My Other Bike


Those of you who have visited before know that I spend what little free time I have on my motorcycle.  Before I bought that bike, though, I used to ride this bike.  Sadly, the bicycle has been neglected these past ten years.  Until last year, I would only get on the bike for the Ride of Silence.  After last year’s ROS, I made a commitment to ride more often, and I kept that commitment until winter, riding at least 20 miles weekly.  That’s not much for serious cyclists, but it was good for me.

Every year, my community hosts the Wilderness Road Ride, and cyclists can choose the 29, 38, 58, or 79 mile route.  I’ve ridden in the WWR a few times since it’s inception 26 yrs ago, but it had been many, many years since I’d participated.

 Three weeks ago, I challenged myself to ride the 38 mile route even though my training has been non existent.  I decided that I would go alone so as not to have to keep up with anyone, to take my time, and to shoot photos for a blog post.  As expected, I saw many people who had better gear and were in much better shape, but I was determined!

After just a couple miles, I stopped at the memorial garden in our local park where there are several monuments, one dedicated to each of the wars where men and women have served and lost their lives.

Then I continued on down The Riverway, our city’s bikeway / walkway.

Soon enough, I was out on main roads, and thankful for a respite from a week of rain and flooding.

This was a long steady climb (at least for me)

which led to roads with this expansive view.

The route took us over Interstate 81, where flags are always placed in preparation for Rolling Thunder, an annual motorcycle ride to DC.  The ride to the nation’s capital is held to honor POW and MIA service members and thousands of  bikers participate.

I hit the 20 mile mark around this time, and these very friendly women glided on by with no effort.

That’s okay though, I kept my spirits up knowing that the rest stop was just a few miles ahead.  The scenary just kept getting prettier, 

and these two probably wondered why I didn’t keep riding on by like everyone else.

FINALLY! At 22 miles, a rest stop! I was able to refill my water bottle, eat my PB on pita, and take a short breather.

I have to confess that while I was having no problem on the flats, the hills were proving to be a bit challenging.  Despite my “I can do it” attitude, my lack of training was showing.

I stopped to take this image, and the two farmers standing near by said “you didn’t really want to take that photo, you just needed a break”.  I laughed and told them not to tell anyone as they were partially right!  They also offered to put my bike in the back of a truck and take me home, but I declined and kept on riding.   It’s a great image, though, right?

I didn’t stop too much after that, deciding that my energy needed to be focused on getting back to the truck.  Then I saw one of my favorite signs, and had to stop for a picture.

At about the 34 mile mark, the clouds started moving in and the breeze picked up.

BUT it NEVER rained, and I finished the 37 mile ride.

Did you notice that I said 37 miles vs 38 miles?  I had to bypass one big, big climb, but all in all, I was really proud of the accomplishment.

#shepersisted took on a whole new meaning today 🙂

Mailboxes and Fences

When on the way home from an early Saturday morning meeting, I could not help myself.  I had to pull over.

Just a few minutes drive from my home, this Southwest Virginia view is enhanced by old mailboxes and fencelines.

I’m slowly, ever so slowly catching up.  Be back soon!

The Perfect Recipe

The photos and stories from my trip to Atlanta are not quite ready for prime time posting, but the photos from an incredible day on the motorcycle are.  It was the perfect recipe for a day ride: great weather, good roads, and wonderful friends.

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This past Sunday I rode a little over 200 miles through the back roads of Virginia and North Carolina with three of my favs.

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We also spent some time on the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) which offers wide sweeping curves and great views.  The BRP which is America’s longest linear park, runs for 469 miles (755 km) through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, mostly along the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains.

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The BRP celebrated it’s 75th Anniversary in 2010 and while I do not know for sure, I believe these stone walls have been around since the parkway was constructed.

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 You may remember that I celebrated my 50th birthday that same year with a solo ride on the BRP, the first of several solo rides.

 5 Days / 3 States / 925 Miles.

You can see photos from that incredible trip here and here.

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Despite the various stops along the way, which offer the chance to bring out the camera, it is the riding that makes the day so great.  The bike and I rolled smoothly over the miles, and we flowed through the curves with ease.  I was completely content.

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Seriously, wouldn’t you be?

Around Radford

Saturday dawned with a list of errands that needed running, and despite the expectation of rain, I decided to ride the bike.  It should surprise no one that I also made sure to find time to shoot some of the local scene.

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I wish I could give you a little back story about this courtyard and the wall that surrounds it, but I have no history.  The plan is to go to Facebook and see if some of the Radford locals can help me out.  Many is the time that I have tried to capture a photo to reflect the wall’s uniqueness, and many times I have deleted those images.  Not today!

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It was quite overcast, but clouds always make for intriguing images.

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The post processing here reflects the historic trestle over the New River, and a monochrome image will be posted on Monochromia sometime in the next few weeks.

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In order to get these images, I had to stop the bike and walk over the bridge.  Thankfully, this fencing only briefly obscures the view.

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Some friends have purchased, and while still running the business, are renovating this 50 yr old Pizza House.

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A quick stop at a friend’s home yielded these Rhododendron images.  Such a gorgeous bud and bloom!

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Every item on the To Do List was checked off, and I enjoyed a cool, slightly drizzly ride.

Satisfaction indeed!

Walking By History

During that same morning walk last Sunday, where I saw a few signs of spring, I also saw signs of history.

Signs that cause a distinct sense of sadness and pain,

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others that show the effect of time and weather,

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and some that showcase pride.

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I’ve passed by these markers hundreds, if not thousands of times, mostly on the bike or in the truck.

Walking though, offers time for reflection and commemoration.

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.

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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.

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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”

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The perfect porch for sitting and sipping.

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

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The floating staircase

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The Dining Room

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The ceiling of the Sitting Room

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Glasses waiting to be filled

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

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

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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.