|US 219 South – Allegheny National Forest, PA|
Laura and I missed our trip to visit parents in San Miguel de Allende in February. Our little parrot Joey became sick and is nearing the end of his years. We made an adjustment in our plans. Laura had a business trip booked for Orlando in May and my riding bug was getting hatched as Toronto morphed into spring. A few text messages exchanged with Andrew and I had a riding partner lined up.
|Andrew on one of the many overlooks – Skyline Parkway|
Here was the plan; Three-day ride to Daytona Beach followed by three days on the beach (pick Laura up from the airport in Orlando) and then a three-day ride back to pick up Joey from birdy sleep-away camp. The ride included the Shenandoah Skyline Parkway as well as the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
|Blue Ridge Parkway|
Kickstands were up at 6:30 in the morning and we headed out of Toronto towards our first night in Front Royal, Virgina. With no border wait and sunny skies, we began to remove excess layers in New York State. By the time we had ventured through the Allegheny National Forest, I was in my cut and riding shirt. Overnight in Front Royal and a 28-degree temperature saw us eating the world’s best burgers outside on the patio of Spelunkers.
|Cyclists on Skyline Parkway|
Early the next morning we were on the road for 7. Aeropress coffee and some oatmeal to fuel the twisties that lay ahead. Front Royal sits nicely at the beginning of the Shenandoah National Park and gave us quick access to the Skyway. 116 miles of turns along a ridge line that goes from 1500 feet to almost 4000. Beautiful vistas at every hairpin. Spring foliage was full up until the 3000-foot level where trees had just begun to bud.
|North Entrance to Blue Ridge Parkway|
Andrew and I continued to beak at each other on our headsets with increasing gratitude. The turns became more natural and we weaved in and out of cycle groups with little or no motorized traffic. For the most part, having beaten the tourists who will arrive later in the summer months, we had the parks to ourselves.
|Laura on Daytona Beach at sunrise|
The next stop was Statesville, North Carolina. We had now passed through New York, Pennsylvania, West Virgina, Maryland, Virgina and North Carolina. Some Barbeque and unsweet tea for dinner and we hit the pillows. We had a long haul of interstate highway travel to make Daytona Beach by 3 pm on Saturday.
We were on the road with full tanks of gas heading south at 7:30. North Carolina, South Carolina and through Georgia to Florida. We covered more than 500 miles and arrived at the Daytona Beach Resort & Conference Center by 3:15! Bananas, water and a pack of beef jerky got us in on time. Unpacked, a quick dip in the pool, and some groceries from Publix before I headed 70 miles down to Orlando to pick Laura. Everything went according to plan and we have had a beautiful three days on the beach here in Daytona. Tomorrow morning we head out. A short detour south to drop Laura off at the conference in Orlando and then turn north for home. Weather looks a little suspect as we make our return, but we have had quite a run so far and cannot complain.