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Old 05-05-2004, 07:28 PM   #18
MikeO OP
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,632
21st February

Woke early and, after a foul cup of motel coffee, set off by 0930. Almost immediately, I re-enter Virginia – I’m going to be covering some familiar ground today… I come across the attractively named town of Dismal Swamp. I can’t help but feel that estate agents (realtors, for the benefit of our colonial readers ) must feel they’ve really earned their pay on a day they get someone to look at a property in this town. It’s well named – the General Store is probably the liveliest spot there…



The weather is brightening but, as I approach the town of Windsor, I see that there’s a rain shower approaching. Using the principle of ‘any fool can be uncomfortable’, I decide to stop at a local diner for brunch and let the rain pass. Like all these ‘Mom & Pop’ places, the food is excellent and plentiful, the service cheerful and prices low. This is the $5 breakfast…



Try not to be put off by the appearance of the sausages… The white stuff ‘on the side’ is (or are?) grits. It’s a sort of cornmeal, well - mush – somewhere in the grey area between porridge and wallpaper paste. Opinions differ as to how it should be eaten (as they do with with porridge). Traditionalists say that you should eat it savoury, with salt to taste. The other camp says it should be eaten with maple syrup or jam stirred in. I tried it both ways and have come to the conclusion that it simply shouldn’t be eaten…

Whilst I’m finishing my 3rd cup of coffee, I’m joined by Mike Bodner, who has seen my bike parked outside and come in to see what this foreign interloper is doing on his turf.



It turns out that Mike is the local capo of the BMW Riders’ Association (RA). We chat for about half an hour about various subjects – he runs an RT, but hasn’t ridden it for 2 months or so. I call him a wimp He’ll be at Daytona, where we hope to meet up again. Meantime, he gives me his mobile ‘phone number and tells me to ring if I need anything whilst I’m in Virginia. Once again I’m very touched by the generosity and hospitality afforded me by everyone I meet here…

It being dry, I get back on the bike and ‘haul ass’ (I believe is the expression) over towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. I ride many of the same roads I used to get to Kittyhawk yesterday, and pass within a stone’s throw of Buddy & Sue’s house. I decide against throwing a stone, as they were very nice to me :P.
I stop at a Circuit City (a bit like PC World) and buy a new modem cable, as I’ve realised I somehow left mine in the motel at Edenton. Unable to resist any techno-crap, I also buy a flexible lamp which fits into a USB port and can be used to light the keyboard…


As I get close to the Blue Ridge, the ambient temperature drops. Just past Bedford, I stop and change from Summer gloves to Winter…

You will be familiar by now with my criteria for choosing a motel. It must be cheap, have free local calls (for internet connection) and, preferably, an in-room coffee maker, or something similar. So why, I hear you ask, would he check in to a motel with no phone, no TV, no coffee maker and pay $100 a night for the privilege?? Well here…



…is the reason. This is the view out of my bedroom window in the Peaks of Otter Lodge (plus the price included dinner & breakfast ). The lake is partially frozen – it’s not warm up here and I think the Parkway will need at least a few weeks of warm sunshine until in re-opens in full.



I dump my kit in my room and then take the bike for a ride along the 10 mile section which is open at present (down to Buchanan and back). The snag with the Parkway is that it’s a tourist road, not a highway as such. It’s therefore not ploughed or treated – they just let it freeze, close it, then open it again after the thaw. All commercial traffic goes down Interstates 81 or 64, which are kept open year round. Almost all the roads which pass across the Blue Ridge remain open, and afford great views, so, weather permitting, I’ll start exploring some of those tomorrow. In the meantime, having finished my journal entry, I’m just going to sit and enjoy the silence here for a bit…

I wandered outside, having just typed these words, and found that there was a herd of White Tailed Deer grazing not 10 metres from the back door to my room. I took a couple of pictures but, due to the lack of light, they aren’t very clear. I sat watching them for a while – and became aware that people were doing the same from nearly every room in the lodge…



I walk the 200 metres or so to the restaurant down a sparsely lit footpath. It’s fully dark now, with a fingernail of moon and about a million stars shining in the cold night sky. I almost walk into a deer as I round the final turn to the lodge and scare myself fartless – don’t think Bambi was too impressed either…

Dinner was superb. You could basically choose any main course off the, extensive, menu. On my waitress’s recommendation, I had the 16oz piece of cow. It was delicious, but - hard as I fought - the cow won – I retired just over half way through… :(

As I walked back to my room, it was considerably colder, probably below freezing already, with a brisk breeze blowing. The sky remained clear, though, so I’m cautiously optimistic about a late(ish) start tomorrow morning…
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MikeO screwed with this post 02-12-2006 at 03:22 AM
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