Category: Southern Tour 2012

Space, The Final Frontier – These are the Voyages of the Fuzzship Tigerprise

Space, The Final Frontier – These are the Voyages of the Fuzzship Tigerprise

At first glance –  you see this picture of my (lovely if I do say so myself) Tiger and think Okay, it another picture of her (lovely if you do say so yourself) Tiger. But look closer, my darling.

County Road 66 Green Bank Telescope


Green Bank Telescope Farm


Green Bank Radio Telescope

That is the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory across the valley. It kind of looks like it just fell out of space into that bucolic setting, doesn’t it?

Apparently it is the largest of its kind. It spans 100 meters across the dish.

Now, if you’re metrically challenged – like me – you have no idea what that means. But, thanks to the little elves that tirelessly work inside my computer, I can break it down for you. That’s 328 feet across. Or in layman’s terms: f’n huge.

Little old me in a big world
Little old me in a big world

I’ve seen the telescope a couple times before when coming across WV66. Even so, there is a sense of amazement each time. On the approach out of the mountains I am immediately reminded of the movie Contact with Jodie Foster, specifically that first moment that you get a glimpse of the machine that was built. Not because the telescope looks like it but because it gives that same strange juxtaposition of something tremendous and inherently man made in a pristine natural setting where it seems that it doesn’t belong.

It is one part startling, one part fascinating, one part beautiful, one part curious. And one part unsettling. Okay, that may be a couple parts too many but we’ve already established that I’m not so good with the maths.

It’s just beautiful.

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Beware – It’s The Devils Road!

Beware – It’s The Devils Road!

I finally spotted one of the 666 routes. This one was in Virginia:

Virginia Route 666

I have this other photo of the route sign that I wasn’t originally going to post. I kinda sorta realized that the way I shot the pic makes it look like it’s pointing at Kenny like Kenny is devil. But then I realized if I only told you about the pic it wouldn’t be the same. So…
Sorry, babe!

Virginia Route 666

I moseyed on over to The Google Maps to find VA Route 666. Imagine my surprise when I found nothing more than a stick and an arrow. The 666 sign is not visible.

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Maybe it was a ghost sign? You know, like one of those phantom hitchhikers found in scary stories? The sign only appears to lure in curious travelers. But when the nosey Roseys get too close to it someone lunks ’em on the head with a rolling pin and evil flying monkeys swoop in to carry them away to the Netherworld.

Flying monkeys are always bad news.

According to the all-knowing-ish Wikipedia, there are a few states (and countries) that have routes with the number of the beast like ~ Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. I’m sure there are others. Does your state have one?

Some Other Devil Roads:

Day 7: Mixed Nuts and a Reformed Jackass on the Loose in West Virginia

Day 7: Mixed Nuts and a Reformed Jackass on the Loose in West Virginia

IBeautiful west virginiaf you’ve been playing along at home then you may recall that I’ve noted that Kenny isn’t the most observant guy in the world, what with that whole failure to notice goats on the roof incident and all. As it turns out, he seems to have a teensy weensy problem with not picking up on the fuzz when they’re afoot, too.

But you can understand that, can’t you? It can be difficult to notice the big block letters on the sides of their cars that say things like “POLICE” or “SHERIFF.”

And I’ve always said that the flashing lights on the roofs of their cars just seem to blend in with the scenery. You could be looking at Grandpappy’s Crown Vic or a slightly agitated town cop. Who can know?

Powers of observation be damned, we had luck on our side when we rolled out for our day’s ride. Whizzing past a Sheriff at seventyblahblahmph and not having him flip on the lights is a great start to a ride. I quickly dialed back the throttle and set the cruise control to Grandma mode. That was enough fun for 10 minutes.

When I mentioned to Kenny how lucky we were for not getting snagged, he said he never saw the cop. 
😕 😆

Cruising along on 33

My friend the donkey

I am a Reformed Jackass. Mostly.

There was a time in my life when I rode like a complete idiot – always wanting to go faster, faster, faster. Those days are long gone.

