Day 94 (11.17.10): Atlantic Ocean…Almost!

This was it! We had done it! We had ridden over 4300 miles through 12 states from the West coast to the East coast. Even though this wasn't our final destination, we had come to the end of the TransAmerica trail and it was time to dip our tires into the Atlantic Ocean to officially mark this occasion!

QUICK STATS

Start End Lodging Miles $$ Spent Weather
Williamsburg, VA Yorktown, VA Church (Grace Episcopal) 34.6 $33 L:50 H:62, Windy

 

Breakfast at Steve and Shiela's was delicious. Shiela made us homemade pecan waffles and pumpkin apple muffins with homemade apple butter and (also homemade) strawberry syrup. Steve made us eggs over easy and flipped them using one of those fancy chef pan-flips (i.e. no spatula involved)!

I had three waffles, April ate four, and I don't know how many muffins we ate before we declared ourselves full. It was awesome! Shiela said we could take the left over muffins and some other food for lunch. By the time they were done loading us up, we had bread, and meat, and cheese, and chips, and Oreos, and Reese's Peanut Butter cups, and apples! Wow!

We packed up our stuff and prepared to head out. Today was the day. Today we would get to Yorktown, the end of the TransAmerica Trail, and the Atlantic Ocean. Today we will have crossed the whole, entire United States! The thought was almost too much to comprehend!

Before heading out, Steve and I took a look at his van, which was leaking anti-freeze. We think we located the spot where it was leaking from, so hopefully he'll be able to get it fixed. Then Steve gave us some directions to Jamestown, and we were off!

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Jamestown was a little bit out of the way, but I really wanted to see it because I recognized it as being historically significant (though I couldn't remember exactly why), and it was only about ten miles from Williamsburg, where we started this morning. After less than an hour easy riding, we arrived at the Jamestown Settlement discovery center. Basically, you get to pay money to go back into an area where they reenact what life might have been like back when Jamestown, the first official English settlement in the new world, was founded in 1607.

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But according to the literature we were given by the greeter, this wasn't even the location of the original settlement. That was a little ways away on Jamestown Island. So, we decided to save our money and waded through groups of middle schoolers on field trips to get back our to our bikes.

A short ride later, we were at the island. There wasn't really a whole lot to see, mostly signboards telling why Jamestown was historically significant and would have been found in each location. Our curiosity satisfied, we headed on toward Yorktown and the end of the TransAmerica Trail.

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The road to Yorktown was to be the Colonial Parkway. Since our trip to Jamestown had actually been a bit out of the way, the Parkway would take us back through Williamsburg and then on to Yorktown.

Interestingly, the Colonial Parkway is stunningly beautiful and seems like it should be an ideal road to ride on because of the low speed limit and lack of traffic, it is, in fact, a terrible road to ride on. The surface, rather than being nice smooth asphalt, is actually "river gravel" set in concrete, so it makes for a very rough ride on a bike. There are also no markings painted on the road surface, which makes it feel a bit like riding on a giant, decorative sidewalk.

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As we approached Williamsburg, April was starting to feel the need to use the bathroom and the vibrations from the rough road surface weren't helping any! Fortunately, we were almost to the historic downtown. The Parkway has a tunnel that passes under this portion of Williamsburg, but bicycles aren't allowed, so we had to take a slight detour which happened to go right by some bathrooms!

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While we were stopped, we decided to take the opportunity to thank another supported: Ryan Johnson! Ryan helped us out in Keystone when we had our first (and only thus far, knock on wood) flat tire. Thanks Ryan!

By now we were getting to be pretty excited. The glimpses of the water and the occasional whiff of salt air were invigorating. Even the road didn't seem quite as bad. And then we saw the signs for Yorktown!

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The first thing we came to was the American Revolution Victory Center. After several unsuccessful attempts at capturing us jumping for joy in front of the sign, we finally settled for a high-five!

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Next, we came to the "Welcome to the Yorktown" sign. So we stopped for another picture.

And then we came to the coast.

This was it! We had done it! We had ridden over 4300 miles through 12 states from the West coast to the East coast. Even though this wasn't our final destination, we had come to the end of the TransAmerica trail and it was time to dip our tires into the Atlantic Ocean to officially mark this occasion!

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Well, it was almost time. First we decided to check in with the church we'd be staying at, visit the Ben and Jerry's ice cream shop across the street (duh!), call our families, and then dip our tires.

April called Grace Episcopal Church to let them know we had arrived. They have a guest house they allow cyclists to stay in, but we couldn't get into it until they were done with their meetings for the day. When April told the lady on the phone how excited we were to have made it all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, the lady responded, "Oh, this isn't the Atlantic, honey. This is the inlet of the York River!"

Huh?! We were shocked. But upon looking at a map, she was right. Despite being salty, the water was technically not the Atlantic. In fact, we weren't even on the coast! Still, this was really just a technicality, we had still just crossed a huge milestone (and the United States!) in our trip. And besides, we were headed to the Outer Banks anyway, which really are on the Atlantic.

At the ice cream shop, while trying to decide which flavor of Ben & Jerry's to celebrate with, another lady in the shop started asking us about our trip. Before we knew it, she had invited us to her house for dinner! Woo-hoo!!

We ate our ice cream, got some coffee (ice cream and coffee…could it get much better?), and went back to our bikes to eat lunch. It was great to just sit there and look out over the water and try to digest our accomplishment. Ahhhhhh…

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And finally, we dipped our front tires in the water. We decided that despite not truly being the Atlantic, this was such a huge milestone that we couldn't not dip our tires in the water!

Then we tried to go to the post office since this is our last mail stop, but it was already closed, so we rode around Yorktown a bit in search of a pin or patch for our bags.

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After a fruitless search, we headed for the church, but we were a little early and they weren't quite done with the guest house yet. A gentleman across the street saw us with our bikes and came over to say hi. He introduced himself as John and asked if we were staying at the church tonight. He said he was one of the caretakers of the guesthouse and invited us to come over to his place while we waited for the guesthouse to open.

So we headed across the street to his place and plugged our phones in so we could make some more calls while we waited.

After the guesthouse was free, we headed over to take a shower and start some wash before Trish, the lady we met in the ice cream shop, came to pick us up.

Trish showed up around 7 and we piled into her car for the quick drive over to her place. It turns out she was so excited about having us for dinner, she invited some friends who would be interested in our adventure too! Cool!

Dinner was lots of fun, and we swapped all kinds of adventure stories. Trish's husband, Dave, did a bike tour from Iowa to Oregon. Trish and Dave's friend, Janet, owns a bike shop in Williamsburg with her hubby. And their other friend, Steve, had lots of stories of his own. Trish and Dave's two kids rounded out the party nicely, and we all had a great time laughing, and eating, and sharing in the excitement of our trip!

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Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to our new friends and head back to the guest house. We need our rest, because for us, the trip isn't over yet. We still have a few hard days of riding before reaching our final destination in the Outer Banks and the Atlantic Coast! For real this time!

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Thanks for sticking with us on our adventure! We're almost done! Sweet dreams!


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