Starting out from Charlottesville, I was quickly led astray (or perhaps not?) by following TransAnerica route markers…which led to some very non-bikey roads.
Assuming there was an error, I turned to the GPS for help, but that too led me weirdly through a golf course, some backyards, and a mud trough, around some (very pretty!) neighborhoods, before finally both GPS and route markers were matching up. (Note of caution: whoever may have originally recorded your track may have in fact made a mistake, so use common sense. Or improvise without common sense. Whatever works.) On the detour, I saw these 4 very pretty matching houses- I’m not sure if having them all in a row added to the effect, but they look very well integrated with the land while also contrasting nicely with it.
Soon after, I got a first look at the Blue Ridge Mountains, which looked as happy to see the sun after the previous day’s clouds as I was.
There was a very long uphill stretch, and at the top I was surprised to find that I was on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Cool! The combination of beautiful weather, cool temperature, little car traffic, extremely scenic (scenic AF, as the kids say) views, and meeting some other cyclists/environmentalists on the parkway made it absolutely my favorite section of the ride so far, culminating in a super fast descent and exit from the National Forest.
Brakes having excelled in their greatest challenge yet, I continued westward into the setting sun until I reached Buena Vista, Virginia (not pronounced the way you’re saying it in your head).
While checking my map and casting about for a campsite, lo and behold, who should pull up next to me besides a woman asking if I was on Warmshowers and needed a place to stay for the night. Serendipity itself! Also serendipity (or maybe just impressive engineering): you can fit a bicycle and a trailer in the back of a Prius, and almost get the hatch closed- probably could get it closed if you felt like testing your Tetris skills- so I was saved the uphill ride to my new friend’s farm and that night’s accommodations.