The 2013 Bike Adventure: Virginia Roads and Byways

Part of the fun of the ride is the planning and preparation.  It is also the visits with friends before heading out.  Whether drinks in the kitchen, surrounded by piles of gear and maps, or time on the river for one final pre-ride kayak float, the enthusiasm of friends adds to the anticipation.

I was up at 6am with the plan to pull out at 8.  Mother Nature was kind, and the road was dry.  Rt 11 is an historic road that runs through Virginia, often parallel to Interstate 81.  I avoid the interstate if I can, mostly because state and local roads are more fun to ride in terms of scenery, sweeping curves, small towns, and interesting restaurants.  Unfortunately, the “progress” that an interstate brings (chain restaurants and hotels), often means that the scenery, towns, and the great drives / rides, are forgotten.

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I had not gone far when I stopped the bike in order to walk over the swinging bridge in Buchanan.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love a bridge, and this one was no exception.  “The Bridge is 366 feet long, 57.5 feet tall and the only one of its type to cross the James River. Portions of the bridge date back to 1851 and in 1999 the Swinging Bridge was recognized as a National Register Historic Landmark”.

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This is the bridge that Rt 11 runs across, and frankly, this is one of my most favorite photos of the entire trip.

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The road continued on, leading me through Stanardsville and by The Lafeyette Hotel.  “Built in 1840, The Lafayette Inn is a historic landmark. It has served as a community centerpiece of the area accommodating the needs of stage coach travelers and local residents. The building has served as a hotel, restaurant, saloon, boarding house and as a hospital during the Civil War. In more recent times it housed the first Stanardsville telephone exchange and the local newspaper”.

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It was on Rt 230, when stopped alongside the road to take a photo, that I had my first offer of help.  I love that part of traveling.  Folks just want to help.  This particular guy, in addition to making sure that I wasn’t lost, wanted to tell me about his travels on his motorcycle.

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Soon enough, I was heading up into the mountains and for a short time, the road led me through Shenandoah National Park.  Wide sweeping curves and tighter twistier ones made for fun riding!

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As I rode on through Madison County, I began to see the first of several wineries (I would have loved to stop for tastings).

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The town of Culpepper, in Culpepper County, offered a choice of locally owned restaurants and I ended up at It’s About Thyme.  The Brucschetta was delicious!!  The folks at the next table recommended a slightly different route than I had mapped out, which I appreciated as my destination for the night was Alexandria.

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Alexandria, of course, is located right outside Washington DC, and getting there requires riding some miles on the Capital Beltway system.  Thank goodness I am somewhat familiar with the beltway AND that I am not a woman who is easily intimidated.  What a network of highways, with an overwhelming number of cars, all running at high rates of speed.

At the end of my travels on those roads, was my dear friend Jan, her hushand Neal, son Luke, a marvelous bottle of wine, and a great dinner, partially prepared by Luke.  It was a wonderful evening.

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And a fabulous first day on the 2013 Bike Adventure!

Total Miles: 290

22 thoughts on “The 2013 Bike Adventure: Virginia Roads and Byways

    • Thanks Mae. I had such a fun time! I kept thinking how lucky I was to have such good luck with weather, interesting places to see, and NO bike problems!!

  1. I love the photos LB. Wonderful old towns and hotels are great, my wife and I always seek out these kind of places when we travel. I just have one question. Did you save me any Brucschetta ? Have a great day 😀 (BTW check out my post Yesterday, there is a small little reference to you in it, LOL).

    • Joe! I thought I was all caught up on your blog! How fun to read the post … I just wish I’d seen it without prompt, as it would have been even better!

  2. I love reading about and seeing pictures of your travels–highlighting the joys of a true “road trip,” as opposed to getting on a highway to get some place fast.

    • I know! I was being so responsible passing up those tastings 🙂 Thankfully my friend has some really yummy wine waiting for me (and actually some good beer before that- ha!)

  3. So cool, I love all the history there. You’d never get me on that swinging bridge, I’m a big chicken. HA. Hey, do you thing ‘The Cline Bros’ are related to Patsy Cline? She was born in near by Winchester. My favourite photo is the white washed brick and open window, punctuated by the fresh red tomatoes…awesome.

    • I love that one, too! It didn’t come out as clearly as I’d have hoped, but I was across the street and couldn’t get closer and get the right angle (being a shorty and all). Funny thing, I rode that same stretch of road coming home 7 days later (it is such a pretty part of the state) and the tomatoes were gone and a basket was in it’s place … I wonder what was in it?

    • So glad you liked it! I started this travel log with my first solo ride 4 years ago, and friends and family encouraged me to continue it. Sometimes though, I wonder who would want to read about my travels .. thanks for the encouragement!

      • I know I do 🙂 … I realize its a personal journey. but I see the place through your eyes… which is just as being there myself 🙂 So I am pretty sure … there’s a lot out there like me 🙂

    • Thanks Jim. I was giggling like a school girl walking across it. Probably the fun of the bridge and the excitment of the trip ahead!

Because Boomdee dared me: Lay a little sugar on me :-)

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