If you would have told 25 year old me that I would enjoy poking around at 50mph looking at waterfalls and mountains and meeting roadside donkeys just as much as being a menace, I would have said you were crazy. And probably mocked you for being old. But here I am, walking that line of being the “old person” I would have mocked back then.

As it turned out, I managed to learn many valuable lessons without hurting myself or anyone else. For that I am most thankful. Could I ride with my hair on fire if I wanted to? Maybe. But these days I’m now a proud member of the “I’ll meet you at at the next turn” club.

Our group of friends and riders from here on Long Island is affectionately called The Mixed Nuts, because we’re such an eclectic bunch of weirdos.

When it comes to riding, within the group there are some tortoises and some hares. Because we’ve known each other for years now the dynamic is very natural and it is easy to manage everyones expectations. They are usually – be safe & have fun. My dudes are easy to work with.

In many ways it almost seems like when we all hook up and ride – we’re riding alone, but together. There is plenty of mutual respect, there are no “rules” outside of don’t be an asshole, and there is no pushing to go faster or to do anything you don’t want to. If people want to cluster together and have at it – they do. If others want to string out  and do their own thing, that’s fine too. Meet ya at the next turn.

Doing your own thing…together with my friends The Mixed Nuts. It’s perfect for me.

mixed nuts

Our ride plan for the day didn’t involve many miles but they were quality miles. West Virginia has excellent riding. We were just going to ladder around a square of the big WV, have  lunch and then be back in Elkins in the early evening for beer and pizza. A little Rt 33, a little Smoke Hole Rd., a little Rt 250, a couple connectors and gravels roads thrown in for good measure.

It was a perfect plan that we executed beautifully. And to top it all off, we couldn’t have ordered better weather from a catalog.

Beautiful west virginia backroad

More Posts from the Trip:

Snapshot: Southern Trip Souvenirs

Snapshot: Southern Trip Souvenirs

Road Souvenirs

Aside from the memories and photos that I take home from any trip, along the way I pick up postcards, brochures, stickers and name-specific “junk” and shove it in my bag as I go.

My friend Ally recently asked her blog readers if they were sentimental about objects. And I guess you could put a tick in the Yes column for me. These little bits of paper bring a smile to my face every time that I pull them out and get to remember that time when…

This is what I found in was in my Macbook sleeve:

Fisherman’s Grotto – San Francisco
Grandfather Mountain (4)
Mount Mitchell
The Shoe House
Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum

The Snake 421
BRP Oval
Grandfather Mountain (2)
BRP Stunt Motorcyclist
Mount Mitchell

Hotel Tomo – San Francisco
Comfort Inn — Franklin, NC
Mount Mitchell
Sleep Inn Free Rubber Duck note – Waynesboro, Va.
Grandfather Mountain
Helne, Ga.

Hotel Room Key from somewhere in California
Hotel Pad – Sleep Inn
Shoe House Magnet
Hotel Pad – Best Western
Printed Map of Blowing Rock, NC.

How About You?

Are you a sentimental packrat?

Roadside Snapshot: The Big Little Apple of Thaxton, Virginia

Roadside Snapshot: The Big Little Apple of Thaxton, Virginia

With only a single bar left on the gas gauges, Kenny and I hopped off of the Blue Ridge Parkway in search of gas. After a few stabs at the screen, we followed the GPS over hill and dale to what seemed like the middle of nowhere. We popped out of a rambling farm road next to a major roadway in the town of Thaxton, Virginia.

menfolk at work

While Kenny tended to menfolks work (lifting heavy objects, pumping gas, paying for things), I went off to do much more important lady things like gathering nuts and fruit.

Thaxton Virginia Giant Apple

Considering I found a giant little apple on a stick, one might argue that I was clearly better at doing my job. Look at the size of it! The gas pumps he found were just regular sized.

While Kenny was busy doing his job (which I will grade as poorly due to regular sized pumps) I also briefly thought about trying to get inside of the apple ride next to Lowly Worm.

Richard Scarry Lowly Worm Ride

But then I wisely reconsidered as visions of having the fire department come with the jaws of life to extract me flitted through my mind.

It was probably best to not kill my husband of just a few weeks with sheer embarrassment. See how considerate I am? You’re welcome, babe!