After visiting friends in Charlottesville, VA for 3 days, I drove to Virginia Beach intent on exploring the shoreline and First Landing State Park.
The weekend was rather sedentary and full of good food and beer, so I felt like exercising. I thought I'd bicycle from the Walmart where I was parked to First Landing State Park, which at the end of the day would give me 30 cycled miles round-trip.
I woke early this morning. There were seagulls on the roof of the van. It was one of those cold mornings where you have to get dressed inside your sleeping bag. I brewed tea and made a sandwich, then bundled up and set out on my bike trek.
I only lasted 4 miles. The "bike lane" frequently disapeared into a busy road popular amongst dump trucks driving 50 MPH. I thought my year of cycling around Providence had hardened me against bad drivers, but I forgot that in the city the streets are short, which prevents drivers from really getting up to speed. Here there are great long straight-aways and the drivers, no doubt listening to "Life is a Highway", seem to revel in blasting down them.
When there is no bike lane or shoulder it's difficult for drivers and bikers to share the road. I don't blame the drivers for that. What I do blame them for is for driving weirdly close to my bike or not signaling. At moments like that you understand those stories of cyclists going apeshit and beating at passing vehicles with their bicycles and tire pumps.
The final straw came when I tried to cross a street and nearly got hit by a Prius (aren't hybrids and cyclists supposed to be on the same team?). I had been watching the incoming traffic; the Prius most definitely had not signaled it was about to turn. It came to a screeching halt. I looked at the driver. The woman looked back. If I had any balls I'd have said some truly cruel things to her at that moment but instead I just kind of waved and wobbled toward the curb.
So I went back to the van and vanned it to the shoreline.
The "beach town" area was deserted but not dilapidated. It didn't scare me the way Wildwood's beach town did when I visited it in November. The streets were clean, the buildings well-kept, and so on. I walked on the beach and took some pictures.
There was a dude feeding seagulls out of his balcony:
The main drag along the shore leads right into First Landing State Park. I parked in the visitor area and went to the office to get a map, but found it was closed. In the absence of the office, visitors were directed to this thing:
It seemed to be an outdoor computer. It was "on" in the sense that I could hear the machinery whirring and there was this touch-screen showing a pastoral scene. But that was it - it wouldn't function. It had no buttons and the screen didn't respond. I guess it was frozen. Or maybe the staff at First Landing has a philosophical sense of humor and they like to have the information-needy jab fingers at an open, unresponsive landscape.
I walked the "Osthamanthus Trail" where there were many bald cypress trees and their so-called "knees". It was pretty neat, all the moss and boggery. That trail was 3.1 miles and went by quickly. I saw many squirrels and heard woodpeckers, as well as ongoing gunfire from Fort Story.
After finishing that trail, I got out the bike and began the Cape Henry Trail. It was 6 miles. It had another one of those fun "Exercise Trails". I did them all except the tire jump, which I skipped due to my bum knee.
I reached the end of the Cape Henry Trail. There was a boat landing. I meant to photograph it but then this predatory-looking white sedan with black-tinted windows pulled into the parking lot and made me uneasy. I could see the outline of a man's face through the black tinting. First he slowed down to a crawl right next to where I was riding and looked at me then he parked way off in the corner of the lot where only a pervert or a drug dealer would think to park. I continued over to the next lot and he followed me there as well. At one point he started to get out. I saw one red-swishypants and Reebok sneaker leg. I began pedaling quickly in the opposite direction. Then a second later he roared by me in the sedan.
After evading that freak, I found this little historical loop about the Chesapeake Indians. It had these cool re-creations of houses.
It's supposed to start raining for 3 days, so tomorrow I'm leaving Virginia.
Rainier, the second time
4 months ago