This morning we both left the campground at the same time, planning to meet again in Yorktown.


Our campsite on the Chickahominy.


The weather was again perfect for riding.  The first 7 miles of my route was on another section of the Capital Trail.


The Capital Trail, near Jamestown, VA


In Jamestown the Capital trail ended.  I then followed the Colonial Parkway to Williamsburg, VA.  The parkway follows the James river before turning across the peninsula towards Williamsburg.


The Colonial Parkway near Jamestown, VA



The James river as seen from Colonial Parkway near Jamestown, VA



Brick bridge over the Colonial Parkway near Williamsburg, VA


In Williamsburg, I left the parkway for a few miles to ride through the city, then returned to the parkway for the rest of the ride.  After Williamsburg the parkway continues crossing the peninsula reaching the York River, then continues to Yorktown.


The York River, near Yorktown, VA



I watched this crabbing boat on the York River as he was setting pots.


I soon reached Yorktown, where Vicki was waiting for me at the Yorktown Battlefield National Park. From there I rode to the Yorktown Victory Monument, the end of our trip.  The monument was about an eighth of a mile away.  Vicki Followed in the RV.


The Yorktown Victory Monument, Yorktown, VA



The end of the trip.



Vicki and I near the monument. Behind us is the mouth of the York River and the Chesapeake Bay.


The trip has been a great experience for both so us.  I can truthfully say that I have enjoyed every day on the road.  I am neither happy nor sad that it is done, I just feel a sense of satisfaction in the completion of an endeavor.

Although our travels will continue in the RV, with the completion of the bike trip I will no longer be posting to this blog.  I hope that you who have followed this trip on the blog hove enjoyed the journey along with us.  Thank you, to all who have left comments.

Dave Mckenna

Miles today: 31    Total miles: 4,111


The first half of today’s ride would re-trace the path of Union General George B. McClellan’s withdrawal from Richmond over 7 days in June and July of 1862.  If McClellan had been successful in capturing the confederate capitol, the Civil War might have ended in 1862.  General Robert E. Lee had commanded the confederate army for less than a month, when he drove the Union army from the outskirts of Richmond in spite of being greatly outnumbered.  My starting point, in Mechanicsville, was about a mile from McClellan’s closest approach to Richmond.  After beginning my ride I first passed the site of the battle of Gains’ Mill.  Just down the road from Gaines’ Mill is the site of the Battle of Cold Harbor, which took place much later in the war in June of 1864.

Garthright House was used as a Union field hospital during the battle of Cold Harbor in June of 1864. Almost 100 Union soldiers died at the house and were buried in the front yard. In 1866 the bodies were removed to the Cold Harbor National Cemetery, across the road from the house.

This area was not forest at the time of the battle, but was open farmland with no natural cover. Troops dug trenches in which to take cover. The hole in this picture is one of the many well preserved trenches in this area.

My route next turned south, Crossed the Chickahominy River, and climbed to the top of a hill on the other side.  There stood Trent House, The site of McClellan’s command center for the 1862 siege of Richmond.

Trent House, built in the mid 1700's, is about 7 miles east of downtown Richmond, VA.

It was at Trent House on the night of the battle of Gaines’ Mill that McClellan and his officers decided that their plans to capture Richmond had failed and that they would retreat to the James River.
I continued south past Savage’s Station, then across White Oak Swamp.  It was here that Union soldiers were able to burn the bridge over the creek and delay General “Stonewall” Jackson’s army’s  pursuit by a day.  General Jackson led about a third of Lee’s army.  This delay was one of the factors that helped the Union army to successfully cover their retreat at the battle of Glendale. I continued past the site of the battle of Glendale and the Glendale National Cemetery, then on to the site of the battle of Malvern Hill.

Cannons placed to mark the Union artillery positions at Malvern Hill, southeast of Richmond, VA

Malvern Hill was a great place for the Union to make a stand.  The terrain would funnel the confederates towards them up a hill with no cover.  The battle of Malvern Hill was won by the Union army insuring their escape to the James River and ending the campaign.  Malvern Hill Battlefield, part of Richmond National Battlefield Park,  is said to be one of the most well preserved Civil War battlefields in the nation.  The forests and fields are kept in much the same state as they were at the time of the battle.

