Originally Posted by LadyCruiser
I'm coming to NYC 23Apr and I'm starting my trip 26Apr. From NYC I'll ride to Baltimore, MD > Washington, DC > Front Royal, VA (to start Skyline Drive) > Sperryville / Luray / Elkton, VA.
I need your advice which route to choose between those waypoints - I want to see the country and I want to avoid crowded highways. Give me some hints pls
Sounds like a great trip. Here's a few suggestions for the Virginia portion of your ride. I understand people saying that you should avoid DC because of the bad drivers, but as a foreigner myself, I also understand your point of view and your desire to see DC. I say go for it. You're obviously not a new rider, and you've been around bad drivers before; just stay on your toes!
From DC it seems that you want to head towards Front Royal to pick up the Skyline Drive. I'm sure you realize that there is a difference between the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge parkway. The Skyline Drive runs through the Shenandoah National park, and has a average speed limit of 35 MPH that is strictly enforced. The Blue Ridge Parkway (which is longer) is not strictly inside national park land and has an average speed limit of 45 MPH. Both are great fun, but locals such as myself get tired of the Skyline drive due to the low speed limits and the greater number of "Sunday Drivers" (those who drive super slow and wont use turn outs to let you pass them legally). That being said, in your situation I understand the appeal, and I say go for it. So now to route you from DC to Front Royal on something more interesting that I-66! It all depends on where in DC you're coming from, but in a very general sense here's what I'd do. Head to Manassas, and take route 234 (Sudley road) north/northwest'ish. Where it crosses route 15, continue on Waterfall road (route 601) which eventually turns into Hopewell road. Continue on towards the town of The Plains (quaint little town), and there pick up the John Marshall Highway ( route 55) heading west. Just out of town, continue straight onto Grove lane (this will parallel the interstate). Follow until you merge into route 17, and shortly after you do so, turn left back onto John Marshall Highway (route 55). This will once again parallel the interstate all the way to Front Royal, but it's a much more enjoyable route than the interstate. In Front Royal you'll pick up the Skyline Drive and head south. The Skyline Drive ends in Afton, VA (near Charlottesville) and this is where the Blue Ridge parkway picks up and continues south into North Carolina. I highly recomend the Blue Ridge Parkway!
If you need a place to crash for a night, there's plenty of us living in the Shenandoah valley area that would probably be willing to host you. I myself am on the east side of the mountains in Madison county (near the town of Orange, VA). Got a spare bedroom and a garage/shop area if you need to do any maintenance type work on the bike.
Hope this gives you some food for thought. Looking forward to reading your ride report!
PS. Some day you'll need to return the favor for when I travel through Poland (probably summer of 2015). I'm actually shipping one of my bikes to Europe in May, and will be travelling all over western Europe this summer from June until August.