I only took pics during one ride, so you'll just have to trust me.
He said I should go without him. I felt guilty abandoning him, but he said he would've felt bad knowing I'd stayed home because of him.
Who am I to make the poor guy feel worse? So off I went.
I had not planned a route. With the impending heat in mind -- it was already around 80 F (26 C) as I was leaving town -- I decided to head toward the mountains.
|“The mountains are calling and I must go.” ― John Muir|
Knowing I'd to get to ride US-211 through Thornton Gap was an extra-added bonus.
Because 211 is one of the few highways crossing the mountains, it does have to handle all sorts of traffic, such as trucks, campers, buses, etc. Fortunately, the road widens to three lanes on both sides of the summit, with two lanes for ascending traffic and one lane for vehicles on their way down the mountain.
Which is good, since so many American drivers are complete boneheads and cannot (or will not) comprehend the concept of Keep Right Except to Pass (KREP). They think the left lane is the "fast lane" and believe that their speed, no matter how fast or slow, is just fine. Even when climbing mountains and the right lane is specifically designed to accommodate slower-moving traffic, you get asshole drivers like this guy from Ohio...
... who is not only going slower than me, but is also having a hard time negotiating the curves and keeping to his lane.
That's dumb. Not to mention unsafe.
Wouldn't you rather stay as far to the right as possible to give opposing traffic, which could easily be careening downhill out of control, the widest berth possible?
Lucky for me, I got around him.
And before I knew it, I was at the park entrance. There was a line -- boo! -- which really sucked in the sun. But I only cooked for about five minutes.
And then I was greeted by this happy gal.
I love US Park Service rangers.
I hopped onto Skyline Drive headed south. Elevation at the gap is about 2,300 feet. From there, the road starts climbing immediately, but gradually, to about 3,400 feet.
The higher I got, the cooler it got. I was a happy girl.
I'll take blue skies and temps in the mid-70s (20-25 C) any day.
Alas, mountain weather is fickle.
What's that I see ahead and to the left? Clouds?
Yep. Thems definitely clouds.
It actually looked quite interesting. Blue sky everywhere else except for this one mass of clouds rolling in. They didn't look like rain clouds, but it was definitely getting cloudy.
Check out the view from the next overlook.
Looking a tad to the right, I could still see a bit of blue sky.
But not much. Weird, eh?
Temps dropped to about 70 F (20 C?) for a while, which was fine by me. Cool chicks like me do what we can to maintain our coolness.
But, soon enough, this is what greeted me...
Can't complain about that!
I really like that riding into the sky image.
There was lots of shade, too. But the big, blue sky shots are more-interesting. In my opinion.
As an aside... I'm trying to decide if I should adjust the helmet cam more so as not to catch any windshield in my picture. Some shots are better without the windshield. For some, the windshield lends that rider-point-of-view feel. I can always crop the windshield out, as I did in many of the pics in this post. But that just means more editing time required.
What do y'all think?
|This is the exact same image as above, but with the windshield cropped out.|
I kind of like how the crop makes the image feel really wide.
Do let me know what you think.
Once I hit US-33 and refilled my gas tank, I'd hoped to hop over into West Virginia across that 7.6-mile stretch of US-33 I told you guys about previously...
View Larger Map
...which is our new favorite stretch of road on the planet.
But the Weather Channel told me, via the smart phone, that thunderclouds covered that stretch of road. Adding another couple hours of riding to get to wet roads just didn't sound like a great plan to me. So I headed for home. The ride south along Skyline Drive was so lovely that I turned around and came back the exact same way.
Both of those decisions were good ones. Because in the valleys, it was HOT. So hot, that once I came down off the mountains at Thornton Gap, I took the speediest route home.
After stopping here, that is.
I just had to investigate the "Complete Restroom."
What a letdown! It was completely unremarkable. And teeny-tiny. But at least the place had A/C.
It was only about a 30-minute, high-speed run that was highway all the way (four-lane [two on each side], not interstate) to get home. Upon arrival, my head was drenched in sweat. Yuck.
I wasn't exactly comfortable in the jacket, but enough air moved through the mesh to make it tolerable.
Sunday, Hubby was feeling better, so we both left the house early enough that we did about 80 miles, stopped for lunch, and still made it home by about 1:00 PM. Which is good, because it had started getting hot again.
Yes, it's good riding if you plan properly, but am I ever looking forward to Fall!