Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Good, Good Friday

So I'm a little slow posting this. But, I must say, my Good Friday was awesome.

For the first time since 2003 (I think), I had Good Friday as a work holiday.

Yay! It could have been a tad warmer. But I am not complaining. The sky was bluer than blue and I had the day all to myself. What does any self-respecting motorcyclist do on a day such as that? Go for a nice, long ride of course.

I figured it would be as good a time as any to check out Skyline Drive.
The Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park and is the only public road through the park. You can enter Shenandoah at four places: Front Royal near Rt. 66 and 340, Thornton Gap at Rt. 211, Swift Run Gap at Rt. 33, and Rockfish Gap at Rt. 64 and Rt. 250 (also the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway). It takes about three hours to travel the entire length of the park on a clear day. (quote from the NPS Shenandoah National Park site.)
If I'd remembered to assemble my jacket properly, the day would have been perfect. I didn't realize my wind liner was missing until right before I got on the bike at my house. It was in one of my panniers, but I didn't feel like taking my jacket off, removing the insulated liner, adding the wind liner, replacing the insulated one...

I wanted to GO. Know what I'm sayin'? So off I went. Besides, it was a balmy 55 degrees. That wasn't bad at all.

I headed out of Warrenton on 211, planning to enter the park at the Thornton Gap entrance. Of course, the higher I got (in elevation!), the lower the temps went. It was 45.5 at the entrance station. Rather than stop there to insert that wind liner, I pushed on to the the first visitor center. I needed a pit stop anyway.

I was more than happy to do the disassemble/reassemble thing once there. Especially since the temps had continued the decline all the way down to 40 degrees. I enjoyed a steaming hot mocha coffee while inside fixing the jacket. After that, everything was perfect. Even at those temps, I was perfectly comfortable. The heated grips helped.

If you are not familiar with Skyline Drive, check out this Shenandoah National Park MAP.

It's still pretty early in the year, so not a lot of stuff is in bloom there yet. But that's okay, because THIS is what I was looking for... 

I saw lots of that.

And not much traffic at all.

Which was nice. Skyline Drive is gorgeous. Especially during late-Spring when all of the Mountain Laurel and Rhododendrons are in bloom. And Fall, of course. But, being so close to the DC Metropolitan Area means it can get pretty crowded. Weekends are particularly bad.

I'm glad I went when I did. I plan on returning when the flowers are blooming.

At lower elevations, some of the trees were starting to blossom.

But most of the trees are still pretty bare.

I was tickled to see this blooming Redbud, one of my favorite trees, when I pulled in for a potty break.

If you have never been on Skyline Drive, you may want to check out this slide show...

It's not the most-riveting slide show ever made, but it'll give you a very good idea of the ride.

It really was a lovely day.

I would have given it a two-thumbs up, but my other hand was busy holding the camera.

Have you been to Skyline Drive before? Love it? Hate it?

Hey, if you are planning a visit, let me know. I'd love to join you.


Trobairitz said...

Great pictures!!

Nice that you were able to get out on a sunny Friday. Traffic is so much lighter when riding during the week.

I love the picture of your bike in front of the redbud. The pink buds against the blue sky is awesome. Of course I really like the pics of the curves too. So vivid, it make me want to go for a ride.

BeemerGirl said...

Such a wonderful day! I definitely sympathize with not wanting to pull all the gear off after just getting suited up. One of my worst traits. So I've ridden right along with you, getting colder and colder.

But you made it into a wonderful day. And making me sick for the Blue Ridge Parkway. I didn't get to ride Skyline Drive yet. Someday soon...

Dar said...

Isn't it great to be able to get out and feel the sunshine on your face? Great pictures, I bet it is just breathtaking through there particularly in summer time.

SonjaM said...

Aw, wonderful vistas, great riding weather, and bonus empty roads. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

bobskoot said...


it doesn't look cold in your photos. It actually looks pleasant, better than ice or snow, and it wasn't raining. I know what you mean about being suited up and not having to unbundle. Riding on a day off is a bonus

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