Sunday, May 3, 2009

Charles City, VA to Vesuvius, VA: Instinct Has Taken Over

Miles Per Day: Day 2=55.07; Day 3=40.64; Day 4=39.27; Day 5=30.54; Day 6=33.01

Total So Far: 238.32

Inspiration: Lynard Skynard; Oasis; Guns n' Roses; Bach (Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould); The Howard Stern Show; Rescue Me; Life of Pi;

Spirits: Excited; exhausted; adventurous; determined.

Things Seen On the Road: The inside of a fire station; tons of roadkill (including a Golden Retriever); Blue Ridge Mountains; a snake crossing the road;

Favorite Quotes: (1) on a scenic overlook right on the Blue Ridge Parkway, guy in a parked car talking to his buddy: “[inaudible] I always thought I could trust him; I just never though he would go and fuck my girlfriend...” (2) manager of Vesuvius general store, after I asked about church services the following day, Sunday: “They usually start at 9:00am. Now, are you Baptist or Methodist?”

I've just finished what was probably the best BBQ pork sandwich I've ever had in my life, courtesy of Gertie's Store in Vesuvius, VA. My mind is still spinning from all the crazy curves on the road, the intense climbing I did today over the Blue Ridge Mountains, the roller coaster 4 mile downhill drop from the Blue Ridge Parkway to Vesuvius (ever done 45 miles on a bike down a windy, curvy country road?), and some of the most beautiful views this side of the Mississippi.

I'm not sure any of this has sunk in yet. It's like my mind has receded inside itself and is working furiously to process everything. Instinct has taken over. It's the 5 year-old Jack that gets up every morning and straddles that bicycle with a child-like fury. He's also the one that relishes not knowing where we will be sleeping every night. And he's the one that's always certain everything, somehow, will turn out alright.

Here's a little taste of what was seen on the road recently:


Caressing horses on my way to Charlottesville, VA

Cooking up some lunch behind an abandoned post office in Afton, VA

Crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains

On my way to Charlottesville

Administrator of First Baptist Church in Charlottesville. He was nice enough to let me camp on church grounds. Ultimately, though, chose a hostel so that I could clean some clothes and shower.

On my way to Afton

Crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains

This trip is just getting started. That's the most amazing thing of all.

Take care everyone.


Elizabeth Halt said...

very cool. I love the horses. I figure they're thinking, "why bike when you can ride [horseback]". or maybe that's just me. ;)

Christine (moneyfunk) said...

That's amazing, Jack. Thank you for sharing. I am living vicariously thru you. ;)

Srividya said...

Isn't it wonderful to just be and not worry about what will happen? I was wondering what you were up to since you hadn't posted for a couple of days.

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying your blog/journey.

Thanks for sharing and keep it up!


Anonymous said...

Love the horses.. So beautiful, they sure took to you easily enough! Thanks for sharing!! Looking forward to more posts! :)

Debbi said...

Truly (as The Who once put it) an amazing journey.

Thanks for keeping us posted.

dMachine said...

Awesome post! I love the quotes. I will surely be following your whole journey.

The Executioner said...

Roadkill is such a shame. It is the ultimate waste of life. And we are so prolific at creating (destroying) it. The sad part is most people don't even seem to care.

Janneke said...

Hey Jack, figure this out for coincidence... I was just reading a book (or two to be exact) by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown, (just some flimsy, but funny, cat-detective) that plays in Crozet VA, just 12 miles west of Charlottesville, so it feels like I know where you are. Enjoy being that 5-year old kid again!!
Janneke, the Netherlands (or JMKimstra on Twitter)

amy said...

This is so cool that you are sharing this with all of us--I feel privileged to be "along for the ride!"

Kerry said...

Yay Jack. Looks like a great trip so far. Isn't the view in the Blue Ridge Mountains amazing? It's by far, one of my favorite places on Earth.

Family on Bikes said...

Yep - I have plummeted down those hills! (yesterday, in fact - here in Honduras) Great feeling, eh? I can't tell you how happy it makes me feel to know that you are finally out there getting to know all that I've come to love in the past few years of bicycle touring. NOw we've got - there's no going back!


Jack said...


They probably though I was a martian, with my biking shorts and helmet. But yes, superfriendly.


Thanks. Check back in when you can.


It's a great state of being, though, I confess, I'm only now getting used to it.

Jack said...




Yeah, I actually wasn't sure whether they would bite or what. It was a good moment.


Great Who reference. :)

Jack said...


That one about the girlfriend had me laughing for a couple of hills.

@The Executioner,

Being a city boy, it really is stratling to see so much death every day.


Weird. I hope the book paints it as beautiful as I see it.

Jack said...


Thanks for the comment. You are always welcome to join in.


Yup! I haven't finished this trip, but so far its clearly the most stunning thing on it.


No kidding. Thanks for being an inspiration.

61 Degrees North said...

As a country boy who grew up in a rural community like the ones you are passing through, I think of that sort of place as "normal." Kind, simple folks, beautiful scenery, and abundance of life (and death). It's those noisy big cities that I can never get used to.

Glad you're getting to appreciate how people in flyover country live.

donna said...

wow looks amazing , such freedom,
in a smaller way i get that when i'm running just the idea that you could keep going wherever you want, nothing and no one to stop you.
look forward to seeing more

Paul said...

Hi Jack,

My wife and I recently spent 6 months driving from the UK to South Africa and now that I am back in the office I envy that wonderful feeling of being on the road and not knowing where you will stay each night. We are planning a trip through North America sometime in the next couple of years but haven't decided on a mode of transport yet. It looks like cycling could be fun! Enjoying following your jouney.

Jerry Critter said...

I am really happy for you, Jack. I will admit that I was skeptical at first when I read about your plans. Quitting a high paying job, giving up the "good" life, selling it all off, and taking off while sounding good, is very difficult it pull off. (Wow, there are a lot of "offs" in that sentence. Good thing this isn't an English course.)

You did it, man! And I am proud of you. It is more than I can do.


Linda said...

Wonderful! You seem very happy, and - as you said, the trip has just begun!

Am inspired by the lovely pictures, keep posting please :)!

And loved the horses, they're beautiful!

Take care!

Jack said...


Do check out an ealier post I did regarding so-called fly-over country. I think you will understand.


That's pretty crazy to me. The fact that I can just get up and go and live anywhere!


Thanks for the comment. If you make out here, let me know.

Jack said...


Thanks man. And thanks for following from the very beginning.


Thanks. Will do.