Cycling across the USA
Virginia Beach (VA) to San Francicso (CA)
1 woman, 1 dream, 1 bicycle
On May 3rd 2005 I was ready to go. Another adventure was waiting for me. I wanted to ride my bike across the USA, from Virginia Beach (VA) to San Francisco (CA). This time I was going to ride on my own - so I was quite a little nervous.
After changing planes in Frankfurt and Philadelphia I arrived in Norfolk. I put my bike together and asked the guy in the information booth for directions to Virginia Beach. He said there was no way of getting there by bike - way to far. (if he knew about my plan...). Well, I bought a road-map at the next gas station and decided to spend the first night in a motel. My motel room was neither cheap nor clean, but therefore it was right in the approach lane of the airport!
May 3rd - May 20th 2005
1049 kilometers/ 665 miles
I started out in Virginia Beach, taking my bike down to the beach and dipping the wheels into the Atlantic Ocean. I was very excited, nervous and couldn' t really believe what I was doing. Many people asked me where I was going and it felt weird to say: to San Francisco. Some looked at me with disbelief - I understood, because I didn' t believe it myself.
The first days I didn' t ride a lot. It rained, there was a lot of wind und I was kind of uncertain about which way and how far I wanted to go each day. But after a while everything felt good and each morning I was looking forward to get on the road again. I stayed at some beautiful campgrounds though I think they are very expensive if you' re travelling on your own. So far I had to pay between 15$ and 25$ a night! On most campgrounds I met very friendly people who I spent my evenings with: having dinner together, chatting, drinking a beer or two.
On may 11th I stayed at the KOA near Charlottesville. The Campgroundhost told me that a couple from Holland spent there the night before. They were riding across the USA on their tandem. I was quite excited to hear about them and hoping to meet them sometime on the road. I spent a day in Charlottesville where I visited the Thomas Jeffersom exhibition, bought a mirror to put on my helmet and met an older couple who' s riding their bikes crosscountry as well.
On my way to the Blue Ridge Parkway I didn' t go to the Cookie Ladies house. I actually wanted to go, but when I saw the road going down to Afton I didn' t feel like I wanted to go up there again later, so I just didn' t go.
Riding along the Blue Ridge Parkway was beautiful but exhausting as well, for me, coming from Dithmarschen, where it is as flat as in Kansas!
On May 14th, on my way to Lexington I met Jim Hammond, another cross-country biker. He was pulling a trailer with two wheels. He told me that he was on his way to meet up with a group of 3 - they met on the internet and where going to ride together.
I met Jim again that night at the KOA. But getting there was quite an adventure. A police car with its flashing blue lights turned on stopped right next to me. I wondered what I did wrong but the police officer just wanted to warn me. There was a severe weather warning and I should get of the road as fast as I could. After wishing me a safe journey he was on his way again. A few minutes later a storm came up and almost blew me of my bike. I found a shelter in a market garden, where I watched golf-ball sized hail coming down!
The next night I spent together with Jim, his friends and some other bikers at a church in Christiansburg. It was nice talking to them, about our journeys so far and our plans. They wanted to stay on the transam trail pretty much all the time. I wasn' t too sure about that. On the one hand I enjoyd having some company for a while, on the other hand I was glad I was going on my own when I listened to there discussion weather they were gonna ride 20 or 55 miles the next day! At that point I really felt to be FREE!!!
The next day I rode together with Jim Hammond most of the time. We had lunch together and met Jim, Linda and Larry in the evening at the Whytheville Community Center. There was a real meeting point for crosscountry bikers! The ACA group (about 14 people who rode crosscountry together), two american guys and Marieka and Paul, the dutch couple on their tandem, stayed there as well.
Since I had a bad cold I spent the next few days on my own, 1 night at a campground, 3 nights in a motel in Abingdon. There I slept a lot, watched TV, rode to the library to get on the internet and slept again. Though I had a great time riding together with other bikers I decided to get off the transam route and ride a litte further south through Tennessee. I wanted to make my own experiences and decisions and therefore I had to find my own way.
Ross who invited me to have some burgers and beer
View from the Blue Ridge Parkway
My first "real" climb
Rolling Hills - that' s fun!!!
Hungry Mother Statepark
May 21st - June 1st 2005
924km / 578 miles
Total: 1973km / 1233 miles
To go on on my own was the best decision I could make. Tennesse was a beautiful place to cycle. I enjoyed the scenery, the great weather and met very friendly and interesting people along my way. For example there were Pam and Cleve, two musicians, who invited me to stay at there house when I asked them for a motel. In the evening we went to a bar where they made music and I got a chance to meet some locales.
The rangers at the Stateparks were always very friendly and helpful, like Dan at the Rock Island Statepark. He knew that area very well since he was into biking as well. He copied a few maps for me and hilighted the backroads he recommended and marked the roads I shouldn' t take. Walking to the little waterfalls at there , jumping from rock to rock there and taking a swim was just blast. I enjoyed myself and had a great time.
Another highlight in Tennesse was meeting Emily, who worked at the Cedars of Lebanon State Park. Since the campground was full she arranged for me to pitch my tent the campgroundhosts´ "front yard". The next two nights I slept in Murfreesborough, where Emily and her boyfriend, Adam, live together with some friends in a house. We drove to Nashville in their car and I got a chance to fly with them on a small airplane since Adam is a pilot. It was quite interesting to see some of the places I had been on another perspective!
Pam and Cleve
Rock Island SP
Camping in Chucks´ frontyard
Emily and Chase
2 ducks and a mini-turtle
Emily, Adam and me
Strawberry break with Ed
My first flat!
Top of the page
Kentucky: June 1st - June 3rd 2005
217km/ 136 miles
Total: 2190 km/ 1369 miles
I guess I need another tent!!!
I didn' t get to see much of Illinois since I only rode through it
a couple of hours.
June 3rd - June 14th
km / miles ?
The hottest day of the year so far - I need a coke!
The Bachman Family and Friends - I had a great time with them!
They gave me a shelter while rain was just pouring down. Thanx!
It was a little wet last night
June 14th - June 21st
km / miles
endless flat roads
picknick-area under water
There' s the beef!!!
Aha, that' s where I am!
June 21st - July 1st
km/ miles ?
Steve cleaning his bike
Larry from Jacksonville, FL
Lena from Denmark
Haswell, smallest prison in the US
Here I go again on my own!!!
Highest elevation of my trip.
Life is good!!!
July 1st - July 10th
km/ miles ?
Slickrock Campground in Moab
I need a break!
Biker from Scottland
A whole lot of nothing!
July 10th - July 19th
km/ miles ?
Patric and his dad going east
pretty hot out here
July 19th - July 24th
Watching a baseball-game at Raley Field with the Rothmans
Tori, Syd (my former Au Pair kids) and me
Golden Gate Bridge
1 woman, 1 dream, 1 bicycle
I DID IT - IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING!!!