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  • Liam Condon

Day 3: Stanardsville, VA -> Lexington, VA (50 miles)

Updated: Jul 11, 2018

Route 11 winds southwest along the Virginia border, providing some spectacular scenery along the way.

7:49 am -The rain continued all through the night. By morning, nearly ten inches had fallen. Trees were down, many of the roadways were flooded – not looking to be a great start on Day 3. Maddie whipped up some delicious (and very, very locally sourced) sausage, eggs and pancakes that helped soothe my nerves. After doing some reconnaissance of the road situation, Whit offered to give me a ride down to the start of route 343, saving me a good 12 miles of hills through the Swift Run Gap that had likely seen better days.

I packed up my stuff on the bike and threw it in the trunk of their Honda Pilot and we set off. We passed several trees that were down and some pretty bad flooding in the fields lower down the mountain. We got a few miles down 343 before running into a road barricade, and some state troopers informed us that there were some bad mudslides up ahead that made the route unpassable. Unfortunately, this meant I wouldn't be able to do Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Shenandoah Valley, a highlight of the eastern TransAm trail.

Whit decided then he we just take me down through Charlottesville into Waynesboro and drop me there, shaving a good 40 miles off my trip. I didn’t realize right away this was his plan, and couldn’t believe it when I did. Such a generous dude! Seriously can’t thank this family enough for all their help.

Stoked to get into town and satiate my hunger, but had to snap this pic first.

I started riding south on Route 11 in Waynesboro toward Lexington, where I would plan to stop for lunch. It was a beautiful ride all morning – the sun was shining but it wasn’t too hot or humid, and the scenery down Route 11 was breathtaking. It continued all down through Christiansburg, so I’d probably elect to just take it all the way and connect to the TransAm trail in a day or two.

I got to Lexington around 1:45. I rode past the Virginia Military Institute and around the beautiful red-brick campus of Washington & Lee. It’s a really neat town I’m glad I got the chance to ride through.

Starving, I walked into the first place I passed on Main Street – Macado’s, a nice little spot with some outdoor seating. I ordered and inhaled a taco salad which was delicious, and charged my phone a bit.

Taco salad from Macado's in town (feat. my plastic bag wallet)

I didn’t notice the storm clouds forming after lunch until it was too late, as my plan had been to push through another 25 miles to Buchanan and camp there, but within the first ten minutes of leaving Lexington I got caught in a torrential downpour. I panicked as the roads were secluded and narrow, and light was fading, so I turned around and sped back to Lexington, where fortunately I found yet another amazing WarmShowers host willing to take me in on such short notice.

Taking a breather and enjoying the scenery after a climb (rain shortly forced me back on the bike).

Melissa and her son Michael welcomed me in, provided a bed, shower, and laundry, and whipped up some delicious burgers with mac and cheese. Within moments of arriving, the rain stopped and it was dry through the evening. A bit frustrating sitting inside so early as I looked out at sunny skies, but, better to play it safe while I’m still so new to touring.

Even having only pedaled 50 miles that day, I was wiped, and hit the sack shortly after dinner. I really hoped tomorrow I could catch a break with the weather and finally put in some real distance.

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