Tuesday, May 8, 2012

She's Off And Biking!

I can assure you that there wasn't this much daylight when I pulled out of our driveway Sunday morning at 6:45 a.m.   It seemed quite odd and rather anticlimactic leaving without Bill, but doing it this way gave me a day to spend with my friend, Tish, and one less long day of driving for Bill. He's a pretty good sport with the long driving days, but will never be the relentless wanderer that I am.  Today's planned drive was 478 miles of mostly interstate driving. That did, however, change.................

On a Sunday morning, there was virtually no traffic and I crossed the state line into Virginia in a couple of hours stopping at the Welcome Center for a needed break and a snack!  Longtime travel journal readers know the joke behind my desire to capture of picture of every state sign as we enter it and my absolute inability to do just that.  We have so many pictures of everything around different signs, but the sign itself is nowhere to be seen!  I'd like to tell you that I managed to snap this perfect picture welcoming me to Virginia while driving down the road at 70 mph, but that would be a lie.  It was taken from the rest area Welcome Center.
Let's only hope I can do equally as well when we enter our next state which will be Maryland!

Shortly after crossing into Virginia, there was a dramatic increase in traffic including lots of trucks   By lunchtime, it was virtually bumper to bumper. I dislike interstate driving in the best of conditions  and my patience was wearing thin.  I knew it was time to seek an alternate route.  A stop for gas near Staunton gave me a chance to look over my map and I saw that State Highway 211 would take me through a portion of Shenandoah National Park, Luray,Virginia and Manassas Battlefied with easy access route directly to the Residence Inn Dulles where I'd be staying the next two nights.  

I did not stop in Shenandoah, but what a delightful respite it was as I drove up and over the mountain in zero traffic.   Entering the town of Luray brought back some childhood memories as I remembered visiting Luray Caverns as a small child.  These types of once popular attractions have certainly lost their allure in today's Disneyesque society, but the town of Luray seems to have capitalized on its surrounding beauty keeping their town quaint and lovely.  I stopped at the restored train depot and had a delightful conversation with the two gentlemen who were volunteering their time on this Sunday afternoon.  Both quite proud of their town, I had a hard time breaking away.  Part of the former railroad passing the depot has become a community greenway system and I loved seeing all the activity passing by on a leisurely afternoon.  I walked a bit to stretch my legs and then moved on towards my destination.  


Restored Train Depot in Luray, VA now houses the Visitor Center

One last stop for a quick break at the Manasass Battlefield Visitor Center.  I was becoming tired and ready to be done driving for the day, so only remained here long enough to stroll briefly through what is a massive area of land.  This is somewhere I'd love to return.

Endora, our faithful GPS, who only complained for a short time after I had exited the interstate several hours earlier, brought me straight to my hotel which anchors one corner of a large outdoor shopping complex  that appears to be very new.   Having been cooped up in the car for most of the day, a stroll through the complex was a welcome relief.

It was a great first day and a very early night!  

Woke up bright and early Monday morning excited about seeing Tish again and finishing something we started in October, 2010.  The Washington and Old Dominion (W and OD) Railroad operated from 1859 to 1968.  If interested, you can read more about the history of the trail here.  Today, it is a 45-mile paved multi-use trail which runs from Purcellville, VA to Shirlington, VA.  In 2010, Tish and I rode the 33 miles from Leesburg, VA to the end in Shirlington.  I'd hoped someday to return and complete the other 12 miles.  We started at the trail's beginning point in Purcellville and exited at Pacific Blvd in Sterling, VA for a ride of 21 miles.  Conveniently, we exited only .4 mile from my hotel.  We were able to pedal directly back to the hotel, rest and enjoy a nice lunch before driving back to Purcellville to retrieve our car.  Temperature was perfect and skies were overcast.  It was a bit windy, but we had no complaints.  It was a wonderful ride.  And such fun seeing Tish again.

 Purcellville, VA Depot - Beginning of W & OD RailTrail

 King Street Coffee - Leesburg, VA

A stop at King Street Coffee provided a wonderful break at almost exactly the halfway point of our ride.  Those red rocking chairs were mighty comfortable!  Leesburg is the quintessential colonial Virginia small town. 

Our ending point - Pacific Blvd.  My hotel was just to the right of this overpass. 

Tish and I are already scheming and planning for our next adventure. 

Bill is currently in flight and should arrive at the hotel (thank you, Marriott shuttle service) by 7:30. We will head out soon afterwards setting our sights on Annapolis, Maryland  and Dover, Delaware.  Dover will be our home for the next two nights.  We'll be exploring two state capitals over the next three days!!  



  1. Wonderful post and so happy to be "arm chair" traveling with you out east having never been to that area. That bike trail is beautiful. I was planning to take my bike today and ride our closest bike trail. They're wonderful resources for us to use. Happy, safe travels and will look forward to the next post.

  2. Awesome!! I miss Virginia. I went to college in Harrisonburg!! My husband and I loved the mountains, the caverns, the back roads. I wish we wouldve been more adventurous and discovered the hidden treasures!!

  3. Thanks for including so many pictures. One day I hope to make that ride, too. I have relatives in Maryland so get up that way on and off. Looks like great scenery and a great bike path. How nice to meet up with Tish! You both look terrific, BTW! Happy Trails!

  4. I'm so happy you and Tish were able to complete your ride! You both look marvelous!

  5. That looks like so much fun! It's wonderful that the two of you could connect again.

  6. New to your blog. Lovely stuff. Bike paths can be so enchanting. I have to say when I read your header I thought it said,
    "Retirement rather than fashion."
    Ha aha guess Ive got retirement on my mind. chuckle chuckle

  7. I DID enjoy reading this! Glad to hear you and Tish were able to meet up. That was really a long day of driving. I do love finding those peaceful alternative routes!

  8. What a wonderful place to ride! You certainly are getting in a lot of bloggie meet ups!

  9. Looks like and sounds like a lot of FUN!

    Visiting from SITS, make it a great day!

  10. Very wise of you to get off that stressful highway and take to the country roads, especially in such a gorgeous area. Much easier on the eyes...and the heart!

    What a pretty bike trail! I'm so impressed by how many miles of rail trails Virginia has. We're hoping to travel the Virginia Creeper trail someday, along with the New River State Park trail there. I'm so happy you were able to ride with your friend---that makes a pleasant ride even more wonderful.

    I look forward to reading more about your trip.

  11. That greenway looks wonderful!! Congrats on finishing it! I'm looking forward to tagging along on your adventure, and meeting up with you when you get home!