Ride: Bent Mountain

It’s fall but it still feels like summer, the earth still rotates on it’s axis, despite the political and weather related turmoil, and I am still posting on WP, even if not as much as in the past.  Election Day is in just 16 days, and with so much on the line here in Virginia, it’s hard to think of anything else.  My home is being used as base of operations for several candidates, and there’s lots going on.

In a nice change of pace, I’ve been home for the last two weekends, and I’m happy to report that I’ve spent some time on the bike, and a little time hiking in the mountains.   Mornings have been quiet and misty and lovely.

It doesn’t take long for the mist to burn away, revealing perfect ride days.  The leaves are changing and they fall down around us as we ride.  The many curves of our Southwest Virginia roads make for challenging and incredibly fun riding and the views are breathtaking.  And then there are the bridges.

We love to explore the detail of the old bridges that we come upon, and always hope to find the plaque that reveals the date that the bridge was built

 

It was less than a 200 mile day, but it was a much needed distraction from the woes of the world.

After enjoying a delicious lunch and a cold beer, we headed back to reality.

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!

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.

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!

Brewery Ride- Day 1

The sun streaming through my window had me awake and excited about a weekend on the bike.  Since I only planned to be gone for 36 hours, I was packed and on the road in no time.  Just 45 minutes later, I met my sister for breakfast, and then continued the trip by avoiding the interstate and riding the old state road, Rt 11 North.  The purpose of this trip, after all, was to have unscheduled, unplanned time.   To take my time, stop where I wanted, ride where I wanted, and to explore with no schedule.

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When I stopped in Buchanan to check out the swinging bridge, I saw that I had a Voice Message.  A good Samaritan had found the wallet that I didn’t know I’d lost 45 miles back in Salem.

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So much for leisurely riding!  I hit the interstate hard and fast, thinking the whole time how fortunate I was to have a good guy find my wallet.  It could have been a disaster! It turned out to be an hour and a half detour, but I was definitely not complaining.  Besides, the weather was perfect.

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The only definitive plan I had was to meet some highschool friends at Old Bust Head Brewing Company.  It had been over 35 years since I’d seen Ike, and I was looking forward to visiting the brewery that he and his wife had opened.  After riding 340 miles under clear skies and on dry roads, I rode the last 10 minutes in thunder, lightning, and rain.  Thankfully, Ike directed me into an empty garage space and I was able to keep the bike dry.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the Chinquapin Chestnut Porter, although rest assured that I am extremely careful when I ride the bike.

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Bill, another highschool friend, and his son Bobby, also came out for a mini-reunion.

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After hours of conversation, it was time to check into my hotel.  It was then that I realized that I’d only taken a couple photographs, and I decided I’d return to the brewery early the next day.  Despite being less than an hour from Washington DC, much of Fauquier County is rural, horse country, and the roads back to Old Bust Head made for heavenly morning riding.

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The brewing company is located on property that has changed hands and purposes several times as the centuries rolled by.

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When the U.S. Army moved out of the secret listening post they had installed on this old Virgina farm called Vint Hill, they left behind warehouse buildings full of history and intrigue (this from the Old Bust Head website).

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   Ike and his partners have reclaimed these buildings and have plenty of room to brew, imbibe, and expand in their 30,000 square foot facility (again, from the website). With so much redevelopment going on, directional signs are needed.

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Even with backtracking to reclaim my wallet, Day 1 of the ride was a blast!

 Stay tuned for Day 2!

What a Ride!

It was time for a much needed getaway.  No schedule.  No appointments.

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Just 36 hours through the mountains of Virginia to visit a few breweries and see some highschool friends.

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The time went far too quickly, and before I knew it, I was back home and back on the job.

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I’m working through the photos, and will share them soon.  Until then, I’m off to visit you!

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?