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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day7: Warsaw to Dahlgren, Va. Hills, Headwinds, Rain, Cold: Totally Awesome

11/7/2013 41m, 415m/trip

Woke up early to rainfall and made a strategic decision to embrace conditions and went back to sleep. Woke up again at 0930 and it was still raining, so I cooked breakfast (added boiling water to oatmeal) within the tent vestibule, which worked very well. Love the tent. Packing up a wet rainfly is something I need to learn about. Finally departed the campground at about 1100.

The Heritage Park Campground was a very successful overnight stay for me. (I had the tent area to myself.) The showers had hot water and the grounds were immaculate. I think it's probably fair to say that they're not pursuing the campground business as aggressively as they are the winery business at Belle Mount Winery, situated on the same location. The bathhouse etc probably hasn't seen an update in 2013, but if what you're looking for was a safe/secure/clean overnight for a tent or a pull-in camper, this place was great. I would come here again.

I was off the main roads, and the most efficient route was to remain on secondary roads for the first 15 miles. It was all right, but rather isolated, and a bit more twisty-climby. The drivers I encountered were certainly courteous, and there weren't many of them - but there was no such thing as riding by a convenience store or a restaurant, either.

It started to rain again, not too bad at first. After a while the wind picked up and I realized I was about to encounter sustained heavy rain, so I took shelter in the lee of a closed garage. Took out my spiffy utility blanket and some tuna fish, got warm and dry and had some lunch. Checked the phone and it looked like major rain/wind for an hour. It was cold and wet and fairly gray, so I chose not to go riding on the road (there wasn't any shoulder, and it was a two-lane at 55-mph). So I chilled out under my blankie for a while.

Which takes me back to the ever-persistent theme of Cyclist-Homeless Duality. The blogs bring this: Mistaken for Homeless, in which a driver offers a cyclist $5 out of concern. I personally think the blog post misses the point; it's not that the driver suffers from classism, it's that the driver didn't see any difference between the touring cyclist and a homeless person (which is sort of my point: they're both non-driving humans likely to be carrying clothing and possessions; they're the other.

And in today's hometown paper, a homeless man was found sleeping inside the Presidential Suite of the Omni William Penn Hotel and promptly seized and arrested. Turns out the door to the suite was intentionally left unlocked for an earlier event. The upscale hotel immediately pressed charges, and the newspaper published the photograph to - to what end, exactly? To present a titillating image of a homeless man? The new bogey man?

I think about this when I'm on the side of the road, huddled in my REI blanket in the rain, with my Amex and my smart phone, confident in my social status. Well, mostly-somewhat-confident.

Got back on the road, hoping to find some real food, and encountered Bobby K's Roadside Cafe. wow wow wow. I had a brisket sandwich with sweet potato fries.

This was a real treat. Previously, the best sweet potato fries I've ever had were from Walden's Restaurant in Burgettstown, PA. These fries are a class above those. These fries were so good, that I never touched the sandwich until all the fries were gone. The sandwich was also excellent; the roll was fresh and tasty, good enough to stand on its own. The brisket was tender and tasty; I really didn't use the au jus that much. Afterwards, I caved and tried the Hummingbird Cake which was also A-1. Really an excellent meal and very nice folks in the place. (Giants fans, somehow)

Back on the bike. There was a headwind for the entire day, and there were hills! Not Western Pennsylvania character-developing hills, but definitely climbing work and low groundspeeds. It was an enjoyable workout but not very fast.

I ended up stopped for the day in Dahlgren, Va, with 41 miles on the clock.

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