Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 12, Monday. Chesapeake, Virginia

June 10, Saturday.  I arrived to Elizabeth City late in the previous afternoon (here is my photo album for Hertford, North Carolina.  I may have forgotten to upload it in my last post), a total of 50 kilometers traveled this day.  Seeking a safe camp, I decided to call the local VFW and try my luck.  It seemed quite a distance to the VFW from where I was at the time, but having permission has its own peace of mind and I was dedicated to catching a second wind to arrive there if I was granted permission to stay.  

I rang VFW Post 6060 and spoke to a lady that I had assumed was tending the bar and phone, asking for either the Post Commander or the Quarter Master.  She politely informed me that neither was in and offered to take a message.  I gave her a brief description of my mission, what I was seeking (a place to make camp for the night, behind  the VFW building and out of sight), and my contact info.  After she wrote my information down, she asked me to hold.  The person that picked up introduced himself as "Bill".  Again I stated my mission, what I was seeking, and received a firm "No".  This is a response I am familiar with, though in recent history I have been very fortunate to find welcoming and hospitable folks at various VFW's and American Legions along the first part of this tour.

Along the way I spotted some park benches at a church next to Jeffry's Florist and stopped to hydrate and scan my maps for a likely location to "stealth camp".  As the sun was dipping down, I rolled my ride to the treeline where we would stay the night.

From this tree line, I packed up and policed the area to assure that the spot remained as I found it after preparing Daisy's breakfast.   Since deciding that today was a touring day (not making forward mileage progress) I put WalMart on the agenda.  WalMart in relation to where I had camped was a long way away, in fact I actually had to back track quite a few miles, and then that would put me even further from Elizabeth City.

The route I chose to get back to WalMart, turned into a gravel road after three quarters of a mile.  I let Daisy out of her crate to let her jog beside me for the first time this tour, to save me the energy needed to drag a weighted down trailer through this loose gravel, and because she enjoys getting out, something she is not always able to do due to the heavily traveled roads I have been riding on.  After Wal-Mart, I rode towards Elizabeth City, North Carolina for a tour of this beautiful area.  Along the way, I found a bike route that abruptly came to an unannounced end.  What I mean to say, is that there was no "Dead End" sign indicating that a dead end was to come.  I turned around, and about 200 meters back, I met a fella on a motorized wheel chair with an umbrella.  I stopped him and warned of the dead end just ahead.  We talked for a few minutes and before parting ways, wished each other well.  After back tracking and getting back onto Church Rd into Elizabeth City, I found my recent friend was ahead of me.  (I will include a video of this later, in a separate post, for the video shows me passing my first vehicle on this tour.  My new friend in his 4x4 wheel chair.)  He had cut across the lawn to get back on the road, something that I was unwilling to do with my trailer behind me. It is a bitch to back up, even if only for a few yards.

I toured Elizabeth City (here is ...My Photo Album of Elizabeth City, North Carolina) for the rest of the morning when I came across the Elizabeth City Water Front when out of the blue, a fella introduced himself as Chris Day of 'The Daily Advance" asked me for an interview.  This is a first for me...on this tour and the last.  We sat and chatted for a good long while, and before parting, told me about Muddy Waters Coffee shop and gave me the change needed to purchase myself a coffee.  My Facebook friends saw the result of my visit to Muddy Waters.  Thank you Chris Day of "The Daily Advance" for the coffee and the interview, for sharing our story with you readers!  Here is my photo album... Arriving In Virginia .)

I sat at the Water front after another tour of the town.  As the sun was going down, around 7:45, I left to seek a camp.  As I was passing the afforementioned, not so hospitable, VFW, I ran across a Catholic Church with a huge lawn.  I took pictures of the VFW's back lawn from the church property, then proceeded to the very back of the property out of view from early church arrivals.  Here I made a simple dinner of packaged rice and noodles with a can of tuna.

At the end of this day, I traveled over 38 kilometers.

June 11, Sunday, I rolled up my bed roll for we slept under an open sky.  I haven't used the screen tent or its rain fly for quite a while.  I have been opting for quick camps and fighting bugs with DEET.  We left the Catholic Church, next to the VFW Post 660 and arrived at the Citgo,  north along Highway 17.  Here is where I learned of Chesapeake Campground.

This day would mark my arrival in Virginia, leaving the wonderful state of North Carolina behind us.  Surprisingly, there was no "Welcome to Virginia" sign.  Here is my photo album... Arriving in Virginia .I did find, three miles into Virginia, a welcome to Chesapeake County, Virginia sign (should be included in photo album attached).  I also found a bit more roadside shoulder for which to ride on, separated from the highway by continuous rumble strips (a form of vehicular Braille to wake up drunk drivers or those unaware of where the road ends).  

This day would also bring me to the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, a wonderful and beautiful trail dedicated to bicycles, hikers, walkers, and runners.  I should have some videos uploaded soon to share with y'all!  Along this trail, I stopped to make lunch, a bag of ramen with a half cup of par boiled rice.  I made two glasses of milk from my powdered milk supply to keep the cramps at bay.  I also threw a hook in the canal, hoping to catch anything that would jump on it.

In the late afternoon, I arrived to Chesapeake Campground ($21 per night to pitch a tent).  I arrived to my campsite then thought better...food.  Before setting camp, I rode to and from the Food Lion Grocery store down the road.  I brought back a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, a 5.25 pound chicken, and a couple cans of beer.

I arrived  at camp and quickly carved up the chicken, see photos, and boiled the whole thing in one of my larger pots.  I ran to the showers and scrubbed off at least a weeks worth of grime, DEET, sweat, salt, and sunblock off.  I went back to camp with my washed laundry, two riding outfits and 3 pair of socks and hung them to dry.  I set up my tent screen, and Daisy and I started working on that chicken.

This day, I traveled 69 kilometers.

June 12, Monday was a down day...all day.  I woke, or should I say Daisy woke me, and prepared an awesome Daisy meal with chicken stock, milk, an egg and dog food.   She loved it!  I had lots of milk, eggs, and oatmeal in my coffee. Raw.  Here is my photo album... First Days in Virginia .

I researched local media outlets, made calls and followed them up with emails.  I went to the camp office to pay for another night, to utilize WiFi that is only available at the office and not at the camp sites, and to work on my blog post.  I was able to upload most of my photos since my last post, but the videos have yet to upload for the WiFi is slow.

For lunch I dug out a package of lentils, split peas, alphabet noodles, rice, barley and other grains.  I seasoned this, added some chicken and had a huge lunch.  (see photos). 

I made a pot of beans for later and with the leftover chicken and chicken stock made a rich chicken and rice soup.  Between Daisy and I, none of this chicken went to waste!

2 kilometers traveled this day.

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