So off we went down the road, past the small towns, and open fields, to visit long unseen relations...
( Latecommers: The adventure begins here.)
We pass properties with lakes on them, and even one with a small island in the middle, with an American Flag planted on it, on Highway 122.
The last picture, in Chapter 4, was taken along Highway 460, which is about as close to an actual freeway one will see this far from Roanoke, and we see homes a lot closer together for a while.
As we drive along, mile after mile, of 2 lane, hilly, winding roads, along the way to 460, and even later in the journey, we pass some of what I came to call mini-plantations.
Along every main road, and side road, are places like my Uncles, large, and small, and even huge, full-blown, plantations, with Cows, Horses, and other animals, and crops.
Instead of mobile homes there were single, and two-story, wooden or brick, homes, and everywhere the ever-present pockets of forest.
We came across the occasional 2 or 4-corner intersection with stoplights, and pockets of business spread out for a block, or two, in all directions, and the occasional roadside diner, solitary used car dealer, gas station, and motel (or, um, ree-sort!)
One isolated intersection had the stoplights hanging from what I can only describe as a "clothesline", strung out, diagonally, over the road, between 2 poles!
After picking up the cousin not seen since her, and her family visited Ca. a decade before, at the Little Apple Store, we lit out on Kelso Mill Rd., and the narrow, forested, backroads return with a vengeance, with farms, and other large plots spread out along the way.
This is a narrow journey into the backcountry. ;-D
Two-lane blacktops with barely enough room for a bicyclist to pedal along the side of the road!
Hilly, winding, narrow, often isolated, often surrounded by forest, and nothing but the sights, and sounds of nature in all its glory, the cyclist, or hiker, can lose him, or herself, in solitary reverie, as they take a leisurely journey of exploration far from the man-made noise, and congestion, of big city, or even suburban, life.
During my stay in Virginia I found myself practically drooling at the all the great cycling opportunities, and wishing I could have indulged myself.
As we come to the Blue Ridge Parkway we approach the campground at Peaks of Otter Lake (Click on this and the following picture, to enlarge.) we encounter enough Deer to feed a, well, um, to take pretty pictures of, hee, hee!
Yup, I got out of the car, and crept as close as I dared, then zoomed my camera in for the shots you see here.
Bambi, and friends, couldn't give a Thumper's Ass about me, and just continued with whatever they were doing. ;-D
It was amazing!
From here the Blue Ridge heads south across the state, or north, 28 miles, to Roanoke, and is a very popular scenic Bike Ride, from one end of the state to the other.
After my Wild Kingdom Moment it was time to move on.
There are lots of valleys, and agricultural farmland out here in this part of the Appalachias, and even a rock quarry.
More forest surrounds you, as you travel through the region, and you realize that it wasn't until the advent of the car that paved roads even ventured in to many of these here parts.
Armys, Union, and Confederate, traipsed around these fields, and hollers, taking potshots at one another, and before that there was the Revolution, doncha know!
It is rather humbling to ponder that some of the greatest names in the founding of this nation once walked, and rode horseback, where I now travel.
For a person like me the one drawback to living this far from the 'burbs, and the big city, is the lack of Mass Transit.
If you don't have a car then the bicycle is the way to go, just be aware of the distance involved to towns, and to big cities, and get home before dark, even if you have lights on your ride, because there is virtually no lighting along most narrow roads, and the weather can suddenly complicate your life, at a moments notice, as things cloud up, get windy, and rain, or snow.
When we came to the Porter Mountain Overlook (Cool, interactive, view of the Overlook!), in the Goose Creek Valley region, at 2100 ft., we stop to take some pictures, one of me alone, and one with my Uncle and Aunt.
I even see a car with two bicycles mounted on the roof!
We finally come to Buchanan, and arrive at the home of my Aunt Nina, the 1st wife of my Uncle.
That is where the next chapter will take up...tomorrow. ;-D