Waking up in the city to the sound of men picking up aluminum cans was just one more quirky experience on this adventure. We decided it would be best to find a coffee shop; not only to use the bathroom, but for a place to write and relax without disturbing Kyler. As fate would have it Sub Rosa was the closest and only independent shop in the neighborhood. Tent packed we quickly pedaled the few blocks to the extremely busy Sub Rosa Bakery for an apple fritter and several cups of delicious coffee.
We biked over to Carytown Bikes once more to say thank you and goodbye. Amanda used the shop shower while I worked on the wifi. Kevin gave us our final route west, it was a simply one. Route 6. He also warned us of some towns we would pass along the way which were home to several detention centers.
Onto Route 6, we road out of the urban bicycle friendly streets of the city onto a quite busy highway with a gracious shoulder and fast cars. What seemed like forever was a 10 mile ride, we crossed an interstate and the road immediately changed. Gone was the fast, heavy flow of cars instead was a narrow shoulder on a rural country highway.
The small towns whizzed by, most only containing a few buildings. We knew we were in the area of a town when the signs for “Stew” would start appearing. Shrugging our shoulders we continued on ignorant as before. The hills began increasing in intensity and soon we were deep in Virginia farm country.
To our surprise the farms we were passing and photographing were part of the prison system. More signs, but this time for baked goods, pies, and of course stew. That was motivation enough for Amanda and I. We pedaled so fast we sped past the bake sale! We stopped at what was fundraiser for the towns fire department. We learned about traditional Brunswick Stew and bought some brittle.
Continuing down route 6, we stopped at a house offering free u-pick salad greens. The kind lady gave us two plastic bags and told us to pick as much as we wanted. It was refreshing to have some greens in our arsenal of food options.
The miles ticked by and the sun finally told us it was time to start the nightly search for a camp spot. Google claimed there was a park just across the river with primitive camping. We made our way backwards a bit and crossed the river, up the road things started to get weird… the signage indicated that drug dogs would be used, weapons were a felony, etc. As we continued a car pulled down a side road and flagged us down. “Do you know where you are?” We were putting the pieces together, and the warden helped finish the puzzle. We had just ridden into a prison.
He advised us that it was technically possible to cross the prison grounds, but not recommended. He made some suggestions and we left quickly. One of the suggestions was a 7 mile detour and the other was a boat launch. Neither worked out, so we crossed back to the original side of the river and made dinner at a municipal park. The sky grew darker as we finished cleaning up for dinner and our stealth camping options were not looking too good, with one lingering car in the park.
We stuck around for a while waiting for him to leave. He never did. We eventually walked the bikes around the park to cross into a quieter and more isolated section. While walking the lone car started flashing his lights to see us. It was far to weird and we made the decision to follow Amanda’s gut and head back into town and sleep behind a bank.