Up early and on the road and heading to Virginia. We were stopping in Virginia for a few days to say with family. There was no way we were getting onto an Interstate today so we rolled down 15 from Gettysburg and were going to go through one of our favorite towns in Virginia, Leesburg.
Leesburg, Virginia is a small quaint town that brings back many fond memories of our courting days. Randy and I had become friends over a period of time and once in a while he would ask me if I would like to take a ride with him on his motorcycle one day. I always said yes. One Saturday mid-morning he called and asked, “Would you like to go for a ride today?” I said yes and asked, “When do I have to be ready and he replied, “In about forty-five minutes”. YIKES! I thought but said okay.
I put on my best Liz Claiborne girly jeans, a burgundy scoop neck shirt, flowered vest; knee hi’s and flats. Flats you say? Well, I did not own any boots and my tennis shoes were a mess from working in the garden the day before. I thought I looked great thank you very much. When I opened the door Randy just stood there looking at my shoes it made me feel very uncomfortable but he didn’t say anything we just headed for the bike. He had a helmet for me to wear that was at least a size too big but Virginia is a helmet state so on it went.
I had not ridden a motorcycle since I was eighteen years old and was a little nervous and it only got worse once we were out on the road. I absolutely could not deal with all the cars and trucks that were whizzing by darting in and out of traffic sometimes without turn signals. I couldn’t let Randy know that I was about to throw up into my helmet so I decided to focus on one side of the bike and at eye level thinking that would help.
Every so often Randy would point something out along the road and ask my opinion about it and I would say things like, “Interesting, Very nice” and agree with whatever he was saying. Of course, I never looked at anything he pointed to and prayed he wouldn’t see that I never moved my head. I was also having trouble keeping my shoes on my feet. I finally understood why he gave me such a look when I opened the door. I should have worn tennis shoes even if they were a mess. I couldn’t have that! All I could think was that I was such a dork and how embarrassing it would be if I lost my shoes somewhere on Rt. 15.
The plan for the afternoon was to attend a Civil War reenactment and then go for a bite to eat. We arrived at the reenactment and met his friend Ross and his wife June. We made small talk while watching the reenactment and then a suggestion was made to go to lunch.
Randy’s suggestion for lunch was to go to Payne’s Biker Bar in Leesburg. I walked in and the first thing that hit me was how dark the interior was. I can see the inside of the bar as though it was yesterday. To my immediate right was a glass-covered counter that contained T-shirts for Payne’s mostly black. To my left was a jukebox blaring Vietnam era rock and roll. Down the center of the bar were sets of tables and on the right against the wall were very tall booths that comfortably fit four people. Further back in the room was a long bar where a number of burly looking bikers sat drinking beer, watching a ballgame and having what could only be called a lively conversation with the bartender. At the very back of this very long room were, I think, two pool tables.
I thought it was interesting that the bar was located directly across the street from the Court House and jail. This irony was not lost on the owner of the bar as the motto on his tee shirts had a picture of a very burly looking man behind bars with the words, “Better Off Here Than Across The Street”. Randy and I still wear ours on many rides.
We sat ourselves and eventually the bartender shouted across the room, “Do you want menus?” We said yes and she brought us some menus. As I remember the menu was not very long there were foods like burgers, fries, chili and a few other items that I cannot remember. Randy and I ordered burgers and fries and if I remember correctly Ross ordered chili. I can’t remember what June ordered.
The burgers were actually very good. They were medium-well and juicy. The burgers came with lettuce and tomato I had to ask for mayonnaise. The fries were crisp on the outside and soft inside and very tasty. There were no napkins instead there was a roll of paper towels at the end of the table on a wooden spool. We needed quite a few to deal with the juices from the burgers.
I am normally very quiet when I meet people for the first time but that did not seem to be a problem as Ross dominated the conversation. He was actually very entertaining. One of his stories was about how much he loved to cook especially with his new Wok and how free he felt when cooking nude. Trust me when I tell you this was not a picture I needed while having lunch.
All during lunch Randy would look over at me nervously worried what I was thinking. To tell the truth it did not bother me at all. I found June and Ross to be good company just a little odd.
Over the years Randy and I frequented Payne’s often mostly during the lunch hour. However, one day we decided to go for an early morning ride in that direction so stopped at Payne’s to have breakfast. When the waitress came over we started to order eggs, bacon and the like and she just stood there looking at us like we were from another planet and said, “We don’t serve breakfast food if you want something to eat we can make you a burger.” So, Randy and I looked at each other along with the others we were riding with and thought okay then we’ll have burgers. Very funny!!
I had heard that the bar had closed and then reopened as the Downtown Saloon and became a bit touristy and yuppie. But by the time we heard that we had both retired and were busy trying to relocate and so never visited again before moving to Florida. While doing this blog I came across an article written 2008 for the Virginia Wind that talked about the change give it a read. So, if any of you readers find yourselves in Leesburg, Virginia stop in Payne’s and let me know how it looks and what’s on the menu!!!!!!!
Well I survived all the funny jokes about my shoes over time and Randy got over his embarrasment of his friend’s nude cooking story and from that first ride we have enjoyed sixteen more years of riding together and it gets better all the time.
We are going to take a few days off to visit with family in Virginia but will be back on the road Tuesday. Keep reading…