Day 140 • July 19, 2012 • Charlottesville to Mineral, VA • 46 miles
The plan was to visit Monticello today so last night we stayed in the Charlottesville Budget Inn so that we could get an early start. I had reserved the first tour of the day and we arrived in time to scout the entire premises of the visitors center for bike parking, to no avail. We ended up wedging ourselves between some trees and the edge of the parking lot, locking to a hand rail for some steps. When it was time to leave mid-morning, we were completely blocked in by cars. Thankfully Brad and Virginia were about to leave and we were able to squeeze out through their empty slot. They were on holiday from Melbourne, Australia, enjoying a picnic lunch in the parking lot when we walked up. They said they were loving everything about the US but the food. They found much of the food on the road to be over-processed and unhealthy but were happy to have found some fresh produce at roadside stand today. We could relate.
Zoe and I both enjoyed Monticello. Our tour guide was excellent and the entire staff at the site seem to be life-long or aspiring Jeffersonians, so you could experience lively and informed discussion of Thomas Jefferson’s life and contributions from almost anyone you met. The home is kept in immaculate and historically accurate condition. There are lots of hands-on activities for kids which nearly blew our schedule today because Zoe was so interested. Of course the alternative was another hot, mid-day ride so we were both highly incented to enjoy Monticello.
When we finally got back on the road, we ditched the meandering TransAmerica routing for all the usual reasons and rode instead on Highway 250 and Route 208 to Louisa. This was a good route, the only negative was a lot of traffic on Route 208. It was getting late when we arrived in Louisa and we had hoped to spend the night there but couldn’t find camping. After dinner we rode the short distance to Mineral and camped at the fire department where we enjoyed hot showers and the distant music of a local bluegrass festival. Mineral was our last stop on the TransAmerica trail. Tomorrow we would begin heading north, eventually picking up the Atlantic Coast trail, our last Adventure Cycling trail of the trip.