Job Vacancy: Trip Morale Officer. Charlottesville VA to Afton VA


By Terry

Even after last night’s Subway and sugar fest we were still slightly peckish this morning, so we took full advantage of the hotel breakfast before setting off … to buy more food. Then historic Charlottesville beckoned for a quick look-see and a coffee in wonderful Mother’s Day sunshine. It was an interesting place but we didn’t have time to do it justice. Next time? (The perpetual dilemma on this trip … cycle like mad things to get to see places at the end of the day or stop and see things on route)? 

Turkey vulture

Amazing wildlife.: Photographed just a few miles outside Charlottesville (as was the deer above) we think this is a Turkey Vulture. Are we right?

We had luckily killed just enough time to ensure that the day was roasting hot before we hit the hills of Arbamarle county. And they were glorious … the rolling had steepened somewhat overnight and the roads had shrunk to fit … us, but not those monster V8 Dodge Rams … perfect cycling. New (to us) wildlife was everywhere; butterflies the size of saucers, startlingly red cardinal birds, bugs a-plenty, possum, skunks (road-kill), raptors galore and creepy nests full of thousands of wriggly caterpillars.

Sunday morning

Sunday morning church on the road out of Charlottesville.

During a particularly gentle part of the ride, lazing past vineyards and peach groves, Paul innocently asked me about an oak tree we passed way back and I proceeded to waste 15 minutes of his life explaining about sessile and pendunculate types of oak. He hasn’t asked me about much since.

So what do you chat about to distract yourselves from the effort of the many uphill slogs? … our topics have so far included fracking, the resurgence of the ‘Lego’ brand, the massive and widening divide between rich and poor in the States, favourite 60’s girl groups (involves much singing) and our vasectomy experiences.


Wyants Store at White Hall which has been run by the same family since 1866. One half of the building was once used as a dancehall.

Although in the high eighties, today was an easy day as we had decided to only do the thirty odd miles to Afton, in the Appalacians foothills, leaving plenty of time to stop and take it all in … after all that’s why we’re here isn’t it?

Some of the stopping was in reality to take in air …. the inclines (I’m still loathe to upgrade them to hills proper, knowing what’s ahead) were short and sharp … but during the last particularly cruel and long mile and a half climb I reminded Paul about the night before we flew out when Liz and I went through his gear and threw out masses of ‘essential stuff’ and asked him if there was anything else he wished we’d junked … ‘Every-bloody-thing!” was his instant response

Arrival at the Cookie Lady's House after a steep climb...

Arrival at the Cookie Lady’s House after a steep climb…

The boy was not his usual happy self. It was at that point that I also jokingly said that if this hill got any steeper I may have to consider changing down a gear or two (unbeknown to Paul I too had been winching my way up in bottom gear for ages) … at that point he snapped and summarily stripped me of my job as trip morale officer. At the end of a tiring day some people lose their sense of humour … others lose their jobs.

Cookie Lady

Inside the extraordinary Cookie Lady’s House

Moments later we arrived at what was to be the highlight of the day … the legendary Cookie Lady’s house. June Curry (aka the Cookie Lady) has been welcoming cyclists into her home with cookies since the start of the TransAmerica ride in 1976. She always wanted to travel the world but never had the opportunity, so she invited the world to her. She sadly died two years ago and her house is now virtually a shrine to cyclists …. it is jammed to the gunnels with


An incredible place to stay. Since June passed away the house has been left so passing cyclists can stay overnight.

nearly forty years worth of global cycling memorabilia. We slept there surrounded by donated spares, clothing, good will messages and endless postcards … our tired bodies woken only by the freight trains that shook the whole house, every bloody hour!

Larry and Rex

Larry and Rex from Washington State cycled 90 miles and are reassessing their strategy! Staying at the cookie house – shakes every time a train goes by and the go on for about a mile. Larry and Rex tell us these are coal trains hauling the black stuff from the Appalachians.










Miles today: 32

Miles from First Landing: 301.44

Here is today’s Garmin report:

Written by Terry Wooller


  1. So – were there actually any COOKIES at the cookie lady’s house? Looks like a turkey vulture to me – we saw lots in Cuba last year… Chins up, chaps.

  2. Keep going guys, nice piece Terry.

    “Keep on cycling”

  3. Looking at your adventure look’s like you are doing good seeing all different place’s what lovely memories you will have for the rest of your lives.

  4. Yep, Turkey vulture, hope you didn’t takea pile of bird spotting books with you,looksa bit more bumpy ahead, pretty amazed at how far you’ve gone already.

  5. Happy Birthday Terry!

  6. Hope your’e having a big cake today, Happy Birthday.

    • Thanks Andy. No cake, but Paul treated me to lots of pancakes with all the works for a second mid-morning birthday breakfast … endless free refills too. I can see me turning into a right little porker!
      An early rest day due to rubbish weather forecast … 4″ rain v.soon!
      Sorry-ass cyclists resume in the morning.
      Love to all back home who still remember us. xx

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