Yesterday was not a good one for Mrs. Liberia. She was so tired and in so much pain by the time we stopped for the night that I really didn't think she could continue on. So I was up at 5:00am thinking about potential solutions.
There are not airports nearby that Southwest (where I have Rapid Rewards coupons) flies out of. So I began looking for car rental locations that would do a one-way rental to Nashville. Unfortunately Winchester did not have any who would do so. But Roanoke did which means that we have to drive another couple of hundred miles to get there.
The question is should we take I-81 south to Roanoke which would be about 3 hours of riding or take Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway as originally planned.
Probably the smartest thing I've done recently is to let Mrs. Liberia sleep as long as possible. Part of the problem is that she had stayed up very late for the past 2 nights visiting with LiberiaDaughter. Thus she was already very tired before our biggest day of riding. So I grabbed the computer and went down to the lobby of the Hampton Inn for coffee and to update the ride report.
I like Hampton Inns for a number of reasons and one is the good breakfast bar that they have for guests. This morning I didn't really want anything to eat but did enjoy some of their coffee. Finally at about 9:00am I went back up to the room and Mrs. Liberia was just waking up. We continued the lazy morning by not rushing to get on the road.
Mrs. Liberia says that she wants to put the Butty Buddy on the bike and see if that helps. You can Google "Butty Buddy" to see one (and I'll try to get a photo of it uploaded as well) but it's essentially a seat that goes on top of the regular seat and provides a wider and more comfortable place to sit. We didn't use it yesterday because Mrs. Liberia was a little concerned that it would be unstable. She also chooses to take the scenic route rather than the faster one.
So it's about 11:00am when we finally get off with Butty Buddy in place.
The first leg is 20 miles on Hwy 522/Royal Avenue which runs from Winchester to Front Royal where Skyline Drive begins. We stop a couple of miles before getting on Skyline Drive to top off with gas. By filing up now we should be able to ride all day without having to get gas again until we stop for the night in Roanoke. Total miles should be around 250 for the day. Mrs. Liberia is already singing the praises of the Butty Buddy. We'll see what it's like by day's end.
Jumping onto Skyline Drive one of the first things we notice is that the top speed for the road is 35mph and it's about 105 miles to the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Wow, 3 hours to go 105 miles plus any stops we make.
It's immediately evident why people love to make this drive. Civilization disappears and you're transported into a world of forests and outstanding vistas at every turn. For motorcycle riders it's especially fun as you are constantly winding, climbing and decending through a never ending series of sweepers and tight curves. It's both relaxing and challenging all at the same time. It's also free of commercial traffic and, today, there are very few other vehicles to share the road with. I guess weekdays are much lighter in visitors even in the summer.
Our first stop. Doing better at stopping more often.
A shot for our future daughter-in-law whose 2 favorite things are BBQ and Smores
Although not long, the tunnels were really strange on a motorcycle.
Nice curves make the drive fun
Helmet hair causes some people more trouble than others.
At each stop (and I'm stopping more often) Mrs. Liberia continues to say that she's very comfortable and is enjoying the ride. So it sounds like the combination of a good night's sleep and a new seat are making a real difference.
Finally in late afternoon we reach the end of Skyline Drive and the beginning of the Blueridge Parkway. This happens near the town of Waynesborough, VA where we decide to stop for lunch. After about 5 miles into town we see a small, local Mexican restaurant. The food there is good. Mrs. Liberia has Chicken Poblano and I have Enchiladas Poblano which both have a Mole sauce that is good. While we're eating Mrs. Liberia talks to LiberiaDaugher1 (our other daughter who lives in St. Paul, MN). Finally we're off to start down the Blue Ridge Parkway. We'll start at the northern end but get off in Roanoke for the night and then back on to Boone, NC where we will leave it for good.
Lunch in Waynesborough
The speed limit on the Blue Ridge Parkway is 45 mph. The road is actually better on Skyline Drive but there seems to be fewer extreme curves in the early portion of BRP than on the Skyline. So we're making better time (not the objective but it's starting to look like we may be pushing 7:30pm before we reach our exit in Roanoke and I really don't want to be here when it starts getting dark due to the curves, dropoffs and wildlife.
Speaking of wildlife, we saw one deer on Skyline Drive but several deer (including a doe with 2 small fawns) on the BRP. We also saw one turkey, a hen trying hard to get to the other side of the road without being seen. The deer that we saw were standing right on the edge of the road and didn't seem bothered by cars passing within a few feet of them.
So far on the 2 parkways we have seen at least as many motorcycles as cars and have seen surprisingly few motorhomes. People had warned us against the problem of getting stuck behind motorhomes on the parkways but we didn't have that problem. The few times we did get behind someone they were soon pulling off into one of the many overlooks along the way.
The James River
A small model of how boat locks worked on the James
Above the clouds
Skyline Drive has more vistas while the BRP seems to have more forest type driving. Both are beautiful and this is my first time on either except for a short drive out of Asheville, NC about 30 years ago. I recommend the drive if you have the opportunity and the time.
Finally we reach the exit for Roanoke. We're staying at the Hampton Inn near the airport. While not a regular gps user I will say that the simple Tom Tom One that is on Katie has been helpful. I can't justify the cost of motorcycle specific gps units but it would be nice.
The Hampton Inn shows up rght on time and our room there is the largest, non-suite hotel room I've ever stayed in. Not sure if this is an exception or if every room is this size. I do know that these are all outside accessable rooms rather than the normal internally accessable rooms. Regardless, it's a nice room.
Since we ate so late we decide just to have some some popcorn and apples for dinner and not go out.
Wow, what a comfortable bed.