XT660R Heaven

XT660R Heaven
Life on the road is fab...

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Blue Ridge Parkway & Skyline Ridge routes

Wow, what a day, we've covered 300+ miles today, all on some of the best biking roads Geoff & I have ever ridden. This is in the top 3 of days biking we both agreed today, Geoff said he was nearly in tears he was so happy today... bloody fab!!!

We set off from Frederick at 7 ish this morning after some blueberry pancakes & coffee, we lost the 340 somewhere in a town somewhere so ended up on the Interstate heading to Front Royal where we could pick up the Skyline Ridge. This did take us through some fab scenery though, great farm houses, little cottages etc all with front porches, big front yards sporting all kinds of vehicles & stuff.

Once on the Parkway, we took some piccies at the park entrance gate, then paid our National Park entry fees of $10 each. This got us heading uphill on some new tarmac & into some beautiful bends.

The day just got better from there really, the tarmac was always great, the bends were sublime, (Thanks have to go to all who were involved in building these two roads, they are truly bloody ace when you're on a bike!). A coffee stop with a cake around 12 ish, a few stops to enjoy the panoramic views / take photos & a couple of chats with a Park Fire Ranger, (very cool guy who comes from out west somewhere & moved over this side for his family), & a UK guy from Oldham, who was visiting friends over here & driving the Skyline route for some fun. There were loads of hikers at the coffee place, all resting up for a bit whilst walking the Appalachian Trail through the Shenadoah Valley, this is a fairly sedate range of hills that I first heard about whilst listening to Bill Bryson's account of trying to walk the trail, he was unsuccessful & I think it was in part to do with conditions in the Shenadoah region, but it was a while ago when I listened to it now... The river that runs through the valley is lovely, big & wide in parts, plenty of bouncy rapids in other bits, it feeds the whole region & is a fundamental part of the landscape here.

The rain held off all day, we were in beautiful warm blue skies for most of the day, just missing a recent storm at the end of the Blue Ridge, what more could you ask for... We also saw deer, squirrels, (one was very lucky & ran off in a good direction as I narrowly avoided running it over), loads of soaring birds of prey & 2 squashed snakes, no idea what kind, we saw them & didn't stop to investigate I must admit...

We managed to find a cool little village, (??? not sure if that's what you would call them over here), called Vesuvius, which we dropped off the Blue Ridge & passed through looking for fuel, a great little bendy road led to it that reminded both of us of Corsican roads, no fuel for miles, then 5, yes 5 stations all in one place on an main road a couple of miles after Vesuvius... crazy...

We stopped in Roanoak for this evening at around 6pm ish, finding a really cheap little motel called the Rodeway Inn, $52 plus tax incl breakfast for the two of us, previously they had all been in the $100+ range, not so good for the bank balance so glad we've found an alternative for the time being. We ate out tonight again, Taco with chilli & salad for me & a burger with bacon, cheese & fries for the old boy, $32 all in with 2 beers, again better than the previous nights which have been nearer the $70 range, so glad that the prices are dropping, we'll need more money for fuel anyway as we keep getting lost!! :-)

Fuel as also got cheaper as we've left the coast behind, its dropped from $3.77 to £3.29 so that means it's $8 to fill our 15 litre tank, that's about £5 at the moment, compare that to £20 back at home, we are so being ripped off in the UK with fuel prices!!

One of the things we've noticed a lot since we've been here are the amount of churches everywhere, there are more churches that supermarkets & petrol stations put together, it's amazing, yesterday whilst we were being escorted into the port, the escort guy put on the radio to catch the 1pm sermon, Geoff & I were a bit bemused by this, but everybody we've spoken too seems to be deeply religious, then they go out & buy a gun, figure that out!!

So on the whole, things are going pretty well so far, the bikes are running well, with minor problems, mine has a slow puncture, Geoff's has a rear light that has gone out but the brake light is still working, so we will need to do some TLC before we hit the rough stuff in a couple of days... Tomorrow is another 300 mile day if we can make it, although the roads are all small & bendy so we'll see, Telico Plains is the planned destination, ready to start the main event the next day... we'll see though!!