What a Day!!!
Today I woke up with a huge grin on my face. Yes, itÔÇÖs Tuesday and I am grinning. I called in sick you see. It is a beautiful day, and the next 5 days it will rain, so today was the day to ride.
I am doing a tour with my local BMW club of the County Seats around the four state are of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. So I set up a rout to see as many county seat courthouses as possible and snap a shot of my bike in front of each one.
I started out from my apartment in Woodbridge heading south towards my first destination. The weather was perfect, sunny and seventy. I couldnÔÇÖt have asked for a finer day.
Reaching Stafford via Route 1 I took my first picture. Nice shot, with a 100 year old courthouse in the background.
I then moved down Route 1 a little further and got a shot of the Spotsylvania Courthouse. The traffic was light and the roads swervy! Sweet ride.
I stopped for gas after Spotsylvania and what did I see? The Back to the Future Delorian in the same gas station as me. Of course I had to get a shot or six of it. The owner was very cool, if a bit eccentric. He takes his car to car shows and carnivals all over the country, and he drives it there. Very cool. Notice the license plate?
After an interesting chat I was off to my next destination, Orange, VA. ItÔÇÖs a very nice little town surrounded by incredible roads. Take Brock road from the Spotsylvania Courthouse and ride for 11 miles of blissful curves and vineyards. The another fine road called Old Plank all the way to SR-20. Follow SR-20 for 13 miles of yet more sweet twisty roads and you will arrive at Orange. It isnÔÇÖt much of a town, but quaint like many rural southern towns.
From Orange I took SR-33 directly to Standardsville. Another small town and the county seat of Greene County. Hmm, it definitely fir that description, and it is well know as the gateway to Skyline Drive.
Skyline drive is 66 miles of pure motorcycle bliss, or hell if you are there on a busy weekend. It has not one straight section of road in the whole run. Every couple of miles there are pullouts with incredible views of the surrounding valleys.
Unfortunately for me, there are still morons on the road, even though I saw less than 100 cars during the entire ride. As I was coming around a curve I came face to face with a red-neck-mobile passing someone else. As the road is only two lanes wide, and I am much smaller than a 4X4 truck, I did the only thing I could do. I ran off the road. Luckily there was a rare stretch of grass and I managed to bring the bike to a stop, almost.
As I was almost stopped, my front tire caught a hidden rut and I high sided. My 275 pounds of mass tumbling along the ground while my bike went wheels up in the rut.
I jumped up immediately, and found that I hadnÔÇÖt a scratch, nor even an obvious bruise. Wish I could say the same for my bike. It was laying at a 20 degree angle wheels up in the rut. Both cars went around the corner and never looked back.
Needless to say I was pissed. Not only was my bike damaged, but the angle it was lying was letting out gas from the filler cap and I couldnÔÇÖt get it righted. I was about to remove my tank bag and grab my camera for a quick shot while I waited for a good Samaritan to come along when a little red mustang with two women in it pulled up and asked if I needed help? Showing my old fashioned nature I immediately said YES! In seconds my bike was up and on the edge of the road running like a trooper. A quick walk-around confirmed that it was rideable and I was still in a dangerous place, so I thanked the nice women and rode off to the next pullout very slowly.
I got off the bike, still cussing but relieved that it was not worse. Looking over the bike I noticed the the handlebars were bent maybe ?? inch back, the speedo surround was cracked and my front turn signal was also cracked. However, the ride of half a mile to the pullout confirmed that the bike seemed sound.
Taking a stiff pull from my shaken not stirred Diet Coke, I decided that there was no sense being upset, and I was going to finish the ride and enjoy the beautiful day.
I rode the remaining 40 miles in a sort of heaven. The curves were fantastic, the roads mostly clear, except for a few deer, and the scenery was breathtaking! If you have never ridden Skyline Drive in the spring during the week when the cars are few, you are definitely missing out. Even though the trees were not yet budding, the grass was spring green and the views untouchable. There is a kind of eerie stillness of the leafless trees when you pass through.
As I came near the end of Skyline Drive I was rounding a sweet curve and found myself face to whiskers with a squirrel. Nothing I could do, I stood the bike up hoping to miss him, but knowing I wouldnÔÇÖt. Rapidly running out of road as the curve progressed and I went straight, I slung the 800 pound bike and rider into as hard a lean as I dared. Feeling and seeing the edge I didnÔÇÖt know if I would make it. Just as my tire crossed the line and neared the edge, the corner ended and I was able to bring the bike back up.
Stopping to catch my breath for the second time today, and check my shorts, I reflected with sadness on my first ever road kill. Not in hundreds of thousands of miles in both cars and bikes had I ever hit an animal. I went back and pulled the squirrel off the road and said a small prayer. I trudged back to my bike more sad about the squirrel than my damaged fairing. Off I went, paying much more attention for our furry friends and thankful that is wasnÔÇÖt a deer.
Exiting Skyline Drive and cruising through Front Royal Virginia I find the courthouse of Warren County. While a bit younger, it has the all majesty a courthouse in Front Royal should have.
Leaving Front Royal I take Highway 66 towards Washington DC. My next destination is Warrenton, the county seat of Fauquier County, (pronounced Faw-keer). It was getting late and the light was fading as I took my last shot. Not bad, and that made 7 in one day. Only 114 more to go, for VA alone, several hundred for all four states.
I rode the last 45 miles in typical Northern Virginia rush hour traffic. The traffic, the wreck and the road kill couldnÔÇÖt ruin my day. After all that I think this could qualify as my favorite riding day ever!
What a Day!