Tuesday morning we headed out again for home but first we promised to take the grandchildren to McDonald’s for breakfast. Lots of hugs and kisses and then we were off again. We hopped from Rt. 66 to Rt. 81 to Rt. 581, then Rt. 220 and finally onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Randy and I have traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway many times and have never tired of it.
We decided that we would take it easy getting back home that we would do almost anything not to be on an Interstate for too long. The parkway never disappoints. It is just a lovely drive that extends from Waynesboro, Virginia down to Cherokee, North Carolina. We jumped on at Roanoke, Virginia.
Right off the bat we ran into a traffic jam I mean we came to a complete halt. Randy dismounted to see what was up and noticed some sweet pea flowers growing in the median. Sweetie pie that he is went over and picked on for me. Of course, as soon as a gust of wind came up from a passing truck it went flying down the road. Too funny!
The parkway is filled with beautiful hardwood, softwood trees, wildflowers and ferns. There are many large and small farms along the road. Many of the trees canopied over the road blissfully offering shade for an otherwise very hot day.
What I really like about this ribbon of road is the gentle twists and turns of the curves and the easy grades going up and down the mountain ridge. To me it is like being on a very gentle roller coaster. I just love every minute on the parkway!! Now if you go off the parkway then it is a different story. We had to take a detour because of tree work and the roads are very different going into and out some of the towns along the parkway.
One moment you are surrounded by these wonderful trees and then you emerge from the forest into a meadow where cattle and horses are grazing. Then the next time you emerge from the forest you and treated to vistas that take your breath away of beautiful mountains still covered with the morning clouds. Just beautiful!!! We were treated today with sightings of wild turkeys, turkey vultures and deer. Of course, none of which I captured on camera but that’s okay my mind’s eye remembers just fine.
One of our favorite stops on the parkway is Mabry Mill at milepost 176.1. They have demonatrations of basket weaving, spinning and weaving. In the fall they also make wonderful applebutter. Randy and I have had it and it is YUMMY!!
We stopped at several overlooks each one being at a different elevation. One of my favorites was Rocky Knob located at mile post 167-177 and is at an elevation of 2594.
Randy had decided that we would stop for the evening at Fancy Gap, Virginia along the parkway. We had stopped there before and I remembered that there was a very clean and comfortable Days Inn up on a hill where we stayed before. After a long ride it would be nice to sit on the little benches on top of the hill and watch the cars and trucks going to and fro on the parkway. What I had forgotten was the only way to get to a restaurant from the motel was to get back on the bike. Well, that wasn’t going to happen.
What I did remember was that at the bottom of the hill were two gas stations and the last time we stayed here that is where we ate dinner. Can you imagine eating dinner at a gas station? One was a BP and offered pretty much the same as most gas stations, snack foods and drinks. But they also offered pre-packaged sandwiches. I took one look at those sandwiches and knew I would go hungry before eating any of them.
The other gas station was a Citgo/Kangaroo Express combination. This is where we ate last time. Inside was a small cafeteria-style restaurant offering such things as BBQ sandwiches, Chicken Tenders, Meatloaf and Fried Chicken separately or as a dinner package. Randy chose the pulled chicken BBQ sandwich dinner with fries and a drink and I ordered the Chicken Tender (3) dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans and a drink. Both of our dinners combined cost less than $10.00, what a deal!
Armed with our plastic utensils and the food placed in a Styrofoam take out box we were ready to eat. The station actually had an eating area with a few tables and chairs. When we arrived there was only one table set up. The floor must have been uneven because I had to keep my foot on the pedestal to keep it from rocking.
The covering on the chicken tenders was a little tired. I think it had been in the covered warming counter a little long. However, the chicken was actually moist and tender and with a little honey mustard-dipping sauce was very good. The mashed potatoes tasted as though they were made from boxed potatoes. That surprised me, as it was a country store. They were a little dry but otherwise pretty good. The green beans were great. They were cooked as I have often done with a little Virginia baked ham. They had a wonderful smoky, salty flavor that brought back a lot of memories. Randy loves barbeque very much and said that the sandwiches he had ordered were among some of the best he had eaten.
Done with dinner we walked back up the hill for a good night’s rest. We decided to sit on one of the benches overlooking the gas stations and the parkway while planning tomorrow’s itinerary. While sitting there we noticed one truck after another pulling into the Citgo station and parking. One by one the drivers were heading into the Kangaroo express. I’m sure they were very happy to see that there would be a warm meal waiting for them after a long day on the highway.
Tomorrow we will finish our ride on the parkway. Not really sure where we will get off but we shall see. Keep reading.