Pick Up Where I Left Off?

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Life on the Bike and getting back into my blogging groove.  I’m 6 months behind on posting photos from various adventures.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Cape Charles, Virginia

Tallahassee, Florida

Knoxville, Tennessee

various Virginia State Parks

and Cincinnati, Ohio

I’ve worked alot, and volunteered alot.

Thankfully, I’ve played, alot, too.  I’ve traveled for fun and I’ve traveled for work.

I’ve worked on political campaigns and hosted non-political fundraisers.

I’ve riden the bike (not enough!) and managed to keep up with photography (again, not enough!).

And finally, I’ve missed WP and my blogging friends.

Slowly but surely, I’m finding my way back to my WordPress home!

Osceola & Renegade in Monochrome

My contribution to Monochromia this week.

A friend and I traveled to Tallahassee for the Virginia Tech / Florida State game last weekend and during a tour of the beautiful FSU Campus, saw the famous statue of Osceola, the historic leader of the Seminoles, and his Appaloosa horse, Renegade.

We enjoyed Tallahassee and even better, won the game! Go Hokies!

Driving the Great Ocean Road

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

The Drive to Wanaka

After organizing 7 people and packing up 2 cars, we were off to Wanaka (sounds like Monica or Hanukkah).  As is typical for New Zealand roads, the route was curvy and the scenery beautiful.

A brief stop along the way allowed Siddy to get a(nother) treat.

By 2pm, we were ready for a late lunch, and Monteith’s Brewery Bar in Alexandra was the perfect stop.  We enjoyed puppy friendly al fresco dining accompanied by Murphy’s Irish Stout (for me) and followed by a yummy flat white.

Soon enough, we were back on the road but another brief stop, this time at the Clyde Dam, offered some nice photo ops. The Clyde Dam, New Zealand’s third largest hydroelectric dam, is built on the Clutha River near the town of Clyde

With 45 minutes to go, we let Siddy enjoy the breeze.

And THEN we arrived at our temporary home.

What an incredible gift this week in Wanaka will be!

Where in the World is LB and Where is She Going?

Forgive me, WordPress Friends, but it has been 5 Weeks since my last confession … er, I mean, post!

In the almost 6 years that I have been blogging, that may just be a record.  So! Where have I been?

Inauguration

In early January, we traveled to Richmond, Virginia’s Capital City, to see the Inauguration of our new Governor.

It was a cold, but beautiful winter day and we were all so excited to be there!

As you might guess, I took a ton of photos.  Sadly, I just haven’t had time to work through them yet.  This image, though, shows the impressive sight of all 1600 Virginia Military Institute Cadets march by in the Inaugural Parade.  Our new Govenor, Ralph Northam, is a VMI Grad.

The Women’s March in Roanoke

One week later, I hit the streets of Roanoke for the Women’s March.

From the Women’s March to the Swearing-in of Delegate Hurst

We left the Women’s March a bit early and drove straight to the swearing-in of our new Delegate, Chris Hurst.

I loved catching this image of the Delegate in concentration,

and of course, enjoyed a quick visit in his office.

It was a long, exciting day and I’m so glad to have had this man to share it with.

Puzzle Time with Family

 I enjoyed a quick run to Williamsburg to spend time with some of my family,

followed by a brief stop in Richmond on the way back home.

8 weekends in a row of travel, with work in between, and suddenly blog posts take a back seat.  As much as I have loved all the road trips, some of which I didn’t include here, I was grateful to be home this past weekend.  Why?  So I might be able to plan the BIG TRIP:

New Zealand and Australia!!

I am the luckiest gal to be leaving in just 12 days for the Southern Hemisphere!  Even better, I’ll be spending time with dear blogging friends: Pauline from The Contented Crafter, (and her awesome daughters), Alys from Gardening Nirvana, and Boomdee from Boodeeadda.

I anticipate lots of laughter and love, good food and drink, gorgeous scenery and many, many photo ops.  I’ll be traveling on foot, and by car, plane, train and hopefully motorcycle, and I simply cannot wait to share it with all of you!

2018: Here We Go!

Hello from Southwest Virginia!  And a belated Happy New Year to all of you!

2018 is starting out much like the last few months of 2017 ended:  full of travel.  We are just 8 days in and I’ve already spent both weekends on the road, including New Years Eve in Washington DC and Alexandria, Virginia.

Despite the subfreezing temperatures, we spent several hours of the weekend out of doors.  We visited National Harbor, a multi-use waterfront development on the Potomac River in Maryland.  With temperatures hovering around 20 degrees during the day, we did not take the opportunity to ride the Capital Wheel, but it made for a great photo subject.

It was a beautiful evening!

Someday, in warmer weather, we’ll come back for a ride,

Later that night, we went to the National Mall to see the National Christmas Tree and the 57 trees that surround it, one representing each US State and Territory.  With the wind whipping about, it felt colder than 17 degrees and these next images were taken with my cell phone, held by my shaking, freezing cold hands.

The National Tree

The Virginia Tree with the Washington Monument in the background.

Selfies are a challenge when one of you is 6’4 and one of you is 5’0.

On NYE, we counted down to midnight on the Alexandria, Virginia waterfront.   The subfreezing temps kept some folks at home, but the atmosphere was festive and there were still hundreds to celebrate with.

(More cellphone photography)

Check out that frozen water!

Happy New Year!

Unlike 2017, the beginning of this year is filled with hope.

Last year: devastation.  This year: motivation to continue the resistance!

 I am ready!

Riding ‘Round Virginia

While it can be a challenge to be away from home for several weekends in a row, the benefits include the opportunity to visit with family and friends.  Two weeks ago I was in Williamsburg celebrating my mother’s birthday.  Last weekend, for a mix of meetings and fun, I rode the bike from Blacksburg to Fredericksburg to King George to Richmond and back home.  The weather was bright and beautiful and I enjoyed 600 miles of happy!

My meeting was in  Fredericksburg, an historic town that I had not visited in decades.  Sadly,  I wasn’t able to do much exploring since I arrived late on Friday and had to be in meetings first thing the next morning. I did stay in a hotel that I now hear is haunted, although I saw no sign of ghosts.  The Inn at Old Silk Mill was built in the 1930s and was one of the largest motor lodges on the east coast.

The Silk Mill was built in 1889 and was a factory that employed over 200 women. The women spun silk that was imported from Italy to go around spools for sewing. Originally the C.W Tholtz Throwing Company, The Mill has been recently renovated to host weddings and events.

All the meeting attendees were able to attend Senator Mark Warner‘s annual BBQ.  Located in King George, Senator Warner’s home is located right on the Rappahanock River.

The Senator, and Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, and current candidate for Governor, Ralph Northam, and Attorney General Mark Herring stood in line for hours greeting the many hundreds of people in attendance.

What a wonderful way to say thanks to the many people who have worked to keep Virginia blue.

Next post: Riding Through Civil War History