Starting Location: Lexington, VA
Ending Location: Afton, VA
Lowest Elevation: 1056
Highest Elevation: 3320
Today we had our last big climb of the Transamerica Trail. We had been mentally preparing for this for the past few days; the climb up to Blue Ridge Parkway. Many cyclists have warned us about this 3 mile long steep climb!
We were on the road at about 7 as usual and had about 10 miles of casual riding before getting to Vesuvius, at the base of the climb. I started to pull ahead of Joop early on, and we planned to meet each other at the top. We've done this a few times before since I usually have a little bit faster pace while going up steep hills. I was joined soonafter by the rider from Michigan, and we rode together all the way up to the top where his wife was waiting with the car with some snacks and drinks that they shared with me. It was nice riding up the hill together - through conversation we kept ourselves distracted from the difficulty of the climb. We made it up in just under an hour, and Joop followed behind by less than 10 minutes!
The ride on top of the parkway was absolutely incredible. You could see tree filled ridges for miles and miles. We were lucky to be up there on such a beautiful day. There were turnouts at just about every mile, and it was difficult not to stop and take a picture at every single one.
On our way down Blue Ridge Parkway we stopped at the Humpback Rock Visitors Center where we read about the people who lived in the mountains and what their lives were like. We also checked out the exhibits that they had nearby which was a traditional family cabin, garden, root cellar, etc. We also found out that the Blue Ridge Parkway runs for more than 460 miles from Virginia to North Carolina!
We made our way down to Afton to the "Cookie Lady's" house. June Curry hosted many cyclists on the year of the opening of the Transamerica Trail in 1976 and continued to do so for the rest of her life. She became known on the trail as the Cookie Lady. There is tons and tons of memorabilia all over the house from cyclists on the original bikecentennial ride as well as all of the years following. Sadly she passed away in 2012, though she left her house behind to the cyclists on the Transamerica Trail. Joop and I are staying here tonight.