We didn't so much wake up this morning, rather than just continually wake up throughout the night at intermittant periods according to the volume of the rain pouring down on our tent. If only I knew where my ear plugs were, but after nearly three months of being on the road, some of my pannier organisational strategies have long been showing weakness.
Positioned behind a closed down gas station on the side of the road, next to some old rusty appliances, an upside down shop sign and a boat, there was a slight feeling of distance between us and the rest of civilisation, which was only exacerbated during a fairly sleepless night. At various points I'm sure it wasn't just the rain I could hear beyond two very thin nylon walls, as my imagination fired up sounds which could have been the curious prowling of any number of small or large mammals rustling around us. This type of behaviour is generally not a problem in the UK because there's very few animals which could give you any serious bother but here, at best it's a raccoon trying to access your oatmeal, and at worst, well, a bear.
I also awoke at one point to find my left leg soaking wet from the rain coming into the tent, precisely because my leg was touching the tent. Gotta love that.
When we did get up the rain had more or less stopped but the dampness hung in the air and on our clothes all morning. It was pretty cold today and even though I think we've been very lucky with the weather on the whole, it really reminded us of the contrast between this very autumnal day to the searing heat we experienced at the beginning of our trip.
These past few days have felt like we are getting into increasingly more populated areas and therefore corn fields, orchards and farms are making way for malls, houses and more traffic. We did still see the former though, just not as many. We also saw a commercial airplane fly over today, which really made me stare and realise we probably hadn't seen one at all for the last three months, because we haven't travelled anywhere remotely near a large airport.
Virginia is a beautiful state, and one which is very liveable. It has coast, mountains, farmland, attractive cities and a lot of interesting history. Pretty much every mile, there is a marker denoting some civil war skirmish, so many that we've stopped stopping to read them all.
The terrain seemed so flat to us too. After all those hills we've come across in the last few weeks, it was easy street. We also snuck in a couple of short cuts we spotted on the map too.
So it's our last night actually on the road, and tonight we are staying in the Willis United Methodist Church in Glendale, which is a hamlet just outside the big city of Richmond. They're another church who kindly allow touring cyclists to stay under their (very smart and modern, I must say) roof for free.
It's with mixed feelings that we sit here tonight. We arrive at our destination of Yorktown on the Atlantic coast tomorrow afternoon. We both feel saddened that it will be our last day on the road, but we're also excited and overjoyed that we have made it and achieved our goal.