Tag: TransAmerica

1984 Bike Tour: Day 14 — A salute from King Coal

PIPPA PASSES, KY. — Last night's fear and loathing about spending the foreseeable future dodging coal trucks turned out to be a waste of time.

Coal is king in these parts, but even the king gives a holiday to his subjects over the Memorial Day weekend. No coal trucks confronted us today. We could see them parked in gravel parking lots behind chainlink fences, their trailer beds tilted up so they wouldn't collect rainwater. It was as if they were saluting our passage.

Although the coal trucks were absent, the grinding terrain still had to be dealt with. As we broke camp in the morning, an old camper who knew the area said our route would be “rough as a cob.” We didn't know how rough a cob was, but we soon found out. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/05/26/1984-bike-tour-day-14-a-salute-from-king-coal/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 10 – Dickie Boyles, where are you?

Today, our stupidity almost got the best of us.

After a late start, I had problems with my front derailleur and tried to fix it as a gas station. It was 10 a.m. before we got underway. We stopped for a bite at Newbern, where several log cabins appeared to be under restoration

We continued on along a road that had a beautiful sweeping vistas of wide green valleys backed by blue tinted mountain ridges (bottom photo).

This led us to the Draper Country Store, “18 and 90” it said above the door. Inside, a guy cut some longhorn cheese from a huge block he kept under glass. The old store had a pool table, a cast iron stove, some well-worn chairs, and lots of unusual items for sale…

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/05/22/1984-bike-tour-day-10-dickie-boyles-where-are-you/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 9 – Tired, tarred and dogged

Hills, dogs, tar and lots of miles. What an exhausting day.

We left the campground on our bicycles at 7 a.m. and followed Route 11 — known locally as the Valley Pike — right through to the TransAmerica Route in Buchanan and beyond. The roadway is like a trip out of the '50s — the highway is cement and weathered roadside barns painted with faint ads dot the landscape.

We turned off 11 and followed some low-country roads along the Norfolk-Western RR. Many dogs here. At one house, two dogs raced out of the yard chasing Bruce's bike. One mean-looking mongrel actually bit into the rear of his pannier and tried to drag him to a stop. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/05/21/1984-bike-tour-day-9-tired-tarred-and-dogged/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 8 – Natural Bridge seems so unnatural

We bolted from the campground without breakfast, and coasted all the way down to the town of Vesuvius. This is one of the hardest climbs on the TransAmerica Route for eastbound riders; but going westbound, we weren't even warmed up.

The guidebook says 200 people live here, but we didn't see a soul. Vesuvius is bisected by the Norfolk Western RR, and it looks like both halves were the “wrong side” of town — everything was boarded up. We ended up at a truck stop on I-81 for breakfast, our bicycles dwarfed by the giant 18-wheelers.

We headed south down the scenic Shenandoah Valley, stopping for lunch at Lexington, home of Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute. (The congestion at W&L led us to believe it was graduation weekend.) …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/05/20/1984-bike-tour-day-8-natural-bridge-seems-so-unnatural/

1984 Tour: Day 7 – Climb a mountain, meet the Cookie Lady

This is by far the most difficult day of the trip. We rode through rolling farmland, struggled up switchbacks to the Cookie Lady's Bike House, then discovered the Blue Ridge Parkway is not level.

This is the part of the trip we should have been training for all spring, but I don't think even that would have prepared us for this.

We enjoyed meeting the Cookie Lady, who shared some time with us. [We had no way of knowing that her helpfulness to bicycling passersby would later result in the Adventure Cycling Association's Trail Angel Award being named in her honor.] Later, however, we became distressed to learn that we had more climbing and farther to ride to reach our campground…

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/05/19/1984-tour-day-7-climb-a-mountain-meet-the-cookie-lady/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 6 – Rest day and mailing gear back home; 1984’s Top 40

Six days into our TransAmerica bike tour, and we're already taking our first day off. The first five days have been a shakedown cruise — the last days of training and the first of our trip. I feel that our journey begins in earnest tomorrow.

After lolling around our hostess' apartment for a while, we boxed up some clothes to send back home. I sent back an extra sweater and other clothes that only filled space and added weight to my panniers.

Why did I pack so much crap? Maybe I can cheat gravity a little a we head into the Appalachians…

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/05/18/1984-bike-tour-day-6-rest-day-mailing-gear-back-homethat-years-top-40/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 3 – Still a shakedown cruise

After another breakfast of instant coffee, Pop-tarts and juice, we followed the campground owner's directions to the TransAmerica bicycle route via the historical Washington-Rochambeau route.

Today was chilly riding. Bruce wore polypro bottoms and tops, sweats, turtleneck, wool sweater, gloves and a hat under his helmet. Yesterday's warmish 80 degree high makes the weather today seem that much cooler….

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/05/15/1984-bike-tour-day-3-still-a-shakedown-cruise/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 2 – First roadside attraction – Shirley Plantation

We awoke to roosters crowing Monday morning. They walked down the hill from the house and strutted around our campsite.

Bruce and I climbed out of the tent at 5:45. It took us two hours to get ready, and most of that was just repacking our panniers so that the stuff we'd probably use first was at the top.

After pop tarts and coffee (the water heated on a one-burner Coleman stove), we were back on the road at 8. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/05/14/1984-bike-tour-day-2-first-roadside-attraction-shirley-plantation/

Day 1: Dude — Where’s my campground?

Sunday, May 13, 1984

Yorktown to Charles City, Va. 40 miles

Note: I’m republishing my journal from a transcontinental bicycle tour my friend Bruce and I took back in 1984. This tells what bike travel was like 36 years ago. No smart phones, no Garmins, no kevlar tires, no wifi. It took 10 weeks, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/05/13/day-1-dude-wheres-my-campground/

Bike Tour 1984: Postscript – TransAmerica tour comes full circle

I can't close off this cross-country bicycle trip without a postscript, because the tour really didn't end for me when we arrived in Oceanside. Still suffering from wanderlust, the trip ended for me up the Pacific coast with a chance meeting with another cyclist who had ridden ahead of us on our bike tour.

…. It made me realize that while we cross-country bicycle tourists are pedaling throughout the world, we're also cycling in our own world…

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/07/20/bike-tour-1984-postscript-transamerica-tour-comes-full-circle/