300 Miles for a Beer


The text came in on Friday: Meet Saturday morning, 10:30am for the first long ride of the season.

Well, it would be the first long ride for me, anyway.  Lots of travel, civic events, and weather have kept me off the bike for other than short trips, and I was determined to devote at least one day of the weekend to riding.

It was a beautiful day for the bike, and our destination was Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company in Lexington, Va.  We rode through multiple counties and across several mountain passes.  Lots of curves and twisties which made for fun riding.  We didn’t stop for photo opportunities along the way, so I’m sharing this photo from a similar ride in 2011.

I was able to pull out the camera at the brewery, though.

I crawled underneath the tower to capture this one.

And a friend took these as I climbed part way up the tower.  I was nervous about going further, not because of the height but because I didn’t want to get fussed at.

Devil’s Backbone Brewery has 2 locations and the one in Lexington is called the Outpost. According to the website, the Outpost “houses our custom built brewery featuring a 120bbl Rolec Brewing system, SBC bottling and canning lines and Tap Room” (I have no idea what those brewery terms mean).  “You can belly up to the bar in the Tap Room for a pint or sampler flight seven days a week”

“or bring some of your favorite local food and have a picnic in our bier garden out back”.

It was a great day on the bike AND I got to wear my new Women’s March hoodie.  Yep! I’m a feminist bike chick and proud of it.

300 miles later, I was home in time to watch my Gonzaga Bulldogs win their Elite Eight match up with West Virginia, which sent them to their first Final Four in school history!

The riding season has officially begun.

It’s also March Madness and this basketball loving biker is happy.

#safetypin

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A symbol as simple as a safety pin can be an important first step in showing solidarity and support for people who are scared and upset at this time. Tell people that they are safe with you.  Join this movement, inspired by Brexit.

#safetypin     #whentheygolowwegohigh    #solidarity

Photo Bloggers In NYC!

If you saw my last post, you know that I had the incredible opportunity to travel to New York City to meet up with some of the Monochromia photographers.  While I’d never met any of these people in person, we’d been online friends for years.

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Photo Credit Theresa O’Loughlin-Giordano

I took the train from Washington, DC to Penn Station where I met Joe and Terry.   After checking into our hotel, we walked right across the street to quench our travel thirst.  How convenient!

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Soon enough we were joined by Patti.

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 It was not long before the cameras came out, and we were hitting the streets.

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Stacy, already in the city for a photography workshop, joined us next,

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soon followed by Robyn who drove up from PA.

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We visited Grand Central Station, the World Trade Center Memorial, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Central Park, and the Public Library.

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 We traveled by subway, taxi, and elevator (yes, there’s a story there), and by foot … many, many miles by foot!

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We met great people, including Patti’s husband, Mark, and enjoyed good food and drink.

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There are many stories to tell and photos to share.

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Photo Credit Joe Giordano

For now though, I just have to express how fortunate I feel to have met so many great people, virtually and in person, through WP.

Please visit Monochromia to see the image of Joe that I shot when Patti captured this one of me. Thanks Patti!

Laurie shoots Joe

Photo Credit Patti Fogarty

More NYC photos soon!

The next two weeks will find me opening a new medical practice.  Despite that, I hope to find time to visit all of you this coming weekend.

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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”.

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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”.

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

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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!

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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?

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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.

Stormy Weather

When I pulled out of the driveway that Saturday morning almost two weeks ago, the skies were slightly overcast and the temperature was 70 degrees F.  It was a lovely day to ride.

As I rode down through the mountains, heading towards the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I was filled with excitement about a week at the beach with the GOAs.  The Girls Of August have been taking a vacation together for over 20 years, and it is one of the highlights of the year for all of us.

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After riding 200 miles, I met up with Jan and we began the second half of the trip.  WIth 180 miles to go, and the skies beginning to darken, I was glad to have a friend to share the journey with.  As it became clear that rain was in our path, we transferred my gear from bike to car.

