Day 95 (11.18.10): Crazy Connection in Suffolk

It turns out our mail went to the wrong post office.  Now we were faced with the fact that our mail was at a post office that was 6 miles in the wrong direction. That meant it was 12 extra miles round trip on top of the fact that we were already getting a late start because the post office didn't open until 10!  Thankfully, a very nice man named Dan walked in about then. After finding out what had happened, he simply said, "Load your bikes in my truck and I'll take you to get your mail if you like." Yay!


Start End Lodging Miles $$ Spent Weather
Yorktown, VA Suffolk, Va House (Skip & Chris's House) 43.8 $51 L:44 H:60, Overcast, Slight Wind


Since we couldn't pick up our mail until the Yorktown post office opened at 10:00am, we had a pretty relaxed morning. I made some pecan, oatmeal, apple pancakes for breakfast and April attempted to apply for some new life insurance for us (long story short, we'd save money going with someone new).

About the time we were finishing up breakfast, someone came to the door to get some cleaning rags from the basement. In talking with this person, we learned that he too was debt free, so we gave each other a bit of encouragement and congratulations, and then he was on his way.

We decided that given our late start, we would try for Suffolk, VA today, about 65 miles away. Since we had finished the TransAmerica route yesterday and our map for the East Coast route didn't pick up until after Suffolk, we were totally on our own picking our route to Suffolk.

Unfortunately, to get to Suffolk, we had to get across the inlet on the south side of Yorktown.  To do this, we would have to ride about 15 miles back to Jamestown on the rough surfaced Colonial Parkway, board a free ferry, cross the river, and be on our way. To complicate matters, the ferries only ran every 30 minutes, so if we missed our ferry, we would lose quite a bit of riding time waiting for the next one.

While I packed up, April located a church for us to stay at in Suffolk. When April asked if we could camp on the church's lawn, he laughed and said, "In 24 years of being a pastor, I've never been asked that." And then he said we could meet him at the church, but camp in HIS backyard instead. Haha!

We arrived at the post office shortly after 10:00 and went in to inquire about any mail we might have. The lady behind the counter said there wasn't anything and asked if we had been expecting something. We told her we had. She asked if it had been sent to the wrong zip code. We said no, we were pretty sure it had been sent here.

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She said maybe we had mistakenly gotten the wrong zip code, a common mistake since Yorktown was so small. So she called the post office in the next town over, "Hello, do you by chance have some mail for Nathan or April Reinhard?…Oh, you do?… Great! Oh and just out of curiosity, what is the zip code on their mail?…Oh… Well then why do you have it?"

Feeling slightly better that the mix up wasn't our fault, we were still faced with the fact that our mail was at a post office that was 6 miles in the wrong direction. That meant it was 12 extra miles round trip on top of the fact that we were already getting a late start because the post office didn't open until 10!

Thankfully, a very nice man named Dan walked in about then. After finding out what had happened, he simply said, "Load your bikes in my truck and I'll take you to get your mail if you like." Yay!

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On the way to get our mail, Dan told us that he was the superintendent of the national parks around Yorktown, and he had taken the morning off to get a flu shot so that his wife and daughter would let him near his new grandson! He was anxious for some grandpa-time, so he got it right away.  We were sure glad he had decided to take this particular morning off to do it!

In the neighboring town of Grafton, we picked up our mail: 4 letters and 1 package! And for the first time we got mail from more than just my mom! 🙂

Then Dan offered to take us to the ferry at Jamestown! After checking to make sure he was really ok with that, we accepted, glad to not have to ride on the bumpy Colonial Parkway and glad to be able to get back on track for the rest of our day.

Dan dropped us off at the ferry and we thanked him again. We had just made the noon ferry, so we were right back where we should have been if everything had gone according to our original plan! It seems God had our back yet again!

The ferry ride was a bit chilly, but we huddled up and ate some of the cookies my mom had sent us. The note said they were a new "healthy cookie" recipe. Healthy cookies? That's an oxymoron if ever I heard one!

