Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yes, Virginia Does Have Traffic

After having posted some ride pics and videos recently, I got a comment from one of my followers asking, "Don't you ever get any traffic?"

My answer? Of course! Just not much.

In fact, I am constantly amazed at how little traffic we encounter. We do spend most of our time on the lesser-traveled back roads. But still. We're a stone's throw from DC and Northern Virginia, a place that consistently ranks among the top five worst traffic regions in the country.

First, I have to clarify something. We live in the northern part of Virginia, but we don't live in "Northern Virginia" (aka NoVA).

The area known as NoVA includes Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William Counties. They are shaded brown, tan, and yellow, respectively, in the image above.

I am always telling people Warrenton sits right on the line between NoVA madness (think overcrowded suburbs and LOTS of congestion) and the Shenandoah Valley (think bucolic countryside).

View Larger Map

The differences are quickly apparent. Travel northeast and east about 10 miles and you'll find yourself in NoVA. The land of MANY strip malls, overpopulation, traffic, and rudeness. Head in any other direction from Warrenton and you'll quickly find yourself in the country. Really.

Before deleting the 1,900-plus photos my helmet cam captured the other day, I went through and picked out some images that actually do show traffic. Even I was surprised to discover that only about 10% of those images showed moving vehicles of any type. Cool, eh?

And just to prove to Sonja that we do have traffic, I put this slideshow together...

I tend not to include pics with cars or other stuff in them because they just look ugly. But I'll have to try and remember to throw some in every now and then. Just to keep things real. Know what I'm sayin'?


bobskoot said...


WHOA ! did I notice you passing a few cars ?

also I notice many roads have NO centre-lines

Recently there was a traffic survey. Vancouver has the worst traffic gridlock in Canada, and is only 2nd to Los Angeles for bad traffic in North America.

Riding the Wet Coast
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Trobairitz said...

I think since you are blessed with little to no traffic on your backroads that it must be confirmation that you live in the perfect place.

And it is so pretty too. I just wish you had smell-o-vision as I love the way it smells riding through the trees and even the countryside.

SonjaM said...

Oh, come on. The handful of cars can hardly be called "traffic" ;-)

Well, this is the amount of cars you would probably get on a rainy Sunday morning at 5AM on Vancouver roads...

You must live in motorcycle paradise methinks.

Dar said...

I think you live in a lovely place. It is tourist season here and the traffic is crazy, particularly downtown. I love riding out in the country and the solitude I find when I am out riding.

Deb said...

Well, as you know, I live in similar circumstances and I LOVE it! I can find back roads that I will never see a car on. However, there is a 4 lane 60mph posted state highway that runs along through the middle of our county that is the main artery for traffic out here. Occassionally I dart up it's breakdown lane to jump over to another quiet road that I cannot get to any other way.
I would not have the "nerves of steel" that it takes to ride among cars like many of you do.

ToadMama said...

Bob, passing the slowpokes is another reason there aren't a lot of cars in my shots. LOL. The unlined roads are typically the smaller, country roads. I call them putt-putt roads because they are usually pretty curvy and not always marked as well as the larger, state-owned roads. You can be putting along at 40 MPH and suddenly hit a 90-degree turn. Keeps one on one's toes for sure. I didn't realize traffic was such a problem in Vancouver.

ToadMama said...

Brandy, it is pretty close to perfect riding country. And a bit further west in West Virginia, the roads are even less-crowded! I enjoy the smells, too, when they are pleasant. But often in summer you get hit with whiffs of dead stuff that is quite stomach-turning. It's better when the roadkill is in the road and you can see it coming (know to hold your breath). The worst is when the critter is alongside the road hidden in the bushes and the smell surprises. Ugh.

ToadMama said...

Sonja, I'll have to do a "see our real traffic" ride one day. Any direction away from DC and NoVA really is great riding country. But we don't have gorgeous water and mountains like you do.

ToadMama said...

Dar, I enjoy the solitude, too. And just looking at the pretty countryside.

Deb, I might be less-inclined to ride in traffic on a scooter, too. They just don't have as much power to get you out of jams quickly like motorcycles do. It's easy to pass cars, avoid blind spots, etc. when you can do it in like two seconds. It's better to stay off the highways and ride where you are comfortable.