It was HOT in Winston-Salem, but COOLER at High Meadows Country Club! After a Diet Coke on the porch and watching a few golfers tee off, we packed a picnic lunch and bikes then headed for the Parkway. Our cycling maps came from Road Cycling The Blue Ridge High Country by Tim Murphy and our warm up ride was A Ride in the Sky: The Doughton Park Tour. It’s a 36 mile ride (towards Doughton Park). We did 15 and that was plenty for day one! Instead of riding to Bluff’s Coffee Shop, we drove there afterwards! Our son Richard was with us and I believe his youthfulness kept us peddling. We had to keep peddling; the camp counselors would soon be on break!
If you have never ridden a bike in the mountains, note….it’s a lot of agony with a few moments of ecstasy! Not REALLY agony, but at times…..I wondered. The good moments really are fabulous and the views are spectacular. At one point my speedometer hit 36 mph and I used to think 25 mph was fast! Thrilling to say the least for this 48 year old!
Ride two was a tour of Glade Valley: The “Lost Province" Loop. Young Richard had gone back to work, while Ricky and I took on this 33-34 mile ride. It was by far, my favorite ride of the week. We learned a lesson on this one- when writing directions; include State Road numbers if available. Bryan Road is really Dewitt, but always SR 1113. And…. Mahogany Rock Road is UP TO the Parkway. REALLY UP. No picnic this time, but we did share an apple, sunflower seeds, propel and zip fizz.
Ride three was “Fountain of Youth: The Shatley Springs Tour.” I THOUGHT this 32 mile ride would be my favorite. How can you beat ending with lunch at Shatley Springs? The first 8 miles were fabulous and I could have ridden forever. The last 8……oh my! Why I thought Chestnut Hill Road would stay flat by the river is beyond me…..I think I can….I think I can…..and did I mention “turn left/right at the BOTTOM of the hill”….no one wants to stop at the bottom! Had we done this one first, I may not have ridden again all week. We had to skip lunch....our camp counselors would soon be on break!
We ate well all week. Mostly seafood we had purchased from The Shrimp Connection near Winston-Salem, but one night we had a delicious Italian meal at Nikola’s. We have passed it for many years on the way to Camp Cheerio, but never stopped. I am glad we did!
Our last day was spent using our arms! Again, we packed a picnic, rented five kayaks and paddled our way up the New River . This river is one of the few that flows north! Ricky and I had debated about putting in on our own or using an outfitter. During lunch in West Jefferson at Black Jack’s Pub and Grill, the waitress suggested Zaloo’s Canoes and we took the “easy” route! Just know that the river is NOT as crowded at the parking lot!
P.S. Other people had cell phone coverage AND internet connections! It depends on your cell phone company.