Along the road in Charles City, Virginia
When you last heard from me, I was preparing to drive the Great Ocean Road. Driving that road is an incredible experience, but for those who are not used to driving on the “other” side of the road and on the “other” side of the car (notice that I didn’t say the “wrong” side), the Road creates an even greater challenge.
I’d hoped to rent a motorcycle and take the ride of a lifetime, but between the cost of rentals and the fact that I couldn’t find a bike to fit my 5′ tall body, I opted for a rental car. I have to confess to feeling a bit nervous about driving in Australia. I wasn’t so much worried about driving the Great Ocean Road, as I was about getting out of Melbourne! I even told the folks at the rental agency that I’d pay someone to drive me out of the city 🙂 Ultimately, it all turned out perfectly, and while the car was a blast, after driving that road, I sure wish I could have ridden those curves on my Harley.
The Great Ocean Road is included on the Australian National Heritage List and at 243 km (151 mi), stretches along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the cities of Torquay and Allansford. Construction on the road began in September of 1919 and was built by approximately 3000 returned servicemen as a war memorial for fellow servicemen who had been killed in World War I. In addition to being dedicated as a memorial, the road also connected isolated settlements on the coast, and become a vital transport link for the timber industry and tourism.
As a visitor to Australia, seeing these signs along my route were welcome, and within minutes of driving out of the city, I stopped at my first Visitor Information Centre.
The incredibly friendly and informative folks at the Centre loaded up a reusable bag full of maps and pamphlets, which suited this map loving woman just fine. GPS is great, of course, but I like to say that I use MAPS. The volunteers recommended that I stop in Geelong, and I’m so glad that they did. Located just southwest of Melbourne, Geelong boasts a 19th-century carousel, a curved art deco boardwalk , and a several colorful sculptures that chronicle the city’s history.
After a lovely stroll along that curved boardwalk, I took off for Torquay, the surf capital of Australia, and the start of the Great Ocean Road.
On this, my first day on the road, I only managed to drive 90 km (50 mi). I just couldn’t help myself: I had to keep stopping!
I mean, seriously! I think I pulled over at every possible place! Including the Cape Otway Lightstation, built in 1848.
What an incredible gift it was to have the time to explore. I had no plan other than to go, to see, to breathe.
The sound of those waves crashing on the shore were captivating, and in my next post, I’ll share some video.
The curves were fun to drive, and every so often, I was pleased to be the only car on the road. At times, it seemed I could have been driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, as the road wound through lush, forested areas. At other times, the road took me along the dramatic coastline. I could have taken weeks, not days, to visit the many natural and historic wonders of this road, and I could have taken thousands and thousands of photos.
At the end of an amazing day, I stopped at the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse for fish and chips and a nice, cold beer. On this particular day, I’d worn one of my Harley t-shirts and as always happens when I travel, people come up and talk to me about motorcycles. Even in this day and time, a woman who rides her own bike is still a big deal. We also talked about the bracelets on our arms, representing loved ones gone too soon.
Next Post: Day Two on the Great Ocean Road
It’s been two weeks since I’ve posted! Where did the time go? 🙂
Thankfully, in between closing down the old practice, opening the new, and campaigning for Delegate, I was still able to find a few moments with the camera.
This first photo is from Carson’s Courtyard, a little resting spot in downtown Radford, created with Community Development Block Grants.
On another day, I stopped by the American Legion Building. Built in 1928, the building has served as a temporary courthouse, Catholic church, daycare center, Radford Arsenal hiring office, dance hall, voter registration office, polling place, and home to Main Street Radford. The American Legion members have started a restoration drive to raise funds for this historic building.
On July 4th, I rode the motorcycle to visit a few of the communities in the 12th District.
One of three covered bridges in Giles County, the Sinking Creek Covered Bridge was built in 1916.
This next one was taken with my new Samsung Galaxy. Those of you who know me well, will realize that I have changed phones after 15 years as a Blackberry user. Not sure it was a good move yet …
The Newport Parade
was followed by the Blacksburg Parade,
and then it was back home to the City of Radford for music and fireworks.
A few days later, the campaign office was buzzing with the sound of volunteers and staffers working the phone bank.
So thankfully, despite the pace of life, I’m still finding moments to pull the bike over and enjoy the view.
Next Stop: Your Blogs!
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
The road of life offers many opportunities and challenges,
and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the two.
Sometimes the direction seems foggy or unclear,
with obstacles blocking the way.
Soon enough though, the way will be made clear, and we’ll see the future as it should be.
The world around us will be peaceful once again,
while the spirit, made stronger because of the struggle, soars.
This small collection of photos was taken at various points this past week, a week that was filled with far too many twists in the road, and not near enough opportunities to use my camera.
I’m quite sure that many of you experienced the same. Let’s all just breath … it’s going to be okay.