Day 2: Is it supposed to be this hot already? - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

April 24, 2022

Day 2: Is it supposed to be this hot already?

Dani hangs in her hammock at our campsite while I pack up my stuff and get ready to ride.
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Rick StoutJust a mild criticism. When you post a picture, you don't have to describe everything in the picture. Your bike, a tree, your gear, etc. Actually save you some time too.
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2 months ago
Chris GeorgeTo Rick StoutHi, Rick, thanks for reading and asking about this! I don't remember which post it was, but I mentioned in one of my blog entries why I'm describing as much as I am in each caption: It's because there is no way on this site to add "alt text," where you would normally put this kind of descriptive text, which is used by screen readers for those with visual impairments or blindness. I'll admit I don't have as much experience with this as I should, but that is the reason — I'm trying to give everyone access to what is shown in the photos, and much of that will seem obvious to those of us who can see them.
May I ask if you are using a screen reader? If so — and you think I'm going overboard with the captions— then your criticism is exactly what I need to hear, so thank you. If not, well, I still hear you and I'm trying to find a happy middle ground. (And if anyone else using a screen reader sees this, I'd be very interested in your feedback on the captions!)
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2 months ago

On my first morning that did not start from home, it was so nice to have Dani with me. She packed both dinner last night and breakfast for this morning. As if I weren't going to miss her enough already. 

We said our goodbyes and she saw me off before she drove back home. It hit me about a minute after I'd started riding off. I'll see her in St. Louis in a month, I told myself. It still felt like it was going to be a long month.

Dani shot this photo of me riding away from our campsite as I headed off.
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The morning was pleasantly warm. That foretold an unbelievably hot afternoon. I would eventually be told that it hit 94 degrees. I'm glad for the lack of rain and the light breeze, but damn, that sunshine was intense. One of Dani's parting thoughts for me this morning was to take care of my body, and that was well timed advice. I generally like it warm but I also know that I can get overheated pretty suddenly, so I made sure to stop frequently and seek shade just to sit for a few minutes every now and then.

I passed this dam this morning.
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When I reached the town of Orange, it was lunchtime. I wanted to get something cold to drink and maybe something fresh for lunch (as opposed to eating trail mix for lunch). My options were a fancy brunch or a 7-Eleven. I decided brunch was too much, so I went back to the 7-Eleven I passed and discovered Mario's Pizza and Pasta. Given the option of convenience store food or paying a few extra bucks to support a small business, I chose the latter.

Thinking that pizza was not what I wanted on a hot day with still 30 more miles ahead of me, I chose a salad with grilled chicken. I was stunned by its deliciousness. After two bites, I stopped and studied what was on my plate. Nothing especially noteworthy: romaine, red onion, tomato, feta, a vinaigrette dressing. The kind of thing you order at a pizza shop to have on the side so you can tell yourself you had vegetables. Well, it was freaking delicious. So crisp and satisfying. It's amazing what being hot and hungry does to your senses.

I passed this gorgeous church that was apparently built in 1874! I love all its sharp spires.
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Robert DavisWhoa, rural gothic! What a cool find.
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3 months ago
Shari MooreDefinitely Presbyterian.
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3 months ago

The heat made me glad that I had decided to shave my head before starting this trip. My original reason for doing that was that as my hair has been thinning, I'd wondered if it would look better if it were shorter than I ever dared to cut it. This was a great chance to give myself a terrible haircut while the stakes were low. I'm not gonna see anyone who knows me for more than a month. So I figured why stop at "short"? Let's go bald! And then I can let it grow for four months and it will be a kind of record of this trip. Cool. 

Here's a straight-on look at my bald head as I sit in the pizza shop and wait for my lunch. The waiter has seemed genuinely startled to see me, and I don't know if it was my baldness or my bike clothes. Or maybe my smell? I didn't think I'd gotten that bad yet. Yeah, definitely the shape of my head that startled him.
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Shari MooreLove the MWABA jersey. Hakuna MWABA.
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3 months ago
Chris GeorgeTo Shari MooreHa! That is a fantastic slogan.
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3 months ago

With today's heat, it was a great day to be bald! But I noticed that my head apparently swells when I get hot and I had to loosen my helmet. Soon after, I stopped at a Sheetz gas station and noticed in the bathroom mirror that the veins in my temples were bulging. Ewww. Glad I stopped to cool down.

This little house, on what the sign called the Gilmore Farm, is "a freedman's house, circa 1860s." It is across the street from the entrance to James Madison's Montpelier.
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Tonight I'm staying with Warmshowers hosts named Brian and Shannon and their kids Ellen and Justin and their cats Milo and Neema, whose interactions reminded me of our cats, Franco (RIP) and Frisco. I took a shower — thank goodness, because I needed to rinse off the gallons of sunscreen applied to my body in the past 48 hours. Brian served up an excellent lasagna for dinner — again, freaking delicious — and we all discussed bike rides and school events. Afterward, Brian asked me about my route and after looking on my phone, he pulled out physical copies of the next two sections of the TransAm and gave them to me. Nice! It'll be comforting to have a backup in case my phone dies.

Day 2 stats:

Mileage: 63.0

Elevation gain: 2,690 ft (estimate by my Lezyne GPS device and Strava)

Lodging expenses: $0

Food expenses: $17.50 (Lunch and then Gatorade)

Days without a flat tire: 2

Days without falling: 2

Today's ride: 63 miles (101 km)
Total: 128 miles (206 km)

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