Norfolk, Virginia. I don’t really know much about this place because to be honest, I didn’t take the time to learn about it. The same can be said for Virginia Beach, but that’s a beach city, so it’s pretty straightforward. Ocean, sand, topless elderly men. You know, the same stuff you’d see at any beach city. But Norfolk was different. I think my favorite thing to do in Norfolk was leave. But that required some finesse. Underground finesse; the best kind of finesse if you ask me. I had to take ride the tunnel out of town. Well I didn’t have to, but the alternative was miles away and I was already at the tunnel, so screw it. I didn’t see any signs proclaiming the illegality of cycling through the tunnel, but in hindsight, there definitely should have been. I made eye contact with a woman who looked like an authority figure (she was wearing one of those neon vests and standing by the entrance) just stare blankly at me and then give me a look of “Are you sure you want to do this? Oh, look at that you’re doing it. Good luck.” On top of the already stressful obstacle of avoiding the drainage grates that are spaced just an inch wider than the width of my tires, I had the added bonus of riding in front of an 18-wheeler with spikes on the rims of its front tires. I died. Well at least I convinced myself I was dead because in my eyes, I was descending into hell. But I muscled it out and I’m here typing this, so it’s just another notch in the belt of unexpectedly, dangerously, fun things I’ve done on this trip. Unless I actually am in hell. Is this hell? The U.S. government should implement having to ride a bike through the Norfolk tunnel as a torture device.
With Norfolk behind me, I trudged on. Although my bike seat has been out of whack lately. I don’t know what happened, but after I ride, my balls really hurt. Is that too much information? Really? I mean with what I’ve divulged on this blog, ‘ball pain’ falls pretty low on the totem pole. But it got me super paranoid about causing irreparable damage to my coin pouch, so I refit myself in a local bike shop. Three things happened in that shop: 1.) I was refit 2.)The owner refused to take my money 3.) I realized that I smell bad. Bad is an understatement. Horrid is more accurate. I smell worse than a neglected Arby’s bathroom off the interstate. I realized this when I finally interacted with people in an enclosed space. They tried their best to be nice about it, but my smelly-ness engulfed the store in a smog of unwashed flesh and sweat caked clothes. I am willing to be that even some veteran homeless people would not even want to associate themselves with me. It does give me some street cred, not the good kind, but it’s street cred nonetheless. Alright enough about my smelly ass. I stink we get it already.
I slept under a pavilion somewhere in very very rural Virginia. I emphasize the rural aspect because in the middle of the night, I heard two gunshots, a wide variety of livestock and farm animals respond with their respective horrific cry, and no sirens. The no sirens part was the worst. That means one of two things: either there are no police for miles, or they just don’t care and the people living here are free to shoot their guns at 3 a.m. with no expectation of consequence. For me that’s just a teensy bit unnerving. I would hear gunshots in Philadelphia on a daily basis and not give a single shit. But out here, where people can’t hear my screams, I’m petrified. Not even the dulcet tones of Whitney Houston could serenade me back to sleep. The crippling fear of rouge gunshots coupled with my wild imagination of various homicide scenarios is a perfect blend for refraining as far away from any sort of desired sleep. But hey, I’m at 9,500 miles!
Total Ascent: 1083 ft.