The IT, Ali and Me, riding WV, VA and MD Part One
The IT, Ali and I went for a nice long ride this past weekend..11 hours and something over 400 miles, the IT (my new NT700V Honda) now has over 5k on the odo, not too shoddy for 11 weeks of ownership and this doesnÔÇÖt include commuting miles since I donÔÇÖt rider her to work, all just weekend riding miles.
So now you may well be wondering whoÔÇÖs Ali???
Well for all you sheep staggersÔÇÖ, cat herders and Non ADV taggers hereÔÇÖs a pic of her taken recently as we enjoyed a crab cake samash for lunch at a local riverfront watering hole in NOVA.
Yup sheÔÇÖs an ali-gator in fact, thatÔÇÖs her name, Ali Gator. She is the mascot for the Northern Va Tag-o-Roma game that I have been participating in for the past year (off and on as time allows). I had picked her up at the tag location the day the shot was taken last week and then again this past Sunday I went and got her in Arlington at the hotel she was staying at (well near, anyway)
But enough of introductions, on with the Further Adventures of Ali and Me!
After we the hotel (donÔÇÖt ask but it was in the Red Light District) :
We headed out along Geo. Wash. Parkway on the Va side of the Potomac and crossed over at Cabin John and picked up Clara Barton Parkway which runs along the Md side of the river. There is some BIG money in this area which is part of the area known as Potomac Maryland, very ritzy (sorry no pics of the rich and famous..if youÔÇÖre looking for that stuff try Yachoo or omg!). Clara Barton is a very nice shady road with some very dense growth as seen in the next two pics. Note these were enhanced, though they were rendered in HDR, it really was this dark and green with the bright morning light filtering down, no saturation or other processing needed
Then we headed along River Road, still following the Potomac River
Came upon this nice old historic school house tucked back in the woods
Crossed a nice little shaddy stream, one of zillions pretty much anywhere you ride in these parts.
As we near the end of River Road it turns into gravel, and though I was on the IT I figured it way high time it got some dirt/gravel action.. handled it very nicely we proceeded at a good 35 Mph clip, sweet, dual-sporting (of sorts on an IT!)
After about ten miles of gravel through rolling horse farms and deep woods we came to Whites Ferry that crosses the Potomac River. This is the only remaining operating ferry on the Potomac River, dates back well into the past (from the Wiki page..ÔÇØ Early settlers recognized that the relatively still waters of the Potomac River at the location would provide an ideal location for a ferry. The first known ferry operation at the location was Conrad's Ferry, pronounced contemporaneously by the locals as "Coonrod's Ferry"  in 1817. After the Civil War, former Confederate officer Elijah V. White purchased it and made many improvements to the service. He named his ferry boat in honor of his former commander, General Jubal Anderson Early.ÔÇØ)
HereÔÇÖs Ali enjoying the view as we cross.
And a pic looking up RiverÔÇª.I noted how blue the waters looked, almost an exact match for the sky, this is rather usual as the Potomac often runs a dirty brown, esp. after a good days rain as we had the past day or two.
Then it was on the Leesburg to pick up route 9 north toward Charlestown WV. Along the way we pasted a very pretty little town (one of my favorites) called Hillsboro. Here is the old stone school house still in use today. Since Ali has been with the NOVA tag for a little over a year I figured it was high time for her to get an edumacation, so while she was in class I took a few shots around the town..
Looking down the main streetÔÇª
When Ali got out of class (it was a very short lesson as they didnÔÇÖt speak gater) we wandered up the road and took route 671, Hapers Ferry Road toward, well ya, Harpers Ferry. Along the way (and it being Sunday and all) I figured it was time for Ali to get some religion so we stopped at this small churchÔÇª
nice stained glass window
Another older church cross the street just at the top of the rise (just ignore the ghost car, there were several grave yards around...)
A shot of the old church yard
HereÔÇÖs Ali coming out after the sermon.. I love old wooden doorsÔÇª
From Harpers Ferry we took 340 north to 67 then west 37 into Sharpsburg, then back down to cross the Potomac again at Shepherdstown and along 45 to pick up route 9 once more. That took us into Berkely Springs Wv, one of the old mineral springs that dot the area. Here we stopped for some Nathens Hotdogs at a little stand next to the public park and springs that I always patronize when in town.
