Out for a Sunday ride

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Sunday, weather permitting, is a day for motorcycle mania.

Rains from Saturday night streaked the roads early Sunday morning as I backed my Harley Davidson Switchback out of the garage shortly after 7 a.m.  After a busy Spring and Summer of assignments, the Second Sunday of August beckoned for a a stretch of wandering asphalt and a beautiful day ahead.

Slowed early on Sandy Flats road for a full brown doe crossing too far ahead but the chance of a fawn or other deer brought close observation of both sides of the road.  The doe turned out to be alone.

Fog from Little River at the intersection with Poor Farm Road and then with U.S. 221.  Turned south for a 90-minute ride to North Star Restaurant just south of Buchanan on U.S. 11 to meet fellow Roanoke Valley Harley Owners Group riders for the Sunday breakfast ride.

A bright burning sun burned into the haze at the Switchback settled in sixth gear for the run through Check, Copper Hill and down Bent Mountain.  Not much traffic.  A quick stop for premium gas at the Kroger station in Cave Spring ($2.56 a gallon) and then another ATM stop for funds since North Star is a “cash only” eatery.

On Electric Avenue, a Roanoke County police officer pulled up along side at a stop light.  I nodded and noticed he was eying the muzzle of the Glock 17 poking out just below the edge of my leather jacket.

“Morning,” he said.  “I trust you have a permit for that weapon.”

“Yes,” I replied.  “You can run my license plate to confirm it.”

I saw him reach for his radio microphone as I pulled out to continue.  At the next stop light, I pulled up again.

He waved.  “Thank you for following the law,” he said before turning off.

Fell in behind a Street Glide also headed to breakfast on 419 just before U.S. 220, which turned in Interstate 581

Activity by Virginia State Police kept the handful of motorists on the road near the 55-miles-per-hour speed limit on 581 and 60 on 81 until we passed Troutville and a gentle turn on the throttle sent us to 70 or so until hopping off at U.S. 11 south of Buchanan and the short hop to North Star.

We chowed down on breakfast food that costs far less than similar fare around Floyd nowadays.  It is amazing that two egges, two pork tenderloins, toast and coffee costs $6.51 in Botetourt County while it would be well over a ten spot in Floyd.

After a third cup of coffee, I headed north on U.S. 11 to Natural Bridge, then up 103 towards Glascow and right on U.S. 501 north towards Lynchburg.  Scrapes by the rider boards added to the hum of tires as the Harley twisted and turned along the curves of the road.

Hit Lynchburg around noon and turned South on U.S. 29 towards Danville but then turned west on highway 24 — a winding road through beautiful country sign.  A turn South on 122 towards Moneta and past Smith Mountain Lake.

Filled the tank at another Kroger gas stop and found premium, with discount, as $2.26.

At Boone’s Mill, another turn brought more tight turns before emptying into Garden City west of Roanoke.  Headed up Mill Mountain Drive outside of Roanoke to reach the Blue Ridge Parkway at Roanoke Mountain for a drive south up into the mountains.

Met a lot of other bikers on the Parkway.  Stopped and chatted for a while at the overlook showing the encroaching advances of “civilization” down below.

Continued South until mile marker 150 to turn off onto Franklin Pike and then over to Poor Farm Road and then to Sandy Flats and on to home to pull into the garage shortly before 4:30 p.m. with just a tick over 300 miles on the odometer for the day’s ride.

A great day to ride and a great day to start a new week.

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