PAC Tour Day 31: Harrisonburg to Ashland, VA

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I can’t believe it’s the 2nd to last day already! The day started with a little light rain, so it was nice that breakfast was in the hotel breakfast room again. We got on the road a little after 7 am again, and the rain stopped after less than an hour, although the skies remained overcast for the whole day, We were on busy Rt 33 heading out of town, approaching Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the last tough climb of the tour:

P1010702 P1010703

We crossed the Shenandoah River at the 14.5 mile mark:

P1010704

and the road gradually turned up as we began the climb toward Skyline Drive. The climbing got steeper as we entered Shenandoah National Park, but of course the scenery was gorgeous along the way.

P1010706 P1010707

Another 2.5 miles of strenuous climbing, and we were at the top – the Swift Run Gap entrance to Skyline Drive:

P1010708

Then it was one last exhilarating, winding descent through more forest:

P1010713 P1010714

before the rode gradually leveled out into more rolling Virginia countryside:

P1010719

This first section of rolling hills seemed very tandem-friendly, and the miles passed quickly. After the first rest stop in Stanardsville, we left Rt 33 for some smaller roads, passing through Wolftown, where we recognized this convenience store from a couple of DCR brevets – we’re on some familiar roads again:

P1010722

We also passed by James Madison’s Montpelier home:

P1010725

Entrance to James Madison’s Montpelier

We had a bit of confusion getting to the 2nd rest stop in the town of Orange – the signage wasn’t very good, and the cue sheet was a little confusing, but we escaped with only an extra couple of blocks, thanks to Veronica. Some other folks got pretty lost, so we lucked out there.

We noticed a lot of kudzu swallowing trees along the way:

P1010730

Maybe these goats could help with this problem – goats eat anything, right?

P1010721

We ran into some pretty heavy traffic in the town of Louisa, but made it through to the lunch stop in a park in Mineral – sloppy joes today with cake and coconut pie for dessert, yum!

We passed through Buckner, and another store that we use as a control on Lynn K’s fleche every year:

P1010736

Shortly after that, as we were passing through Bumpass (great name, eh?), we had some excitement with a dog that had apparently broken its chain, and ran into the road right in front of us, barking menacingly. John and I were both yelling, at the dog, and at the owner to come get the dog. We both got off the bike, in order to keep it between us and the dog, and I squirted some Gatorade towards it. That seemed to do the trick, it ran away after that, the owner caught it, and we were able to continue on.

We were stopped for a short while by a train that arrived just as we got to the tracks:

P1010737

Our last rest stop was shortly after that, and then it was only 20 more gently rolling miles to the finish. We stopped briefly to let Veronica use our pump on her flat:

P1010740

and then finished the last few miles to the Hampton Inn in Ashland, VA, for a total of 122 miles for the day. Everyone seemed to be in great spirits as we finished up today – I think we’re all excited that we’ve almost finished this transcontinental bicycle journey, but also a little sad that the adventure is ending.

P1010742

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “PAC Tour Day 31: Harrisonburg to Ashland, VA

  1. MG

    Wow, it seems like it has flown by. You two have done just amazing work and your posts are always so upbeat! What an exciting accomplishment, and I’m glad you let us ride along through your writing.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s