Montebello

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.

Route:

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

Running in the mud and other nasty stuff

Nasty swamp

It’s fun to act silly occasionally, and that’s what the Henricus Dauber Dash is all about.  It’s a messy 5-mile race and obstacle course that passes through some of the nastiest swamps around. The race site proclaims, “This is not a race for walkers!” It’s also not for serious racers. The course conditions and crowds are handicaps that no one can avoid. Yet runners flock to the Dash, which closes registration at 1,500 racers.

The 2009 course followed the Citie of Henricus Park lagoon trail, detouring for about ten obstacles. They included several up-and-over hay bale walls, barbed wire crawls (they used string instead, much friendlier), rope-assisted muddy hill climbs, slogs through shoe-sucking marshes with 90+ degree water, and a final wire crawl through a pool of deep mud at the finish.

Someone managed to keep a camera lens clean and posted a Dauber Dash mud run video on YouTube. If you pause at 0:12 you will see me running closest to the camera in the still-clean lavender t-shirt. Slide 8 in this collection was taken after about 1/2 mile and captures me at the front where I’m second from the left, shirt still dry. It didn’t stay clean or dry for long. And it didn’t make it home. The registration site encourages you to wear clothes and shoes you can throw away, and we took their advice.

Enjoy the video highlights and the photos. If this looks like your kind of race, you can sign up for future Dauber Dash races here. It’s sponsored by the Richmond Sports Backers. I’ll be cheering for you!

The All over Tour

Motorcycle ride – Richmond, Scottsville, VA and beyond

July 2, 2009

Richmond to Scottsville via Rt. 6. Henrico County rolled out a red carpet for us all the way to the Goochland County line.

Wildflowers in VA

Wildflowers in VA

Scottsville, circa 1744, doesn’t have much crime. We leave our things hanging on the  bike while we walk.

Downtown Scottsville

Downtown Scottsville

History repeats itself when the James River unleashes its fury. The marks on this downtown building show the water level from various floods since the 1800’s.

High water mark

High water mark

The James looks pretty tame today though.

This is the James we love.

This is the James we love.

“You’ve never smelled nothin’ till you’ve smelled Pee Wee’s pits!” says the sign in front of Pee Wee’s Pit Barbeque. Home-made everything in Walmart-sized servings.

Pee Wee's Pits

Yes, the pig is holding - not chasing - the balloons.

The damn 600-series roads on the map don’t exactly match what you find on the road, and many aren’t even on the map. GPS? Ha. That’s why we ride dual-purpose bikes. This farm is on 626 near Charlottesville.

Somewhere in Albemarle County

Somewhere in Albemarle County

The Tyson chicken wardens have no idea why their chickens were squawking so loudly that day. Maybe it was the visit from the alien?

Who's chicken?

Who is chicken?

Our route, roughly:

From northern Henrico/Goochland line

South on 522

Patterson Avenue/Rt 6 west past Scottsville

South on 626

West on 602

South on 722

East on 647 (awesome roller coaster-like road, hard to get to but worth it)

East/south on 56

East on 60

North on 15

East on 610

South on 690

North on 45

East on 6

North on 522