Ironman Triathlon in Coeur d’ Alene. Idaho 2014

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Being a tourist before the Ironman

This past June we traveled to the Ironman Triathlon in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho to see our daughter Katie and son-in-law Ben run in the Triathlon. This was our first time to be in Coeur d’ Alene and it won’t be our last. The city of Coeur d’ Alene is named for the lake it is on. The lake is beautiful and is surround by scenic mountains with beautiful sun sets and sun rises. Coeur d’Alene is surrounded by dozens of lakes left by the glaciers of the Ice Age. Lake Coeur d’Alene is more scenic and offers many activities in and around the lake. We were impressed not only with the scenery of Coeur d’ Alene and the surrounding area but the people were some of the friendliest people we have met on any of our travels.

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Katie getting ready for the 2.4 mile swim

Travel, Ironman Triathlon, Coeur d’ Alene Idaho

Ben and Katie on the 26.2 mile (i.e. A marathon) run.

Ironman Coeur d’Alene started in 2003 and is held each year on the fourth Sunday in June. Triathletes start their day with a 2.4-mile (3.9 km) swim in Lake Coeur d’Alene, followed by a 112-mile (180 km) bike ride and finish with a 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run for a total of 140.6 miles (226.1 km). The city is a gracious host and made us as well as the triathletes feel welcome. The weather for this year’s triathlon couldn’t have been better. The weather was partly cloudy, with mild temperatures and a slight wind. The wind was probably the most problematic for the triathletes. This was the second Ironman for Ben this year. Ben will do two other Ironman’s later this summer. I don’t have a clue how he or anyone else can do one much less, four in one summer.

Ben and Katie stayed together for the race and finished together. This was the first time they had done this and they said it made the race that more enjoyable. Katie had a problem with her bike on the bike ride. She was glad Ben was there to help get her back on her way. This was our first time to see them do an Ironman. The beautiful location, the people of Coeur d’ Alene and the great weather all made for a good time. Janet and I look forward to doing it again.

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The end of a perfect day…

More pictures and video… Below is a video I put together of Ben and Katie’s race.

For more information about Ben and Katie’s races and what it takes to be a triathlete checkout their website here.  www.TriFit-XT.com

The Days I Ride My Motorcycle

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The days I ride…

The Days I Ride My Motorcycle… Feel free to copy this image or share this post if you feel the same…

Have you ever driven passed a road many times and wondered where it went, never venturing beyond that thought? When traveling by motorcycle it seems that you always make the turn and travel that road, not knowing where it may lead. That’s the allure of riding. It is always an adventure. You are out there in the elements, feeling the sun, wind, heat, cold, rain and smelling all the smells along the way. Spring flowers, food cooking, rain in the distance etc. all the out-door smells… yes, skunks, dead animals etc. too. Some of the most beautiful scenery we have experienced has been while traveling by motorcycle. Over the years we have taken many motorcycle trips. Friends have asked that we share these trips with everyone who may be interested. Thus the start of this blog. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do sharing it with y’all.

Before you go you may want checkout our “Motorcycle Touring Logs”.

I hope we see you on the road somewhere… Ride safe…

Heading Home – Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride June 2014

We have spent the last couple of days here at Larry and Jo’s resting up before heading back home to Texas. It’s been awhile since we have made it out to visit Larry and Jo. We always enjoy visiting them. It is like a sanctuary for Janet and me. Larry and Jo live on Sand Mountain (actually it’s a plateau) in Bryant, AL.  Their home could easily be found in the pages of Southern Living Magazine.  Larry and I have been friends since we were stationed together at Brooks AFB (1969 – 1971). Even though we don’t see each other regularly you would think we did. That’s only because we live 900 miles apart.  When we do get together, we sometimes revert back to some of the craziness of our younger days. Hopefully we will be back soon…

Ride Day 8

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Day 8 ride route map

Today is the 8th ride day of our Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride. The plan is to ride 584 miles to Shreveport, LA. Heavy rain was forecasted on our route. We hope we do not encounter rain like the rain when we rode out.

Our route today will take us 138 miles down I-59 to Birmingham, AL. At Birmingham, we pick up I-20 and ride 452 miles to Shreveport, LA.