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It was such a relief to know that all my gear, including my camera, would stay dry in the car because before we knew it, the skies opened up.  It was a deluge!

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For over 100 miles we rode in driving wind and rain, and thunder and lightning.  Headed toward the coast, the road was flat with few opportunities for shelter in this rural part of the state.  At one point, we pulled off the road to seek shelter under an overpass.  I put my feet down at the stop sign, and the water was over the top of my boots!

Several cars and trucks were already idling under the overpass, and I had to laugh at the fact that I had stayed on the road longer than they had.  By the time Jan took these photos, the rain had calmed down a bit and most of the cars had continued on.

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You just have to keep smiling and ride safe.

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From this point onward, the weather became even worse.  It took all my energy to stay focused on the road, and I’m thankful that I wasn’t a newbie rider.  Imagine going up and over the bridge across the Pamlico Sound. In the dark. In the rain.  When we finally arrived, the only part of me that was dry was my head, thankfully protected by the helmet.  I’m so grateful that Jan had been with me.

How wonderful to have friends to greet us, drinks in hand.

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Our time in Nags Head was incredible, and we could not have asked for a better vacation.  We did however, experience one more huge storm.  While enjoying the beach one day, we watched the clouds roll in.

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The GOAs started to pack up beach bags and chairs, but being the lover of storms that I am, I decided that I’d stick it out on the beach.  Janet, too, decided to ride it out, and oh what a wild ride it was!

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Rain, thunder, lightning, hail.  Our beach towels offered meager protection! I kept my camera covered up inside a bag, and these cell phone images do not do justice to the weather that Mother Nature treated us to that day.  I’m so glad that Janet was there to witness it with me.

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When the storm finally settled down, we sent a text up to the house that all was well, and Jan and Becky sooned rejoined us on the beach.  Later that evening, we enjoyed the post storm beauty.

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What a gift.

Brewery Ride – Day 2

When Ike and his partners opened Old Bust Head Brewing Company (OBH) two years ago, there were only 40 other craft breweries in Virginia.  Today, there are over 100.  The craft beer industry is clearly booming, and I was ready to explore a few.

In my previous post, I wrote about my visit to OBH.  On the second day of my trip, I took the road south, back toward home.  Before doing that though, I stopped in Warrenton for coffee and breakfast.  Located in the horse and wine country of Fauquier County, this town of less than 10,000 people is just an hour from Washington DC.

The current County Court House, built in the 1800s, is the 6th one in Fauquier County, several before it having burned to the ground.

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As always, I prefer to visit a local restaurant or diner, even if it means bypassing the free continental breakfast at the hotel.   I sat outside and enjoyed a delicious cold brew coffee and egg croissant sandwich at Deja Brew.

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Before leaving town, I walked around looking for photo opportunities.  Historic buildings, quaint shops, and local restaurants abound in Warrenton.

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Warrenton is also an historic train town, and like many communities, converted an old rail line to a walking trail.  Phase 1 of the Warrenton Branch Greenway was dedicated in 1998.

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Lots of folks were out walking that morning, proving that local governments who invest in their communities improve the financial health of the locality, and the physical health of their citizens.

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After leaving Warrenton, I made a quick stop in Culpeper, another historic town in Virginia.

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Heading onward, I followed Rt 151 through Nelson County.

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Located at the base of the Blue Ridge, Nelson 151 is the home to Seven Wineries, Three Breweries, One Cidery, and One Distillery.  I definitely didn’t have enough time to visit them all, so a return visit to Nelson 151 is in order!  My next stop was Wild Wolf Brewing Company, where I kept it light with an American Pilsner.

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Check out those hops!

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From there I rode onward to Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company, makers of Vienna Lager, one of my favorite beers.

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What a fabulous day to be on the bike!

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By the time I pulled into my carport at the end of this brief but oh so great ride, I’d put 620 miles on the bike and a whole lot of happy in my heart.  Thanks for sticking with me through this long post.  Be sure to let me know if you’re going to be in the area. We’ll check out some more of Nelson 151 together!