Monday, October 28, 2013

FINALLY! In Search of Bourbon - Day 6

So we are on Day 6...almost two weeks after I published Day 5. Sorry about that! I got a little busy, and then, the more I thought about writing the last day's post, the more I didn't want to do it. Because if I didn't write it, then the trip down memory lane of our trip down to bourbon country wouldn't have to be over. Right? Makes total sense!

But Day 6 did happen. Like this...

It was another early morning for breakfast and our departure. We met in the breakfast room at 6:45 and were on the road by 7:30 that morning. To say it was a brisk morning would be an understatement. We hopped onto the Blue Ridge Parkway to head north. The good thing about being on the Parkway was we were above the fog and clouds. The bad thing was we were at elevation; it's cold at elevation. 

A chilly morning at the Colony House Motor Lodge.

Chris is ready to spring into action!

Turning onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.

As much as we all wanted to head south and do the trip all over again, we headed north toward home.

It was an absolutely gorgeous morning on the Parkway.

The scenery along the Blue Ridge Parkway NEVER ceases to amaze me.

We stopped at an overlook to take in the awesome view while we were above the clouds.

While we were stopped, and despite the beautiful scenery, we decided to leave the Parkway in pursuit of some warmer air (it was in the low 40s). We took VA 43 (Parkway Drive) to drop down off the Parkway into Buchanan, where we picked up I-81 to run north briefly to Lexington, VA. We stopped to add more layers, warm up, and grab hot beverages at a Sheetz. When we left, we got a little turned around in Lexington, but that meant we got a nice little tour of the VMI and Washington & Lee campuses!

Whoa! Regular gas for under $3.00/gallon. We MUST be in Virginia!

After our detour through Lexington, we headed north so we could hook up with US 250 from Staunton, VA over to Monterey, VA where we stopped to warm up, "rest," and take in the always intoxicating smell at "The Chicken Gas Station."

This photo is for our friend Jeff.

And this one is for our friend JT.

From "The Chicken Gas Station," we headed north on US 220 all the way back to Moorefield, WV where we stopped for a late lunch at Subway. It was here that we parted ways with Shane and Andrea (boo!) and set out for home. But we didn't hop on the highway since it was still early enough in the afternoon that we could take "the long way home." We took US 220 north to WV 28, which lead us to Cumberland, MD. After getting turned around in Cumberland (seriously...WHY is it so hard to find a Sheetz when you have to pee?!?), we picked up Pleasant Valley Road near Rocky Gap State Park, which turns into Beans Cove Road in Pennsylvania. Beans Cove Road is a fun little road with great scenery, especially in the fall.

Giving Chris bunny ears!

In-motion selfie!

We took PA 326 north to US 30 where we jogged east briefly to pick up Lower Snake Spring Road, which is a road Chris has ridden several times and mentioned to me, but was one that I'd not yet ridden. We eventually found ourselves on US 22, which we took to PA 453 to PA 550 to Marengo Road (YAY!) to get home.

Stopped at Yellow Springs along US 22.

We were so close to home that we were starting to get punchy!

One last selfie before the final leg of the trip home.
SO CLOSE to home! In fact, we'll be there at 5:45 (it was probably 5 PM at that point).

We did arrive home at 5:45 and were enthusiastically greeted by Oscar! He was so excited to see us that it wasn't just his tail that was wagging - it was his whole backside!

Smooches for his daddy!

Oh, hey Mom...good to see you, too!

Final trip stats.

As you can see above, our total mileage was 1,810 miles. We fell short of the 2,000 miles we'd originally planned because of the changes to our route that we made on Sunday and Monday. But that's OK! We spent nearly 36 hours in motion and kept a moving average over 50 MPH...not too shabby!!!

I said to Chris later that evening over dinner, "You know, we just spent six days on vacation together in close proximity to each other nearly the whole time. Seriously, think about it. For nearly 36 hours, we were actually touching on the bike while we were riding. And then when we weren't on the bike, we were still together. That's A LOT of time together. AND IT WAS FUN!" 

It really was! I think this might have been my favorite motorcycle trip to date - the destinations, the roads, the friends - it was all fantastic! Now I'm just left to wonder...when is our next trip?!?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

In Search of Bourbon - Day 5

We went to bed Sunday night expecting rain all day Monday. We heard rain overnight Sunday into Monday. Heavy rain. And thunder. But when we woke, dressed, and left the rooms for breakfast Monday morning, we were greeting with a mere drizzle. We walked across the parking lot to JB's for breakfast where Shane, Andrea, and I opted for French toast with bacon and eggs, while Chris had to be the oddball and get pancakes, sausage, and eggs. Our new MSTA friend from Georgia arrived for breakfast about halfway through our meal and waved. By the time we left JB's the drizzle had ended but the skies were still quite threatening. We put on our rain gear and prepared for a wet ride north on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Except... never rained.


At all.

Not a single drop.

Not that I'm complaining! We had a wonderful ride up the Blue Ridge Parkway. The skies were blue, with friendly, puffy, white clouds, and the views were spectacular. Of course, because I was expecting rain, I didn't get to photograph any of it; my camera was safely stashed in the top case where it would remain dry in the nonexistent rain. Once we stopped at Mabry Mill, I liberated my camera and resumed my backseat photography.

Boo you, government you.

How are we supposed to pee???

Shane: "So, got those Charmin fresh wipes in your side case?"  
"This is gonna require removing my jacket."

"Government shutdown be damned! I'm off on a mission!"

Meanwhile, I got back to taking photos at Mabry Mill.

We kept our rain gear on after departing from Mabry Mill. Despite the clear skies we'd seen on the Parkway, we still weren't convinced that we wouldn't encounter rain. Not after what we'd seen in the forecast the night before. 100% chance of rain! There had to be rain, right?!? RIGHT?!?


Our ride remained dry as we continued north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Roanoke, VA. We left the Parkway and went in search of lunch. We found a Firehouse Subs where this time I was the oddball. Chris, Andrea, and Shane all had the Turkey Bacon Ranch Sub; I chose the Chief's Salad.

The Chief's Salad...nom-nom-nom!

After lunch, we rode to the Colony House Motor Lodge, which was our destination for the night. Except it was only 2 PM. Nevertheless, we were able to check into our king suites on the backside of the hotel. We didn't get the miles in that we'd planned for Monday, but we still had a great ride. With a good part of the afternoon ahead of us, we pulled chairs out of our suites and sat outside chatting, Facebooking, and oh drinking! Chris and Shane walked to a bottle shop and picked up a six-pack so we could do some more porch sittin'. While we were outside, I noticed a hawk in the tree.

Yes, that's a squirrel's tail you see...attached to a the hawk's talons.

Quite the handsome raptor!

About 5 PM, Andrea and I headed into our respective rooms to get cleaned up and ready for dinner. Meanwhile, Chris got a little snap-happy taking pictures of the bikes.

The Concours looks weird without the side bags. 
We picked up a little dirt and debris on the Parkway.

Menacing in the front; weird in the back.

Another dirt and debris shot.

And Shane's FJR.

Shortly after 6, we headed across the street to Red Lobster for dinner - which is the biggest perk of staying at the Colony House! Say it with me...cheddar bay biscuits! We had a great final dinner together Monday evening. But the trip wasn't over...oh, no! We still had Tuesday's ride to look forward to, and it promised to be a good one. We returned to our rooms just after 8 PM with plans to meet for breakfast at 6:30 AM again (ugh). Mileage for Day 5 was just about 150 miles; total miles to date was 1,460.