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Crossing the Mississippi River into Louisiana

Over the years we have traveled this route many times. It seems that most of the trips through Mississippi have been made in the rain. Today we managed to make it through Mississippi without rain… but as we crossed over into Louisiana we could see very dark rain clouds on the horizon. Yes, we were going to ride in heavy rain again. We just hoped it would be brief. When we rode into the weather front we hit a wall of strong wind and heavy rain. We did not expect the strong wind that came with the rain. It was so strong it almost blew us into the other traffic lane. We decided to get off the freeway and find some shelter. I saw an over-pass ahead that would fit the bill. A car had the same idea and pulled under before we got there.  So we started looking for an exit. By the time we reached an exit the wind had died down and the rain had let up. We rode on and eventually rode out of the rain. As we rode we saw a lot of wind damage. Trees were down with tree limbs and other debris littering the side of the freeway. We thought about stopping early but with the worst behind us we rode on and made our way to Shreveport for the night. We were tired and we are ready for a good night’s sleep.

Ride Day 9

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Day 9 ride route map

It rained on and off through the night and the bike was soaked so I took my time wiping it down. We have only 304 miles to ride to get home. The morning was cool and the sun was shining and it looked to be a good riding day. 20 miles and we will be back in Texas. After yesterday’s ride Janet and I are ready to get home and relax and return to normal… The ride home was blue skies with a few puffy white clouds. The temperature climbed as the day progressed but not too warm. It was a good riding day… and good to be home. It was good to have finally got to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway after several years of planning.

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Back in Texas heading home

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Almost home… Back in Texas

We had a great time on our ride. You may want to check out the other days of our ride by clicking on the links below.

Below is my first my first attempt at making a video of our ride. Have a look. It condenses the ride down to 9:13 minutes…

 

 

Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride June 2014 Ride Day 7

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Ride Day 7 route map

Today is the seventh day of our Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride. We rode the last leg of the Parkway yesterday. Today’s ride is just 149 miles down  I-81  where we will pick up  US 11 to Athens, TN to visit the Mayfield Dairy… to get ice cream of course.

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Rolling down I-81 to Athens, TN

It was another good riding day, a bright sunny cool day warming as the day progressed.  No clouds and no signs of the rain forecasted the day before.

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Taiwan Tour Group

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Picture Opt for Taiwan tour group

We made a pit stop at a rest stop on I-81. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by a group of tourist from Taiwan. They were fascinated by our bikes and their size. Bikes are much smaller and used mostly for commuting in Taiwan. Like most people we meet, they wanted to know where we were from, where we had been and where we were going. They wanted to sit on the bikes and have their pictures taken. It was good fun for all. I gave them my blog card and told them to look for a post about our encounter. I would love to hear from them.

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Rolling down US 11 to Mayfield Dairy

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Mayfield Dairy

Back on I-81… We picked up US 11 to the Mayfield Dairy visitor’s center. Our main purpose in visiting was the ice cream. Larry C. never passes up a chance to eat ice cream. Larry can spot every ice cream shop along our route… No one complains when Larry suggests an ice cream stop…  We didn’t do the tour of the processing plant today. We have all been on the tour before but it is worth your time and the kids will love it. Oh, did I mention the ice cream?

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Countryside rolling down US 11

From the Mayfield Dairy, it was back on I-81 to Chattanooga. There we hit a wall of heavy traffic from rush hour and I think there may have been an accident too. By that time the temperature had risen and made the stop and go traffic less enjoyable. It took forever to make our way through the Chattanooga rush hour traffic.  Once through Chattanooga it was a short ride to Larry and Jo’s where we spent a couple of days before heading back to Texas.

We had a great time on our ride. You may want to check out the other days of our ride by clicking on the links below.

Below is my first my first attempt at making a video of our ride. Have a look. It condenses the ride down to 9:13 minutes…

Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride June 2014 Ride Day 6

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Today’s Blue Ridge Parkway route map

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Getting back on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Today is the 4th leg of our Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle ride. We are riding from Roanoke, VA to the end of the Parkway at Waynesborro, VA. Just 121 miles along the scenic Parkway before getting on I-81 and heading back to Larry and Jo’s in Bryant, AL. We aren’t sure how far we will get today. We are winging it today. We have changed our plans and cutting our ride by one day due to severe weather forecast along our original route.

