Ride to Paint Bank

The meet time for the ride: 10:45.  The destination: Paint Bank, a small community in northern Craig County, Virginia.


The train depot dates back to 1909, when Paint Bank was the final stop of the Potts Valley Branch line of the Norfolk & Western Railway, which was expanded during the mining boom of the early 1900’s.


The lodge features a master suite, and 4 guest rooms each with private bath, and a gas fireplace.


The caboose has been renovated into a queen bedroom, complete with it’s own bath.


The Depot and the other buildings in Paint Bank have been beautifully renovated and visitors can shop in the General Store, eat in the Swinging Bridge Restaurant (which really does have a swinging bridge inside it), and explore the water powered Grist Mill.


I’ve ridden to Paint Bank several times through the years and it’s a great place for a stop along the way.  Someday I’ll have to stay the night!

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It was a misty ride back over the mountains towards home, but despite the dark storm clouds only a few of the 160 miles we rode were truly rainy.  Another fun ride in the books.

And oh yes!

The best sign I saw along the road today was in front of a church: “Noah should have slapped those 2 mosquitos”


Thunder Ridge

The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is a 469 mile drive that connects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and I’ve ridden every one of those miles on the bike.  In fact, I took my first solo ride on the BRP, celebrating my 50th Birthday, 4 years, and 2 cameras, ago. You can read about that ride here and here if you’d like.

Even though I’ve ridden on the BRP many times, I still see something new with each visit.


 Yesterday’s 230 mile ride, part of which was on the BRP, included a stop at Thunder Ridge, at Milepost 75.



A very short hike reveals a view of the Allegheny Mountains and Arnold’s Valley, elevation 3485 ft.


The view made me think of a blanket made of mountains.


We stood there admiring this incredible view, feeling the sun on our faces while the wind blew with gusto, and then took the trail back to the bikes.


What an incredible gift it is to live right near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

“Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2010, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a product of the New Deal’s efforts to provide jobs to the unemployed of the Great Depression. Construction began in September 1935 at Cumberland Knob near the North Carolina and Virginia state line.

The idea was to create a link between the Shenandoah National Park to the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Completed in 1983, the Parkway’s history has been highlighted by documentarian Ken Burns in the six-part “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” series originally aired on PBS”.

Blog Tour: Partial Failure

What a whirlwind week it has been, one filled with many big and small things!

The biggest and most important thing was undergoing my 15th procedure since the wreck and to finally have my smile restored!  I’ve not devoted much blog space to the events of the past 9 months, and the only reason I’m doing so today is because this important event kept me from fulfilling an obligation that I committed myself to.

I’d been asked by 3 different bloggers to participate in a Blog Tour. I appreciated the invitations but knowing that I was a bit over extended and had a big case pending, I initially declined. Eventually I did agree to participate because it seemed fun, and a nice way to meet other bloggers.

The rules are simple.  The invited participant composes a one-time post. 4 questions are answered and then 4 other bloggers are invited to create a post, answering those same questions.

I dutifully made a calendar note to create a post, but then … I forgot to invite others to participate!

I must apologize to Emilio for only partially fulfilling my role as participant.  Please check out his post about the Virtual Blog Tour.

 And since we’re talking Tours, why don’t you visit a Displaced Beachbum.  She’s traveled the world and is currently touring Scotland.

Jo the Tart Queen is another blogger whose posts share delicious sounding recipes and beautiful photos from her travels.

So … the Answers to the 4 Questions in brief:

What am I currently working on?  I’m continuing my growth as an amateur photographer and am so happy to have been included as one of the photographers in a new B&W Photography Blog called Monochromia.  Please visit the blog and check out the great work of the participating photographers.

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How does my work differ from others of its genre? I have no specific goal other than to improve and no specific subject other than what draws and attracts my eye.  I do like to travel as much as I can and many of my posts are about the things I see from the road … short, local trips and longer, more adventurous ones.


Why do I write/create what I do?  Simply put: It’s all about the joy, the fun, and the opportunity to be creative in a life filled with work and structure.


How does your writing/creating process work?  Oh gosh … let’s see.  Something draws my attention. I pull over, crawl around on the ground, climb a ladder, fence, or bed of the truck, or slide down a riverbank, and shoot and shoot and shoot.  Once I get home, I just pray that something worked!  I do edit but not extensively.


Thanks Emilio for inviting me to be a part of this tour!

The First Glimpse

This was my first glimpse of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.  After a chilly, 4 hour ride, I was so excited to be getting close, I just had to pull over alongside the highway and stare.


This is also my first real glimpse of the photos from that fateful ride.  I look forward to the weekend and an opportunity to spend more time reviewing and editing the images.

After the weekend: my first oral surgery!!

And … She’s Off!

Requesting positive thoughts for good weather, beautiful views, safe rides, and fun times with friends!  I’ll glady return the favor!!


Great Smoky Mountains, here I come!!