One of many stenciled planks on the Tyler Potterfield pedestrian bridge in Richmond over the raging James River
Today’s ride was largely straight north up Route 1. Not too scenic, especially in drizzle and light rain. We started out trying to take quieter side roads, but the actual streets didn’t sync up with our navigation directions. So in the face of rain we opted for a more direct route.
At 32 miles we hit Petersburg. We passed a fire station and asked a couple firemen if they could point us to a coffee shop. They sent us to Demolition Coffee, where the lattes were perfect for warming up from the rain.
Another 22 miles up Route 1 and we hit Richmond. We played around the riverfront and canal walk, enjoying the wall murals. It’s a far bigger city than I had imagined, worth a trip back to see more.
The raging James River, as seen from the Potterfield bridge
Dee reminds me to tell you about the dogs. Early in today’s ride we got chased by a dog, a big, black shepherdy looking mutt. He may have been just enjoying a morning run alongside us, for a mile or so, but we know that you never know—Dee has scars on her ankle and lower calf to remind her of what a dog can do to a cyclist. So I yelled him away, only for him to come bounding back two more times. We’ve had a few of these chases the last few days, raising our adrenaline and our average pace for the day.
I love dogs, I miss my two pups desperately. But I’m not like my friends Robin and Brigitte, who love all dogs, all animals really. I only love the cute ones, I’m afraid. And I don’t like the bike chasers.
And then last night at our truck stop hangout, in the rain, a stray dog looking much like my Amos was wandering between the fuel pumps and parked cars, no collar, no aggression. He broke my heart but I didn’t do anything, I just hoped some other good-hearted traveler rescued him or called a shelter.
We ended the day with a great treat. Kayla, who I worked with years ago in Martinsville, VA, lives in Richmond now. She picked us up from the hostel downtown where we’re staying and brought us to her house for dinner. The meal was delicious, the conversation wide-ranging, from the state of Richmond’s economy and politics to Kayla’s upcoming trip to Vietnam, her third visit to give kids in an orphanage a beach vacation. I loved it all — loved being in someone’s home after so many motels and eating food we didn’t have to order. Kayla was a bright spark in a not-so-bright job all those years ago (four? five?); I loved catching up with her and knowing she is flourishing in her new city.
And now to bed in the hostel. Dee and I both landed top bunks in a room of four women. We are nervous about how that works, as women of a certain age who have to get up a few times each night for the bathroom. Won’t our bunk mates enjoy us! Otherwise it’s a beautiful building with nice, spacious common rooms downstairs and helpful staff who want to encourage bicycle tourists. Next time we’ll know to reserve the bottom bunks!