucks are really amazing.
As we were typing this, a call came in and we ran outside to watch one of the trucks pull out. It was pretty exciting!

Tomorrow we have a 60 mile ride to Charlottesville. Maggie Beights, A.K.'s good friend from college is in Charlottesville and we are excited to see her. The plan is to stay with her, get a shower and maybe do some laundry. It will be a nice rest before we attack the major mountains of Virginia. Plus, tomorrow's ride will have some decent hills as well. Hopefully we can stay on the route!


From A.K. - Just to update you on the physical side, Jeff said this morning that he could feel his rump - not normal for him. I, on the other hand, am worked. The Aleve regimen is working to relieve the pain in my back, but my legs are super weary. Though I am stretching a lot, the tightness and fatigue just don't let up. I'm worried about the mountains ahead, but I know I'll get over them somehow!

My dad is still hanging in there. The docs say they only see upper ribs broken in a severe car accidents or a fall from several stories up. As he broke 5 of those upper ribs, understandably, every move he makes is excruciating. We still expect him to be in the hospital for a few more days.


At May 17, 2005 6:12 PM, Anonymous said...

AK - I am glad that your dad in hanging in. I was really sorry to hear about his accident - tell him all who are reading your daily journal are wishing him a speedy recovery!! As for you, keep up the Aleve and I'm sure that the soreness will improve with time!
Jeff - Enjoy the PBR! I am surprised to hear that AK is a horse whisperer - guess you learn a lot about a person when you are biking across the country together (or reading about someone else's cross-country adventure while avoiding work).
Anna :)

At May 17, 2005 6:31 PM, Anonymous said...

This is the first time I have ever heard of Jeff choosing to NOT pitch a tent. But I guess when you are biking across the country you have to make sacrifices. And as for getting lost just think of it as extra training for the mountains. That is awsome that people are dropping $$ on you guys along the way.

At May 17, 2005 6:32 PM, Anonymous said...

I almost forgot. Take lots of pictures.

At May 18, 2005 6:31 AM, Anonymous said...

Hey guys,
Thanks for the updates. It's fun to read about your progress. I'll be thinking of your dad, AK. I hope that he heals quickly. Unbelievable that Jeff's bum hurts. That's a first victory for the bike seat!
Be safe!

At May 18, 2005 11:56 AM, Anonymous said...

AK - I am glad to hear that your Dad is okay -- let him know that we are all thinking about him.

I love reading your updates on your journey across the US. I feel like I can go along with you on your bike ride! Take care and be safe. ALA

At May 18, 2005 2:04 PM, Anonymous said...

Since I've been telling just about everyone I see how you guys are doing, I have big hellos from my parents, RaNae, and Jakob McLean.
My parents especially want to send on their best wishes to your family.
Now don't forget to ice that ass!


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