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Looking off the Parkway to the Valley below

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Rolling down the Parkway…

Today is overcast with rain threatening all along our route to Waynesborro. We were in and out of our rain gear all day but we managed to avoid the rain except for a little mist and sprinkles. The sun did manage to peek through the clouds from time to time to highlight the valleys below the Parkway.

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Arnold Valley below on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Another awesome vistas… on The Blue Ridge Parkway…

The last leg of our Parkway ride is as good as the earlier days rides. We took our time as we rode these last 121 miles of the parkway. We stopped a few  times for photo opts at many of the pullouts. Words don’t do the Parkway justice, pictures can’t catch all there is to see. The only way to experience the Parkway is to be there and the best way to “be there” is on a motorcycle. On a motorcycle you experience all the elements, feeling the sun, wind, heat, cold, rain and smelling all the smells along the way. Spring flowers, rain in the distance etc. all the out-door smells… yes, skunks, dead animals etc. too. Motorcycle is the best way to experience the Parkway…

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Rolling down the Blue Ridge Parkway…

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Graphic on the GPS of the twists and turns on the Blue Ridge Parkway as we ride….

For those of you who haven’t been following along on our ride, you may be asking why we are here.  As I said in a earlier post, the parkway’s sweeping curves and awesome vistas are a few reasons why motorcyclist ride the Blue Ridge Parkway each year. The Parkway’s reputation is one of the best roads in the U. S. Drivers and riders are lured to the Parkway by the scenic overlooks, picnic sites, camping and lodging opportunities and the nearby attractions and accommodations.

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One of the many pullouts along the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Larry C. getting a better look at Rock Point Overlook

If you are considering a motorcycle ride along the Parkway, you must be aware of safety and laws. Riders are required to wear a helmet. The maximum speed limit along the Parkway is 45 miles per hour and in places as slow as 25 miles per hour. Riders should lookout for deer and other animals and loose gravel.

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One last look off the Blue Ridge Parkway to the valley below…

It is sad to say we have reached the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a great ride and one we must do again but next time let’s ride it from north to south… There was much to see but because of time we were unable to see it all… Yet another reason to come back…

Once we reached Waynesborro, we jumped on I-81 and rode 300 miles south to Morristown, TN. This part of the ride was unplanned because of the weather.  Tomorrow we ride 190 miles to Larry and Jo’s. See you tomorrow…

We had a great time on our ride. You may want to check out the other days of our ride by clicking on the links below.

Below is my first my first attempt at making a video of our ride. Have a look. It condenses the ride down to 9:13 minutes…

Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride June 2014 Ride Day 5

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Mt. Airy, NC to Roanoke, VA via the Blue Ridge Parkway

Today is the 3rd leg of our Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle ride. We are riding from Mount Airy, NC to Roanoke, VA. Just 101 miles along the scenic Parkway…

Since we enjoyed our meal at the Rock City Diner last night we decided to give their breakfast a try. It was a good choice.

James had to cut his ride with us short because of business back home. We said our good-byes. James was new to our riding group but fit in with all of us. James said to let him know of any future rides to the Big Bend National Park or anywhere out west. We are looking forward to that.

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Statue of Andy Griffith and Ron Howard (Opie) in Mt. Airy, NC

Mount Airy was the hometown of the late Andy Griffith. We couldn’t pass up the chance to see the Andy Griffith Museum, the replica of the Mayberry courthouse, Andy Griffith’s boyhood home and Wally’s Service Station.

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Photo opt. at the Andy Griffith Museum

Our first stop was the Andy Griffith Museum at 218 Rockford St..  The museum has hundreds of pieces from the life and career of Andy Griffith. Former cast members from the TV show have donated many pieces to the  museum. Admission is just $3.00 and includes Surry Arts Council exhibits, the Siamese Twins, Old-Time Music Heritage Hall at the Historic Earle Theatre and the “Mayberry to Mount Airy” Photo Exhibit

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Mayberry Courthouse replica in Mt. Airy

The Mayberry Courthouse and Wally’s Service Station is within walking distance. It was early and it was still cool so we decided to walk off our breakfast.

