There are not enough words for yesterday. Interesting night camping, followed by my chain breaking in the morning. We made it to Richmond, Va safely.
If this is enough info for you, close the screen now. Read on with warning.
SO, the day is Saturday. We were in no where Virginia at about 60 miles at about 6 o'clock and about ready to settle for the night. This was our first day using the adventure cycle maps and there was a store icon coming up then nothing for MILES. We figured we would pull up to a grocery store, get some dinner supplies and ask about potential camping around the area. Finally we pull up to not a nice country grocery as we had hoped, but the sketchiest, isolated convenience store we have seen yet. Where to camp?!?
There was a church sign, something along the lines of, 'no church for seven days makes one weak.' we thought maybe someone there could point us to a good spot, no dice, it was empty. Pulled up to a friendly looking house to ask about camping in the yard, no one home. Just as I was asking Marie, 'isn't everyone supposed to be on their porches drinking sweet tea?' we saw some people doing just that. Or at least on their porch. The patriarch seemed wary about letting us camp on the yard, but grandma stepped in and said it didn't bother her. She did ask if we had a gun, not sure if that was for our protection or hers... Not terribly friendly but they gave us the green light so we figured it would be okay.
We set up our tent on the corner of their property next to the road in accordance with the wishes of the man. I felt exposed, everyone in town would know we were there, that comforted Marie. Not wanting to set the field on fire by cooking or impose on the chilly folk by using the bathroom, we ate some dried fruit and a cliff bar then hit the tent when it got a bit cooler for an early night. We heard some neighbor kids commenting on the light in our tent which put me on edge a bit, but despite that and feeling sticky, I eventually drifted off to sleep.
SUDDENLY I am awake and disoriented, I let out a scream, something is on our tent! Just as soon it is gone and Marie, mace in hand, and I are upright as a car drives away. Trying to gain my bearings I start to wonder, did an animal just attack us? No. Some mean little punk with nothing better to do JUMPED on us at 2:30 in the morning. Lucky our tent is so strong, thank you Danny! Marie watched the road through a crack under the rain fly and we listened for any signs of our assailant's return. What could we do, where could we go? It was the middle of the night in the middle of no where. I guess that was enough fun for them as they didn't come back. Took us quite a while but we eventually got back to sleep for a little more rest.
SUNDAY Happy father's day!
Got up and got out EARLY in the morning wanting to put as many miles between us and Nookesville, VA as possible. One mile into our journey Marie stopped suddenly. Her chain had literally come apart at one of the links. While I was preparing to walk 35 miles to the next real town (and the closest bike shop) and cursing the state of Virginia, Marie managed to gerryrig her chain back together with a crescent wrench and a multitool. I was impressed to say the least, nobody can deny that girl has excellent fixin skills. Still I was convinced we weren't going to make it five miles, but I said nothing in case superstition has a base in reality. Not only did we make it five miles, we made the next five and the five after that until fourty miles later we were in Fredricksberg.... where the bike shop is closed on Sundays. We stopped into an ale house to have a beer and regroup. That town is pretty cute if you are ever in Virginia.
We decided that while it was miracle the chain had made it that far, it was not going to make it the next 54 to Richmond and the next available bike shop. We then made a choice. A choice that may be judged by people sitting comfortably at their computer or internet device with a specific idea of what bike tour should be.... tired, traumatized, not prepared to lose a day or for anymore dicey situations just yet- we decided to rent a car. Of course the only car rental place that was open on Sunday closed in just under an hour. We busted ass and the chain graciously held out for five final miles. Renting cars is expensive if you didn't know, another reason to dislike them. On the other hand went in an hour what would have taken a day to ride... We went to the only (of many) bike shops open in Richmond and got Marie a new chain and me some brake pads and headed to legend brewery for some victory? defeat? drinks and food. They have some tasty beers.
Our series of unfortunate events ended at the red roof inn, the cheapest place to stay next to the airport. Our final extravagance: a good nights sleep to get us started on the second half of our trip. Great transition... Still, ten fingers, ten toes. We are safe and still positive and ready to take on the rest of this beast of a trip. Hopefully the bad luck has run out.