We are headed back east now. We are again riding the mountainous roads of West Virginia
again and enjoying it immensely, this time towards Virginia. We follow the one-to-two
lane roads for many miles interspersed with larger roads. I'm really wearing the
sides of my tires.
Before we leave West Virginia there is an historical site of a statue of John Henry. If
you remember your folk songs "John Henry was a steel driving man...". In 1872 the
working man was being replaced by steam powered equipment working on the Big Bend
Tunnel. John Henry challenged the steam drill to a race. He won the race but then
laid down and died. This is the site. There is a statue and a partially completed
festival site with a stage and picnic area. Also back in a corner there are some
railroad relics that will probably be on display when this is completed. That will
be years in the future as no work has been done recently. The sign says this is
stage one but the paint is fading.
When we were at WingDing Europe we had met an American couple that was also at the
rally. They were stationed at our embassy in Poland. We had not talked to them
since then but I still had their card. Their card said their home was in Luray,
Virginia and as we were headed that way in a few days I wrote to the email address
to see if they were home. They were and invited us to stop by.
On the way we are going to ride the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, almost
as much fun as WV. Along the way we watched the hang glider take off and soar away. He
circled for a bit but quickly found an updraft and was far above us as we rode away. We
have now ridden both ends for a total of about half of the Blue Ridge.
Nearby is Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. We got there early and soon got a
tour. They go every five minutes and later in the day there is a waiting line for
tours. No pictures are allowed inside so this is it. It is an interesting tour
of an interesting man. After the tour we had a late lunch in the nearby Milne Tavern
that dates from the 1700's. It was a buffet, not authentic 1700's food, but good.
At the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway is the start of Skyline Drive. This is
essentially an extension of the Blue Ridge in type of road and scenery. The big
difference lies in that the speed limit is 35 mph not 45 and there is an entrance
fee. But with my senior card it is free.
We don't quite complete Skyline Drive either. We turn off at Luray to visit Dave
and Judy, from WingDing Europe. Besides seeing some good people again I want to
ask Dave's advice on where to get a rear tire. I could randomly pick a Honda shop
and go there but there is nothing like local knowledge to get good service. Besides
my GPS database doesn't show any Honda dealers anywhere nearby, and we're getting
desperate for a tire.
Dave suggests "Outlanders", an ATV and motorcycle shop on the other side of town. I
call them and they can order the tire I want and have it in a couple days. Well,
it took three days but we had a very good visit with Dave and Judy. When the old
tire was removed I saw the profile and noticed how different it was from the other
tires I had replaced over the years. I like the Dunlop Elite 3 Multi-Tread tire. The
front tire will howl in the corners after it is worn in but I like the mileage I
get from them, usually 20,000 miles on the front and 18,000 on the rear. The profile
of the rear tire is often fairly flat when it needs replacing. Not this time! We've
been having fun in the curves and turns and this tire is round! You can see the
edge where the harder center tread is flat but then the sides are completely worn
down too. Out west this doesn't happen. Also, we've only gotten 12,600 miles out
of this tire. Ever since entering north Georgia's mountains we have been riding
on windy, curvy, hilly, fun roads. I have constantly been accelerating, decelerating,
braking, going, slowing, turning, stopping, starting, etc. And most of it with a
trailer hitched on behind. This nearly constant scrubbing of the tires on the pavement
has worn the tire much faster than I am used to. When the tire came in Outlanders
promptly installed it and we were on our way again.
While we were visiting Dave and Judy they took us to Luray Caverns, a nationally
known cavern discovered in 1878. We also did some maintenance, laundry, and other
chores. We have to stop now and then to do these things. Sort of a vacation from
our vacation. As I write this a week later in Pennsylvania we are on another of
those days. Many thanks to Dave and Judy for their help.
We have had a very good time in Luray with Dave and Judy but Memorial Day weekend
is coming up soon and I have already made reservations at a state park near Pittsburg,
PA. On Friday the tire is installed and we head straight for the park because the
reservations start that night. We say good-by to Dave and Judy in Outlanders parking
lot and head for Western Pennsylvania.