480 Miles through Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains
Glorious miles on the Trans America Trail
We started our journey in West Virginia, barely over the Virginia border in Marlinton, West Virginia. After a few miles you cross into Virginia and leave the pavement for the back roads through the Appalachian mountains. The roads are almost all gravel and some dirt. But it appears that the National Forestry Service takes very good care of their roads. The first thing I notices is how squirrelly the bike was. Not just mine, all three. It took me some getting used to. And there were lots of blind turns and hairpin turns. Though as I said, in Virginia, the roads are well maintained and most of the turns are either level, or angled in your favor for traction.
By day three, my shoulder was hurting so badly that I was considering calling it and shipping my bike home. Long story short, I was hit by a school bus and broke a significant percentage of my body, most damage on the left side, and I hadn’t really been on a motorcycle for more than an hour or so at a time since. So the riding position was killing me. Luckily, having made it to Damascus, VA, just a short distance away was a bed and breakfast that I was intimately familiar with, Dream Rock Silo in Independence, VA. It also just so happened that we arrived there on the 3rd of July… So we got to spend Independence Day, in Independence, Virginia! And they’ve got one heck of a redneck parade!
I think I have to say that Virginia is the most beautiful state I’ve ever been to in America. But it’s beautiful in a unique way, just as other parts of America are stunning in their own way. That being said I feel I have to qualify that, the Appalachian Mountain Range is the most beautiful piece of land I’ve ever been to and my favorite part of the range is in Virginia. My favorite part of Virginia is Grayson County. The mountains are among the oldest on our planet, 8th oldest if I’m not mistaken and the whole range used to look like the Rocky mountains of the West. As you drive through these mountains, you’ll quickly notice the beauty of what appear to be rolling green and lush hills, except they are not hills at all. A closer inspection will prove that you are in fact in the mountains and that they are not just hills of dirt but that these mountains are made of stone and granite. The trees grow straight out of the rock at extreme angles to support themselves and the roots appear to go straight into the rock. Massive boulders litter the countless number of streams and rivers throughout this mountain range, their edges softened by countless number of years of running water. We rode through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest almost exclusively through Virginia. It is a beautiful and lush state, and I think my favorite state in this wonderful and beautiful country.