“Storm alert! You’ve got to find cover.” Shaken out of the reverie induced by the beautiful Virginia creeks, lush forests, and melodic birdsong, not to mention the humid heat, the pastor of the local church insisted that I take cover NOW. The storm would last all night, he said. He showed me into the church hall, where 7 other TransAm cyclists had already taken refuge. I was welcome to use the kitchen, shower, and lay out my sleeping bag wherever I wished. Right on cue, the storm broke, preceded by an abrupt drop in temperature and a rushing wind.
It had been a perfect first few days’ cycling. Flat for the most part with a warm breeze that often carried the heady fragrance of flowering foxglove trees and lupin trees. No idea of their real names, so I named them myself. And then a sudden flash of iridescent blue – a Virginia whoopee bird perhaps? No, the first of many discarded cans of Bud Light. Bud seems to be the beverage of choice in these parts. The verges are littered with cans, bottles, and bags of trash. At the thought of being taken out by a bottle of Miller Lite, I instinctively tightened my helmet.
History is everywhere in Virginia, with signs commemorating settlements and battles (civil war I think), signs to historic homes and plantations, and modern-day signs in front yards with the single word “Trump”. Guess they’ve not yet felt the “Bern” down here. I thought of gathering a beer bottle or three from the verge and taking a few pot shots at a Trump sign, but hastily changed my mind on sighting a local sitting on his verandah in his Y-fronts with his shotgun handy. I mustered a cheery wave and a “Go Trump” instead and cycled on.