I decided to intercept the Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive at the Thornton Gap, and head south from there. It's been years since I took that particular route, but there is much to recommend it. (And one thing to recommend against it: there's a sizable per-car fee, which is only slightly smaller per motorcycle). It is similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which begins at the end of Skyline Drive, except that much of it overlooks the Shenandoah Valley.

I had left Arlington at 3:30 AM in order to avoid the heavy, crazy traffic. This was a good decision, even though it entailed rising at 3 AM. The traffic was already heavier than I'd have liked, even at that optimal hour. But by about 6:00 AM, I had escaped to the mountains via Warrenton and US 211. Once I entered the park, I was almost completely alone due to the hour, the weekday, and probably partly as an effect of the aforementioned fee.

It began to rain at Sperryville, and continued to rain for an hour or so. Then it got hot as the day went along. I swapped gear several times as I moved from humid and warm, to cold and wet, to hot and humid. All the same, it was an enjoyable ride through lovely country.

Traffic picked up once I got on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is free to travel; but it was also later in the day. Mostly motorcycles still, even though the long weekend is over. A few more than myself decided to stretch it out, I suppose.


raven said...

Sounds like a lovely ride. Years ago when I lived in the Northeast, I drove down the Skyline and Blue Ridge and linked up the Natchez trace trail to New Orleans.
These days the idea of a slow speed limit and not having cars sitting on my ass sounds really appealing. (I have this theory that the great improvement in safety in autos has merely encouraged crappy driving, as the penalty (physical, not legal) has been reduced.)

douglas said...

Raven, I think there's some truth to that theory. The new technology of cars that watch your lane position for you and 'autopilot' mode will only make it worse.

Riding in the rain really sucks, if you ask me, though I'm sure it's better with the right gear. Not that I've done it much, but it stuck in my mind pretty well, and in a way that I'd like to not do it again.

Grim said...

This was a gentle rain, albeit a cold one. Getting caught in a storm is a different experience -- every drop stinging like needles wherever it hits, no visibility, and the nagging thought that you should really probably get off the road (and would have, except that you've got somewhere you need to be whether or not the weather complies).

The only issue with this rain was that it kept getting colder. I swapped into my leathers, and then swapped again into a hoodie with the leathers over it. It was better at that point because my core was warm, but my blue jeans were soaked through.