The final day of the ride is always a little sad for me. I am just not ready to go home!
Bethany Beach was in my mirrors by 8am as I had a long road ahead of me. The plan was to stop somewhere along the way for breakfast and of course, I was thinking local business. Fifty miles before I reached the restaurant, I saw the sign for Holly’s and that became my breakfast destination. If it was the hometown diner that I expected, I knew that I’d be eating more calories than I needed.
Holly’s, a restaurant celebrating 57 years in business, is advertised as the “Meeting place of the Eastern Shore”. I was hopeful, based on appearance, that I’d be a happy customer.
Doesn’t this remind you of the good ol’ diners from yesteryear?
Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite the nostalgic experience that I’d hope it would be.
The staff was uninterested, not a smile on a face to be seen, and the food was just so – so. I did like the memory of the 50 States placemat and the gun over the door. The cash register is no longer in use, but I love that it still sits there on the counter.
My timing was perfect as I made it back over the Cheapeake Bay Bridge (woo hoo!) and around Washington DC without hitting rush hour traffic. Once near Warrenton, I was able to leave the beltway / highway system behind, and get back to smaller state roads.
Warrenton is a town of less than 10,000 people in Fauquier County, and like many Virginia localities, has a history that spans the Colonial-Revolutionary Era, the Civil War Era, and the Reconstruction-Civil Rights Era. My very brief stop and walking tour was no where near long enough to explore this town, whose historic district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
On the grounds of the Courthouse is a small collection of historic items. This first item, according to the marker, is a naturally formed, ancient stone that was used as a mounting block for carriages and horses … but also as a slave auction block.
That sure stops you cold, doesn’t it?
As I rode those last 200 miles towards home, several things crossed my mind:
1. Produce Stands – all along the road through Delaware and Maryland I passed produce stands. The fruits and vegetables looked so fresh! This is NOT the time to be on the bike!
2. Bus Stands – many of the rural homes have covered bus stands at the end of the driveway to provide protection for children waiting for the school bus. The stands are evidently paid for by local businesses and it was disconcerting, to say the least, to see advertising for the local funeral home on the side of child’s school bus stand.
3. Money – I’d be riding down a road in the most rural part of a county and I’d see houses and farms falling down at the seems. The Churches? New construction, flashy signs, big paved parking lots. Hmmm ….
4. Bikes – I saw very few bikes throughout the 7 day ride. I’m guessing bikers don’t think of this year’s ride route as a bike destination.
I knew that I was drawing near to home when I began to see mountains behind me …
… and mountains in front of me.
Around 5pm, after being on the road since the morning, I was thirsty for that end of the ride day beer. Unfortunately, by riding Rt 11, and not the interstate with it’s multitude of restaurants, made finding a beer difficult! I finally found a small place that was open outside Buchanan, and pulled up to talk with the elderly gent sitting on the porch.
“Do they sell beer here” I asked?
He replied with a “Maam?”
I repeated “Can I get a beer here?”.
He looked at me with a long look and said (picture the guys outside the Courthouse in Mayberry) “Nooopppe” (said with a long drawn out drawl). Sadness!! Now, please understand, I LOVE Andy Griffith! I still faithfully watch the show whenever I can! And I love Appalachia and SWVA. But I really, really wanted a cold one!
Ah well, it was time to just kick it in gear and get on home.
Even though I am rarely ready to go home, I am comforted by the view of local scenery and the realization that home is a good place to be. The rain started to fall as I pulled into the driveway of Liz and Wilson’s home. They took the traditional end of the trip picture, and handed me a bag that contained some food for dinner … AND also inside that bag? A lovely cold beer!!
Nothing like friends to welcome you home in style!
Yep … that’s me … after 12 hours on the road!
And that’s my helmet … boasting several new stickers.
So after riding almost 1900 miles in 2 weeks (1400 during this 7 day trip), I was home.
A cold beer in my hand, my family and friends checking in to make sure I’d arrived safely, and the sound of rain falling on the roof. Seriously?
I could not have been more content!