• gfeldstein

Day 28 Ashland, VA to Colonial Heights 47 miles 1,594 feet

The ride out of Ashland followed the train tracks, alongside which, many of the town’s early homes were sited. Several fine wooden homes are still standing today.

Within 10 minutes I was beyond the city limits and immediately in rural farm land, which I would roll through until the outskirts of Richmond. As the miles clicked on towards Richmond, I had an appropriate tune humming along in my brain. It was a deep base tuba and trombone, followed by Levon Helm’s drums and voice on the opening cords of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

“In the winter of '65

We were hungry, just barely alive

By May the 10th, Richmond had fell

It's a time I remember, oh so well”

See U-tube video here:

As we entered Richmond we passed alongside Bryan Park, a memorial to Joseph Bryan (1845–1908), the founder and publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper. For the next mile or so we rode past many fine original brick mansions

Once inside the city, the ECG took us down Monument Avenue and past many former statues commemorating Confederate Civil War heroes. Those heroes and their statues have been recently and resoundingly, canceled.

Both sides of the avenue were lined with fine brick Civil War era townhouses and surprisingly, a Jewish Synagogue, dating back to 1789.

Monument Avenue becomes Franklin Street which runs right through Virginia Commonwealth University, founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hamden-Sydney College. Franklin Street dead ends at Capitol Square Park and the Virginia State Capitol.

A few blocks down from the park we ran into and rode alongside the banks of the James River until we reached the American Civil War Museum, housed in part of the old Tredegar Iron Works. Tredegar was the largest iron producer for the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and a significant factor in the decision to make Richmond the capital of the Confederacy. Tredegar supplied about half of all the artillery used by the Confederate Army as well as iron cladding for it’s warships. I spent over an hour touring the grounds as well as the Museum, it was well worth the stop. The Civil War was America’s bloodiest conflict, resulting in an estimated 750,000 deaths, nearly 2.5% of the countries population at the time. Unfortunately, Covid is on track to surpass all the deaths from the Civil War.

As I left the museum, crews were setting up for the Annual Richmond Folk Festival, which unfortunately does not start till Saturday, maybe next time. I rode on a unique bike path suspended with cables from the Robert E Lee Bridge over the James River. I suspect that name will be changed in the not to distant future. The bridge crosses over Belle Isle and drops into Manchester Park, where many folks were hiking over rock formations along the banks of the river. The park also gave us our only chance to ride some gravel today. The park housed several accessory structures for the Tredegar Iron Works including an “oil house” which housed flammable and explosive products far away from the main plant. It was intentionally built partially underground to limit any surrounding damage if the contents went boom!!!

We rode through Dorchester along the banks of the Falling Creek Reservoir and I stopped at the base to snap a photo of the dam and waterfall over the spillway.

About 5 miles down the road from the reservoir I noticed a change in the air. The heat and humidity had both dropped significantly and the wind had clocked from the south west to the north east. Looking up at the sky confirmed what I already suspected. Large black thunder clouds were beginning to form. I was still over 10 miles from the hotel but I stopped looking for photo opportunities, put my head down, grabbed my drop bars, and pedaled like my life depended upon it. I encountered a few light sprinkles but made it to the hotel unscathed. Within 5 minutes of my arrival the skies turned jet black and dropped torrents of rain. Once again several of my fellow riders enjoyed a shower before they made it to the hotel.

Dinner was at Saucy’s Walk-up Bar.B.Q, 257 E Bank St, Petersburg, VA. I love good barbecue but after just having inhaled an entire Outback Cheeseburger with fries a couple of hours ago, I decided to order a half rack of ribs instead of a full rack. The ribs were out of this world but were gone in the blink of an eye. I began to question my initial decision as I eyed the other platters of food scattered round the table and contemplated what I should order next. Several of my traveling companions, sensing that I had not ordered enough, took pity on me and deeded me at least another half rack of ribs plus a spare sausage.

Ten states down, 5 more to go.

Cumulative Totals

Miles 1,502 Feet Climbed 60,829

States Visited Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia

For more details on my route, see my Strava Link

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