Just past Malvern Hill I rode this very lightly traveled road through forest.

On the side of the road there was a 4 foot tall wall of vegatation which hid me and allowed me to photograph this herron and group of egrets.

The last part of the route today took me along the James River on Highway 5.  For about 9 miles, I was able to ride on the Capital Trail.  It is a paved bicycle path which runs next to Highway 5.  It is not yet complete, but when it is it will run from Richmond to Williamsburg.

The Capital Trail west of Charles City.

The section of the trail that I was on ended at Charles City, so I rode most of the rest of the way on Highway 5.  Just before crossing the Chickahominy River, the trail resumed, so I rode the trail over the bridge and into Chickahominy Riverfront Park on the other side.

The Chickahominy River. We camped on the peninsula that can just be seen on the right.

The capital Trail is well seperated from the auto traffic lanes on the Chickahominy River Bridge.

Vicki had left this morning at the same time as I, and had already secured a nice campsite right on the river well before my arrival.

Miles today: 55    Total miles: 4,080

Posted by: bikedave | September 16, 2010

September 16, Mineral, VA to Mechanicsville, VA

I started riding today at about 8:00 in Mineral.  The route first took me north to Lake Anna.

Lake Anna, near Bumpass, VA

I rode through the town of Bumpass, VA, and past a place called Coatesville, VA. Then on to Ashland VA.  The roads were lightly traveled between Mineral and Ashland, but between Ashland and Mechanicsville the traffic was heaver.

Yesterday and today I have been seeing some corn and bean fields. Near Bumpass, VA

Near Coatesville, VA

This log house was built in 1843. It is said that "Stonewall" Jackson stopped here for water in 1862. North of Ashland, VA

This huge horse stable is near Ashland, VA

I stopped here to eat my lunch. The bench was placed near the road by the landowner for the use of passing cyclists. Near Ashland, VA

I rode through the town of Ashland, then on to Mechanicsville, VA.  Vicki had arrived about an hour ahead of me.  I found Vicki and ended my ride for the day.

Miles today: 62    Total miles: 4,025

Posted by: bikedave | September 15, 2010

September 15, Charlottesville, VA to Mineral, VA

This morning we both left Charlottesville by different routes.  Vicki headed for the interstate while I picked up where I left off on the west side of town and headed east.  I was soon riding in front of the University of Virginia.

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. This building was designed by Thomas Jefferson.

This bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson stands in front of the university.

On the south east side of town there is a multi-use trail that ends at Monticello, Jefferson’s home.  My planned route went right past Monticello, so I took the Saunders-Monticello Trail instead of the highway.

The beginning of the Saunders-Monticello Trail near Charlottesville, VA

Here I am on the trail.

There are quite a few of these elevated boardwallks on the trail.

I followed the trail to Monticello, hoping to see the house, but I would have had to leave my bike and buy a ticket on the shuttle bus.  I wasn’t going to do either, but I did have a nice ride around the Monticello parking lot.
The roads I rode on today were lightly to moderately traveled.  I rode through farming areas and residential areas.  I saw both huge estates and trailer homes.

This road west of Palmyra, VA is typical of the roads I was on today.

The Holland Page Place, built by John Benjamin Page in 1865. East of Palmyra, VA

There were lots of these yellow flowers on the roadsides today.

I ended my ride today in the small town of Mineral, VA.  Vicki had found a place to park on the northeast side of town.

Miles today: 59    Total miles: 3,963

Posted by: bikedave | September 15, 2010

September 14, Vesuvias, VA to Charlottesville, VA

Near Greenwood, VA.

Vicki was feeling better this morning so we began traveling again. We left Vesuvias traveling initially in opposite directions.  I headed south towards the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Vicki headed north towards the interstate.  We would meet later in Charlottesville, VA.
The first four miles of the trip would take me up a long hill to join the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The lower sections of the hill were very steep, but after the half way point the hill became just steep.

Highway 56 southeast of Vesuvias, VA.

