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Up the Atlantic Coast from Charleston, SC to Lambertville, NJ
Day 19: Richmond, Yorktown, and a night on a boat

Date Starting Place Ending Place Author Last Update

05-31-10 Richmond,
Virginia, United States
Gloucester Courthouse,
Virginia, United States
ray 07-24-10 16:45:06

The day started in a bit of a muddle as we discovered that Dan didn't have a key to the garage, where my bike and gear has been stored. This required us to drive to his wife's sister's house to get one of the two garage keys (the other was with his daughter, who had stayed at a friend's house). There was a side benefit in that fresh brownies had been made and I helped myself to several.

On the way back, we tried to find a place for breakfast but several were closed as it was Memorial Day. But, we eventually found a place, after stopping traffic on a busy road to save a turtle determined to get to the other side.

When all this was done, we returned home where I showered, packed my bags, put the bike in the car and we left for Yorktown, where we arrived just after noon.

I didn't really know where to go so we picked a side road with a bit of shoulder and I got out on Yorktown Road (Hwy 238). Before unloading everything, I wanted to get a photo of Dan and the car.

After getting the bike loaded up, Dan noticed that my front tire had a bulge in it. Upon inspection, there was a half-inch slice at the end of the tread where the tube had pushed through. I was shocked to realize that I had missed this gash when I'd changed the tube a few day's back.

I carry tire boots, plastic rectangles with stickem on one side, for precisely this purpose, though I had never had to use one. I had to take gear off the bike, remove the tire from the rim, stick the tire boot on the right spot and put everything back together. Dan watched and helped out during this 15 minute process.

When I was ready to go, Dan took a photo of me and I was off.

I turned down the nearest road and into the large preserve around Yorktown. I rode along heavily wooded roads for a couple miles.

I read about civil war battles and saw some cannons in the distance.

When I got to the Colonial National Historic Park, I began seeing lots of plaques describing the different locations and their importance in the Revolutionary Battle of Yorktown.

The first one I saw described the second siege line,

which was little more than ditch by the side of the road.

Next, I rode over to where the British had some redoubts

that were captured by a force commanded by Alexander Hamilton.

Once captured by the allies (French and American), it, too, became a bombardment point.

The visitor center is located where Cornwallis set up his inner line of defense

and it is surrounded by replica cannons.

To my delight, my 7-day pass allowed me free entrance to the visitor center where I saw a few artifacts, including Washington's headquarters tent (it was too dark to get a photo) and a very informative video about the battle of Yorktown. I spent about an hour there but was anxious to get back on the bike and continue the ride.

After a short talk with my wife, I rode off toward the quaint tourist part of Yorktown.

The residential streets of Yorktown prohibit cars, but didn't say anything about bicycles, so I rode among the houses to the huge Yorktown Victory monument.

The upper town had a few businesses and mostly deserted streets.

The real crowds were on the beach.

Cole, my host for the night, worked at the restaurant in the hotel next to the beach and I stopped in and introduced myself. It was the first time I've been able to meet a host before riding to his house (or boat, in this case)!

After walking around a bit and considering the bridge I'd have to ride over,

I rode off. Oddly, even though I was right next to the bridge, it took some time to find a way onto it and then I had to life my bike over a 2-foot wall to do it.

The George P. Coleman bridge over the York River had a wide breakdown lane that wasn't much of a problem riding over. There were a few places where the metal grates forced me to slow down, though.

The view from the top of the bridge was expansive but not all that attractive as there was a huge power plant on the horizon. But, The view of Yorktown was nice.

Once on the north side of the York River, I had to find a route that stayed off Highway 17, the traffic-choked, 4-lane road heading north. I meandered through the little town of Gloucester Point, crossing 17 a couple of times. At one crossing, I saw a large collection of stores where I thought I might find a Chinese Restaurant. I did and had my usual broccoli and tofu dish and took this "mirror-infinity" photo.

I would be on deserted country roads for the entire way up to Cole's place. Some were tree-lined,

others were farm fields.

I even saw an historic house: the birthplace of Walter Reed.

I got to the end of the road about 7pm.

I didn't know it at the time, but the boat in this photo would be my bed for the night.

While I had an address, there were no street signs and I had no idea where Cole might live. But, it was a beautiful spot and I took several photos while being attacked my mosquitoes, who nailed me, at least, a dozen times.

This waterway lead to Morris Bay which lead to the York River. There were a few docks, lots of reeds, and regal great blue heron.

Here is yet another view of the river in the dimming light.

I tried calling Cole's cell phone but couldn't get any service here and I thought about randomly knocking on doors when a pick-up truck came out of the trees. It was Cole's employee, who I'd met in Yorktown, looking for me. He directed me to follow him and I rode about a quarter mile up a bumpy dirt road to Cole's place.

His compound consisted of a couple of hunting shacks, storage units, an outdoor shower and wooden walkways. His living space was the boat moored off his dock.

He showed around and then lead me to the boat where I stashed my gear and checked out my digs for the night. These stairs led down into my berth,

which had two single beds, a bathroom, and lots of wood.

We sat around on the boat and talked for a while about couchsurfing, bike riding, and boat living. Here is Cole looking like the Captain he is.

After while, I decided to have a shower and Cole suggested that the outdoor one on land was much better than the cramped one on the boat. On my way out, I took these pretty scenes from the boat's deck.

After I showered, Cole and I decided to find a place to eat. We drove through Gloucester Courthouse, the main town on, what is called, the Middle Peninsula but couldn't find any open restaurants. We eventually stopped at a Mexican place a short time before closing. We were the only diners and the food was mediocre Mexican, though the salsa was good.

We drove home after I decided I didn't want to stop at the Walmart to search for a replacement front tire. I was concerned about it but the boot seemed to be holding and I figured I'd find a bike shop soon enough.

We talked a bit more once back on the boat and I went to sleep.

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