Riding in Roanoke

We got up early and rode on the Greenway to downtown for morning coffee. Cups is a favorite of Billie and JD. There’s a tall shelf where regular customers can leave their own cup. Coffee is ordered by cup size: A, B, or C. Get it?
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The Roanoke Greenway is about half completed with about 35 miles of paved trail. image image We stopped at Black Dog Salvage (of DIY Network’s Salvage Dawgs fame) to look around. image This is one of Thais’s favorite kinds of stores and she would love this one, it’s huge and things are organized and well-presented. image
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Yes, there is a black dog. image In the evening we went to Hits for ice cream and to listen to the Flaky Biscuits play. Billie works with Jeff (second from the left) who learned to play the guitar just 5 years ago. image A local college student played the hammer dulcimer – beautiful sound. image The Roanoke star on the hill above – the world’s largest fre-standing illuminated man-made star built in 1949. It’s 88.5 feet tall and is made from 2000 feet of neon tubing. image
Miles = 16

Day 2 on the Greenbrier

We spent the night at a motel in Marlinton where there was NO cell service because we were in the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000-square-mile area of eastern W Virginia. Why? The Green Bank Telescope is the largest moving structure on Earth, fully steerable to peer into deep space and collect radio emissions. It has a reflecting surface of 2.3 acres. Radio stations, cell phone towers, and wifi might interfere with reception so are not allowed.

We drove to Renick this morning and started riding AFTER the rain stopped.
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It was just Donna, Billie and me this morning. One 15-year-old bottom was too sore today. JD drove to Caldwell, our ending point and rode toward us until we met up. The rain left the trail perfect for message-making.
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Wild mountain laurel.
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Ready to bloom.
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Miles = 21

Greenbrier River Trail

We got up early, loaded the bikes and gear and drove to Marlinton, W Virginia, about 2 hours away.
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The Greenbrier River Trail is 78 miles long and covers some of the most remote areas of WV. Because of the crushed limestone surface, today I rode a mountain bike (my first time) – most noticeable difference was the loud noise the tires make. We rode upriver with a 1% grade (no complaining about climbing today).
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JD and Rickey were ahead but stopped and shouted to ride to the left side (tail end) of this copperhead.
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Moments later we saw 3 deer fording the river and heard dogs barking at a black bear up a tree. The welcome-to-WV sign says WV is “wild and wonderful.” Yup.

A 299 ft-long bridge leads up to the Sharp’s Tunnel built in 1900.
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The view from the bridge.
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Lunch in Clover Lick then we headed back. No lights in Sharp’s Tunnel,
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and there are rocks big enough to cause an spill, so walking was the smart thing to do.

Miles = 30

Settling in

Today, Billie made gluten-free English muffins – a first for me.
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Delicious!
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I didn’t bring my whole bike, just pedals, shoes, helmet, and mirror. Billie arranged for TWO bikes for me to ride depending on the riding surface. JD swapped out the pedals and got the bikes ready for tomorrow’s adventure.
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We went to dinner at The Home Place in Catawba. On the weekends or when Virginia Tech has graduation, it could take 2 hours to get a table. The placemat explains why and the food is really good.
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L-R: JD, Billie, Rickey (Billie’s 15-year-old grandson), Jackie and Herb (JD’s brother).
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To Virginia

Sacramento – Las Vegas – Chicago – Charlotte NC. This is what you get when you select the cheapest ticket available. It also means there are more opportunities for flight delays, so I arrived in Charlotte at 1:20 am. Thank you Billie and JD for driving from Roanoke to pick me up.image
Going home is Charlotte – Houston – Portland – Sacramento. Almost a nationwide tour.

Ambrosia Cafe

Downtown Sacramento,image
Ambrosia Cafe for a late lunch
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with Dave and Phyl.
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Lunch was good, but our main purpose was to look at the art exhibit recently installed. The artist, Kathy Dakan, fulfilled a lifelong dream to present 20 years of collected (mostly) pen-and-ink pointillism drawings. I first met Kathy and husband Glenn at Westside School when I taught her two older children, Shane and Tyrah.
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