Day 11, Thursday, 7/10/97, 11:26am
27.24 Miles; 3 hours, 15 minutes
On-bike time: 2 hours, 24 minutes
Avg speed: 11.34 mph
Max speed: 38.2 mph
Ben and I hit the road at 5:30 this morning, looking forward to a short
ride to Marion (See upper left corner of second map.)
The terrain continues to seem mostly uphill, but this morning's ride went
by quickly. We left the TransAmerica Trail once again, and took SR 11 directly
to Marion. We made very good time despite the fact that it was mostly uphill
Last night I was feeling very sad and ready to quit this trip. I felt like
all we were doing is pedaling, computing, and sleeping. But this morning
I felt a lot better. Partly because we had such a short ride to Marion
and saw so many animals along the ride. And partly because Ben tried so
hard to make me feel better. I can't imagine doing this trip without him!
We stopped to look at a bunch of goats that were eating and playing. At
first they ran away from me, but when I offered them some grass they all
came running over. The babies nearly pushed each other through the fence
as they crowded in closer to the grass I was offering.
Something I haven't mentioned, but has been a regular occurrence, is the
way cows look at us as we ride by. Every time we pass a group of cattle,
Ben makes a mooing noise and the cattle always look up. Sometimes the cows
are so startled they pop their heads up with grass still hanging from their
mouths. The most hilarious times are when ten or more cows pop their heads
up at once! I can't imagine what the poor cows are thinking when they see
us pass. Actually, their reactions aren't unlike some of the looks we get
from people passing by. Often times people in their cars will snap their
heads and stare with a very confused expression. Kids often laugh at us,
and many people get goofy grins on their faces. I guess we are quite a
After passing a lot of cows, we ran into an abandoned Esso gas station.
It looked like it was right out of one of the "Planet of the Apes" movies,
or the cartoon "Thundar the Barbarian."
Before getting to Marion, we crossed over a large railroad bridge.
Around 9:00 a.m. we drove into Marion and checked into the Virginia House
Inn. On the way into town we saw a sign that proclaimed Marion as the home
of "Mountain Dew". It turns out that the formula was concocted by Bill
Jones in the early 1950's in downtown Marion!
Since we've been going off route, I've been thinking about the differences
between riding the TransAmerica Trail and choosing our own route. the TransAmerica
Trail is very rural, with narrow roads that have little or no shoulder.
They are often poorly paved and are very steep. On the other hand, we get
to see really beautiful areas and meet interesting people when we take
the back roads. When we pick the route, we go the fast and short way, on
nice roads that aren't so steep, but then the traffic is bad and the ride
isn't as interesting.
This evening, we’re being hosted by the Virginia House Inn. The Virginia
House Inn is located at exit 47on I-81, .5 miles on US 11 South. It features
· 38 Rooms
· Free Continental Breakfast
· Outdoor Pool and Wading Pool
· Free Cable
The motel is located in the beautiful outskirts of Marion. We're in the
building behind the main building, so we have a wonderful view of the hills
and woods behind the motel. The rooms are modest and clean. The rooms are
very inexpensive - when a motel is only a bit more expensive than a campground,
why not splurge? Since Marion is the last city with a motel on the TransAmerica
Trail for quite some time, its nice to have a hot shower before moving
into rural Kentucky.
To get to the hotel while riding the TransAmerica Trail, take US 11 South
from Wytheville to Marion. The next day, you can continue on US 11 to Meadowview,
where you'll pick up the trail (and save quite a few miles!) To make a
reservation, call 540-783-5112!