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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

July 13, 2007      Miles 68      Total miles 4097      Ended at: Williamsburg, Virginia


When I got into Richmond the traffic was terrible. It was rush hour and the roads are not the best. People going home from work aren't real tolerant of those of us on bicycles who slow them down. I didn't wait around for the motel to serve their continental breakfast at 6:00 AM because I wanted to make it all the way across Richmond before the morning traffic started. Once on the other side of Richmond the traffic was not too bad because everybody was going into town rather than away from town as I was.
I know I introduced the Cookie Lady to you the other day but I was thinking about her again today and wondered where an eighty six year old lady gets the strength to continue her tradition of helping riders who come through her town. She suffered a stroke last year from which she is just now recovering and for three weeks she has had a severe pinched nerve in her back. The best part about my trip along the Trans America Trail has been the people I have met along the way, like the Cookie Lady, with hearts of gold. It was a stroke of good fortune for cyclists that the trail went past her doorstep. She took it upon herself to provide water, cookies, and conversation ... all free to the passing riders. Over the years she took it upon herself to do more. She now provides food and a place to stay. This just shows that gold does not tarnish over the years.

Today I was in plantation country. This home was outside of Richmond. There are many plantations along the way but most of them weren't right on the road where I was riding.

This is interesting. It doesn't say what kind of manpower it took to build the pontoon bridge in just seven hours but it had to have been many, many men which were well organized. Kentucky and Virginia have had many of these placards along the roadways. This would be heaven for a civil war or revolutionary war history buff.

Each plantation has a very pretty name. This one obviously grows corn but I wonder if that was the main crop hundreds of years ago. I would think tobacco would have been a big cash crop back then but I have seen no tobacco in Virginia. I don't know the size of this plantation but it was huge and all along the front of the property was lined with Crepe Myrtle, Cedar, and Weeping Willow trees.

This was the home of President John Tyler. There is a graveyard on the front of the property for all his pets with tombstones for each one. According to a placard this is America's longest frame house at 300 feet across the front. It doesn't look like it in the photo but it is very long.

I got onto a bike path and met Chris. I asked her how far it went and we started talking. She told me all the wonderful sights to see in the Williamstown, Yorktown, and Jamestown area. She told me the bike path was just completed in May and it is in the plans for it to go all the way to Richmond which will be at least 60 miles long. Chris loves this area and she has lived here only three years. She and her husband are both self employed and she is a childrens book illustrator representative. They moved here from Connecticut.

Below are a couple of beautiful wood plank bridges which go over marsh land.

A couple more pictures of the bike trail.

I made it to Williamsburg around 3:00 PM. It is a town of 11,000 and it is a very, very pretty town with centuries old trees. I am only 13 miles from Yorktown where I will end my cross country ride. I started this ride with enthusiasm and I am ending it the same way. I am more excited to see my wife than I am about finishing the ride. Tanya drove from Oklahoma City to Knoxville, Tennessee today and will get up early in the morning to get here as soon as she can.

When I got to Williamsburg I went for a long walk and ate at a Chinese Buffet. At the end of the meal, the waitress gave me a fortune cookie. It said, "Check an item of your to-do list. Prove you can follow through." Tomorrow, I shall check off my cross country bicycle ride.