New Orleans to Canada: Day 3-Hickory NC to Woodridge VA

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ May 19, 2013/ BMW R1200RT, General Rants & Raves About Riding, New Orleans to Canada 2013, Touring/ 0 comments

Date: May 19th, 2013

Departure TIme:10:00am

Arrival Time:7:35pm

Miles Covered: 390

Another day of rain lies ahead… We made the decision to simply ride directly to Lorton, VA rather than trying to take in additional scenic routes. Suited up immediately for the day of rainy riding ahead.

As the forecast suggested, today was a virtual washout. We decided to suit up prior to hitting the road this morning in anticipation of the days foul weather. Our bikes overnighted in the elements because the owner of the hotel was not “biker friendly…” Note to self, look for a courtyard Marriot next time.

Within a few moments of our prayer for safe transit today, the pissing rain began, literally, as we sat under the awning just after straddling our trusty steeds, so loud and steady that the audible confirmation was more convincing than the visual. It rained…. and continued to rain, and the rain turned into fog, then dense fog and rain!

The worst of the fog and rain seemed to be on the mountains leading into Waynesboro. Traffic was heavy, cagers were careless and not driving in a manner required by the weather conditions, and I was on point… This was not as bad on yesterdays trip through the Blue Ridge Parkway, however, the pace was faster, and the congestion was pretty heavy. Fortunately for me, the rest of our group let me take lead to set the pace that I was comfortable with. The higher elevations had visibility of approximately 50-100 feet… That, in my estimation would equate to 3-5 white hash lines on the interstate at 35-40mph.

As we descended through the mountain pass, the fog lifted, but the rain remained our constant companion. We encountered heavy traffic due to a few breakdowns on the side of the road and the subsequent rubbernecking that accompanies that repulsive behavior. We were at a complete stand still on I-81 and determined that it was time for a break. We took the next exit, and all that was available was a McDonalds. We all agreed that this was an appropriate place for us to deposit our waste with the rest of the refuse that flows from its doors, but not for lunch.

(funny sidebar… We were all still suited up in our rain gear… so that makes for a very fun potty break. Partial access to the, uh, necessary areas, and we were all done. I mention this because we were all (except for Matt for some reason…) suffering from a bad case of wet seats. Matt was walking out of the mens room when I told him I was going to try to dry my rain gear out a bit… Conveniently located near the exit door was one of those handy hot air hand dryers… you do the math… My rain suit, which is water tight, meaning mostly air tight as well, blew up like a balloon.) We had a good laugh.

We pushed to the next few exits looking for a decent place to eat and we decided on Cracker Barrel again. Trent was in the lead at this point and took us on a bit of a wild goose chase. We made a u-turn instead of a left turn and we were back on the the interstate, going in the wrong direction… 5 miles, a few u-turns and left turns later, and we were comfortable seated in the Cracker Barrel sipping on some iced tea and out of the rain.

After lunch, we were greeted with a brief reprieve from the rain… perhaps 5 miles. Then as we crossed into another mountain range, the fog and rain resumed its relentless assault on our trip…

Following the Garmin to our preselected destination led us to a magnificent country road. After a few miles of this hilly, twisty road and the good Lord blessed us with a break in the rain, some sun, and dry roads. This road is one I would love to revisit at some point as we rode through numerous revolutionary and civil war sites of historic significance. The weather warmed up to the mid 70’s and we were all reminded of why we were on this trip in the first place.

Heavy moving traffic, brought us past Quantico (I thought this was a fictional place just in the program Criminal minds, but it is a real place.) and ultimately to our final destination for the day. Another Marriot Courtyard. Clean and freshly remodeled rooms, and a super friendly desk clerk named Katie that enthusiastically told us that our bikes were more than welcomed to overnight under the canopy!… Thanks Katie for the hospitality and for the great dinner recommendation of Famous Dave’s BBQ.

Funny story at dinner: Last night, Randall tried the “satan spit” BBQ sauce at the restaurant and his face turned red like a beet. Matt McWilliams was eating the same sauce and he looked at Randall and asked “what’s the matter?” The waitress rushed him over another iced tea to put the fire out…

Tomorrow, we meet up with the rest of our crew and head out towards DC, Delaware, and we should end up in Lancaster PA.






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