I've noticed some issues with rsync and .gvfs over the years. Typically I just --exclude=.gvfs in my rsync command and call it a day.
Recently I decided to read the rsync man page top to bottom left to right. After all, what better way to learn? Man pages are quicker than Googling, if you ask me. I had noticed the -x flag, which was cited to not cross other file systems. I began to wonder what exactly that meant and thought... would -x also ignore .gvfs, being a virtual file system?
That said, would:
rsync -a --exclude=.gvfs /home/jason /media/externalhdd
(be kind of the same as)
rsync -ax /home/jason /media/externalhdd