Vacation; Vack's Take On The South

It's travel season right?  What better way to travel than with a bike, here is Jason Novack's take on riding around the south a bit.  (disclaimer:  I didn't participate, and this is someone else's take on events)

Here's guest blogger Novack's thoughts on vacation...

Vacation: a respite or a time of respite from something.
The #1 definition of the term via Merriam-Webster, however for me it starts out more like… : a nightmare, or cataclysm that will certainly be your demise.

Solution, a Bike Ride, and at my location, a ride back in time.  These days it seems there is nothing more I enjoy then pressing my pedals.  Luckily I have a wife, and a career that allow me time to do what I enjoy so much.  I knew after a rough start to this year’s family vacation, that my rocket, turned time machine, would offer me the first installment of therapy, in the road to recovery for a happy Jason, and a great week at the beach.
I woke early, after a long day driving, in our hotel room in Williamsburg, VA.  Every year on the way to OBX, we stop over night in Williamsburg, to me I think it’s nostalgia, as my beloved grandparents would take my brothers and I here often.  Colonial Williamsburg alone is such a wonderful little city, with the shops, it’s history, William & Mary, and don’t forget Bush Gardens!!  But for a one night hitch on the way to sun, sand, and salt water, it’s a peaceful place to rest and regen for the next leg of the trip.  This morning, it’s therapy and a trip back in time.

The early hours in this colonial town are very quiet and peaceful. I pull out onto 132 and make a quick dash down Route 5, not a car in sight, and onto the Colonial Parkway.  I cruise through a little colonial settlement by accident, as I took a wrong turn, thanks to a morning runner to help a cyclist out.  My wrong turn gave me the opportunity to spin through a town where no motor vehicles are allowed.  I had time to take in my surroundings more than usual, and it really hit me seeing people walking about the street in this early hour, horses tied outside a stable, sheep grazing in the field.  I could smell the smoke of the hearth, of breakfast cooking, bells ringing.  I could not help but to feel like I was warped to a different place, a different time, then what I’m used to in the North East.

Finally figuring out where I needed to go, I cruise back down to the Colonial Parkway.  Onto the pebble stone paved route I go, towards Jamestown, where our American roots got their start.  The smell of morning, is starting to burn off, as the hot Virginia sun is coming on strong.  The scent of southern pine that lines the parkway, is taking the place of the fresh morning dew.  It’s such a warm sweet smell to me, those southern pine forests, are some of my favorite things about the south. 


As I push further on this road, I can’t help to wonder if our ancestors actually rode mountain bikes….but just didn’t have a word for it yet.  The pebble stones are a rough constant reminder that I’m in a special place, they belong here, just like the glacial rock left behind after the big melt of prehistoric times up north.
The Smell now is changing again, the wind is picking up as I break through the thick pine forest and into an opening that faces the James River.  The stiff head wind is like hitting the bottom of a blind hill you didn’t see.  This pebble stone road just took a turn up, even though in reality it didn’t.  My body feels like the sails on the wooden oceanic ships that crossed to the settlement I was seeking out.  Good if it’s at your back, not so good if it’s in your face.  I relish in the scenery snap some shots as I’m riding and push on through the wind.

After about 10 miles I hit Jamestowne, yes there is an extra “E” in there.  The original settlement was spelled that way, where they ended up, dropped the “E”.  So I head over the Isthmus and onto Jamestown Island.  The road here turns a little smoother but narrow.  The narrowness of the road does not inhibit my ride, as I crank over a wooden bridge through a marsh on the island, there is but one car in front of me, and they pulled off a sighting.  Smooth sailing for the Jamestowne loop.  Riding through time, I could almost hear the sound of axes chopping trees, to make housing, the smell again has changed to that of the ocean.  Salt is in the air, I can hear the breeze through the trees on the island, and the crashing of small waves on the nearby shore.  Before I know it the loop is done, and it’s time to head back to the hotel, where I’m sure by now my family is awake, hungry, and waiting for me to get back.  I notice that my mood is once again level, and I feel at peace.  It’s amazing what a bicycle ride will do for you, not only physically, but mentally, and spiritually.

If you find yourself in this area, do take your bike, Williamsburg is a very friendly biking city.  The area is beautiful, warm, and historic, you won’t be disappointed.
Well thanks for your time, I’m out!  Keep those pedals turning folks.

-Jason “Vack” Novack