Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oh, Happy Day!

The past year was a year of change for me and my family.

Good change. We moved from our previous home in Central Maryland to Warrenton, Virginia, a cute little town on the outskirts of Northern Virginia (NoVA).

Geographically, Warrenton, which is in Fauquier county, is in the northern part of Virginia. But in these parts, "Northern Virginia" is a region all to itself.

There's a map that shows the NoVA area, as defined by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), "a regional council of fourteen member local governments in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. According to Virginia’s Regional Cooperation Act, NVRC is a political subdivision (a government agency) within the Commonwealth."

If you'd like to read more of the particulars, visit the NVRC website. The distinction for you to understand, as most locals do, is that NoVA is essentially a giant, metropolitan suburb of Washington, DC. It's crowded. Traffic is horrible. The cost of living is very high. If you like highly populated metro areas (we don't), it's a great place to live. But we prefer more of the quiet life, which is why we left Central Maryland in the first place.

The move was really quite advantageous for the purposes of my Appalachian Tours presence. Because now we're even closer to some of the best motorcycle roads in the United States.

Check out this map...

Warrenton, where you see the red house, is 33 miles (via US-17) from Front Royal, the northern entrance to the Shenandoah National Park (SNP) and Skyline Drive. We're just 35 miles (via US-211) from the Thornton Gap entrance to Skyline Drive.

If that doesn't mean anything to you, Skyline Drive is hailed as "The Joyride of a Lifetime" by the folks at That may be overstating it a bit, but Skyline Drive and the surrounding areas in Virginia and West Virginia really do represent some of the best motorcycling roads in the country.

Here's a map with a somewhat broader view.

The areas shaded in light blue are within a four-hour drive of our home (according to Microsoft Streets and Trips).

Streets and Trips also says I can leave my house, ride all of Skyline Drive, and return home in just over five hours. Now, that doesn't account for photo stops. And we know there'd be many. It also doesn't factor in traffic, which on weekends can really be a bear. So I'll try and save that trip for a weekday.

Here's what that route would look like.

Hubby and I are really looking forward to riding season this year. There are so many great roads out there just waiting for us to discover. And you'll get to come along for the ride.

We didn't get much riding in at all last year. The move took up pretty much all of our spare time (getting the old house ready to sell, listing, packing, finding a new house, moving, unpacking, getting settled, etc.). But this year will be different. By the time riding season gets here, we will be ready to roll.

There are still more places in West Virginia to discover, too. Like Hampshire County's North River Road (shown below).

We managed to squeeze a ride in the weekend after Thanksgiving.

My handsome Hubby.
So, why didn't I write about that sooner? Because my dang website was broken. It's my fault. I changed Internet hosts. And I didn't have time to figure out how to get the thing up-and-running again. Until this weekend...

Yep, you read right. The Greater Appalachian Valley Tours website is live once again. Oh, happy day!

It's the more-static accompaniment to this blog. Where I'll catalog all the cool stuff I write about here. Blogs are great, but it isn't always easy to find stuff when you want to refer back. Like when I write trip reports about all of our new discoveries of Virginia roads, I'll add them to my VA Rides page, which right now is woefully lacking original trip reports.

I really am very excited. I hope you are, too. Thanks for sticking with me thus far. Rest assured, after quite a quiet year... I am BACK.
Here I am at the end of North River Road.


Trobairitz said...

I am glad you are all settled in after the move. I am looking forward to once again following your adventures.

It looks like you will be riding some fabulous roads.

rose japan said...

Hello I loved how you wrote for shybiker, and resolved to find your blog, I saw the first post ... and I loved because I love travel but as yet I can not travel, travel with you and certainly know wonderful places ..
thanks for sharing it here on the blog
hugs rose japan

ToadMama said...

Rose, thanks for stopping by! And for the nice comment. It is always nice when I get to meet a friend-of-a friend. :-)