Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ESTN Day 1: Elizabeth's Surprised Thursday Night

This past weekend was the ESTN (Eastern Sport-Touring.Net) Meet in Sparta, NC. My first "big trip" with Chris was to ESTN in Sparta two years ago, so I was anxious to return to Sparta and to hit all of the great roads in and around the area. Like our ESTN 2010 trip, we decided to make a longer weekend of it - departing on Thursday and returning home on Monday.

We spent early Thursday morning packing and preparing to leave. The night before Chris said we should try to be on the road by 9 AM. Well, 9 AM came and went but Chris wasn't being a taskmaster about our departure time so I didn't think much of it. We wound up leaving the house at 9:48 AM.

We took a long and circuitous route down through central and south central Pennsylvania on our way to Western Maryland and our destination for lunch - Uno's in Deep Creek Lake, MD.

The ski slopes of Wisp in Deep Creek.

Chris was very excited to have lunch at Uno's, especially since our nearest Uno's (Altoona) has closed.

Gassing up at the Arrowhead gas station next to Uno's. Arrowhead Market used to be a must-visit place when we used to do a long weekend in Deep Creek with our friends from Baltimore.
I kinda felt like we lingered over lunch a little too long, but didn't really think anything of it since we were riding by ourselves and were on our own timeline. After leaving Deep Creek Lake, we continued south into West Virginia. Before I knew it, we were seeing signs for Blackwater Falls State Park and Canaan Valley Resort State Park. I mentioned to Chris that maybe we could swing by Canaan Valley so I could meet the group sales coordinator and get a copy of our countersigned contract for the STN Region 6 Spring 2013 Meet. I also wanted to check the place out. I didn't think our schedule permitted the stop, so I was surprised when Chris agreed to the deviation from our plan. We stopped in, I met Lisa, got a copy of the countersigned contract, looked around, and lost no more than 20 minutes. Canaan Valley is going to be a great spot for our Spring 2013 Meet!

From Canaan Valley, we hit some of our favorite West Virginia roads, including US 33/WV 55 and WV 28. And then? It was GAME ON once we hit US 250. I think US 250 is one of my favorite roads...ever! It's simply an awesome road with elevation changes, sweepers, twisties, and has it all! And on this day, it had an "Emergency Scene Ahead" sign and a "Loose Gravel" sign as well! I'm not sure when, but someone ran off the road at some point and just peppered the road with gravel. We were grateful for the warning signs!

Riding along US 33/WV 55, next thing you know Seneca Rocks comes into view!

We stopped at "the chicken gas station" in Monterey, VA for a stretch break. Again, we lingered but I didn't think much of it. We didn't have that much further to go (it's only 44 miles from Monterey to Staunton). Not long after our stop in Monterey, we stopped again at the Confederate Breastworks for pictures and a handful of cashews. 


How to eat cashews while wearing a motorcycle helmet...
one at a time and delicately!


Flashing my Pens shirt!

Chris cops a feel!
After the Breastworks, it wasn't long before we arrived in Staunton, VA - our destination for the night. We checked into the Howard Johnson on Central Avenue and proceeded to get cleaned up. AGAIN, Chris was dawdling. I got in and out of the shower fairly quickly, got dressed, did my make-up, and started working on my hair. Chris dilly-dallied watching the news before finally getting in the shower himself. We left the room around 7:30 to head out to dinner. 

When we left the lobby of the motel and walked outside, there was another bike parked behind ours. An FJR! With a guy fiddling in the top case that looked a lot like our friend Shane! As I looked from the FJR to the Shane the FJR to OMG-is-that-Shane?...back to the FJR and finally settled on HOLY CRAP IT'S SHANE, I said, "WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?" Shane said, "SURPRISE!" and gave me a big hug! I was still in shock, saying "What the...?!?" He explained that Andrea (his wife) was upstairs getting ready and that we'd be ready to leave for dinner in about 10 minutes. 

Suddenly, all of Chris' dawdling made sense...he was stalling for time because he knew that Shane and Andrea couldn't get on the road until 1 PM and were shooting for a meet-up time around 8 PM. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky!!!

The Smokers and the Clarks - reunited again!
We finished our day by walking to dinner at the Byer Street Bistro downtown. We had a lovely meal that was reminiscent of, but not as good as, our meal in Asheville, NC last October on our couples' trip. We walked back to the motel after dinner and decided to meet for breakfast at 7:30 AM and depart soon after. 

Day 1 of our ESTN 2012 Adventure was in the books, complete with what is possibly the best surprise I've ever experienced!

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