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Old 05-05-2004, 07:14 PM   #11
MikeO OP
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 7,100
19th February

It promises to be a beautiful day, although it starts with a high overcast. After a swift McBreakfast (‘so, let me get this right – you put the whipped butter and the syrup on the pancakes?’) Buddy & I set out along Route 10 to the Jamestown Ferry, a service provided free by the state (Buddy’s tax dollars at work ). Apparently, running the ferry is cheaper than building a bridge…

We arrive in Jamestown, part of a large National Park complex incorporating Jamestown, Williamsburg & Yorktown. I buy a National Parks Annual Pass for $50 – allowing me free access to all National Parks in the USA for the next 12 months – bargain! Unfortunately, much of the woodland, as well as many of the buildings, were badly damaged by Hurricane Isabel in September 2003. The evidence of her passing this way is everywhere.

We walk around the Jamestown settlement – these early settlers really had a hard time of it. In between disease, hunger, hostile natives and incompetence, they died in their dozens during the first few years. We get an excellent informal brief on the progress of new archaeological digs from one of the volunteer guides, all of whom are keen and very well informed.

There are, as ever, statues and memorials all over the site. This is Pocahontas, before she met Disney, apparently…

Captain John Smith, the first Governor of Virginia, takes pride of place…

We follow the Colonial Parkway towards Williamsburg & Yorktown. It’s a picturesque road with a 45mph speed limit,

which soon delivers us (via a coffee-stop at Williamsburg) to Yorktown, the scene of General Cornwallis’s defeat at the hands of the American & French forces.

Poor old Cornwallis got stuffed by his bosses. The Royal Navy, in the shape of Admiral Graves, got a bloody nose from the French and beat a retreat to New York for repairs, sealing Cornwallis’s fate. Outgunned and out numbered, with no escape route, Cornwallis surrendered, which ensured that his troops survived.

Unfortunately this meant that a full third of the entire British Forces in America were now PoWs. This didn’t end the War of Independence immediately (that happened 2 yrs later), but it did force the British to the negotiating table.

We receive a guided tour of the Yorktown Victory Centre by a Park Ranger who, whilst very well informed, delivers his information like an animatronic figure from Disneyland.

He was very entertaining, however, and, with the information in the Visitors’ Centre, I felt that the National Parks Service had done a good job. Touring Jamestown after the tour, we found an American cannonball embedded in the wall of one of the buildings…

Feeling in need of refreshment, having just lost the colonies, Buddy & I drop in to the Yorktown Pub for a swift half…

It’s approaching dusk now, so we ride back along the Parkway to Colonial Williamsburg, a reconstruction of the town, built on the same site. During the day, it is populated by volunteers in period costume who give guided tours in various buildings (although this is quite expensive). Being cheapskates, Buddy & I walk up and down the main street (Duke of Gloucester Street), visiting the Capitol Building, which sports a Union Flag…

It’s getting dark now, so we set course for home, making good progress along Route 5, through the same sweeping woodland roads we rode yesterday evening. We get back home just after 7:30, having had an excellent day out.

I make some running repairs to the waterproof seal on my left pannier using some silicone sealant (hopefully this will sort the leak out) and go inside for a beer and an excellent meal, cooked by Sue’s fair hand

I may try the Blue Ridge Parkway again tomorrow – if it’s open…

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015

MikeO screwed with this post 02-12-2006 at 03:19 AM
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