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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

We made it!!!!

Day 67 Berea to Boonville 49.86 miles cycled, 3:47.37 time on the bike, 12.7mph average speed                                                                                                                                                     
Day 68 Boonville to Hindman 61.3 miles, 5:14.09, 11.7 ave                                                               
Day 69 Hindman to Lookout 52.41 miles, 4:16.54, 12.2 ave                                                       
Day 70 Lookout to Rodedale 63.76 miles, 5:31.04, 11.5 ave
Day 71 Rosedale to Cedar Springs/Rural retreat 80.51 miles, 6:28.26, 12.4 mph ave             

Day 72 Rural retreat to Christiansburg 77.57 miles, 6:00.02, 12.9 mph ave                            
Day 73 Day Off                                                                                                                                     
Day 74 Christiansburg to Troutville 45.9 miles, 3:17.24, 13.9 ave
Day 75 Troutville to Viseuvias 52.41 miles, 3:58.17, 13.2 ave                                                      

Day 76 Viseuvias To Charlottesville 76.08 miles, 6:34.22, 11.5 ave
Day 77 Charlottesville to Mineral 52.93 miles, 3:59.32, 13.2 ave                                                 

Day 78 Mineral to Glendale 75.08 miles, 5:26.12, 13.8 ave                                                        
Day 79 Glendale to Yorktown!!! 66.82 miles, 5:10.36, 12.9 ave

Its been nearly a two months since we got back from America, I would like to say the delay has been because i was taking the opportunity to have a period of reflection but its really just been because real life is pretty busy!

Its a shame that it all seems such a long time ago already, it seems like a different life in some respects. I haven't had time to go through the photographs yet which i’m sure will bring it all flooding back, i am excited about getting round to doing this.

I have been asked several times ‘how was it?’ ‘What was best bit?’ and other similar questions. They are all very difficult to answer. It was such a diverse trip with so many highs, some lows and a whole array of experiences. The answer i normally give is ‘it was amazing’, probably not sufficient for a 79 day cycle.  In truth I couldn't pick one moment, there was so many incredible experiences from awe inspiring views, to amazing accommodation at the end of a bad day, surprising generosity, eating what i like without weight gain and so many other elements that made a trip of lifetime.

I was ready to finish (my bike was definitely ready to finish), 79 days is a long time cycling and living out of a couple of bags. Also it is a long time to be spending with one individual, although that said Tom and I spent 90 days together and didn't have a single proper falling out. I don't think many people could do that, hats off to the people we met who were doing it with their partners....that must be true love or more likely insanity.

Overall it is certainly a trip i would recommend. Small town America is a very friendly place to be, just under 4,500 miles and not once did i feel anything but safe. The roads are on the whole very quiet, not one incident where i genuinely felt in danger from other road users. We seen so much its difficult to recall it all, varied landscapes, people, cultures, roads, weather, the trip which had been on the wish list for nearly ten years certainly did not disappoint.
 Oh how i miss the Chili, sweetcorn and pasta.  I don't miss the mosquitoes though.  Good times.
 A nice early start, treated to a stunning sunrise and misty lake.
 We were having a nap at a Post Office in Troutville when Michael and his daughter came up to us and asked us if we would like to stay with them!  It would be unbelievable/too good to be true but on this trip it was far less of a shock.  Well, we of course took Michael up on his kind offer.  Michael, his wife Paige (also in the picture with Tom), two daughters and 4 dogs made us feel very welcome! What a fantastic evening once again.  We went on to stay with Michael and Paige's daughter Caitlin in Newport News, such lovely people who love having hikers and cyclists to stay.
The last big climb complete. The climb up to the blue ridge parkway was one of the single biggest climbs of the trip. It wasn't too bad, i think it would be more of a challenge for those starting from the East, thankfully we were pretty fit by nowand it wasn't too bad at all. A great feeling to know the last climb was complete. The East of the country contained more climbing than the West despite significantly less altitude.
The view coming down the blue ridge mountains, a beautiful cycle.  A very long descent made better knowing there was no more ups!
We camped at the Glendale fire station, we used their showers and spoke with the guys there.  As always a very friendly bunch.  We woke in the morning to find a note attached to my bike thanking us for staying with them!!! I'm pretty sure it should have been the other way around.
Last nights accommodation, a beautiful church, a great way to spend our night before our last days cycling.
 Corn fields and a serious pose
 Yeeha! We made it, the last days cycling was an absolute joy along the federal highway, absolutely stunning.  Such a great way to finish.  It was flat too which we were grateful for, i had 3 gears left working on my bike, no back breaks and badly buckled wheel.
 The York Town memorial, the memorial depicts Washington's victory and the US's ultimate Independence from the pesky Brits.  (i think that is what it is all about, doing this from memory)
Hello Atlantic. What a feeling.  This is 'pre-unveiling of the milky white bodies' picture.  We got more strange looks once we took our tops off than we did when we walked in with the bikes.  Ridiculous tans.
The church in York Town allowed us to stay in the 'church house' for two nights when we finished.  It was a three bedroom house on three levels within walking distance of the pub and you can see the ocean from the door.  Incredible.  Perfect end to a fantastic trip!!!!!  We moved on for 7 days holiday in Virginia, DC & Phillie after this.  Immense.

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