I had a hard time getting up and going today. Soaked up all of the time before check out at 11 from my hotel room.
Today is the 4th of July and I am leaving Richmond, unsure of where I will end up, but hopefully find some kind of festivities!
Well, 12 miles in I found just that! A small town was having a little parade, cookout, some games, and a pie auction. (Too bad they weren’t doing a hotdog eating contest!)
Met a real nice couple there that had biked the US twice! He bought me two burgers and a strawberry lemonade and helped me fix my bike gears to shift more smoothly than they had been. He also brought to the parade a sweet custom bike pictured below!
Spent about an hour or so there talking with the locals and then biked off towards the north again.
It wasn’t much farther that I got a phone call from my dad. He told me that my papa had passed and went to be with The Lord.
While he wasn’t having a good quality of life the past couple years, I am thankful he is in a better place, but it’s still hard to know he isn’t here with us anymore.
Just a few minutes after the call, it started dumping rain, but I was able to sneak inside a Burger King to escape it.
Between the news of my papa passing and the heavy rains, I wasn’t feeling like riding anymore today.
I searched and found a KOA campsite nearby but they wanted $55 for a tent pad! Rediculous! So I searched again and found a hotel about an hour bike ride up the road for the same price. I think I’ll take the hotel room over the grass pad..
I had a big scare whike at the Burger King. I had parked my bike right outside the door next to the window so it was covered from the rain and so I could see it. I went to the bathroom and when I came out it wasn’t there anymore!
My stomach was in my throat. I ran out the door.
It had just fell down (or someone knocked it down). So it was still there but just laying halfway off the curb getting soaked where I couldn’t see it from inside.
Once the rain let up, I biked the extra few miles and bought myself the hotel room for the night where I just hung out and probably had the most lame 4th of July night in a long time. I was grateful to be out of the rain and with AC and a bed again for the night.
I dedicated today’s ride to my papa and boy was it a beautiful start!
It was cool out, a bit foggy and the East Coast Greenway route took me through tree lined back roads. Lots of birds chirping and droplets of rain falling off the leaves of the trees. I’ve found that the Cardinal bird to be my favorite this trip. The bright red body is a great contrast to the list green nature all around. I got to see a few of them this morning! (I assume they are Cardinals… They are small beautiful red birds.)
I felt great both physically and mentally. Shoot, I was smiling big this morning!
My original plan was to ride roughly 45 miles, go to some breweries, and find a campsite near Fredericksburg. Well it doesn’t all go as planned, and that’s exactly why I don’t try to plan out my days too much.
I rode past another one of these lawn signs that read: thank you Jesus. I say another because I’ve passed tons of these signs especially in the Carolinas. Today I had to finally get a picture of it.
Everyday I try to pray in the first few miles of riding. Today, my prayer was a prayer of thankfulness.
There is so much to be thankful for! I have a loving family, good friends, a beautiful wife that let me leave for 90 days, good health, safety on this trip, no issues with my equipment, places to stay, wonderful and generous people I’ve been able to meet, and the list just kept going.
It was probably one of the best morning rides I’ve had yet. It’s crazy how expressing and realizing everything you’re thankful for can bring you such peace, joy, and contentment. That’s how I felt this morning.
A little over 30 miles in I was able to add another couple things I was thankful for: Beer and AC!
It had gotten pretty toasty and humid out so I was grateful to step inside Strangeways Brewing Co and drink some refreshing 5oz pours of their beers. Their IPA (named Snappy dresser) made the list of my top IPAs so far!
By this point I was in historic Fredericksburg and got to ride around a bit downtown and of course stop and try some more beer.
My plan was all going great and had my sights on my third brewery which was a few miles north of Fredericksburg and on the way to the state park I was gonna camp at.
This Brewery was called Adventure Brewing and the bartender and another drinker, Kristi were very welcoming into the bar. He immediately started pouring samples for me to try that I didn’t ask for and she immediately said she would pay for my tab!
It was at this brewery that I decided I was gonna go to Alexandria instead of the campsite to my buddy Dave Schwalbe’s house. He had another friend Eric Stanley in town who I know and have been scalloping and drinking with many times before. Stanley was leaving the next day though, so I figured shoot, let’s try and get there tonight!
So after my third brewery. I decided I was going to bike another 60 or so miles (hopefully)!
Was it the beer talking? Am I crazy? The most I have done so far in a day has been less than 68 miles! That’s nearly 30 miles more! I’m also in the hilliest area of my entire trip.
Definitely sounded easier than it was! I stopped a few times. One stop was at a Wawa to grab a quick bite to eat and drink some coffee for some extra energy around 7 at night. Replaced one of my water bottles for the coffee cup and kept trucking.
I started the day at 8am and I ended up getting to the house at about 9:30 pm and rode just under 94 miles! Thought about just riding in circles for an extra 6 miles to get to 100, but I was exhausted and my butt was killing me.
Welcome to casa de Schwalbe where you will drink more bud light then you’ll ever want or need!
He kept bringing me food – I ate it all. He kept handing me bud lights – I drank them all. We stayed up until 3am hanging out and telling stories. Surprisingly, I had enough energy to stay up, but I crashed hard once it was finally time to sleep.
I was able to sleep in to whenever I wanted to and it was great! Got some coffee and an egg sandwich in me when I did wake up and said adios to Stanley and his family.
While Schwalbe (Dave) was gone taking them to the airport I was able to get some blogging done and really just rest my legs after my biggest day yet yesterday. My legs were certainly sore!
It’s nice having a pair of flip flops with me so on my rest days and whenever I’m not riding I can air out my white feet and toes. Speaking of white, here is a nice tan I aquired while biking so far!
Once Schwalbe got back he opened a couple buds and said, “we’ll just have a couple bud lights first and then we will go to some breweries!”
Haha alright! So we had a beer or two and ordered our Uber out to the first brewery.
We asked the bartenders at Port City Brewing if they do flights and they said kind of. You can order as many 4 oz pours as you want and they just charge you for each.
“Give us them all”!
They looked at each other not knowing if they could do that. I guess it doesn’t happen often there! They didn’t have any boards or racks to hold them, but a nice fella next to us scooted down to make room for us and our brews.
So we shared them all and really didn’t have a clue which was which except for that black one in the middle. They were tasty and it was fun/funny seeing Schwalbe try all the different kinds. Bartenders there were all awesome as well which made the first stop a great one to get the night going.
Our second stop ended up not actually being a brewery, but we had a pint anyways.
Onto the next one!
This is when things started to get messy. Now normally, I don’t drink this much since I am biking and on a budget. But now we are ubering everywhere and he is having just as much fun as me trying the breweries…
Straight to the head! That’s how he described the craft beers compared to his bud lights. We were having a blast, but those beers got him napping in those Ubers.
On that ride, he ordered the Uber and we went a completely different direction than we were trying to go to. He typed in Blueduck instead of Bluejacket. We had a good laugh, a photo op and ordered another Uber to our final brewery.
The last brewery was packed so we didn’t stay long. Plus we had enough beers for the day.
Or did we? Nope, had to finish off the night with some good ol bud light and pizza.
As much as he probably could have or maybe wanted to, I cut the night “early” at 11pm and slept like a baby. I made sure I chugged a lot of water before bed too. Of course, this made me have to wake up in the middle of the night, but always worth it!