Radical Roots & Rural Riding

We woke up from yet another amazing night sleep on the memory foam bed on Erin and Jason’s extra room. Quickly packing our bags and lubing the bike chains we set off with long goodbyes, headed back to The Little Grill Collective.

When we were here yesterday we had just eaten and they close at 3, which worked out for the best. They are said to have the best breakfast in town. One order of the pumpkin pancakes and one of the seasonal omelette with grits and another cookie. We were fueled up to ride out to Radical Roots.


A easy ride with a few bigger hills and we pulled down the gravel road that led to the O’Niell’s farm. We called last night and spoke to David, he told us that it would be a busy day and a self-tour would be the best option. We parked the bikes against the greenhouse and picked up a map. Wandering in a circle we met an intern and volunteer, the later had gone on a few tours himself.

Bike touring is very popular with the Virginia crowd. Compared to the Philadelphia area, people seem most active in general. But maybe that is a biased observation.

The 5-acre farm/homestead had just been harvested for the final time this year and although there wasn’t many veggies to see. The layout and the efficient use of the land was easily seen. David and Lee came out to greet us and answered a barrage of questions about their output, passive solar building techniques, and the area in general. They are a great inspiration for our goals and taught me a bit about new building materials, such as Faswall.

Leaving Radical Roots Farm our goal was to get to Staunton with as little of Route 11 as possible. Cross Keys Road wasn’t much better than Port Republic Road from a few days ago. A juggling act of staying out of traffic, out of the ditch, and moving at a reasonable pace. We did stop at the White Oak Lavender farm where I fed the turkey discretely, then Amanda got yelled at for the same thing. Turns out the turkey was friendly and liked vegan chocolate chip cookies.

A few miles outside of Staunton we decided to attempt to camp at an elementary school baseball field. It was past school hours, but our cover was blown and we made dinner and head further down the dreaded Route 11. A random triangular outcropping of land stuck between the river and two roads seemed to me the perfect spot for the night. We head down to the river bank and setup the tent under the cover of night.


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