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What a wonderful two days off I had, and now back to the salt mines…

July 15, 2005, 5:35 PM

Wednesday and Thursday were such wonderful days off. I ran some errands, ran around a bit, and also got a lot of work done on the computer.

On Wednesday, I spent much of the day out. I first went to the RadioShack store in Waynesboro to return that RF switch that I ended up not needing to hook up my Super Nintendo. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the switch that was the problem, but rather where along the line I was hooking it up. So no problem. The Super Nintendo works, and I got my thirteen bucks back.

Then I went over to Staunton. Since the Harley-Davidson shop moved to its new location in Staunton, I’d heard a lot about it. Add to that the fact that they had their first annual “Rally in the Valley” about a month or so ago, and that generated a bit more buzz about it. So I went over to take a look. Now I’d never been to the old Harley place when it was in Waynesboro, so I had nothing to compare this to. Still, I was favorably impressed, even though biker stuff isn’t exactly my thing. First of all, the sense of space really gets you. The place is huge. And that’s not even the whole place. That’s just the main salesfloor. And on the salesfloor, there are bikes on display, there are sections for parts and accessories for one’s motorcycle, sections for men’s, women’s, and kids’ apparel, a section for shoes, a section with hats, helmets, sunglasses, and goggles, and even more. Then on the other side of the building, there’s a service area, and a well-appointed waiting area for people whose bikes are being serviced. And then outside the building, down a hill, is a course for people to take on their motorcycles. With it being down a hill from the main building, it makes for a great viewing area. As I said, I was favorably impressed with the place, even with biker stuff not being my thing. The place is very high-visibility (it rises high above the VA 262 loop), but actually getting to it is a little weird, since you have to go south on US 11, turn left onto Rolling Thunder Lane, which is almost right after you get onto Route 11. Then Rolling Thunder Lane is a longish, slightly-curving road with the Harley place looming up at the end.

And what tickled me the most was the sign as you go out warning people of the possibility of unmarked police cars in the vicinity. We don’t want anyone to get a ticket, now.

After that, I headed out for a drive. I went to Lexington, with the main goal being to get some distance so as to take a ride back up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I also used it as a good reason to get my Pac-Man fix, stopping at the Wal-Mart down there with the expressed mission of pumping some quarters into that machine. I used the easter egg to get regular Pac-Man (up, up, up, down, down, down, left, right, left, right, left at the start screen). I had fun. The only thing I have problems with is that kids frequent the game room as well, and when the ghosts finally do get me, I tend to accidentally let out a four-letter word. I usually am quiet about it, but still, we don’t want to corrupt the children’s virgin ears with my profane language. I need to mind myself. Still, my goal for my next visit is 348,000 points. Currently, the high score is 347,000-something, and I want to top that next time I go. If I can really keep my concentration, it’s very doable. The thing to remember is that there is not a big Wal-Mart store there with me. There are no other people there with me. It’s just me and the Pac-Man machine. We’ll even forget for a moment that Galaga comes in that machine as well. Just me, Pac-Man, and Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde (NOT Sue).

So after Pac-Man, I got on US 60, and headed over to the Parkway via Buena Vista. Buena Vista is a town that I want to explore a little more than I have. I want to explore it mainly to see if I can pull a photo set or something from it. I’ve never been downtown there. So we’ll see. Lexington is one place where I want to photograph downtown, since their downtown is gorgeous.

As I was leaving Wal-Mart in Lexington, it was already really clouding up. By the time I got to Buena Vista, it was starting to do lightning as well. Now before you start to say, “Not again”, this story doesn’t end with my being at the traffic circle in Amherst. But while in Buena Vista, I did contemplate turning back because of inclement weather. I figured if I wanted to turn around, I could turn back any time in Buena Vista, or at the entrance to the Parkway itself. I went through Buena Vista without stopping. I also passed the last turning point before starting up the mountain, which I consider a point-of-no-return, so to speak. And Route 60 up the mountain is a windy little road. Lots of sharp curves that you don’t want to take at high speeds. Meanwhile, occasional lightning. No rain.

I made it up to the parkway, where I was getting decent conditions. No wind and no rain, but some periodic lightning. So I decided to take the Parkway back up. Now taking the Parkway is what I truly consider the point-of-no-return, since from the Parkway, the next access that I know how to navigate from isn’t for thirty miles, a few miles south of Humpback Rocks. And once on the Parkway, turning back becomes unfavorable, since that means backtracking, going farther away to get closer.

I had varying weather conditions on the Parkway. I had heavy rain. I had light rain. I had no rain. I had clear conditions. I had light fog. I had thick fog. I had lightning. I had no lightning. It really varied. The easiest was obviously no fog and no rain. Lightning didn’t bother me too much. The rain I could handle. What got me was the fog, specifically the really thick fog. I was driving like 10 mph through those sections of the Parkway, and thinking the whole time, please let this fog dissipate. I ended up not turning off at my usual turn-off, which is the road with a sign indicating that it goes to Sherando Lake (this road turns into Mt. Torrey Road later on). I decided that the back way down the mountain would be a wee bit too much fun, so I instead continued all the way to Afton, in the process going past such landmarks as The Priest, Raven’s Roost, Greenstone Overlook, and Humpback Rocks, before reaching Rockfish Gap at the end of the Parkway and where I-64 and US 250 cross Afton Mountain. I took I-64 down the mountain, into Waynesboro, and then took 340 back home like I was going home from work. It was a bit longer that way than taking Mt. Torrey Road, but it is a lot straighter, and thus less tricky in less-than-pleasant weather.

Then on Thursday, I spent the time working on an update to my Transit Center site. I spent the day putting my logo bug on all the images. But that update is now ready to go, and I’ll put it up as soon as the connection goes back up (it’s been down since Wednesday, and I’m writing this entry offline in Notepad). I also separated the photos for Malcolm X Park, and downtown Lynchburg and Bedford. I still need to scan all the photos that I found during my closet-cleaning spree.

Web site: Shenandoah Harley-Davidson - the Harley place.

Song: Super Mario Brothers 2 Theme

Quote: "Thick fog... not fun..."