Day 10: Rockfish Gap, VA to Natural Bridge, VA
May 26, 2011

We got an early start today for a long, gradual climb through the Blue Ridge Mountains. It wasn’t nearly as steep as we expected and the views of the mountains and valleys were phenomenal. At the , we dropped about 2000 feet in 3 miles, which was probably the most unpleasant part of the day. We felt like we were getting carpal tunnel from braking so much and often felt like we couldn’t actually stop because it was so steep. At the bottom, we had lunch at Gertie’s and “enjoyed” Gertie’s confederate flags and soldier statue out front. From Vesuvius to Lexington was a lovely, mostly downhill road along the river, which was a much appreciated stretch for our legs. After stocking up at a grocery store in Lexington we pressed on for another 10 miles to a campground near Natural Bridge. We also met a new companion today. A 20-year old’s biking companion was injured early in their ride so the non-injured one may be joining us for a while. Hope he likes Hillary’s rendition of John Denver’s “Country Roads.”

  • Starting point: Rockfish Gap, VA
  • Ending point: Natural Bridge, VA
  • Slept: camped
  • Miles: 62.08
  • Average speed: 8.3
  • Notes: look at the elevation map!

Day 11: Natural Bridge, VA to Catawba, VA
May 27, 2011

After some morning bike maintenance, we set off through Natural Bridge, foregoing roadside attractions like Foamhenge, a replica of Stonehenge made of giant foam pieces. We stopped for lunch in Daleville, ate some footlong sandwiches, and tried to plan our afternoon. Today was one of those awkward days when the distance between towns didn’t really line up with how far we wanted to go. Colin found a restaurant in Catawba that let’s bikers camp on it’s lot so we headed for them. On the way, it started POURING again, but much warmer rain than what we had last week. In Catawba, we found a covered picnic area in the park where we spread our stuff out to dry. Andrew asked at the general store about places to camp and they offered the shed/room out back which was delightfully dry.

  • Starting point: Natural Bridge, VA
  • Ending point: Catawba, VA
  • Slept: “camped” in a room at the general store
  • Miles: 54.04
  • Average speed: 9.9
  • Notes: rain, rain…