Just as I reached the parkway, Vicki called to tell me she had reached Charlottesville safely.  I had only gone 4 miles!  Truly, Traveling Slowly.

The Blue Ridge Parkway bridge over Highway 56.

The view to the southeast from the parkway.

Just like the name implies the Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  There are many overlooks on the roadsides with great views both to the east and west.  The parkway has two wide lanes with no shoulder.  The speed limit is 45 mph and no trucks are permitted.  On the Tuesday morning that I rode the parkway there was light traffic, most of it in the opposite direction, southbound.

A few trees are beginning to show fall colors.

... but there are still plenty of roadside flowers.

Looking northwest from the parkway.

I rode to the north end of the parkway at Rockfish Gap, VA, then began to make my way to Charlottesville on a series of small country roads.

Near Afton, VA

Near Greenwood, VA

Not very far past Greenwood, I rode past a large peach orchard.  They had a fruit stand which was open so I stopped and bought two ripe peaches.  They were very good, but not as good as the ones that I get each summer on Territorial Hwy near Clear Lake Road.
Vicki had found a nice shady place to park in Charlottesville.  When I arrived we loaded up the bike and went looking for a place to spend the night.

Miles today: 59    Total miles: 3,904

Posted by: bikedave | September 15, 2010

September 12 & 13, Rest Days

Unfortunately,   Vicki developed a bad headache on Saturday night.  We rested Sunday and Monday so she could feel better.

Posted by: bikedave | September 14, 2010

September 11, Buchanan, VA to Vesuvias, VA

Our nations flag flies at half mast on the parade ground of the Virginia Military Institute on September 11, 2010.

Nine years ago this morning, I was in Philomath, OR with Jim Connors, who was training me to run his truck while he was off on a planned medical leave.  I first heard the news of the attacks on the World Trade Center from Jim after his wife called him on his cell phone.  It’s hard to believe that 9 years has passed since that day.
This morning we left Buchanan, VA at 8:30 by different routes with plans to meet up in Lexington, VA.  The first 10 miles of my route was on frontage roads adjacent to interstate 81.  Sometimes the interstate was within sight of my route and sometimes it was not, but I was always close enough to hear the constant noise form the traffic.  It was surprising to find how annoying the noise was after becoming used to the quiet of country roads.  I was happy to finally turn north, away from the interstate, near Natural Bridge, VA.

Near Natural Bridge, VA

When I stopped to take this big boy's picture, he stopped eating, looked up and gave me the evil eye.

Buffalo Creek near Lexington, VA

Of all the states I’ve been through, Virginia has been the most consistent in the posting of signs marking the Bicentennial Bicycle Route.

Bicentennial Bicycle Route sign near Lexington, VA.

I met up with Vicki in Lexington, VA.  Together we took a self guided walking tour of old Lexington.  Vicki is very interested in the history of the Civil War, so this was a special day for her.  We visited Lee’s Chapel on the Washington and Lee University campus, the site of General Robert E. Lee’s burial.  Next we walked through the Virginia Military Institute and went to the VMI museum.  Finally, we visited the grave of General Thomas Jonathan “”Stonewall” Jackson. The day had started out sunny but had become overcast by the time we were in Lexington, perfect weather for walking.

The home of "Stonewall" Jackson. (1800)

Washington Hall (1824), Washington and Lee University Campus

Close up of the statue of George Washington in a roman toga on top of the Washington Hall cupola.

Lee Chapel, (1867) site of General Lee's burial.

Vicki was thrilled to visit VMI.

Statue of "Stonewall" Jackson at the General's grave site.

Vicki was thrilled to walk the same streets where these great men had once also walked.
After our tour of old Lexington, I got back on the bike and rode to the town of Vesuvius,VA. Vicki drove on ahead to wait for me.  Other than a few steep hills, the grade was slightly uphill as the road followed the South River upstream to Vesuvius.

Near Vesuvius, VA

The South River near Vesuvius, VA.

