Blue Ridge

After saying goodbye to my friend Cathy and leaving Willis UMC in Glendale, it was off toward Mechanicsville in a chilly downpour.

I was totally game for it.  But, the weather had the last laugh as I took a wrong turn and had to cycle on a full blown Turnpike to get back on route.  It was a little insane and extra miles, but honestly, the thrill topped the negatives.  Horray for lights and reflective gear!!

Leaving Mechanicsville, the weather was gorgeous, and made for a wonderful ride toward Ashland, VA, where I ran into a couple who had read my in the Willis UMC journal!  They were excited to see us and ask about A Vicious Cycle.  They’re calling their journey Tour de Strange.  Love it!!

As the sun was dropping, I discovered a rustic old historic church on the side of the road and decided to Stealth Camp in the back corner of the property near the forest.

There’s something about being in nature that has felt like home to me since childhood.  In a nearby field, thousands of fireflies lit up the night as far as you could see…  It was an unbelievable sight.  I enjoyed a Montecristo and watched them until their hypnotic blinking made my eyes heavy.

I laid in my little tent listening to the insects sing, the coyotes cry and the trees rustling in the breeze.  In the distance, I could hear the sound of cars buzzing by here and there.  People rushing to get to wherever is it they’re going.  And not a single part of me envies them at all.  It’s almost like I never want to be them again…

Monday, I rode over 30 hilly miles to Mineral, VA, and stopped to refuel my body at Mineral Restaurant.  The owner asked some questions about the journey and then later, came to our table and announced the entire meal was paid for!

After dinner, I went to the Mineral Volunteer Fire station and they offered up their building for the night! The kindness I’m experiencing on this trip is blowing my mind almost daily…

Finally, it’s time to introduce my Kona Sutra and my Quads to the formidable Blue Ridge Mountains. On the way from Mineral to Palmyra, VA, I finally got a glimpse of their grandeur.  Stats from my first official mountain ride (not counting breaks):

I’m staying at the Palmyra United Methodist Church, relaxing in their outdoor sitting area writing and looking over my maps.

While the upcoming elevations are menacing to say the very least, I can’t help but smile to myself.  Sometimes destroying yourself physically can create mental clarity.  So… Blue Ridge Mountains: You know what to do.  🙂

I keep my fellow Veterans and our fallen family at the forefront of my thoughts as I power across this beautiful country that we would all proudly give our lives to defend.  It truly is gratifying and grueling, just as I’d hoped.

The views are breathtaking and I LOVE that I have to EARN them.