Our goal today was simple as was our route; we had two roads to follow to get to Erin and Jason’s house in Harrisonburg. We left Francine’s house in the cold autumn rain and tried our best to keep warm. We made it to Grottoes and had a pizza at a small cafe which filled us, but also had the effect of making us colder when we restarted on the bikes.
One left turn at the non-existent town of Port Republic and we were headed straight into Harrisonburg. Most of the ride was spent looking down to stay out of the infamous Virginia roadside ditch. Almost into Harrisonburg, we spotted two camels and their companions under a barn.
After drying ourselves in McDonald’s we made our way to meet Erin and Jason. We arrived a bit early and met Trevor, a friend of theirs and a former bike tourer himself. We discussed our reasons for touring and goals of opening a small farm. He highly suggested we visit David and Lee at Radical Roots Farm.
We spent the night talking over good food cooked by all four of us. We learned the Jason and Erin are on the same page as us about nearly everything. It was nice to meet like minded people our age and a town that seems to harbor a community spirit; connecting people, their food, hobbies, and nature.
The following day called for thunderstorms so Erin invited us to stay another night. Thanks Erin!! Bumming a ride in her car saved us from another day in the cold rain, we drove to the Co-Op where Erin works and explored the downtown from there. We wandered a bit aimlessly in and out of the local businesses talking to the employees and trying to get a feeling for the economy, mindset, and personality of the town. Every shop we were in people were warm, open hearted and had genuine conversation. The town has an enormous bike culture, surrounded by farmland and a bit further some of the best mountain biking on the East Coast combines into a great mix of bike friendly roads and businesses that pull together to maintain the biking and hiking trails.
A light lunch at Billy Jacks we finally stopped at The Little Grill Collective and had a vegan chocolate chip cookie and scooped out the menu. We met Erin back at the Co-Op and the three of us headed over to Pale Fire to get a beers for now and a growler for back at home.
We drove back to Erin’s house where we met Jason and hung out for a bit with the animals and people. Village Green Double IPA was highly recommended and exceeded my expectations. A short bike ride back downtown and we had dinner at the Chop House. Best Reuben I have ever had.
Thank you Erin and Jason for a great 2 days and for showing us your home and town. It is firmly at the #1 spot on our list of places to live.