4 Wheelin’ it to Barney’s Wall

Typically when my friend Karen organizes a hike, it is the walking in the woods and the view at the end that provides the memories.

Barney’s Wall provided that, for sure, but getting there was the adventure!  We all piled into my truck and hit the road for the trailhead.  And what a road it was!

What was initially a lovely ride through the trees,

turned into a challenge for my 4 Wheel Drive skills.

We made sure our seatbelts were locked in place and the windows up.

I took my time and drove carefully … until we saw these huge puddles.

I mean, what fun is a puddle if you can’t make a big splash?

What a fun mess!

After a bit of searching (see Karen’s post for the story) we found the trailhead.

And what a beautiful trail it was!

We’d not gone far when we learned that it was the 1st Day of Rifle Season.  You’d think that the sound of gunfire in the distance would have cued us in, but it was not until we saw hunters coming towards us that we realized the significance of the day.

We perservered and it was not long until we received our reward.

The drop off was severe and soon enough we were scrambling around on the ledge.

As always, we were thrilled with the view, and with the comraderie and friendship.

Sometimes the hike is long. Sometimes not so much.  No matter the length of the walk, the memories will last a lifetime.

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?

A Lovely Distraction

Good Morning, or Evening, as the case may be! Before I prepare to head off for a day on the motorcycle, I wanted to share this post from my dear friend Karen, over at The Unassuming Hiker.  Karen has started a Hiking Club for Women, and she planned a Saturday hike for those who can’t make it during the week.  We spent a wonderful day at Carvins Cove.  Check out her post for more info!

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The Unassuming Hiker

A week from now it will be over, but I know it is going to be an amazing weekend watching my only child get married.  Today, I surrounded myself with good friends for a much needed distraction and to help me celebrate the week before the big day.

It started with a hike (surprise, surprise) to a place I had not been before, Carvin’s Cove.

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Hiking with the wedding photographer guaranteed a couple of good pictures!

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We got an early start and the weather was perfect.  Did not see any bears even though there had been a 500 pound black bear in the parking lot last weekend.  A bear that was not afraid of people.  As we arrived we were told that we had just missed seeing the bear by about 30 minutes.  We were fascinated by this until we heard the same story upon our return and realized they…

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Promises, Promises

The promise that sunshine and summer will arrive: Done

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The promise of a short but oh so sweet 75 mile motorcycle ride to soak in that sun, and this view: Done!

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The promise of getting back on the bicycle and completing 22 miles (after not having ridden more than 8 in years): Done!

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The promise of a meaningful Memorial Day Service: Done!

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The promise to visit all of you: Unfulfilled … Yet!

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The Fullness of May is over, and it’s time to play catch up!  I promise 🙂

Deerfield Valley

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This gorgeous meadow is in a place called Deerfield, Virginia. I’d never been here before and I was taken aback by the beauty.  I cannot wait to return on the bike.

I’ve returned from a three day trip, for business and pleasure, to four different localities around Virginia.  Visits with my parents, and with friends, were wonderful, and the day long meeting, productive.

I look forward to popping over to your place for a visit later in the week.

Riding on International Female Ride Day

In it’s 10th year, International Female Ride Day (IFRD) is a one-day, globally synchronized ride exclusively for women motorcyclists.

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Having found out about IFRD too late to organize a group ride, I was none the less determined to get on the bike.  Okay, let’s be honest.  I was determined to get on the bike even if it wasn’t International Female Ride Day.

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I met Dave and Michael, two of my favorite biker buds who I’ve written about before, at 11 on Saturday morning.

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We flirted with rain all day but stayed dry, and thankfully so, as the roads we took were full of fun curves and twists.

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We stopped at Big Walker Lookout, a 100 ft observation tower on top of Big Walker Mountain.

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Built in 1947, the tower offers great views of mountain peaks in 5 surrounding states.

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 It costs $6 to climb to the top, and while I’ve made the climb in the past, today we enjoyed the views from the bottom.

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In addition to the observation tower, there’s a General Store, a swinging bridge, and this collection of old license plates.

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At one point during the day, we got caught at a railroad crossing.  This building caught my attention and I literally ran back, huffing and puffing in my helmet and boots, to take a photo while waiting for the train to pass.  I managed to take a quick shot, but had no time to gather any history, as the crossing bars started to rise signaling that it was time to ride on.

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My friend Karen gave me an action camera, similar to a Go Pro, and I cannot wait to start using it.  If I’d been riding alone, I would have stopped far too often for photos.  Since Dave and Michael like to keep on riding, the action camera will allow for some fun shots and video without having to stop so often.

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As always, we finished the ride with a cold beer, a great meal, and the chance to make a new Gravatar.

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I’ve already marked my calendar for the 2017 International Female Ride Day, and if I get my act together, I’ll try to organize a ride.  Until then, here’s a bit more information about IFRD.

The guiding principles of IFRD are:

  1. Freedom – women are encouraged to participate and enjoy the day in any manner they choose.  Just Ride!
  2. Brandless – the event is not to be taken over by any one motorcycle, manufacturer brand, product, or country.  The idea is to UNITE not exclude
  3. One Fixed Date – IFRD occurs on the first Saturday of May every year.
  4. Open Good Will – to not impose on any rider, group, or club’s charity purpose.

Nestled in the Blue Ridge

While on the way to meet my parents and son in Charlottesville for a Mothers Day lunch, I took a brief detour to King Family Vineyard.

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Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the vineyard offers near 360 views.

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The visit was brief (just one little sip of wine),

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but the detour was worth it (even if I did get fussed at for pulling over onto the grass to catch this reflection).

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The best part of the day, though?  Time with my parents and son!

Hope the day was lovely for you as well!