Day four, Friday, July 26, 2002.
Today was rainy & foggy, not a good day to begin my Skyline Drive experience. The forecast was for more rain. I checked out of the Super 8 Motel at 9 AM and went for a big breakfast. I left the restaurant around 9:30 and rode to the Skyline Drive. When I rode up to the entrance gate I was told that the Skyline Drive was socked in by fog.
I decided not to risk the low visibility so I took US 340 back into Waynesboro. I stopped at a Citgo gas station and purchased a road map and found that US 340 does go into Winchester. As I was getting ready to leave I saw the most impressive California woman I have ever seen. She pulled in to the gas station to fuel up her white four-door sedan. She was dressed in a white suit, skirt and high heels with her blond hair in a bun. She had a beautiful tan and the most impressive blue eyes. We made eye contact as I was walking into the shop to pay my bill. The contact left a little shiver down my spine. When I got into the gas station office paid my bill, I found that US 340 is called the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Highway. I left the gas station and entered US340 North. The highway follows the south fork of the Shenandoah River. It was a wonderful drive. There was a pull off to a scenic over view of the south fork of the Shenandoah River. I pulled off to the side got off my bike and took several photos of the Shenandoah River. US 340 followed the south Fork of the Shenandoah River. As I was getting on my bike to resume my ride on The Stonewall Jackson Highway, I was distracted by a white four-door sedan beeping the horn as it passed me. I guess I also made an impression on the California woman.
On the ride along the Highway, I saw canoeing and rafting outfitters along the side of the river. The Historical Society was restoring almost all of the remaining slave homes that were located along the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Highway. The ride to Winchester from Waynesboro is 112 miles. As I rode past the north entrance to Skyline Drive, just outside of Font Royal, I decided to go into the entrance to Skyline Drive to see if the fog conditions had changed. I talked to a lady ranger and she said the fog were still so thick there was no chance to go up.
So my decision to take the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Highway was a very good one. Riding 80 miles in intense fog could have been treacherous. After I left Skyline Drive, it was about 10 miles to the Super 8 Motel just outside Winchester. I pulled in at about 3:30 PM. The forecast for the next day was cloudy with 40% chance of rain. I liked taking US 340 since it was look into the past, the Civil War days. My 10 days at Deals Gap, Atlanta Rally, Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive was now over. The return to home would take two days taking US 50 all the way. My first stop was Cincinnati, Ohio a distance of 392 miles with 30 to 50 miles in the mountains.
I had dinner at The Texas Steak House in downtown Winchester. I had a nice conversation with the waitress. She asked what brought me to Winchester so I told her about my last four days riding. She was a good listener.
As I was coming home from dinner son John Morgan called in to see where and how I was. Before going to bed I had to take care of my bike. I went to bed early as tomorrow was going to be a very long ride. I did not receive a voice mail message from Linda as she was in a remote part of Scotland. Tomorrow I would begin the journey home, which should take two days.
This ends the tale of my experiences on Blue Ridge Parkway & Deals Gap.
copyright © 2014 James M. Curtis