The Mayberry Courthouse replica is at 625 S. Main St. It was like stepping into the Any Griffith TV show. I expected Barney or Otis to walk in at any moment and for Otis take his place in his cell. We all took our turn having our picture in the jail cells and sitting at Andy’s desk.

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Us at Wally’s Station in Mt. Airy

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Wally’s Station

Next door is Wally’s Service Station. Wally’s Service is an original service station was built in 1937. It was operated as a Gulf Station for several years and as a Esso station. I believe it was the service station which the TV filling station was based on… In the show it was Mayberry’s only known gas station and employed cousins Gomer Pyle and Goober…Wally’s has been restored and is registered in the Historic Sites of Mount Airy. It has a shop inside with unique Mayberry gifts, and is home to the popular Mayberry Squad Car Tours. We enjoyed visiting with the people who operated the shop and Squad Car Tours. They filled us in on tidbits of Mount Airy history, as well as little know stories about Andy and the show.

We walked back to the bikes at the museum and headed back to the Blue Ridge Parkway. On our way out-of-town we rode by Andy Griffith’s boyhood home at 711 E. Haymore St. The only way to see the home is stay there as a guest. Andy’s boyhood home is available for nightly rentals and is within walking distance from downtown Mount Airy. Check-in and reservations are made through the Mount Airy Hampton Inn.

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Rap’s Orchard Gap

Once back on the Parkway, our first stop was Rap’s Orchard Gap. Rap’s Orchard Gap is a 1950’s and 60’s style store, deli and entertainment destination. It is located at mile 193.5 near Fancy Gap, VA. It is a good pit stop for supplies, gas, snacks, food and souvenirs. The food is homemade deli style. The day we were there the menu was limited because supplies hadn’t been delivered.

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Lunch at Rap,s Orchard Gap

On Saturdays and Sundays, during the summer season, Rap’s has live music at the outdoor venue. There are also antique car and motorcycle shows.

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Puckett Cabin on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Our next stop was just 3 miles down the Parkway to the Puckett Cabin. John and Aunt Orelena Puckett lived in the one room cabin. Aunt Orelena was an amazing woman. She is known for helping with over a thousand births as a midwife. People would come from many miles away for Aunt Orelena to deliver their child. Aunt Orelena would stay with the mother and infant after the birth. Today, the cabin is a standing monument for Aunt Orelena Puckett.

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Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Mabry Mill

Our next fun stop is the Mabry Mill. We walked the paved self-guided trail.  Along the trail are demonstrations by historical interpreters. We watched a blacksmith and a demonstration about the making of ladder-back chairs. I really liked the mill. Particularly, the saw mill and the tools powered by the mill. The historical exhibits about life in rural Virginia took me back to a different time. I really loved the history.

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Ladder Back Chair making demostration

Come hungry, the Mabry Mill Restaurant is a great place to eat Virginia BBQ, buckwheat pancakes, sweet potato pancakes, cornmeal pancakes, country ham or a number of other delicious treats true to the history of the mill. The menu sounded good but we had already eaten. If you prefer to, you can also picnic. There are three large picnic areas surrounded by the beauty of the Parkway.

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Rolling down the Blue Ridge Parkway heading to Roanoke, VA

The rest of our ride was riding along the twist and turns of the Parkway and taking in all the scenic vistas while dodging the occasional deer.

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Deer on the Blue Ridge Parkway

After checking in at the motel we ate at the Mexican restaurant next door. The food was good but the service was horrible. It took forever to get our order and several of us didn’t get what we ordered…

Since we have been riding the Parkway, it has rained all around us.  Somehow we have been able to avoid the rain except for a few sprinkles. Our luck may have run out. Tonight a storm will be moving through the area. A storm with high winds, heavy rains with a possibility of tornadoes… For the next few days heavy rains are forecasted. We decided to change our plans and cut our trip short by one day. We will continue to the end of the Parkway and then headed back to Larry and Jo’s down I-81.

See y’all tomorrow…

We had a great time on our ride. You may want to check out the other days of our ride by clicking on the links below.

