My Summer Road Trip

August 4, 2014


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When I left my Staunton motel room on Monday morning, I was pretty worried about the weather conditions. There was a very thick fog and as I rode first along Interstate 81 then Interstate 64 to get to Waynesboro, VA, to the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it only got worse. Lit up signs on I-64 even warned of thickening fog. When I turned off I-64 to get onto the Parkway, this is what it was like.
Entrance to the Parkway was over there by the bridge. Should I go on? Should I wait a bit? Should I go on? Should I wait a bit? indecision...
I decided to drive to the entrance. I knew there was a visitor center not too far into the park. I could always wait there until some of the fog lifted.
There I met Keith who is a worse camera junkie than I am. He took the previous picture of me at the entrance to the Parkway. He was going to ride the entire Parkway and he was meeting his older brother who lives in Tennessee somewhere along the way in North Carolina. Evidently this would be a reunion after many years living in separate states as well as a FIRST moto ride with one another. Neat.
I'd been told by Katrina and Charles the night before at Taco Bell that I'd find a lot of scenic lookouts along the Parkway. This is the very first one. Do you notice anything? Although the fog hadn't completely disappeared, it was NOT a factor on the this road.
Is there any wonder why they call these the Blue Ridge Mountains?
Here's the visitor center I though I might have to kill some time at. Not at all necessary. Good thing because it was still early and it wasn't even open yet.
The first lookout overlooked country to the east. THIS lookout gave you a (mainly) western view. Again there was fog, but not affecting the road *I* was riding on.
At this lookout, there were stones which were evidently used in older times as "fences" or markers for different homesteads.
I assume they were just there as opposed to being moved around to the proper location. Moss and other growth coloured them prettily and all the years of rain, snow and ice has given them really neat textures. I thought the top rock looked like a rat's head. For me, this is not a bad thing. I once had a pet rat. True, a rat is not the best pet, but you'd be surprised how smart Ben was.
I took the time to stop at many of the lookouts.
"I'm the king of the castle..."
Being higher than the clouds is such a neat feeling.
Everywhere lush green grass, trees...
... and in every direction, more blue mountains.
It almost looked like this archway was strictly man made or even a tunnel. As you rode under it, you realized the trees on either side of the road were simply growing up and filling out. Someone must have to trim the trees every so often so the road won't be closed off by branches. BTW... when I saw the tree arch, there was nowhere to pull off the road (slanted, grass shoulder, possibly soft due to mist/fog). There was so little traffic (none), I just stopped in the middle of the raod to take the picture. Bad girl!! Nice picture though, eh?
Everywhere everything was so green that this tree really stood out.
Further along, I was curious why there was a scenic lookout sign but no lookout. So I parked my bike...
... and walked up these stone stairs...
... to find these railway tracks.
Since there's nothing to judge the width of the track in the picture, you might not realized that the gage of the track is quite small. Evidently, these railways were built on the mountains to transport logs on small gage cars down the mountains. This small bit of track remained and was restored for tourists like me.
At this spot, the railway crossed a small stream.
A small waterfall was formed by water coming off the mountain.
This scenic lookout had a view similar to many but patches of red caught my eye and I wanted to know what the red was.
Hey! As a Canadian, I certainly know what THAT is!!
Ironically, as I was walking back to my bike, another two bikes stopped for a peek at the view. Guess where they were from? Ruth, Linda, Denis and Guy were from "la belle province"- Quebec!
After chatting with them, I directed them to the maple leafs.
Did I mention that even though the speed limit on the Parkway was only 45 MPH that the ride was most excellent? Sweeping curves that I probably wouldn't have gone much quicker on even if there hadn't been a limit. GORGEOUS views always.
Otter Lake near the James River and east of US501. Up until this point, you could hear water running down the mountain and sometimes catch sight of a small stream but this was the first actual body of water directly beside the road.
Very peaceful, very calm.
Very pretty.
I wondered what kind of animals lived in the water. Fish swim upstream all the time but do they when a lake or river is high in the mountains? Hmmm.
Is there any shortage of views on the Blue Ridge Parkway?
But to be honest, I stopped here because I wanted to check out this motorcycle camper. Propane stove over top of motorcycle storage. They even had camp chairs.
They'd been looking for a picnic table then decided to pull out their own gear instead.
I-81 south to I-64
I-64 past Waynesboro to Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway to 43
43 north to I-81
I-81 west to I-77
I-77 south to US221
US221 to Boone, North Carolina

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