Smithfield, VA – Intersection of Hwy156/106 & 5 a distance of 50 miles.
Distance traveled from Corner to Corner crossing America 6,343 miles, rode my bicycles 5,275 of those miles.
I woke up to the aroma of fried sausage links, scrambled eggs, toast and coffee. Jim had insisted he would get up and prepare us a full breakfast to get our day started right even though he himself needed to be on his way to work by seven AM. Thank you Jim and Vickie for your great hospitality and friendship it was a pleasure staying with you.
Yesterday, I didn’t realize it but after eating at Mickey Ds we had taken a road which took us less then a mile from Jim and Vickie’s home to begin riding the additional 23 miles to Smithfield. I decided to ride the short distance before
loading Spirit onto the bike rack for the drive to where I left off in Smithfield yesterday. This day proved to be yet another day of riding in unseasonably cold weather for this area of the Country. My luck the weather is supposed to warm back up to normal tomorrow but my ride will be completed today. Gees! The wind was ferocious, too. Then for the first time on this third and final stage of my journey there were a few substantial hills which I had to climb at 4-5 mph. It’s like Mother Nature was giving me one last reminder riding across America is not a “Piece of Cake” any day.
I would not have finished today’s ride in time to get to Charlottesville otherwise. Twice I had to stop for additional fuel (food). The first stop at 20 miles was at a little country store selling Virginia’s Best Country Hams. They had samples of the
hams which were fantastic and I purchased a small chunk under two pounds, had
to the emergency credit card to do it as the cost was $14.59 per pound. In addition to selling hams they did have sandwiches, chips and soft drinks for refueling.
The second stop at 36 ½ miles was at Bubba’s where I enjoyed a great bowl of Bubba’s navy bean soup which I hoped would give me enough fuel to tough out the final miles to the intersection of State Highways 156/106 and 5 and it did.
The first stage of my Crossing America with the Bike the US for MS group we rode past this intersection on the Trans-Am route. Arriving at the intersection Mark was waiting there with a cheer, hand clapping and a high five. I had made it. One hundred twenty six days since beginning the Crossing of America on June 1st.
Total distance of the route 6,343 miles of which I rode 5,275 on my bicycles. Spirit the touring bicycle proved to be the workhorse it was intended to be and carried my gear and me quite well with very little in the way of mechanical upkeep and not once breaking down. Unfortunately, my S-Works though it is fast is not a good choice for riding long distance day in and day out. Anyone just beginning to tour or planning to tour I’d recommend you check out a Surly Long Haul Trucker for your choice of a touring bicycle. I saw more folks riding this bike than any other brand while on my crossing and now I can attest to why, they are reliable.
I made it to the intersection at 1:05 PM. By the Grace of God I had successfully
completed this 54 year promise to myself to one day ride across America on a
bicycle. The crossing would not have happened had it not been for the inspiration and words of Mike Jochner my good friend who asked, “What do you do besides work”? I could only answer him, I work as that is all I can afford or have time to do. Mike replied, “Frank there will never be enough time and you will never have the money. It is time you do something you really want to do before it’s too late. You never know when you will lose your health and not be able to do anything or worse not wake up at all”. Shortly after sharing this message with me Mike passed away. I began to think of his words and wanted to honor him by doing something big and special. That is when the memory of reading about a Boy Scout who had ridden a bicycle across America back in 1957 came back to me. That’s it that is what I will do but I would do my ride from Corner to Corner instead of a straight
across ride. I would ride from the upper most Northwest San Juan Islands of Washington State in the Continental USA to Key West Florida, the southernmost tip of America. It took me 4 years to plan and save for the crossing. It took the inner strength garnered from the hundreds of folks I met on the crossing as well as the support and kind words of you my readers of this journal, my friends one and all to accomplish the crossing. The Crossing of America has been so much more than a physical adventure it has been a journey of self-discovery. I have discovered
God’s, or whatever name you wish to call him or it, Spirit dwells in the heart of all people. In 126 days of being on the road I was befriended by hundreds of folks and not once did I meet anyone who was mean spirited or tried to harm me.
People are good, God is great!
I’ve been blessed beyond far beyond what I ever imagined this journey would accomplish. Thank you all for helping and joining me on this journey. God Bless!