We drove to the New River Trail RV Park in Fries, VA. The weather was excellent and the roads were very good. The New River RV Campground is found in the small town of Fries (pronounced “freeze”) and it is a very nice campground. The camp host is Barry and his wife’s name is Cheryl. They are great people and they take great care of the camp. They helped us get to our site and told us everything that we needed to know about the town and the campground. There are 22 campsites in the park and they are all separated so that you are not close the your neighbors.
Today we rode our bikes on the New River Trail out of Fries, Virginia. We drove to the New River RV Park and we could just hop on our bikes and in three minutes we would be on one end of the trail. The trail goes from Fries (pronounced “Freeze” in the winter and “Frys” in the summer – at least that is the joke that everyone tells us) to a town called Pulanski which is about 40 miles. Once you get 5.5 miles down the trail, you can turn right and then ride 12 miles to Galax (named after an evergreen ground cover). On our first day, we decided to ridge 25 miles towards Pulanski and then 25 back for a total of 50 miles. We had not been riding much, so we did not want to over-do it. The trails is relatively flat with 400 feet of climb in 50 miles. The trail follows the New River and in many places it is about 300 feet across, but pretty shallow. It is calm for a while and then goes over lots of rocks making for lots of noise and a beautiful set of waterfalls glimmering in the early-morning Sun. We saw several deer and one was right in front of me before it pranced off. I actually was able to get a video of it. We also saw a bear that was swimming across the river towards us. When it saw us, it snorted, did an 180 degree turn and headed back for the other shore. It was a big, black bear and it did not want to interact with us which is the way we saw it too. We rode about 20 miles and then came to a small store and canoe rental place where we got some ice cream and a soda. We then rode the final five miles towards Pulanski to get our 50 miles. We did go through one tunnel that was pretty dark and only about 50 yards long. We had our sunglasses on and that did not help. The gradient was about one percent going down as you follow the river and then one percent going up as you make the return trip. The surface was packed cinders and clay and it was excellent to ride upon. In some places is was super smooth and extremely quiet; better than a smooth asphalt surface. No traction problems at all. At one point in the ride, we came across a large, three-story building that we found out was originally an orphanage. Later it was bought by a church for $1 and made into a girls school. Later a boys school was added in a separate building. After that it was abandoned and then rebuilt into a hotel. Now it is AirBnB. I guess you can make reservations to stay there. The smells along the trail are amazing. Nothing light getting out into nature and smelling the trees and the wet soil, and the leaves, and the grass. When it all comes together, it makes for an excellent ethereal experience.