After a day of rain, sun bathed the landscape beneath blue skies Wednesday afternoon as I arrived home from the studio. Such a beautiful late afternoon should not be wasted so I pulled on a pair of riding boots, fired up the Harley and headed out for a ride.
Took Poor Farm Road over to Franklin Pike, turned left and headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turned south as some steam rose off the drying road. Stopped briefly to let a half-dozen young does cross the road and proceeded on.
I topped a hill near Smart View and ran head-on into a wall of fog: Not light fog but thick soup, hanging over the road like a soaked blanket. Water beaded up on the bikes windshield and streaked the gas tank. I slowed from 45 to about 20 miles-per-hour and navigated carefully through the shroud of grey moisture.
Suddenly, a car, halfway across the yellow line, came out of the mist. As happens all-too-often in Floyd County, the driver ran without headlights. I veered to the side of the road as the errant vehicle passed within about 10 inches. The words that came out of my mouth were neither polite or printable here.
The fog cleared as I approached Shooting Creek Road and it looked clear up ahead so I stayed on the Parkway: A mistake. A mile later I was back in soup with visibility down to just a few feet. Two more cars without headlights passed but at least they were on the right side of the road.
I turned off on Virginia Rte. 8 at Tuggles Gap and leaded north towards Floyd, still in thick fog. It cleared, finally, near Canning Factory Road and it was sun and blue skies the rest of the way into town. During that brief ride, I encountered more than a dozen cars and pickup trucks and only two had their lights on.
As I headed out of Floyd on U.S. 221 I could see another fog bank closing in. By the time I got home the sun disappeared behind the encroaching grey mist. A thick shroud of dense fog still hangs over Chateau Thompson this morning.