Saturday, October 05, 2013

Greenbank, West Virginia

National Radio Astronomy Observatory,  Greenbank, WV

Heading south on Route 92/28, we spotted the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's white gleaming telescope from afar and tried to figure out what it was. Of course, we stopped to look see. Unfortunately, the place was closed because of the Federal government shutdown, so no tour, but we did get this photograph of both of us in front of it.

Named after Senator Robert Byrd, the telescope is 485 feet (148 m) tall and costs $10 million a year to operate. It is the largest completely steerable radio telescope on Earth.

Route 220 Autumn Colors

The friendly woman at the Virginia Visitor Center was right. The ride north on Route 220 should not be missed, especially today when autumn colors are blooming, falling, and dazzling us.

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” 
~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Bath County, Virginia

Falling Springs Waterfall

Falling Springs Waterfall 
Here we are, exploring the southern region of the Allegheny Mountains.

Driving north on Route 220, just past Covington, Virginia, we were delighted to find this beautiful waterfall just off the road, waiting for us to visit.

The water from the falls flows into the Jackson River. Thomas Jefferson in his book, Notes on Virginia, described the Falling Spring Falls as a "remarkable cascade...falling over a rock about 200 feet to the valley below."

We are west of the Blue Ridge Parkway at the southern tip of the Shenandoah Valley.

Butler Mountain, West Virginia

Riding through early morning fog
Beautiful new morning and we are anxious to hit the road. We ride down the mountain through a pretty thick fog, but not thick enough to stop the autumn colors from popping through. Surreal delight.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

VA 611, Fork River Road

Getting read to head down Fork River

Turning right off of Route 80, north of Abingdon, Virginia, we explored VA 611, Fork River Road.

A winding, beautiful ride with mountains on our left and a snaking river to our right, the road turned to gravel about half way in.

We lost Internet coverage, too, braved ahead as all good explorers do.

We continued on east, toward Saltville, until we intersected Allison Gap Road.

What we saw, heard, and felt were worth the road's uncertainties. Serenity, the sounds of the flowing river, and absolute delight!

We never know what delight a new road holds

Beautiful Fork River

Boone Lake, Tennessee

Yummy Sandwiches
Today we rode the scenic back roads from Johnson City to Wytheville, Virginia. 

We explored new roads and rode through the heart of Appalachia...

Riding down winding roads, we passed homes along Austin Springs Road, then stopped at a roadside picnic table for a simple sandwich snack near Boone Lake/Reservoir just before reaching Piney Flats.

Created in 1952, the reservoir was formed by the impoundment of the South Fork Holston River behind Boone Dam.

Boone Lake, Tennessee
Foot bridge over Boone Lake

Johnson City, TN Dawn

We found a good rate on my iPad at the Red Roof Inn in Johnson City and called it an early night as we always do. Waking early, Steven went to the lobby to get us coffee, came back saying, “Look at your sky.”

Johnson City dawn
Extraordinary colors, beautiful new day!

Parked and ready to go

“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” 
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Route 352, Tennessee-North Carolina Border

And so we leave on another adventure. This time we are riding up to "our" special cabin in West Virginia. We have not had enough hours on the Harley this year and are looking forward to visiting old favorites and finding new experiences.
Enjoying the new blacktop on Route 352 Tennessee
Fall colors are coming in, with inspiring colors of red, orange, and yellow. We are heading north, so the leaves are more vibrant the further we go. Here near the Tennessee and North Carolina border, the road snakes around Interstate 26. The late afternoon sun shines on us, the mountains, trees, and new blacktop. The beauty is indescribable.

Firehouse Restaurant ribs
We were stopped at a light in Johnson City, Tennessee and a woman pulled up next to us in a pickup truck and said, "I wish I had me a boyfriend who rode a motorcycle." That gave us a chuckle.

Dinner at Firehouse Restaurant, Johnson City, we shared ribs and sliced BBQ pork. Nice casual family restaurant with tasty food. Nice vacation start.

It's hard not to feel on top of the world.