The Fall Ride
Touring the Ohio Valley, West Virginia, and the Blue Ridge
Enjoying the color, roads, and people of a season.

After a long summer of being the model husband, my annual fall tour was much anticipated.  By July I could not wait for October to get here, and on a few sultry summer nights I was up late thinking of routes and objectives, planning for the cool, fall days up north, and the splendid color and roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

With no cross country ride this summer, I felt like I was under house arrest, but my family needed me home this year, and so it was.

I've been on the road every fall since 2000.  The Fall Ride is so ingrained into me, it is a part of my psyche.  I love everything about it.  When September rolls around my thoughts turn to Autumn.  The season doesn't count for much in most of Alabama, but north of the Mason Dixon Line it is a true happening.  As long as I'm able I plan to make my annual Fall Ride.

I treat Fall as New Years, not January 1.  It marks the end of riding season, and the start of football.  Holidays are a big thing for my family and when I return I feel ready to take them on.

With the absence of a cross country ride, the Fall Tour took on even more importance.  I needed to get out, ride, and once again feel the freedom of the road, and happy I was able to do that.

This tour follows the same formula of the past fall tours.  Several days of riding and exploring before dropping down to the Blue Ridge to hang out and ride with old and new friends from the ST family.

I first ventured north to Indiana, before riding east across Southern Ohio, and West Virginia, and landing in DC to visit family.

Never been through West Virginia west to east, so wanted to get that in.  I picked some really great roads through those states, including the Skyline Drive, and the forests and hills of the Ohio River Valley.  Leafs were peaking in those areas and the colors were outstanding.

In all my Falls of riding the Blue Ridge, this year was simply breathtaking.  I'd never seen more color anywhere.  The mountains were painted in lemons, orange and red.  I can't begin to describe how beautiful it was.  We had about 30 riders, and all concurred, even long time Blue Ridge rider Peter Menard said he'd never seen anything like it.

The weather was perfect.  It was the warmest I'd ever experienced in the Blue Ridge.  Night time temps in the 50s with low 70s in the day.  The mornings on the parkway were foggy and misty, but that was ok.  Part of it.  The weather gods were very nice to me this ride. 

Of course the riding in these mountains are the best in the east.  Nowhere else in this part of the country comes close.  Many thanks to Uncle Phil for organizing those rides.

Every tour has obstacles and setbacks to overcome, but they never seemed stop coming on this ride.  It started when my GPS touch pad died 2 days before the tour.  For almost 2 years I've been a GPS freak, now without it, I had to go back to maps and paper.   I had custom routed all my riding for the tour, and when my GPS died, I thought I could just write them down and proceed.  Big mistake.  I was lost in Indiana, Charleston, West Virginia, and Washington DC, and made several other bad turns.  I had no sense of direction.  I was really mad at Garmin.  I'll never go on another long ride without a GPS.

I was late getting on the road the first day because I slept late and lost my cell phone.  My low beam, PIAA light, and brakes lights all died mid trip, at different times. I dropped my helmet and broke the shield, and couldn't find air on the last day for my low rear tire, but none of that could diminish the quality of this ride, it was outstanding in everyway.  All those things were just small blips when compared to all the good I had on this tour.

One thing that wasn't minor was a new friend, riding 2 bikes behind me, being taken out by a deer in the Blue Ridge.

You'll read about all that in the pages of this journal.

I'm home now from the Fall Ride, my mind is free of clutter, and my sense of being sharpened.  My mood is tranquil and content, the ride is going in the books, that in itself makes it worthwhile.  Hope you enjoy the story

October 13, 2008
Coming soon Day 1!