Another motorcycle ride:

Richmond – Buena Vista – Blue Ridge Parkway – Montebello

September 12, 2009

Buena Vista, Virginia

Buena Vista up close

The trip to Buena Vista is a straight shot from Richmond on Rt. 60. On the way I pass over Long Mountain which has a nice wayside/picnic area at the top. The temperature drops dramatically on the descent. I shiver on the next climb to the Blue Ridge Parkway and turn the heat on for the slow, tight turns down to BV.

The town is surrounded by mountains and is much more appealing from a distance. However, there is a restaurant called Captain Tim’s, run by a captain named Tim. He serves fresh fish, Po Boys and other fishy stuff. He has his fishing connections that let him get fish to the mountains while they’re still flopping. Good t-shirts too.

Blue Ridge Parkway near Buena Vista Virginia

Typical view from the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia

When I asked a fellow rider where she put the dogs while riding, she answered “Exactly where they are now.” She drove by later and  wasn’t kidding.

Harley motorcycle rider with dogs

Harley riders are soooo tough

The road to Montebello is a motorcyclist’s dream, a trucker’s nightmare.

Sign for twisties near Montebello, Virginia

I could smell burning brakes in the parking lot of the country store/gas station/volunteer fire department/post office/cafe.

Montebello, Virginia

Downtown Montebello

From here it’s a tight twisty climb to the summit and a steep, blind curve descent past Crabtree Falls into the valley. Don’t look down. There is no shoulder or guardrail – not unless you call trees a guardrail – and you will die if you pull over.

Once in the valley I attempted a shortcut on 699 to 680. This looked like it would save many miles on 151. But surprise: 699 was washboard gravel. After about 100 yards I did a rooster tail turn and opted for the long way. When I passed the intersection of 680 and 151 it was still gravel. Hmmm. Lesson learned about 600 series roads: don’t take pavement for granted.

151 passes through Wintergreen and imposes a 45 mph limit for what seems like 300 years. By this point I’m hungry and eat some peanut M and Ms while riding. My rule is that both hands stay on the bars over 55. Under that is OK to eat as long as the food can fit under my helmet. Kids, I’m just joking, don’t try this at home, although I believe this is less dangerous than riding with two dogs.

No more M and Ms when I turn onto Rt 6, the cutover to 29. The locals must like the escape from the ridiculously slow 151 because everyone is going about 70 in a 55 zone, still 2 lanes. On 29 the limit goes up to 60 (a.k.a. 75 mph) and once on 64 it gets up to highway speed (80+ and still getting passed). Time to get home. This is a fabulous ride and I’ll do it again.


522 south

60 west to Buena Vista (Captain Tim’s is on the right as you enter town)

backtrack 3 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway north

56 east to/through Montebello and past Crabtree Falls

151 north

6 east

29 north

64 east

Total distance: 285 miles