Biking First Landing

The Old Cape Henry is on the left, and the New Cape Henry is the black and white one on the right.

Today “Bicycle Gear Nazi” (aka Dirt Man) and I went biking. Before we started out, I received yet ANOTHER and a bit sterner gear lesson! Yay me! Know what? I got it. I really got it this time! I still don’t know the number of the gear, but I got lots of practice going up and down hills and in sand. I now know what gear (even if I don’t know the name) to put it in and when! Yay, “Bicycle Gear Nazi”! Needless to say, I am sure he was as aggravated teaching me as I was learning.

New Cape Henry Lighthouse

Remember I told you about almost getting thrown off when I hit ruts on the last ride? Dirt Man thought I was exaggerating or just plain crazy. He happened to inspect our bikes before we left the house. Ends up that my front wheel was loose…lucky it didn’t fly off! So see I’m not TOTALLY crazy.

I also must mention that we wore our bike helmets. This is the first time in probably six years that I have worn mine. The helmets have been packed in the garage which means we had to clean them first. Let’s just say that I imagined all sort of invisible little spiders and things living in mine and roaming through my head when I put it on.

Old Cape Henry Lighhouse

I’m going to tell you upfront that we did eighteen miles! I wanted to tell you this before I start any whining that I usually do. We decided to go to First Landing State Park. This is the same park that we did our first ten mile hike that nearly killed me. I’d like also to mention that Virginia State Parks were voted “America’s Best” by The Sports Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association. This time we started out at the opposite end of the park although we did cover a short range of the same trail we had hiked.

New Cape Henry Lighthouse

When we were entering the park we were behind a truck pulling a boat. It was taking forever…the driver was out of the truck and walking around it talking to his passengers. We watched him go over to the security check point and count out coins for his parking fee. We got a chuckle out of this as this guy is driving this honker of a truck and hauling a mother of a boat, yet he had to scrounge up coins for his entrance fee. I suppose it costs a lot of money to own, maintain, and run a boat.

Old Cape Henry Lighthouse

We first headed out to Fort Story to visit the Cape Henry Lighthouses. The Old Cape Henry Lighthouse was built 1792. The masonry started cracking in 1870, so a New Cape Henry Lighthouse was erected. Both are still standing. Isn’t that awesome to live in a town that not only has one but two lighthouses?

Being that the lighthouses are located on a military base, we had to show identification to enter. It was a three mile ride there from the parking lot. The security guard told us there was something weird about the two of us…he wanted to know why I was the one carrying the backpack! We got a good laugh out of it because we had just realized that Dirt Man had left his backpack in the truck. We had to go back the same way and pass the parking lot to get on the trail so we were able to pick it back up when we left the lighthouses.

As we were nearing the lighthouses, there was one of those speed/radar signs that track your speed. I was still experimenting with my gears, so Dirt Man was a bit ahead of me. He put the power on and was hitting nineteen miles an hour when he passed the sign. Sad to say, I was only going fifteen when I passed. And I swear to you that I was truly pedaling my heart out!

Along the trail there are all these little health stations that you can stop and stretch and do various exercises on these different types of bars. We only attempted one of them. It was the “vertical curl”. I must say that vertical curls are not for sissies! It tells you to lift your knees all the way to your chest. Yeah, right. Then hold for thirty seconds. Ha. Ha! Then do it again. Double ha ha! I thought I was going to throw up! This is the kind of exercise crap our sons do, not us!

Most of the trail was a dirt trail with some sandy parts. It is much harder to ride on the sand than the dirt. There is a section of asphalt, but the problem is that it has a lot of roots pushing up the asphalt which makes it a really rough ride. Dirt Man had me drive a bit farther to go to a picnic area to eat. He promised me that there really were picnic tables. Remember how he thought P was for picnic tables before and it was for parking? We came upon an adventure racing group. Yay, we did an adventure race and didn’t even register for it! They were clumped together in areas of the road. I got a little tired of yelling “passing right” or “passing left…yes, I was passing bikers everywhere!

