Riding Central Virginia

A group of my biker buds rode off to the Outer Banks yesterday headed toward Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Bike Week. Work commitments and a recent vacation meant that a week away was impossible, but I was able to join them for part of the trip.  We rode together for 3 or 4 hours, and then I turned around to head back home, riding on different roads.  Dave plotted the route for me (he knows every road, I swear!) and I was in heaven.

It was one of those ideal riding days.  The perfect temperature, a nice breeze, just the right amount of clouds, and of course, gorgeous central Virgina roads.  I rode curves up and over the Blue Ridge Mountains, straightaways alongside fields of green and yellow, and through wooded areas which provided a canopy of trees over the road.  Another plus: virtually no traffic.

I didn’t do a whole lot of stopping, but I couldn’t pass this structure without taking a few pictures.   I did the best that I could with my cellphone because somehow I walked out of the house at 7:45am without my camera! WTH?!

I did make one other stop at Devils Backbone brewery, a favorite place to visit when we ride in this part of the state.

One quick beer and it was time to head home to do some chores.

What a day! 330 Miles of happy!

Thanks for stopping by today.  I enjoyed visiting a bunch of you yesterday and hope to see more of your blog posts this coming week.  I also look forward to sharing some photos from my trip to the Caribbean.

Motorcycle, Bicycle, and River, Oh My!

As I sat in the river yesterday, I thought of all the items on my “to do” list.  Yes, I was actually sitting in the Little River, and I was oh so happy.


I looked up to see the smoke from the grill caught in the sunlight streaming through the trees, and in addition to my “to do” list, I thought about how fortunate I was.


Surrounded by friends, on a gorgeous September afternoon, with laughter and the sound of flowing water providing amazing background music.


The only thing that I could have wanted was more time to take care of that “to do” list.  Thankfully, I had an extra day off for that, and today is that extra day.  I’ve spent the last 8 hours scatching items off of that list, and that means it is finally time for WordPress, a chance to relive the weekend, and a visit to all of you.

After getting off work on Friday, I stopped by Rising Silo Brewery.


Part of a ground-up movement, “the purpose of the brewery is to create fermented beverages from the best ingredients, overflowing with thought and authenticity in taste”.


Rising Silo is a farm brewery, the foundation of which is Glade Road Growing, a farm located on a conservation easement, which means that it will permanently remain open space._MG_5213-2_MG_5211-2

How can you not love their mission: to create “an evolving space that community members near and far may gather to connect, dream, celebrate and relax. We believe in fresh food, true brews, and good people”.


Saturday morning started with a solo, 17 mile ride on the bicycle, partly along the New River,


followed by a 200 mile group ride on the motorcycle.

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In my quest to improve my health, I even managed to run 2.5 miles!


And all this fabulousness brings me back to today.

If being able to run, ride both bikes, and spend time on the water wasn’t enough, I’ve been gifted with this extra day, Labor Day, to get caught up.  It is so satisfying to see the “to do” list get shorter.

 Labor Day, a creation of the labor movement over 100 years ago, “is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country”.

While I know that I work hard every day, how is it that I still feel a twinge of guilt for being off today?


One more great thing about this weekend?  The Hokies won, too.

Sam Rogers (45) carries the American flag to lead the Hokies into Lane Stadium for the first time this year.

Photo Credit: thekeyplay.com

Yes, College Football season is here, and I’ll be watching the FSU – Ole Miss game tonight while visiting all of you.

Rockwood Manor

Every December, some friends of mine and I host a fundraiser to benefit local charities, and this year we held the event at Rockwood Manor.


Built in 1876, the home, now turned Bed and Breakfast, is simply stunning.  I’d loved to have spent hours taking photos, but as I was working the fundraiser, I didn’t have as much time as I’d have liked.


The history section of the website notes that “the home was designed by architect Burkholder and built by contractor Pettijohn, who were both from Lynchburg, Va.  Oversized brick with decorative slag were made on-site.  The house boasts sixty-five extra-large windows, some with Jefferson-style openings that rise into the twelve-foot ceiling;  seventeen fireplaces on five chimneys; ornate plaster work; and medallions.  Outside over the windows is wrought iron on a tin metal box framework”


The perfect porch for sitting and sipping.




Parquet floors, made of alternating walnut and ash, add even more warmth and beauty.



The floating staircase


The Dining Room


The ceiling of the Sitting Room



Glasses waiting to be filled


Perhaps an old smoke house?  I wish I’d had time to find out!


One of many historic items to be seen on the property.


Hopefully I can return at some point and learn more about the history of this treasured home.

Thank goodness the family knew it’s value and sought to restore rather than sell.


Fish Fry!

While the campaign has whittled my bike riding time down to just 6 hours per week, it has also offered me the opportunity to attend some community events. This past Saturday, after knocking 90 doors in the City of Radford, my campaign Field Director and I attended the Mt Tabor Ruritan Fish Fry.


Before joining the long line of hungry patrons, we walked and talked and enjoyed the atmosphere.

The pastoral scene,


the local music,


the opposition to the Mountain Valley Pipeline,


and finally, the fish, fries, and coleslaw, served up by hardworking Ruritans.



I’m tellin’ ya, that fried fish was yummy!


All you can eat for $8, in a lovely Virginia setting.  Not a bad way to spend the evening.


The Mt Tabor Ruritan Club has been serving the Blacksburg and surrounding communities since July 16, 1965.

