Tuesday, March 11, 2008
On the road again! Our bike parts arrived at 9:35 this morning, and we were finally able to leave our South Hill motel by 11:30. We knew we had less than 60 miles to go and less than 8 hours to do it in, so we needed to make good time. The weather was gorgeous - sunny and about 60 degrees when we left. There was not much wind and the hills were reasonable. We managed to cover the 59 miles to our hotel in Roxboro, NC in less than 5 and 1/2 hours of bike time, and less than 7 and 1/2 hours total time, arriving a little before 7 pm.
Given it was our last day in Virginia, we tried to take some more photos of the countryside. We spent the first half of the day on Route 58 going past more woods and fields with a few farms and houses here and there. The dirt started to have the reddish tinge that it has in many southern states (cf. Emily Lou Harris, "Red Dirt Girl"). We took the Business Route 58 through the town of Boydton, a quaint historic town with some nice old buildings. Boydton is the county seat of Mecklenburg County, a large county that included South Hill. We got off onto Bus. 58 after we saw a sign prohibiting bikes on the main Route 58 at that point. We were disappointed to see the sign, because 58 was a nice smooth road with a wide shoulder that made for easy biking. When we got back on 58 after Boydton, we didn't see any signs so we thought we were ok. A while later though, they were back and this time we didn't see any other way to go, so we hoped for the best and kept going. A police car passed us on a long bridge over the John Kerr Reservoir (also banned from bikes) so we hoped that meant we were getting a pass. We saw him waiting, though, at the end of the bridge and thought we were goners, but he pulled out in front of us and drove off. We were relieved, but still felt nervous the rest of the time we were on that road.
We turned off Route 58 onto a small connecting road, Sandy Fork, and shortly after went onto Route 49, a two-lane, no-shoulder road that we were on the rest of the day. Luckily, the traffic was light and the drivers were very considerate of us. We stopped for a delicious hamburger around 4 pm at Gatrell's Restaurant in Virgilina, VA, just before the NC border. We were happy to see the Welcome to North Carolina sign - state #6! The owner of Gatrell's said he wasn't sure there was one because it kept getting stolen. Once we crossed over, the hills started getting hillier and we were getting pretty tired, so we were glad to finally see our night's motel come into view as soon as we reached Roxboro.
Tomorrow will be a longer day - about 75 miles - ending in Asheboro, NC, but at least we'll get an earlier start.