Below is my first my first attempt at making a video of our ride. Have a look. It condenses the ride down to 9:13 minutes…

Ride Day 4 Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride June 2014

 

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Today’s Blue Ridge Parkway Ride map

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Enjoying the many scenic Vistas on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Today is the second leg of our Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride. Today we are riding to Mount Airy, NC, just 190 miles via the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Though the miles are short there is much to see.

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One of the many tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Why are we here?  The parkway’s  sweeping curves and awesome vistas are a few reasons why motorcyclist ride the Blue Ridge Parkway each year. The Parkway’s reputation is one of the best roads in the U. S. Drivers and riders are lured to the Parkway by the scenic overlooks, picnic sites, camping and lodging opportunities and the nearby attractions and accommodations.

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Riding through some clouds at the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway

If you are considering a motorcycle ride along the Parkway, you  must be aware of safety and  laws. Riders are required to wear a helmet. The maximum speed limit along the Parkway is 45 miles per hour and in places as slow as 25 miles per hour. Riders should lookout for deer and other animals and loose gravel.

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Winding our way along the Blue Ridge Parkway

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I think this is Pinxter (Rhododendron nudiflorum). We saw many of these on our ride…

Rolling down the Blue Ridge Parkway

Rolling down the Blue Ridge Parkway

Our lunch stop was just a 53 mile ride with beautiful scenic vistas around every turn. The views off the Blue Ridge Parkway are beyond description. Although pictures do capture much of the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway, seeing it is the best and only way to truly experience the Parkway. The weather. was really nice. The temperatures were cool, sky mostly overcast with threats of possible rain showers . We donned the rain gear several times but the rain never materialized. The sun managed to shine through from time to time to high light the spectacular views in the distance.

 

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Lunch at the Switzerland Café and General Store

 

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Alfred & Jean, Larry C. & Jo, Larry T. and James Rolling along the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway also has many tunnels which added to the spectacular terrain of the Parkway as it twists and turns. Each turn revealing a new scenic vista, flowing stream or shaded tree covered setting.

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Taking it all in at one of the many pullouts on the Blue Ridge Parkway

There are so many photo opts on the Parkway. You can’t stop at all the pullouts or you will never get very far. Janet has gotten pretty good at what I call ride by shots. She got a lot of good shots as we rode by.

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Look for the mileage markers on West side of the Parkway. Not easy to see…

We ate a good lunch in Little Switzerland, NC at the Switzerland Café and General Store. The staff at the Café and store were friendly and helpful with information about the area.  There were other riders who stopped there and we visited with them and swapped stories about our rides. We had considered riding road 226A better known as the “Diamondback” but one rider had just came from there and said there was a lot of construction and many of the curves had  loose gravel in them from the construction and the rain. We decided to leave it to another time.  You might want to check the status of the road before you ride.

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Morgan our waitress and good sport at the Rock City Diner

From Little Switzerland it was just 129 miles to Mount Airy, NC. Much more beautiful scenic vistas all along the way.

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Riding down The Blue Ridge Parkway in June 2014

Once in Mount Airy, NC, we found our motel and after checking in decided to eat at the Rock City Diner. We were all tired, hungry and wanting to kick back. Morgan, our waitress, was a great sport and joined in with our corny jokes and put downs as we talked about our day’s ride and whatever else came up. Morgan was such a good sport I wrote a post just about our time at the Rock City Diner.

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Our home for the night, Mount Airy, NC

After we ate we gathered around the pool and swapped more stories about the day and days gone by. James was bringing up the rear for much of the ride and related this about the ride… James listened to the oldies as he rode. He said, it appeared as though the line of our motorcycles were dancing to the music as we rode the twists and turns of the Parkway. What a great way to end the day and this post.

Tomorrow we ride from Mount Airy, NC to Roanoke, VA. Just 101 miles after we take in the many sites here in Mount Airy,

Come follow a long as we ride more of the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy our ride and take in more of the beautiful scenery of the Parkway.

We had a great time on our ride. You may want to check out the other days of our ride by clicking on the links below.

For more pictures and video of our Blue Ridge Parkway ride…