Greetings From: Chesterfield, VA

Stories from eight years of living on the road in America

by Michael Boyink / mike@douglascountyherald.com

Oh, we left with grand plans.

Plans for where to go. Plans for what to see. For who to visit. For how to eat. 

And for getting more exercise.

Hiking and biking, mainly.

There’s a backstory here.

MsBoyink has never particularly liked biking. 

We bought mountain bikes for each other as wedding gifts. They gathered dust hanging in the garage. 

I added a kiddie seat when we started a family. It was only used for “daddy-time”. 

We tried some rails to trails parks with older kids. It was fun, but required too much planning.

She wanted to like biking. We hoped new scenery, the desire to be healthier, and a more comfortable $88 bike from Walmart would get her out pedaling. We left with bikes for all four of us optimistically strapped to the rear of the trailer.

Between the season and our route it was several weeks before we had a chance to use them.  

Finding our way through the wooded bike trails.

Pocahontas State Park just outside of Richmond, VA has over 60 miles of bike trails. The park had available camping and the weather forecast was favorable.

A family bike ride happened. All four of us on a relatively flat wooded trail at the same time. 

I have video proof.

Keeping the bikes with us wasn’t easy. The rack on the back of the trailer broke. I fixed it. It broke again. I added reinforcements. They broke. I added better reinforcements. They also broke.

I worried about the bikes falling off and into traffic, so I bought a rack to carry them on the roof of the truck. They rode better up there, but getting them up and down was a two-person affair.

Looking back through my photo archive, I find photos of us biking in South Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Washington. Not that we ever became hardcore bikers, but we did enjoy them when we had the chance.

“We” being the kids and I.

A rare photo of MsBoyink on a bike.

I have evidence of just one more family bike ride with MsBoyink on that Walmart bike – in Wallace, Idaho. 

 In South Dakota, after nearly making a complete lap around the United States riding on the roof of the truck, I found the Walmart bike wasn’t holding up well. It was rusting out. It wasn’t shifting well. It had a flat tire. The repairs would cost more than the bike.

And I realized the biggest exercise benefit anyone was getting from that bike was putting it up on the truck roof and getting it down again.

I left it by the dumpster in a Wall, SD campground.

A couple years later, I tried again. I bought MsBoyink a pretty blue vintage Schwinn with chrome fenders.

I don’t even remember what happened to that one.

Near as I can tell, it’s been five years since I’ve had MsBoyink on a bike. 

But I have a new grand plan.

Here in our empty-nest, have-a-house-again years.

I’m going to buy a tandem.

I just hope she pedals.

Located 20 miles from Richmond, Virgina, Pocahontas State Park offers camping, fishing, hiking, biking, and entertainment venues. Learn more at dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/pocahontas.