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Fun day in Lynchburg and Roanoke on Wednesday…

December 2, 2005, 1:21 AM

I got a late start, but things still went well. When I go to Lynchburg, I usually take a back way – 610 to 664 (Mt. Torrey Road), which changes to Delphine Avenue when you hit the Waynesboro city limits. Then I take I-64 to Charlottesville and then take US 29 south to Lynchburg.

This time, I did things differently – partly by choice, and partly by necessity. I intended on taking Route 610 to 664 and then to US 250 over the mountain, and then follow Route 6 to US 29 near the Nelson County Wayside. I was on a bit of a no-interstates thing on Wednesday. No interstates (except for the dash back home from Roanoke), and nothing controlled-access, either.

The by-necessity change started on Route 610, which was impassable due to the flooding from the day before. Unlike the people in their pickup trucks, my van with its low ground clearance wouldn’t stand a chance if I crossed the water. I think I’d more likely be dead in the water. Visions of June 5, 2004 came to mind, when I hit a large puddle coming off an exit ramp, which caused the car to strain at 25 mph. Thankfully in that case, I was already at the end of my trip, and had less than a mile to go, so I just limped into the parking garage at Vienna and parked. This time, it was at the beginning of my trip, and would have wrecked the trip if I’d had that happen again. So I turned around and took an alternate route. I ended up taking US 340 into Waynesboro like I would take to go to work, went past Wal-Mart, down Main Street, and then up the mountain via US 250.

And I filled up for $1.95 a gallon at the Sunoco on US 250 way the heck on the east side of Waynesboro. Compare that to the Afton Mountain Convenience Store which was selling it for $2.19 a gallon. And yes, I do hunt for the cheapest gas in town and then soak it up. Of course, I usually encounter a station a few cents cheaper just after filling up, but that’s besides the point…

Route 6 was something new for me. I’d never ridden Route 6 before, but knew it connected with US 29 based on maps. Not a bad drive, though. It’s very windy with tight curves coming down the mountain, but after that it straightens out and is a really good drive.

Then at Amherst, I switched to the business route to hit the town. After Amherst, I discovered that US 29 had changed somewhat. It used to be the case that 29 business merged back into mainline 29 after Amherst. Now, the bypass route continued on beyond Amherst to Lynchburg as mainline 29. So I took the new exit to continue on what is now business 29. Fine. Took that through Madison Heights, and then discovered another change at the end of Madison Heights. The signage changed, and so, confused, I went beyond my regular exit and took the next one which said “To US 29”. I did ultimately get back on Business 29 to go right into Lynchburg.

In Lynchburg, I bypassed downtown, as this was going to be mostly a drive-through. I stopped at River Ridge Mall, where the River Ridge Express was running, decked out for Christmas. I first discussed the River Ridge Express here. This time, I double-checked about the third rail (the center rail is the “third rail”), and also learned something else – the first two cars are both powered, while the third car is an unpowered trailer. And the contact with the third rail appears to be only on the front car, as the second car is plugged into the first car. Intriguing…

After that, I said hello to Steve at the Wal-Mart in Lynchburg. Steve, you may recall is the co-manager over there, and was an assistant manager at our store before that.

Then, I changed from 29 to US 460 to Roanoke for what I consider one of the duller parts of the trip. Making it to Roanoke, I headed up to the Roanoke Star and did some photography up there. My emphasis was on vertical photos, with the front-page photo feature in mind. Photos taken horizontally and then cropped to be vertical rarely work.

At 11:00, the park closed, and so I went to gas up and go. I bought a gift card at the Wal-Mart by Valley View Mall, and filled up for $1.83 per gallon at the Murphy USA station. Then I went to Sheetz on Peters Creek Road for some grub, and I was off.

I took I-81 back up, because by this time in the trip (it was past midnight), I’m just like, the hell with the scenery.

I did, however, have to grab some winks on the way home, since I was starting to get a little swervy. I don’t just do a roadside nap. I don’t consider that safe. I always make sure to nap at a business open and staffed 24 hours. And with my doors locked. That’s important.

And after a quick 30-minute nap, it was back home for me. Yaaaaaaay. Then I could take the big nap – in other words, sleep.

I like these trips, but due to the late start, I was constantly like, “Oh, look at the time”, and thus didn’t get to linger as much as I’d like anywhere, particularly at the star, where I would have loved to have stayed for at least another hour. Next time, I’m getting an earlier start…

Web site: Wikipedia article on the Roanoke Star. I started the article by creating a stub, and also supplied the picture. Then others filled in the rest.

Song: "Lost Me Cookie at the Disco", which I had in my head all day on Wednesday...

Quote: "I need your opinion..." - Me to others on the star, getting their opinion on a photo I took that I was on the fence about.