Unlike Rome, all roads do not lead to Washington, DC.
Yet enough routes to and from the National Capital Region exist to give a visitor options when it comes to routes back home.
So, after a good weekend at Rolling Thunder, I left Manassas, Virginia, early Monday morning with no particular route in mind. I didn’t want to use I-66 to I-81. I hate Interstates — especially on holiday weekends.
So I opted — as usual — for roads less traveled. I headed the Harley for Route 55 — the John Marshall Highway — which runs west through Northern Virginia horse country towns like The Plains. Route 55 — for the most part — is a pleasant two-lane country road. The only traffic I encountered was a hay truck lumbering along at 30 miles per hour. I wasn’t in a hurry so I fell back and took in the sights.
If you turn off Route 55 onto Route 704, you drive by the 362-acre estate of actor Robert Duvall. Known as Brynley, the sprawling Revolutionary-era horse farm is a full-time home for Duvall, who is a descendent of Virginia favorite son Robert E. Lee.
After a few stoplights getting through Front Royal, I turned left on U.S. 11 in Strasburg and proceeded South to Woodstock. A quick stop for coffee and gas before heading out of Woodstock on Virginia 42, a winding two-lane stretch of blacktop that runs down the western edge of Virginia through towns like Columbia Furnace, Conicville and Forestville.
Rolled into Harrisonburg in time for breakfast and sat at a picnic table outside a small store and talked with other bikers headed home after Thunder.
Took U.S. 11 out of Harrisonburg — through Staunton and down to Lexington. After a stop for gas and some refreshment, headed up U.S. 60 to the Blue Ridge Parkway and then South to Route 130 for a hop over to Natural Bridge and back to 11 to Roanoke, then over to U.S. 221 for the hop to Floyd and home.
Time for this round-about trip: Right at eight hours.
And worth every minute of it.