Wednesday, March 23, 2016

High Bridge Trail & Holliday Lake State Parks

I had a nice quiet night! No crazy alarms! It was chilly this morning so I started the furnace to take the chill off and it didn't set off the alarm!

After breakfast and stocking up on water I headed out to Farmville to ride my bike on High Bridge Trail. The trail is a Rail Trail and it is also a VA State Park. The whole trail is 30 miles long and the centerpiece of the trail is The High Bridge - a long trestle that spans the Appomattox River.

It was only about 30 minutes to Farmville and I quickly found the Muncipal Parking lot with free parking! And the trail, which was clearly marked by huge state park signs, crossed right next to it! The lot was huge and had plenty of space for Roxy. I walked up to where the trail crossed to look at the map and figure out a plan. I'd hoped to ride about 30 miles. Farmville is right in the middle of the trail. The High Bridge was 4.4 miles from where I was so I decided I'd go out there first and the come back & head the other direction.

The trail is finely crushed rocks - very smooth! The trail is also very straight - not many curves. I thought maybe it was going uphill but it was gentle and I'm not really sure. The scenery is rural and wooded. It almost reminds me of the Abingdon-Damascus stretch of the Virginia Creeper Trail, but the Creeper Trail is nicer!

The High Bridge was pretty neat. You could look at the tops of the trees! It was about a 1/2 mile long! Even the long high trestle on the Creeper Trail isn't that long! The bridge had several benches where you could sit & rest and take in the view. The thing that surprised me was that the river was very narrow! Almost could have passed for a creek! I guess the bridge had to be long & high so the train tracks could keep a steady grade across the valley.



After the bridge I kept going to almost the end of the trail - I was three miles from the end when I turned around. I'd ridden 12 miles so would have 24 by the time I rode back. The trail was about the same after the bridge as it was before - straight and tree lined. It was a nice ride but not that exciting.

As I got closer to Farmville my thighs and butt were ready for a break. My expensive padded biker shorts don't seem to help much! I was going to take a long lunch break and walk around Farmville a bit before going out for a 2nd, shorter ride.

It was nice to pull my shoes off and sit down on my bed in the RV to eat! While I ate I caught up on emails and Facebook since I figured I probably wouldn't have coverage at Holliday Lake. After lunch I set out to explore Farmville. I wasn't that impressed. It was mostly furniture stores and Longwood University. One small outdoor/bike store, no used book stores or yarn stores or antique stores! I did find a cafe that had ice cream! It was about 1:00 when I went back to the van to get ready for biking round two. I was going to ride to Tuggle - a 10 mile round trip.

As soon as I took the bike off the van I knew something was wrong. I looked down and sure enough, the front tire was flat! Ugh. I took it up to the bike shop, only to discover that they have a student who fixes bikes but he has classes on Wed so doesn't come in. Since I don't know how to change tires (yet!) my bike ride plans were over. I'm also seeing some business opportunities in Farmville, clearly they could use some more biker services! I think about Damascus that has I believe 4 bike shops/shuttle services!

So, with no more biking until I could fix my tire, I decided to head out to Holliday Lake and see what there was to do there. Like Bear Creek Lake, Holliday Lake was about 30 minutes from Farmville. Holliday Lake however is a lot more remote. As I suspected there is minimal cell signal. And, there was no one here! The park office was closed and I couldn't figure out how to register - I found another ranger who called the manager - she was at home having lunch! I'm one of 3 sites occupied in the campground tonight! (Last night I was one of 6! Wonder why no one is out? Spring Break, nice weather...).

After I got settled into my site I went out for a hike. The main trail around the lake is 6 miles long and I decided I didn't have time or energy for that. I did an out and back on one section of the lake trail, then took a trail to the other campground. It was only about 2 miles but it got me to 10k steps! (24 miles on my bike only registered 1500 steps! I gotten a few thousand walking in Farmville)


Back at the campground I sat in the shady corner of my campsite - the sun was hot! - and read until dinner. After dinner I took a walk to the spot where I'd had a fleeting internet signal earlier and did a quick check, then did a lap around the campground.

While I was eating dinner the other folks camped here returned and it looked like they had a FCPS parking permit in their car so I was kinda spying on them walking over there to see if there other clues about where they were from. As soon as they saw me they came out of their trailer and we started chatting. They are from Fairfax - she teaches 10th grade English! We stood around and chatted for almost 2 hours! I never got their names but they were really nice!


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