Ali enjoying a hotdog..yeah, she eats the paper warpper as well, but you know, she is Not a Tame Alligator after all...( I think I'm the ADV tagger who Ever feeds her so she pretty ravenous by the time we hook up!)
end of part one
The IT, Ali and Me, riding WV, VA and MD, part two
After lunch we wandered across the street to visit the park where the springs flow out of the rocks so Ali could take a dip and ÔÇ£Take The WatersÔÇØ as they used to say.
Ali enjoying a refreshing dipÔÇª
Interesting side note here: As I was taking the above photo, a young boy about 8 or so saw Ali and came over to get a closer look. He seemed intrigued with Ali so I introduced her to him. He put his hand out so I let him hold her at which point he went over to his Mom to show her and placed Ali in another spring that was in fact George Washington Bath Tub at the springs.
As yet the young boy hadnÔÇÖt said a word but after dipping Ali in the bathtub he turned to his Mom and stated simple ÔÇ£Ali-GatorÔÇØ in a somewhat hesitant voice and with some noticeable difficulty. His Mom seemed particularly pleased at this and it became evident that the youth was facing some rather unusual challenges in his life. After his declaration he returned Ali to me and wandered off repeating ÔÇ£Ali-GatorÔÇØ and he seemed to comprehend that this was not just her name but also represented what she Was, i.e. an animal known as an alligator. I had to wonder if by the association of her Name with her species this had somehow triggered something that allowed him to more easily remember and recognize this rubber creature as an Alligator? Would he have remembered the word had I simply identified her as an alligator rather than introducing her using her Proper Name? Who knows, it did pose and interesting question regardless. The mind is most certainly fascinating and still so little understood as to how we process data, challenged or not.
But enough reminiscingÔÇª on with the ride..
Having taken the waters we proceeded along route 9, until we reached Paw Paw Wv where we crossed the Potomac yet again and now found ourselves in Md once more. Now we headed west along Route 51 toward Oldtown and then on to Cumberland, Md. to drop south and see if we could find Rocket Center (yes there really IS such a place and how appropriate for me to go find? ). Crossing the Potomac, Yet Again(!) we headed south along 220 to route 956 where we found the Rocket Center. I tried to gain entrance as Ali had decided it was time to start looking at career opportunities and being a Astro Gator seemed like an intriguing choice, but they wouldnÔÇÖt let us in! Not even Me and they did not seem the least bit impressed by the fact that I, The ROCKET Man demanded entrance! Humph! Rather, they simply chased us offÔÇª wouldnÔÇÖt even let me take a picture!
So we headed down to Short Gap and found an excursion train where Ali decided to check out being a RailRoad Engineer as she liked the striped hats they used to wear.
Then she thought she would give being a conductor a shot ÔÇ£ALL ABORAD!!ÔÇØ
Deciding nether of those suited her talents we moseyed along till we spotted a horse and carriage by the side of a barn so Ali thought sheÔÇÖd give being buggy driver a shotÔÇª
Nope, no good, so on we wentÔÇª
As we rode along it struck me that perhaps a bit of foreign travel might be good for her so off we went to Rio, boy has it ever changed since my last visit!
As it was now getting on into the afternoon we turned toward home riding down to Rt 50 then picking up 29 south to Old 55 and rode along that for a while. A view of the new Route 55 from below one of several places where the old road passes beneath the new road, this point happens to also be right about where the Lost River ÔÇ£sinksÔÇØ and flows under a mountain to come out the other side as the Cacapon river.
As we got into Wardensville Ali informed me she decided it was time to get the hell out of the Tag Mascot racket having now gotten an education, traveled a bit of the world and found religion so when she spied this law office she wanted to discuss her options with a lawyerÔÇª. Luckily for me and the ADV NOVA Taggers the office was closed!
Finally at Route 55 and Leads Mannor Road Ali and I parted company while she waited for the next ADVÔÇÖer to come fetch her. Last I heard she was looking into possibly being a millwright at some old stone mill in Virginia.
Well, thatÔÇÖs it, thanks again for coming along!
RM And Ali; over and out!