Day 1, ugh

100 miles. My first day and my first century. I would blame human error if I weren't the human.

Things began smoothish. I was up and at 'em early at the Crown Inn. I biked down the road a little bit and made my way to Yorktown and dipped my fingers in the water as if it were holy. Wholly unusual was the woman staring at me, bony knees deep in the Atlantic with a walker and a metal detector. Photos of her to come.

I turned on her and to my first hill. I pushed the bike up it. I began on the Colonial Parkway to

The parkway is yellow brick and I followed it to the Burg, which is Colonial and confusing. I was lost and in the middle of a battle of some kind. So I delivered on skirmishes.

"How are ye stranger?"
"I’m completely lost. Where can I get some Gatorade?"
"Why whatever do you mean?”
“Oh. I see. I need some water. Where can I find a drinking fountain?”
"You are an odd sort. I don’t know what you’re speaking of.”
“Come on man.”
"I recommend you try the Gift Shoppe o’er yon on the other side of the battlefield, by the carpark."
"Thanks a lot."

I made it past some fake slaves churning butter and found that water was very expensive in colonial times. I said drank it regardless and wouldn't see any for 38 miles.

Before that reunion, I swang by Jamestown and had a lovely convo with a local on a bike on a bike path on which I was. We talked about the trip, how he prefers to ride at 62, and then he shared his charming collection of anecdotes of friends and acquaintances who snuffed it while biking. Then he tore past me.

He was much on my mind when I started looking frantically for anyplace with water. Gas stations, delis, some of the empty beer cans I was counting on the side of the road. When I found Cheryl's Store and Grill, I began to feel blessed.

Backtrack: remember how I wondered which yes my driver understood. It was the wrong yes. It was 'yes you have a map'. I arrived in Norfolk, over the longest bridge in the world -- although I could have sworn Schwarzenegger blew it up in True Lies -- without, ugh, the faintest clue of how to get back over the bay.

Bless DJ and his extortionately priced taxi. Overheard:

"Norfolk is the site of the largest Naval base in the world."

"It's where the ironclads fought and its the site if Ft. Mason."

"I believe that boy Jimmy's got the bipolar 'cause he's not got no call to be so dermned angre."

The motelier was angry when I woke him. Thankfully we were separated by bullet proof glass and we left things simmering.

Back to the past present: I could have kissed Cheryl. Wimbledon was on too.

Miles down the road I discovered that I can't read maps. My campsite at Vedeecker's store (?) wasn't 48 miles away-- it was 138 miles away. I tried all my bedding options: pastors didn't pick up, there were no hotels; people in Virginia seem serious about their property, so no camping on the sly. I even contemplated getting arrested for a petty crime.

I am at my final option. It is 30+ miles away from where I wanted to sleep. It is prom night in Mechanicsville. It is an RV camp near Ashland. It is a small patch of heaven on earth. Everyone is so friendly. The camp hostess kept the pool open late so I could use it. I didn't. I did shower and I might just shower again. Showers are the wonderful marriage between God's gift of water and plumbing.

I made dinner. Magic: whole wheat pasta with summer sausage, a cup of salt, lovely olive oil in a Fiji bottle, sundried tomatoes, and a handful of pine needles I couldn't quite get off the pasta after dropping it. A man I got to talking with swung by again with two CDs of his music. I don't know when I'll see a CD player next, but thank you Bridson.

I have had the worst Mighty Swallow song stuck in my head. Perhaps you can take it off me for a while.

Bang bang Lulu
Lulu ran away
Lulu had to go bang bang
That's why she ran away.

Lulu had a boyfriend,
Name was Tommy Tucker.
He took her round to his house
To see if he could --

Bang bang Lulu...

You get the picture. And with that, goodnight.

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