Tripping the Blue Ridge (Part One)
More shutter-dug silliness from the RocketMan
Yesterday I decided to head out and see if I could find some fall colors and a few nice twisties along the way. Since I hadn‘«÷t ridden the Parkway proper (just Skyline Drive) this year I decided to head south via some slab and valley roads then take Rt. 56 toward on over the Parkway.
Headed out around 7 AM and hit 95 south till I got to Fredericksburg then headed west to Dilwyn (you all HAVE heard of Dilwyn Va, right?) I set my GPS for no interstates and shortest route, which always guaranties that it will take me along some pretty out of the way roads, and as usual I wasn‘«÷t disappointed. On the way to Dilwyn I passed by the Spotsvillvaina Courthouse Battlefield and since there was a nice little windy road thru it.
The battlefield with a lone tree
Finally some decent color
Having had a good rain in some parts I knew that the back roads would be a little tricky, esp. in places where the sun had not had a chance to dry them, I wasn‘«÷t disappointed
I knew it would be even more fun once I got to 56 and headed up the mountains.
Then is it off down a nice little 20 mile stretch along Shannon Hill Road toward Fork Union where I saw this old establishment, bet it was a cool place to stay in its day.
Shortly after that (or was it before?) I crossed over the James River.
After I got to Dilwyn I headed west again to catch Rt 56 toward the mountains and Vesuvius and Steeles Tavern. After 2 some hours of the low lands of eastern VA it was nice to catch my first view of the Blue Ridge.
Yup, looks like some color up there.
Route 56 is a fantastic little road, even in the low lands its pretty twisty and once you start to climb along the Tye River pass it gets really hairy, too bad there wasn‘«÷t any place to pull the LT over for a shot or two, guess you‘«÷ll just have to come out this way and ride it sometime.
Just prior to getting into the real climb up 56 I did manage to stop and take some pic‘«÷s looking down from one of the 5 points where 56 crosses over the Tye River.
Got up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the temps had dropped again, never got above 61 even thou it was getting to be mid-day. In the valley it had gone from 58 when I left home up to 68 before I headed shyward. The wind was starting to pick up as well. There are a lot of farms along the Blue Ridge even at the top as it flattens out in places.
Now for some nice color‘«™
After doing the Parkway I did the first 40 miles of Skyline but then the traffic started to pick up so I headed down the mountain at the Route 33 crossing and headed home.
All in all I did about 400 miles in around 9 hours of mostly 2 lane and twisties with only two stops for gas and coffee, plus picture ops. Had to pass up some nice shots as well but when I‘«÷m on The Autobahnsau (German for Highway (or Autoban) Pig) parking the beast can be a challenge on small back roads with no shoulder. This marks the longest ride I‘«÷ve done since my hearing loss and loss of balance input from my right ear due to a infection that has destroyed the entire nerve bundle. I‘«÷m hoping by next spring I‘«÷ll be back up to doing more 600 mile plus rides, but we‘«÷ll have to wait and see. I also went from about 30 feet above sea level at home to little over 3300 and nearly 25 deg. chances in temperature during the ride. Pretty typical of fall in these parts.
Not a bad days ride!
P.S. I named my LT, based on the print below by Michael Zowa, I really like his work, esp his animal prints)
Some nice pic's. Where's the obligatory "ride" picture?