For the ride down to Richmond, Tom suggested the long way round, with interesting (read winding) roads and wonderful scenery. When he mentioned The Blue Ridge Mountains it didn't take me too long to long to depart from my original thoughts of traveling via the Iwo Jima Memorial in DC, although it was considerably further to travel.
Good move. The road developed some really nice bends when it entered the higher ground, but as the road was wet, I did not push it too hard. Visibility was very poor so the scenic views, of which there are many, were all obscured. However, I took photos here and there and they will prompt my memories in future. On the way up I came across a shop that sells solid wood furniture made with traditional tools. Flick to the Photos tab to have a grin.
Approaching lunch time I stopped at Big Meadow to have lunch and a break and on the way back to the bike was stopped by a couple from California and then a group of mixed bikers to chat. Spent about fifteen minutes with the bikers who gave me some ideas for further south. Tail of the Dragon, anyone?
Visibility had improved a touch so I tried taking a few scenic shots. Not too successful, but on a clear day it is spectacular!
Skyline Drive requires entry to the Shenandoah National Park (another use of the Annual Pass :-) and it runs the full length of the Park. So, long and thin, it incorporated the Shenandoah River valley on the one side and the Virginia Piedmont on the other. Establishing a National Park in the heavily populated east of the USA required the acquisition of homes and farms and some folk would not go. They were expropriated with compensation but, even in the early 1930"s, there was a great deal of controversy over this. However, it is a gift of priceless worth to the citizens of the USA and indeed the world, in perpetuity.
Shortly after lunch I was surprised and very excited to see a black bear cross the road in front of me. I stopped and while trying to get my camera out, there came another! I was too slow to get a photo but them's the breaks. Deer are by now like kangaroos: they exist in almost plague proportions.
It was wonderfully cool on the Skyline Drive but eventually I had to turn off east and head for Richmond Va where I was to catch up with some old friends - and two new ones - for dinner. I last saw Frances, Myrt and Tammy about ten years ago, but we keep up via the medium of Facebook. Their cousin Jackie and I became FB friends perhaps a couple of years ago; and her husband Dave and their son Geordie were there too. A very pleasant evening.
Today I travel south and will drop in and see Frances and Tammy again. North Carolina awaits.