I opted to ride my own ride today rather than tag along with some of the other campers heading back home. I really do enjoy doing my own thing, stopping for many photos, berries, water and hikes. This was one of my best days of riding this year (next to my WV trip with Eric and Gail
LD had the breakfast spread out again. She is such a wonderful hostess.
I snagged some of this in my tupperware to enjoy on the road.
I figured I'd ride into Burkes Garden from the west and exit the gravel road to the east. The morning light shone through the breaks in trees throwing shafts of light into the road. Blinding spotlights despite my polarized lenses. No matter, riding at 7AM is always worth it.
The view descending into Burkes Garden was fantastic
Unfortunately, the fog was very thick and I was unable to view the unique bowl shaped mountain surrounding the valley.
It was nice and cool however. I savored the slight chill knowing I would not feel this until I was back at work on Monday (too cheap to use AC at home...upper 80's as I write this report now in shorts)
My favorite shot of the year so far: Taken on the gravel road exiting Burkes Garden
Looking west back into Burkes Garden and the evaporating fog layers
Enjoyed the gravel road exiting Burkes Garden which was in quite good condition surprisingly. After miles of riding in woods and through laurel groves, I emerged into this contrasting view.
Exiting Sharon Springs Rd onto 42, I erroneously turned onto Vogeltown Rd (622?) and made a nice 5 mi loop until I returned back to 42
Must be the next road which takes me up to the lookout tower on 52. Yup...and what a blast that twisty unmarked road was. Thanks for the advice LD!
Here is the view from up top looking toward Wyhteville.
A sliver of history for ya Dad
There were a bunch of neat signs at this store. It was closed unfortunately.
So was the tower (not that I'd pay money to climb it anyway)
Obligatory morning flower shot
Cruised into Wytheville then down 21 to the town of the weekend: INDEPENDENCE, VA.
I hung a right on 58, The Crooked Road.
I always wanted to visit this park. So I did.
It was pretty empty so I took advantage of the peace and quiet to go for a nice hike and absorb the sights, smells and sounds of transitioning highland nature.
Views from Little Pinnacle on Haw Mountain.
Mount Rogers (highest point in VA) in the distance.
This mountain was named for a local bear hunter but I cannot immediately recall his name. This was the view from the Big Pinnacle on Haw Mountain.
There was a couple up there from Wisconsin so I didn't want to stay long and disturb their time. I chatted with them for a few minutes and took their picture with their camera.
Back on the hiking trail happy my Chatterbox was at the visitor center charging since I forgot to do it the night prior.
Finished the trail, drank a bunch of water while enjoying the fruit salad from earlier. Geared back up and set forth toward Damascus. There were many bicycle tours heading out for the Virginia Creeper Trail. Eventually I found their source in Damascus.
Next to the Dairy King (husband of the Queen)
Rolled south of town on Shady Valley Rd. going home by way of Tennessee
I've always wanted to stop at Backbone Rock...so I did. I believe this is one of the shortest tunnels in the world.
And looking back through.
Hey Gimme, there were rock climbers here too!
Continued along the road through the mountains until it opened up into a beautiful valley not too different in color and smell from my own back home in the Shenandoah. This was Shady Valley, TN.
Oh...what is that up ahead!? WOAH! Look what I came upon? The Shady Valley Country Store
Home of "The Snake" - 489 Curves in 11 Miles. 'Dragon Smagon'
There was a huge collection of bikes and I struck up a conversation with some guy on the porch. He was interested in my VStrom. I had to cut it short as it was 2:00 and I was in TN and wanted to ride the Snake and get back home before dark. Off I go. Not a car ahead of me the entire way up or back!
This is just as much fun (and closer) than the Dragon with no enforcement today. Maybe not everyday but today was just right.
Rode down to Mountain City and back.
Most of the road was AWESOME but there were two corners riding into Mountain City which had a shit ton of SAND in them
Rode it out and down to South Holston Lake on the VA/TN border. Man does that watter look inviting in this heat. Oh well, many miles to make up...
Goodbye Cherokee NF
Rode 75 to 81 then slabbed it home. Unpacked, washed the beast, began laundry and relaxed recounting the many miles and amazing sights I had seen.
Total Mileage: 1208
More to come this upcoming weekend. I will be riding WV again with Dad with stops at the Hutte, Rella's, Hacker Valley, Green Bank and Cass.
As always, thanks for riding along with me. Photos courtesy of my Droid