Miles today: 47    Total miles: 3,845

Posted by: bikedave | September 10, 2010

September 10, Christiansburg, VA to Buchanan, VA

This morning before beginning to ride,  we drove over to Mickey D’s for some internet access, Egg McMuffins and coffee.  After updating the blog, we drove to where I stopped riding on Wednesday, unloaded me and the bike, then we both headed for Buchanan, VA.
The weather today was perfect for riding.  It was clear, not too cool in the morning, and in the afternoon there was a nice breeze to keep me cool.  The route was over mostly gentle hills.  There were a few steep hills and a few longer climbs, but for the most part it was easy going with a downhill bias.  I ended the day 1000 feet below my starting elevation.

Leaving Christiansburg, I passed this old train depot that had been converted into retail space.

Near Ellett, VA, I watched these deer cross the road in front of me, then run across a field seeking cover in the cornfield ahead. As soon as they were in the corn, they stopped and looked back at me.

After passing Ellett, VA, the road ran alongside the North Fork of the Roanoke River for the next 15 miles.

Sometimes the trees would completely shade the road. North of Ellett, VA

Old one room house near the road on the way to Catawba, VA

Near Catawba, VA

I came around a corner to see a young deer separated from his herd by a tall fence.  I stopped right away so as not to frighten him away.

Desperately wanting to be on the other side.

Because of my presence, the others started to move away from the fence.  The young one was frantically looking for a way through the fence.  I could see no way over or through the fence for him between us.  I slowly moved forward, hoping he would move towards an area behind him that looked more promising.
He did as as I had hoped and was able to leap over the fence from an elevated roadside.

Happy to be back with his herd.

The only part of the route that had much traffic was in the area of Daleville, VA and Troutville, VA.  Four miles past Troutville, the route began paralleling a railroad the rest of the way to Buchanan, VA.

Alongside the railroad near Buchanan, VA.

Vicki waited on the far side of Buchanan.  When I arrived, we loaded the bike, then drove to a campground southwest of town.

Miles today: 66    Total miles: 3,798

Posted by: bikedave | September 10, 2010

September 9, Rest day, Christiansburg, VA

We took the day off today.  We didn’t do much, just some shopping and reading, and relaxing.

Posted by: bikedave | September 10, 2010

September 8, Wytheville, VA to Christiansburg, VA

This morning the weather started out cloudy and a little warmer than the past few days.  There was a cold front to the west that would pass through later in the morning bringing a little rain with it.
I started riding at about 9:30, a little later than usual.  The route today took me over rolling hills through farms, small towns and cities.

Cemetery and church west of Draper, VA

West of Draper,VA

When I reached Draper the rain was coming down enough to put on my rain jacket.  I noticed a parking area for the New River Trail, and went over to check it out.  It is a rails to trails about 40 miles long, and runs along my route for about 2.5 miles before crossing my route and ending near the town of Pulaski.  I decided to take the trail until it crossed my route, then rejoin my planned route.

On the New River Trail near Draper, VA

The trail was hard packed and in good condition.  I met a park employee on a large mower, but he stopped working until I had passed.  As I was nearing the point where the trail would cross my route I came to a long trestle.  Unfortunately the trestle crossed high over the road I was planning to take.  I rode on across the trestle and on a little further but could find no easy way to get down to the road.  I remembered crossing a dirt driveway about a quarter mile before the trestle, so I returned to it and was able to take it to the road I wanted to be on.  Soon I was riding under the trestle, back on route.  About that time the rain let up and I was able to put away my rain jacket.

The trestle that went over my intended route.

The view west from the trestle.

Looking up at the trestle after I found my way onto the road.

I went through the town of Newbern, VA.  The main street is lined with houses that are between 100 and 150 years old.

Newbern, VA

After Newbern I turned north and followed the New River into Radford, VA.  Riding along the New River reminded me of the road that runs along the lower Smith River near Reedsport, OR.  I crossed the New River in Radford.  As the sun broke through the clouds, I rode south and then east to Christiansburg, VA.

The New River, Radford, VA.

Some more smart cows, south of Radford, VA.

Vicki had arrived in Christiansburg about an hour ahead of me.  I joined her near the center of town.

Miles today: 54    Total miles: 3,732

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