Friday, August 28, 1981

68. Charles City, Virginia

Day 68:  Friday, August 28, 1981

Ashland to Charles City:  70 miles

Although we have been out of the mountains for two days now, it didn't really become obvious until today.  The Piedmont Plateau, through which we have been traveling, doesn't seem like much of a plateau at all.  The hills are quite rolling.  Yesterday's ride was through roller coaster hills - not too many long grades.

Today, we left the hills behind.  The land slopes gently down to the sea, with only a minor rise here and there.  We're loafing along, and still shouldn't have any trouble getting in 70 miles to the next campground.

Battlefield Park
Battlefield Park
In June of 1862, General Grant launched the Seven Days' Campaign in an attempt to capture Richmond from the south and east, and end the Civil War.  But the attempt failed, with McClellan's army enduring 15,000 casualties, and the Confederates, 20,000.

The Bikecentennial Trail passes through the Richmond National Battlefield Park, which encompasses the sites of many battles, including Beaver Dam Creek, Cold Harbor, and Malvern Hill.  Still to be seen are the remains of the Union and Confederate trenches.  Numerous national cemeteries containing Union war dead dot the area.  Many of the Confederate dead were buried in Richmond.

Many houses that were built in the nineteenth century have been restored in the Federal style, and new homes are also Federal copies or imitations.  We passed by many historic landmarks today:  the home of John Tyler, the birthplace of Robert E. Lee's mother, and on and on.  Many of these homes have been restored and are open to the public.  One of these is Berkeley Plantation, whose present buildings date from the 1700s.  It is on the bank of the James River, and is famous for a number of things, most of which I have forgotten (one:  Taps, the bugle call, was composed there).  Jack and I rode almost a mile over a rough dirt lane to the house, only to find that tours cost $4.50.  We're both skinflints, and thought this exorbitant - they should have paid us, after biking over that road!  So we bumped back to the highway and continued eastward.

Tenting on the Chickahominy River
The end of the penultimate day (or, more likely, the next morning)
Charles City, population 20, contained less than we had expected.  So we postponed our planned supper until we arrived at the campground on the east bank of the Chickahominy River, twelve miles further.  The river is really a tidal estuary, and so presented us with our first glimpse of salt water from the Atlantic Ocean.  After supper, which happened to be anything that was left in the food bag (vegetable soup with rice, a cucumber, and some cookies), Jack and I posed our bikes for a few shots of the last sunset of the trip.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave a comment. Note that I screen all comments before they will appear here.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.