Day 17: Dinwiddie to South Hill

Last night, there was a person walking around the church where I planned to stay at. She walked several laps. I figured she was just exercising. There was fear that she might call the cops on me, but she didn’t and drove away from the church right at sunset.

I set up my tent and sleeping bag as soon as she left. I had to swat several mosquitoes that came into my tent before I was able to sleep. The night was warm so I didn’t need to put the tarp on my tent. Since I didn’t take a shower my body felt sticky. My sleep was more like a series of naps rather than an uninterrupted sleep.

Where I slept

At 6 AM the next day, I heard some noise that came from the church. It was the cleaning crew. I quickly disassembled my tent and packed everything. As I was waiting for my phone to charge, one of the cleaning people named Kevin saw me. I thought I was in trouble so I apologized for being there. Kevin was so kind that he allowed me to use the bathroom inside the church and fill up my water bottles. We then exchanged business cards. Kevin belongs to a group called Central Virginia Relic Recovery where they search for Civil War bullets and things. I mentioned Jeremiah’s name and Kevin immediately knew who he is.

After I departed the church, I rode to the Route 1 Country Store, where I was yesterday, for breakfast. Jeremiah was working there, too. I ordered a chipped beef on toast, something I never heard of, and some bacon. The chipped beef on toast is pieces of sliced beef in a white sauce on toast. It was pretty good. Definitely needed the protein. Jeremiah told me that Kevin had texted him and said that he’ll be praying for me. What a nice guy!

I started my ride some time before 8 AM on route 1 going toward South Hill. There were a lot of lumber trucks in the morning, but the road was wide enough for the trucks to pass me. It was a beautiful morning to ride a bike. The temperature was in the low 60s, but will rise to 84 degrees by the afternoon.

Beautiful road!

I took a water break at McKenney. The ice cream place on the intersection was closed since it’s too early in the day. I was disappointed so I continued ten miles down the road to Alberta, hoping to find a restaurant to get some lunch.

Lumber mill in Alberta

Alberta is a very small town. As I was walking my bike on the sidewalk, a man named Joe stopped me and said that I can take a break at his wife’s salon. Joe’s wife's name is Joani and she works as a hairstylist. After using the restroom, Joe let me pick out a muffin to eat, then Joani gave me a bottle of water and Gatorade to quench my thirst. Then she gave me some crackers and five pouches of Capri Sun fruit punch. That’s not all, she even gave me a $20 bill! I refused, but she insisted that I take it. Joani and Joe were so nice! Then they showed me the building next door to the salon. It’s like a museum of old relics from the early twentieth century. Very interesting stuff.

Joe's "Days Gone By" museum

Joe used to be in the navy and lived in Philadelphia for a while. He then worked 31 years in Richmond. Joe and Joani have four children and seven grandchildren together.

Joe and Joani in front of their salon

After a longer than anticipated break at Joani’s salon, I had to get going. The only place in town that has food is the gas station convenience store. I headed there after saying goodbye to Joe and Joani.

I had two chicken thighs and an ice cream at the convenience store. I was a little more than half way to South Hill and the temperature was getting hotter and more humid. I better get going before it’s too hot.

I decided to stay on route 1 and not go on the local route as indicated on the East Coast Greenway. Route 1 is more direct and shorter.

The road had a lot of long hills. After climbing one there is another a quarter of a mile later. Under the hot sun, I started to question myself again about cycling around the world. Do I really want to suffer like this just to see the world? Maybe I can cycle parts of the world and backpack the other parts. Mixing up a little is a good idea.

After riding a total of 41.2 miles, I reached the outskirts of South Hill. I saw the first hotel, called Greenwood Inn, and decided to stay there. The place isn’t that good. My room smelt like cigarettes and there was no shower curtain. The faucet was loose and the shower head seemed broken. I took a shower anyway since I didn’t have one last night. But all this for $65? I felt ripped off. There aren’t any Warmshowers hosts or Airbnbs in South Hill so this is the cheapest option.

Looking at the weather forecast, it’ll start raining tomorrow at 4 PM and will continue for the two days after that. I decided to call Crispin to see if he can pick me up in Clarksville tomorrow afternoon instead of days later in Durham. That way, I don’t have to ride in the rain, save some time, and spend more time in Greensboro with Crispin. Luckily, he is available tomorrow and will be able to meet around 2 PM at Clarksville.

I decided to grab dinner at the nearby Hot Spot Grill. I missed the place while walking since it’s actually located inside a gas station convenience store. After finding it, I had a catfish basket with Boogity sauce, a homemade sweet and spicy dipping sauce. I enjoyed my dinner and the comedic conversations between the locals and the two chefs.

Now, I’m at the motel room. I plan to get an early rest then head into town for a proper breakfast tomorrow before hitting the road to Clarksville.