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 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!

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!

It Is About the Destination Sometimes

A visitor to my blog might wonder where the name Life on the Bike came from considering that I haven’t written much about riding lately.  Between the campaign and starting a new business, my 2015 time on the bike was limited.

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2016 will be different! And in fact it already is.

Last weekend, I took at 500 mile ride to Virginia’s capital city of Richmond to have a reunion with friends.  It’s about 250 miles to get there and for efficiency in time, I took the interstate.  Bikers can often be heard to say “it’s the journey, not the destination” and sometimes that is true.  Every now and then though, time is of the essence, and the interstate is the way to go.  I was just glad to be on the bike.  It was a beautiful day and I was a happy woman.

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A quick stop on Afton Mountain, Virginia’s main passage across the Blue Ridge, offered a break for water, a handful of almonds, and a beautiful view.   Meanwhile, my roommates from Old Dominion University were waiting on me, so I was off and riding again in no time.

I met Jan and Angie 38 years ago, and we have maintained contact in one form or another ever since.  Isn’t it amazing how friendships can endure the test of time?

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Soon enough, we were sitting on the porch of this lovely Richmond home, reveling in the fact that even though it had been many years since all three of us had been together, we were completely at home with one another.

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It was a very late night, filled with lots of talk, laughter, and wine and I was glad that we didn’t have to do any driving (or riding).

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While opportunities for photography were limited, this curved brick wall caught my eye.

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The next morning, we enjoyed a delicious, homemade brunch,

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and of course, made time for pictures!

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Back roads carried me home to Radford, and while I didn’t have much time to stop for photography, something about this salt and pepper shaker made me bring out the camera.  You know me!

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So, sometimes it is about the destination, happily so.

Lookin’ For Adventure

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If you need me this weekend, just head out on the highway.

Hope the next few days offer you the chance to do something that brings you joy.

February Ride

Sixty Degrees on Feb 28th.  Guess where I was?

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For at least a few hours, I was able to ride, to breathe, to smile, and to soothe my spirit,

Then I parked the bike and wandered along the train tracks,

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visited an old historic school building,

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and had a little fun shooting some interesting architecture.

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After a quick stop at the local Pizza House, which I’ve written about before, it was time to head home for the day.

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Hope you were able to spend some time this weekend doing something that brings you joy.