50 States, Day 207 Alexandria to Lexington, VA 197 miles
"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."
Funny the Adventure is a motorcycle trip, yet I notice you don't see much of the riding part of the trip. Today, a motorcyclist's dream-and nightmare.
First, we left via freeway (grr) with traffic, concrete and signs upon signs. Finally, we got rural. We rode the offbeat roads and they were just fine. Then we turned onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Oh, yeah. This world renowned biker's dream road winds both below, beside and along the top of the mountains, with excellent views of forest and farms, 1,000 to 1,800 feet below. The roadway turns and arcs, sweeping through curves and 'ding ding!' bonus! The road had been freshly paved. We rode along in bright sunshine, then turn and the trees form picket fence shadows in the road. Viewpoint to the right. QG can enjoy it, I'm focused on the road, which the state of Virginia didn't waste any money on those silly guardrails.
And very few cars this time of the year. Another bend, shift down two gears, negotiate the turn and back up to speed again. Have to be careful, as there are no yellow speed warning signs, so reading the turns is important. Good things must come to an end, and the fresh pavement yielded to-ahem, not so fresh. Now the riding's good, with the added challenge of dodging a pothole or two. We motored down the road in bliss; the shadows from the trees making a strobe light effect, then plunge into darkness and back into blue sky and sunshine.
Finally a left turn to Highway 56, a thick blue line on the map. Yet the first turn has a yellow sign, 20 mph. I brake hard and slow through the turn, then a left and another right. The hills drop quickly and I brake into the turn and hit a patch of gravel. Here comes a pickup the other way. The wheel skids and the bike slides.
This thing is going down.
QG lets out a yelp. Doing the smart and counterintuitive thing, I released the brakes and it straightened out, but we're halfway through the turn so I reapplied the brake, hit gravel again and got the same swapping feeling, the trailer pushing the bike. Once again I released the brakes and we are out of trouble. Scared the jeewhillikers out of me, and QG too. If I was shook up, I can't imagine being on the back of it. I learned a few lessons today:
Check the trailer brakes. Under heavy braking, they should be doing more. But even more important, I must keep in mind that while we're riding a motorcycle, the trailer adds an entirely new dimension to the scenario-five hundred pounds pushing on the back of the bike. Not a problem until it's a problem. Then it's a big problem.
I couldn't see the gravel, yet afterwards for a few miles was a trail of water and fine gravel or sand down the center of our lane. Very sketchy. Thank The Lord (and all my praying friends!) that we stayed upright.
The rest of the ride? Very pleasant, but slow. Oh, yeah. Closing the gate after the horse got out.
And now, shaken but not stirred, Quilter Girl!
Today was very scenic and not so cold so I took lots of pictures. Also, while riding down the highway Kevin saw a billboard that said Quilt Shop 8 miles ahead on Main Street in Madison. So we went. It was fun to be surrounded by fabric again. I found grapes for New York, a patriotic fabric and an autumn for Virginia. I was really wanting a Thanksgiving fabric for West Virginia since we will be having our little Thanksgiving there, but nothing was right.
Finding the Blue Ridge Parkway was just lucky as I was looking on the map trying to figure out how to get to Lexington when I saw it. It was on the way and supposed to be a great ride, so we took it. It was a beautiful ride. I wish that photos could do this place justice, but there was no way I could even get pictures of all that I saw. We went up and down and left and right almost constantly. Kevin loved it.
We want to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving, and may God bless you all. (We say "you all" now, in Virginia) Tomorrow I'm posting about a special Thanksgiving we celebrated decades ago. It includes our house fire. If you've been faithful, you may have read it last year and I apologize. Otherwise, we'll see you all (there it is again) tomorrow.