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Back on dry land, we had about 40 miles to go and a little under 5 hours to do it in. Translation: we had plenty of time.  Now we could take our time and enjoy the beautiful fall colors, and more importantly, stop for a nice lunch! Unfortunately, Bacons Castle, VA didn't have any restaurants. If they had, I'm sure they would have been amazing!!

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Instead, lunch came at a town called Smithfield, apparently known for it's artsy craftsy shopping. While we were deciding which place to eat, we met a family who was completely stunned by our bike trip. They asked lots of questions and couldn't quite seem to grasp what we were doing.  Meeting people who are shocked about our trip is really fun, and it's one of the reasons we like to leave the published route from time and time and ride in places where touring cyclists are less common!

After a while, they moved on, and we settled on Smithfield Gourmet Bakery and Cafe. It turned out to be a fantastic choice! Maybe some of the best food on our whole entire trip!

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The special of the day, which we both ordered, was a BBQ cheddar burger topped with black bean hummus and peanut salsa served with a side of hand cut fries! YUM! It was so good that when the waitress came by to check on us, her first comment was, "Wow, your plates are clean!"

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Feeling very full and happy, we continued on our way (with April talking continually about how much she liked the burgers we just had), arriving at Suffolk right around the 5:00 rush hour. The streets were super crowded and there wasn't a shoulder. Fortunately, I had looked up alternative directions that used side roads just in case the main roads were bad.

We made a quick stop at a grocery store for supplies and I stayed with the bikes while April went in. When she came out, she said a bunch of people had come up to her in the store and congratulated her on our trip, saying they had talked to her husband outside. I guess it must be easy to tell we are together or something. Haha!

The grocery stop had taken a little while longer than expected and we arrived at the church just after dark. Fortunately, the side roads had been much more bike friendly than the main road.

At the church, Skip, the pastor, came out to greet us with a big smile. He said they were having a church dinner tonight and we were welcome to join them as their guests. The menu was lasagna, bread, salad, and cake. We were more than happy to join in!

During dinner, we got to share some of our stories with the people around us. One lady, Cheryl, said her son-in-law had ridden part way across the country several years ago. She also said that he and his family now lived "just over the bridge" in the Outer Banks and that we could probably stay with them tomorrow night. We thought that sounded pretty cool, so she got her cell phone out, excused herself, and went to call her daughter and set everything up.

After dinner, Skip got up and said that there was some church business to take care of, but first he had a story to tell.

He introduced us and gave a brief account of what we were doing. Then he said that it was obvious to him that God had orchestrated our being there tonight. He went on to share that after he graduated from seminary, he and a friend had taken a cross country car trip, and that our being there had brought back a lot of those memories and how he was glad to be able to provide us a place to sleep just as people had done for him and his friend so many years ago.

He also talked about the connection we had just made with Cheryl at our table tonight and how we would have a place to stay tomorrow. And to top it all off, our home in Texas is just down the road from an old dear church member named Rillie who had moved to Garland, TX a few years ago.

Then it was on to church business, so April and I headed back upstairs to work on the blog a bit. When I went to get the laptop, I noticed that April's tire was flat. The second flat of the whole trip, and it happened while her bike was sitting in a church! So while April worked on the computer, I changed the tire.

After the meeting was over, we followed Skip's car as he drove the couple blocks to his home. Then we put our bikes in the garage and he said we could sleep in his spare bedroom. Yay!

Looking over at a map, we learned for the first time where exactly Southern Shores, the town we were headed for tomorrow where Cheryl's daughter and son-in-law, was located. It turned out that "just over the bridge" was in fact, about 85 miles and then just over the bridge! Woah – that is really far away! Still, we decided that since it was pretty flat here, we could probably do it. And Skip said he would help us pick out a good route in the morning.

Before calling it a night, I decided to give Eric and Jamie a call to let them know where we were and that we would most likely be in the Outer Banks tomorrow night. The plan is to meet Eric and Jamie somewhere in the Outer Banks and ride with them on the last few days of our trip. Then load everything into their car and drive back to their place in Raleigh. We decided that I would call again tomorrow and we would decide on a meeting point then. It's hard to plan more than a day in advance!

On that note, we have a big day tomorrow and I need to get to bed. Sweet dreams!

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