I was surprised that we made it back to the parking lot so quickly. Dirt Man said we could go to the boat ramp if I wanted. I said I was done! He let me stew a little bit, and I gave in. The boat ramp is where we hiked to when we thought there was a picnic area the last time (when I fell off of the bridge). What I did not remember (because I had been walking last time) were the hills of sand. It is not EASY to ride a bike through sand when you are tired. I should know by now that when Dirt Man says it’s going to be “easy peasy” that more likely it is going to “darn near kill me”! After struggling with about three or so hills of sand, I got off my bike and walked it through. He was long gone ahead of me. I could not work my knees up and down to pump up another hill. If I’d thought it would have done any good, I would have thrown myself face down in the sand and cried. I wanted to have a full out temper tantrum. I kid you not, I was exhausted. He slowed down for me, and I was able to keep up. Once when our kids were young, he rode his bike for several miles and pushed our youngest on his bike with training wheels. Oh, how I yearned for him to do that for me!

We came upon the party section I told you about when we hiked. It’s the place where the boats dock and cook out and chug a few brews. Oh, how I dreamed of having one. However, if I had one I would never have finished the trip. After we got to the boat ramp, we took the main road back. I was so relieved. Somehow, I managed to find a second wind and I actually sped ahead of Dirt Man. Maybe, I just wanted to be finished. Anyway, it was over before I knew…I even whizzed right past the parking lot!

Surprisingly enough, my legs were not jelly after eighteen miles, but they were stiff. My shoulders were killing me from my backpack. Mostly, I was just plain worn out! There was a block party on the street over from our house. We were too tired to walk over there. I was lucky to make it up the steps for a shower, but I knew if I didn’t do it right then, I’d never make it up those steps. Actually, I don’t feel too badly right now. But who knows what I’ll feel like tomorrow. Wonder if we’ll make a hike or not.

19 thoughts on “Biking First Landing

  1. Ok, first I’ve gotta say…I LOVE these photos, Suzi!

    OMG…the ones of the various lighthouses are AWESOME! The weather looked beautiful with the blue sky and puffy clouds. Don’t ya just love this time of the year?

    And holy cow…eighteen miles? Amazing! BRAVA to you both – woot! woot! And by not having your legs get all jelly, I can tell you’re getting in tip-top shape!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, my friend!


  2. Love the lighthouses, both. The old one does feel more authentic some how…when I was a little girl I used to dream about living in a lighthouse. I don’t know why, but it seemed so very romantic.

    Fabulous pics, as always. But I have to tell you – in the second-to-last shot of this post, it looks like a faery standing on the beach! Or maybe I’m just tired?

    Congrats on your ride too, btw. 18 miles is pretty impressive!

  3. I love how my legs feel like tree trunks after a long bike ride. I am impressed with the eighteen miles. I also love the photos of the lighthouses. It is funny you call Dirt Man the Bicycle Gear Nazi…I call my hubby the trip Nazi. Hmmm…seems there is a bit of Nazi in some form in every man!

  4. LOL Always cracks me up when you tell of your adventures with Dirt Man. Incredible photos. Like them all, especially that last one peering through the trees at the lakefront.

  5. I love lighthouses. If I had the money to do it, I’d just travel around the country (on the coast all the way) taking pictures of lighthouses. We used to ride bikes to the beach many years ago. Now, I’m not so energetic, so a nice walk is more my idea of a good time.

    Love your photos, and I see the faery!

  6. On our annual beach trip, we enjoy biking to one lighthouse. That must be fantastic being able to spy two.

    Thanks for sharing your photos and trip details. Eighteen miles is worthy of a few complaints about aches and pains.

  7. So interesting that there are two light houses in the same area and on a military base. Now that is something I would like to see. Thanks for sharing that.

    You two are exhausting ! Just the thought of all the hiking and bike riding yall have been doing is mind rattling! You definately got more gusto than I do! You go girl!

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