Its Spring!! In full Swing!!
It was such a Broadus day yesterday, I notified my boss that I just HAD to leave early to go on a nice LONG spring ride. By 2 PM it was 77 and sunny so I headed out Rt. 50 toward the Blue Rdige Mountains can I just see from my office and within half an hour I was getting to the foothills. By the time I got to Middleburg it was so nice I said screw it and stopped to remove my winter riding over pants and my flannel shirt and put my leather jacket back on over my tee.
Nice old stone house in Middleburg
Things are really starting to get green again and there are tons of horse farms along 50, some really large properties and its very affluent area with rolling pastures with lovely views all along it.
Then after another half an hour on 50 I came to Rt. 340 and the entrance to Dinosaur Land. They are kind of hookie but very much Americana (I don't think they got the colors quite right, but what the hey! ) And I don't think these two guys were ever quite This chummy!
After a quick stop I headed down 340, still not sure where I was going yet, either skyline drive or Fort Valley or maybe just down Rt. 11 south for a ways. Along Rt. 11 I saw a rather interesting collection of military vehicles parked next to an abandoned service station. I'm pretty sure the car under the cover to the left is a WWII VW.
Then back on Rt. 11 south, with still no plan other than ride the wind and sun.
Now the Blue Ridge mountains were coming into view again as I motored past more pastureland
By the time I hit Rt 55 I had decided to head back east to Front Royal and take the first 33 mile section of the Parkway as I figured there wouldnÔÇÖt be much traffic on it on a mid-afternoon Thursday.
Paid my entrance fee and started the climb up the back of the first ridge. First stop at around 1800 feet looking back at the road and the valley below.
There were numerous rivlets of water running down the exposed rock faces that I passed so I paused on several occations to take a few shots of the texture and interesting layering that was highlighted by the sun shinning on the wet rocks.
The trees up here are still for the most part still bare of leaves even though down in the valleys the leaves are really coming out in force. Its interesting how even a few thousand feet of evelvation can make such a difference.
Although the temps had climbed to 80 in the valley it was now down to the mid 60ÔÇÖs as I reached the average elevation of 2400 feet along the first section of the parkway. Still I was comfortable enough in just the jacket with tee under it and it wasn't cool enough to put the riding pants back on, so I just keep tooling along.
I next stopped at one of my favorite overlooks, this one looks southeast and you can see how the ridges just keep going and going into the distance, on a really clear day I have counted as many as 8 receeding ranges, though some are merely hints poking up in the cuts of the range just in front of it
Finally, evidence of a little color returning to the upper slopes, but it will still be a good month before the trees up here are really fully loaded with bright green spring foliage.
I pulled off next at yet another one of my favorite stops near the end of the first leg of skyline and one of my favorite trees, its been the background of several of my motorcycle shots in the years IÔÇÖve been riding the Blue Ridge, heÔÇÖs like an old friend, always right where you expect and always ready to pose with my machines.
The machine and sky, it was starting to cloud up a bit, but they were still high and mostly the small while puffy variety with some even higher stratospheric clouds above.
Soon after I was at the end of section one of skyline and it was now around 5:15 and about 160 miles into the ride and gas was running low. So when I got to Rt. 211 I got off the parkway and headed down the mountain on 211 which has become for all intents and purposes Northern Virginias Deals Gap. Fun road, though short. I did manage to kiss a little pavement on one tight 180 deg inside turn with the foot peg on the LT, hmmm, havenÔÇÖt done that before!
From the base of the mountain 211 opens up to a four lane divided highway thru rolling farm country and past vineyards and roads leading back toward the mountains and small towns that date well back into the early history of this area.
One final shot that I have been meaning to take for a while now. There are several places along 211 that all make this same claim and it never fails to give me a chuckle or two. I mean really, isnÔÇÖt this a contradiction in terms???
All in All, 5 hours 2 minutes saddle time, 250 or so miles and almost a full tank of gas after leaving work. At 7:02 PM I was pulling into the driveway of my townhouse in Woodbridge and I canÔÇÖt think of a better way to have spent one of the first really nice days of spring!
Over and out
(and one happy rider!)