Day 5: Richmond to Williamsburg VA - Throwback Tour 1997: Our First "Old Men's Bicycling Tour" When We Thought 40 Was Old - CycleBlaze

June 12, 1997

Day 5: Richmond to Williamsburg VA

The final stretch

After our only breakfast at McDonald's the entire trip, we wended our way through Richmond to get back on the bike route east. We stopped at the Robert Lee memorial (facing south, no hat, all of the horse's feet on the ground) and cycled by the Jackson memorial (facing north, hat, one horse foot off the ground) and contemplated the intricacies of statue design protocols. 

(2020 note: Recently, many of these statues have been removed)

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A bit of cobblestone riding sure felt good after almost 300 miles in the saddle, so we stopped at the AnnaBelle Lee steamboat landing site on the James River.

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The routemeister sent us through one of the Richmond Battlefield National Parks, so we had yet another stop and a chance to study how inefficient we used to be at killing each other. A few miles later we turned east onto Route 5 for a 36 mile stretch into Williamsburg.

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(2020 note: The awesome new 51 mile long Virginia Capital Trail now enables you to ride off road for this entire route from Richmond to Williamsburg )

The wind was in our face and traffic was fairly heavy, but we had a lunch stop at the county seat, Charles City, to look forward to. All we found of Charles City was a beat up gas station with a place called "The Eatery" attached. The Eatery consisted of a nice woman, a deep fryer, and boxes of frozen hamburger patties, frozen fish patties, and frozen chicken parts slowly melting on the floor. They seemed to have hidden the county seat part pretty well, but we were hungry and the food was cheap. A small dog tied to the house that was part of The Eatery tried to nibble on Rick's leg but his quick high-stepping averted disaster.

We got back on Route 5 to find a geometric increase in dump truck and cement mixer traffic. Chris pulled away and John tucked in behind him for a 7 mile stretch of 17 mph cranking until we reached the bridge over the Chickahominy river. We regrouped for the scary ride over the metal grate surface of the bridge with huge trucks going in both directions and slogged out the last ten miles into the greater Williamsburg megalopolis.

Perhaps the roads were designed this way during the Revolutionary War to confuse British soldiers, but it is nearly impossible to get anywhere in Williamsburg without following the signs to the Visitor's Center. Luckily, our hotel was near the Visitor's Center - but we got lost anyway. As we stopped at an intersection to discuss which maps we would have looked at if we had them, which we didn't, a helpful motorist stopped and told us about his bike trip to Mississippi. We thanked him and went straight.

We did find the signs to the Visitor's Center, and we began to see many cyclists who had arrived for the GEAR rally. However, all the signs are oriented for cars and they directed to the Colonial Parkway which has a tunnel that bikes aren't allowed to use. As dissension racked the tired, cranky group, John decided to abandon his manly principles and ask for directions. A mile later we were at the Williamsburg Woodlands hotel and checked in to await the arrival of our spousal units. A quick siesta was well deserved.

Carole and John, Rick and Maggie
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Dinner at the Cracker Barrel and a stop at William and Mary College to pick up our GEAR registration materials ended the night.

GEAR South
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Today's ride: 51 miles (82 km)
Total: 276 miles (444 km)

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