June 11th, 2019 / (135km/84mi)

When we wake up from the alarm clock at 5:30am and I look outside, the sky is clear, the sun is up and it promises to be a perfect day. We get up and into the bathroom one after the other, pack our remaining stuff and by 7am are back on the road heading east out of Charlottesville. It’s not as hot and muggy today like on recent days – seems the rain over night and generally slightly cooler air have helped. Also, there’s a nice breeze today which wasn’t there yesterday.

We quickly leave Charlettesville where the morning traffic is relatively heavy. We don’t follow the official TransAm bike route today, but what Google Maps and Komoot, a nice biking app, have proposed alternatively as a more direct track to Mineral. I talked to Marcel yesterday over the phone and he said he’d get there today, so the idea was that perhaps we meet him there. But the original bike route would have been an 85km detour more or less where the direct route took us there in straight 58km. Since we want to get further today and it’s another 65km after Mineral to make it to Ashland, we decided for the direct shot. As we arrive there at around 11am, we’re of course too early to run into Marcel. I text him and we wish each other a good ride today. Perhaps we meet him one of the next days somewhere. We’re at least on the same route again.

Tim and I have breakfast in the only restaurant in Mineral. It’s a late breakfast for us as we skipped it this morning. Half an hour later we’re back on the road and turn onto the official bike trail route again which now takes us the rest of today’s ride from Mineral to Ashland. Traffic is much lighter on this route which leads thru lush forests intermixed with fields. We follow the slight detour of the trail towards Lake Anna, which is a beautiful laid back lake with lots of neat houses and boats lined up along the shoreline. With the blue sky and sun high up, the lake shimmers in dark blue. A few boats and jet skis are out on the water.

We continue the rest of the trail thru rural, agricultural areas and finally hit Ashland where our motel is located for tonight. It’s relatively early still today. Enough time to go for a load of laundry after having checked in and showered.

Tomorrow we’ll make it to the end – or start, depending how you approach it – of the TransAm bike trail already. It’s located in Yorktown at the Atlantic coast. Our official stop will be in Williamsburg, which is a handful of kilometers prior to Norfolk. Let’s see whether we take the extra detour to make it to Yorktown just for the sake of reaching the trails official end. But I am amazed that theoretically, that’s already it: once across the United States by bike. 🙂 But for us it’s a few miles more: we’ll circle a bit South first for 3 more days and then aim North towards Washington D.C. (including sightseeing days) and then further up past Philadelphia to our final destination: New York City. It’s all just a stone’s throw away now. Unbelievable.

Voltaire, btw, was a really smart guy.

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