 Ruritan National’s purpose is to create a better understanding among people, and through volunteer community service, make America’s communities better places in which to live and work

The word Ruritan is a combination of the Latin words for open country “ruri” and small town “tan,” interpreted as pertaining to rural and small town life

Back Track

With just an hour or so to spare, I set off on the bike.


It took me awhile to find a place to pull over to capture this view, and even then I had to hike back a bit.

For once, I didn’t have my camera with me.

Not too bad for my ol Blackberry, eh?

On the Road

Each year, my friend Ruth and I take an annual “Road Trip to Watch the Hokies … and Explore a Cool Town”, and what started as attendance at an away football game has turned into an opportunity for adventure in a new place. (If Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer knew our Road Trip / Loss to Win ratio, he would ask us to stop planning our trips around a game!)  Thankfully, the game has become less of a focal point.  Once the destination  is chosen, we research places of interest to visit along the way and no matter the outcome of the game, we always have a great time!!

This year’s trip was to Pittsburgh and in order to get there, we drove from southwest Virginia, and into western Maryland.  Low lying mountains, curvy rural routes, fall foliage, and historic small towns made for a great ride.  We left for Hancock, Maryland on Weds after work, and were up and on the road for Pennsylvania early the next morning.

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We’d not gone far when we saw this farmhouse and just had to pull over.

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The view of Cumberland Narrows, a water gap in western Maryland, had me calling out “I need a picture!”.  The sunrise and the misty hills were a site to see, but finding a spot to pull over was a bit of a challenge.  These next two photos were taken through the front windshield of the car, and even though the quality suffers, they offer an idea about how pretty this part of Maryland is.


For those interested in history, we were traveling on Rt 40 also known as the National Pike, a section of road that passes through the Cumberland Narrows and lots of rural farmland.  Sections of this road are also called the  National Road.  This road was the first major improved highway in the United States to be built by the federal government and was a gateway to the west for thousands of settlers.  It was also the first US road to be surfaced with macadam.  The National Road now has a multi-state tourism / historical partership that collarborates various towns, cities, and counties. 


Even when pulled over, photography remained a bit of a challenge.


Between the traffic, the road signs, and the lightposts it was hard to capture an unobstructed view of the early morning mist.


I had the same problem catching this rainbow.


The photos may not do justice to the morning, but I’ll not forget it anytime soon.  It was a wonderful start to the trip!

Next Stop:  Falling Waters – One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most widely acclaimed works

Just Drivin’ By … in Color

This barn sits alongside the dirt road on the way to my friend Cherie’s house.


Many times I’ve photographed it; many times I’ve been unsatisfied with the result.  This day, however, it seemed just about right.

I’d love you to check out today’s post on Monochromia to see the B&W version and let me know what you think.

It’s a Mystery

Sometimes all I need is a short ride to clear the brain and lift the spirits.  That’s surely no mystery.  The mystery comes at the end of this post.  Keep on scrolling down, my friends!


I walk in the door, drop the purse, lunch bag, and lap top.  Grab the helmet, wallet, and camera, and hit the road.

I typically choose back roads for the scenery, the farms and barns, and the old houses.  Yesterday I also added a 20 minute run along a highway.  Ahhhh …. the famed wind in the face therapy.

So where’s the mystery?

I stopped to photograph this decrepit home at the intersection of two country roads.


As I wandered around the house, I specifically thought of Mike from Mike’s Look at Life.   How would he portray this house?


Mike has a skill with B&W that I do not have and he might have presented the image differently.  But I share it this way for a reason.  Look what is revealed when I put the image back into color.


A bright shiny door knob and a new propane tank.  Hmmm … what do you think goes on in this old place?

(Be sure to check out Mike’s blog … for the photography AND for the comment section!)

Life on the Bike!

Those of you who are new to my blog may wonder where the bike of Life on the Bike is.  Rest assurred that the original reason for the blog is back and after being sidelined for 8 months, so are my days riding!  I’ve had the bike just 3 weeks and I’ve ridden as many miles as I can squeeze into my schedule.  My first ride was with my friend Juli who took me to the dealership to pick up my beautiful new bike.


My second ride was with my friends Dave and Michael, the two guys who taught me most of what I know about riding.  I wrote about them here almost 2 years ago.


The other night, seeing that a storm was brewing, and thinking that the evening light might make for great photos, I headed out on the bike.  It felt great to feel the wind in my face (even with my new full face helmet).


 I took off down a dirt road, near the train tracks, and proceeded to happily shoot the surrounding farmland.


I couldn’t decide which of these I preferred.  What do you think?


It was a lovely evening and the storm held off long enough for me to play a little longer.

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Even the structure of the new bridge appealed to me that evening.


More riding photos soon!!!

Grayson Highlands Getaway

Grayson County, located in the Blue Ridge Highlands of Southwest Virginia, was the location of this past weekend’s gathering of the BGs, a group of women who meet a few times a year to celebrate birthdays and friendship.


We enjoy delicious food and drink, take walks, read books, play games, and sometimes do a little crafting.


All this, plus plenty of time for talk, is typically done in a cabin or farmhouse in a rural part of Virginia.

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We worried about this little one – he seemed so sluggish – but maybe he was just enjoying being able to catch some rays on a 50 degree day.


We surely enjoyed our time in the sun.


Cheers! Spring is coming!