New River Trail: Hiwassee Trestle

The New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way.  The rail corridor was donated to the state of Virginia by Norfolk Southern Corporation in 1986, and by summer 1987, the trail’s first four miles were opened.

The park parallels the scenic and historic New River for 39 miles and passes through four counties and the city of Galax.  The trail’s gentle slope makes it great for visitors of all ages to hike, bike and ride horseback.

The trail has two tunnels, three major bridges, and nearly 30 smaller bridges and trestles.  These photos, taken one after the other as I moved closer to the center of the bridge, are of the Hiwassee Bridge which is 951 feet in length.

The bridge allows all users to cross over the gorgeous New River.

Multiple access points to the New River Trail make it one of the most popular eco-tourism destinations in Southwest Virginia.  If you are ever in my neck of the woods, I’d love to take you there.  My great friend and fellow blogger Karen, from The Unassuming Hiker, can also show you around.  She and her husband section hiked all 57 miles.

Much of the text of this post was taken from the Department of Conservation and Recreation website, linked above.

2 Wheels / 2 Bikes


How wonderful it was to be HOME last weekend!  Especially when the weather was oh so fine.

I started the morning on the bicycle, putting in 16 miles along the river and on our bikeway / walkway.

Once back at the house, I knocked a few items off the “to do list” and then hit the road on the motorcycle.  I crossed over Claytor Lake, and then stopped for a few photos.

I parked the bike for a bit and walked over one of the New River Trail trestles (more photos of that coming soon).

Then it was back on the bike for the ride home.

I may not look happy, but believe me, I was!

Iron Heart Winery

Instead of attending to the ever present “to do” list, I sent a last minute text to my friend Amy and visited a new winery.

Iron Heart Winery may be new, but the land it sits on is definitely not.  “Nestled in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains in Allisonia, Va., the charming family-owned winery is located in an Industrial Revolution-era farm dating back to the 19th century, providing a rustic and modern atmosphere for visitors to its historic grounds” (Savora.com)

Since we only had a couple hours, I didn’t spend as much time learning the history of this farm and winery as I would have liked.  It was hard to miss this blast furnace which was once used to convert iron ore to more usable types of iron.  The winery website, much to my delight, is full of the history of the farm and the surrounding community.  These folks aren’t wine lovers who decided to open a winery, rather a family who wanted to preserve the land. ❤

“In 2010 the winery started planting vineyards and established their Farm Stay, where you can rent cabins on the property for a lovely weekend getaway. After years of perfecting their grapes for distribution, Iron Heart finally opened the winery to the public in 2017. Currently they are producing Vidal Blanc, Riesling, Rosé, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Chambourcin wine styles” (Savor.com)

We were greeted by Rosie, and then entered the tasting room, which is converted from an original corncrib.

The family built this gorgeous stone fire place, and I look forward to sitting by the fire this coming fall and winter.

All the labels celebrate the strength of women in the fashion of Rosie the Riveter, and all of the models were family members or friends.

How can you not love that?!

The day was perfect with bright sunshine, almost too bright for photography, and a steady breeze.  We enjoyed the patio, and playing fetch with Rosie,

Then we took our glasses and walked around the property.

Before we left, Adam, the owner, took us into the wine making room (I’m sure that is NOT what it is really called) and offered us a taste from the cask.  What a treat!  The man is working full time in his “real” job and more than full time in this job / hobby, yet he could not have been more interesting, inviting, and generous with his time.

What a fun, impromptu afternoon.

The ‘to do” list remains, but I have no regrets.

For more about the history of the farm, check visit this link from my friend Brooke Wood, reporter from the Southwest Times.

A Little Blue

Alys asked if we are feeling Red, White, or Blue today and my response: I can’t help but feel a little blue.  Because of that, I decided to focus on being thankful to those working on this day of celebrating America’s Independence.

My route on the bicycle this morning took me past dozens of people working to set up Radford’s Spirit of America celebration, and past dozens more enjoying our beautiful bikeway / walkway.  It struck me that that, while many of us are off today, there are so many who are working, whether in their paid jobs or in volunteer service.  Thanks to all of them for making the community better.

Please visit Gardening Nirvana and read Alys’s thoughts on July 4th.

I’m off on the motorized bike for a bit.  Then I plan to come home and catch up with all of you!

 

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.