Jenn wanted an early start this morning but by the time we pack up our wet and dirty gear and get fully ready to go it's about 9 a.m. Though this was a nice campsite, it becomes a mud pit in the rain. We take Carter's Mountain road for a ways and it's really nice, but then have to get onto a more trafficky road to Monticello. When we reach Monticello, Garry bids us farewell and presses on to Charlottesville while we go on to the Monticello visitor's center and pay the $24 fee per person for a tour of the house and grounds.
For those who don't know, Monticello is Thomas Jefferson's old digs, the seat of a 5,000 acre slave plantation where he lived and worked and read and wrote and profited off the labor of people he owned and fathered illegitimate children. The main building is pictured on the back of the nickel, which I thought was cool. We visited the nickel today. I'm really tired and fading in and out as we walk around. A cold wind is blowing so as long as I stand in the sun I'm warm enough but any type of shade chills me a lot. We read as many plaques as we can bear to, take the house tour, then head back down the hill to the entrance.
It's only a few more miles into Charlottesville proper and we stop at a downtown market/deli for lunch. Once I've bought my food and come out, who do I run into but Garry! He's found a place to stay the night via a couchsurfing type thing and plans to spend the day in Charlottesville just seeing what there is to see. We'll probably be running into him a few more times along our way. We eat lunch together; I try a gluten-free beer made from sweet potatoes; it's pretty good. Lunch improves everybody's mood and we get going again... but we're on a road with a LOT of traffic--it's kinda scary. Apparently we took a wrong road somewhere and now we're in like rush hour on a state highway and no shoulder...! Halfway to our exit we gain a shoulder but it's small comfort because I see a bike handlebar and a smashed fender there, as if there'd been an accident at one point. We make it onto a better road tho' and from there the actual cycling route so all's well that ends well.
The wind is still cold but going up all these hills and getting hot it's not so bad really. We're going at a good clip but at some point Dan stops to fix his chain and we all pass him but he's taking really long so I stop to wait and we lose the others and then we reach a T-intersection and dunno which way to go so we stay on the same # road but we just aren't catching up and there's another T-intersection and yeah by the time the others call us we've gone like 6 miles out of our way in the wrong direction up and down hills and everything. So we have to turn back and when we FINALLY reach the others (who had been playing pooh sticks on a bridge while waiting for us), there's another big climb... honestly most of this was a blur, I can hardly remember it right now. The sun sets on us, the moon is huge and bright in the horizon, the mountains blue and solid in the distance. I'm exhausted from our like 12-extra-mile detour and kinda mad that the others didn't wait at the turns like our system has been all along and now it's late and we're trying to reach an old family friend's house halfway between Charlottesville and Afton and the last mile is so, so hard because it's an uphill but it *looks* like a downhill and I can't explain it and we actually walk our bikes up the last half mile and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna just collapse in the driveway but we make it.
I'm in a zombie daze while I attempt to eat and basically fail at that and take a shower and pull everything out of my bags in order to dry them a little bit while we're indoors. I claim a downstairs couch and roll my sleeping bag out on it and sit here typing this while everyone around me eats pasta and it's 11 p.m. and my shoulders hurt a lot and it's really nice to be indoors so thank you, so much, family friends, I'll write more about you tomorrow when I'm not so tired that thinking actually hurts a little bit.
distance (me and Dan): 49 mi
riding time: 5 hrs 14 min
average speed: 9.4 mph
max speed: 37 mph
trip total: 376 mi
Here is your featured (guest) cyclist for today: the Irishman!
Garry riding on The Beast