2016 Virginia Bus Roadeo

Dad’s on the committee for the Virginia Bus Roadeo (I can’t seem to find information about it online) and I met him in Harrisonburg last year to help some. I had such a good time that I asked him to let me know when he knew about the one for this year. This year it was in Hampton and the weather was so nice that we rode down.

Friday, we left after Dad got out of work. We hit traffic in Richmond and I spent the weekend complaining about it, but I didn’t realize how easy the trip down was until we went home. But I’ll tell you about that later. The traffic made it impossible for us to get dinner until after the meetings Dad had to go to. Unlike last year, though, we weren’t up until super late trying to get buses set up for the following day, which was nice.

The maintenance teams spent Saturday in classes/training, while the operators spent the day taking a practice run through the obstacle course and doing a pre-trip inspection test (doing their usual pre-trip inspection to check for defects in the bus before they go out for their route). We set up these two buses on Saturday morning and Dad needed a better assistant. The first time I read the papers, I thought there were supposed to be five defects, but there were actually supposed to be eight, so we had to scramble to get the last three before people started trying to do their tests. We finally got that sorted out and spent the rest of the day sending drivers through the buses and checking their lists (making sure we understood their notes, mostly). That was fun. And exhausting. Which was a good thing since the time change was Sunday morning and we had to be up early for another day.

Sunday, the maintenance teams had their tests (they inspect the bus like the drivers do, but much more thoroughly and they have a written test), but Dad and I spent the day watching one of the obstacles (the last one) for the obstacle course. The last three obstacles were a passenger pickup (stop next to the curb and the distance was measured), a diminishing lane with a minimum speed, and a stop where the driver was to be within a certain distance of the obstacle. I don’t know if the last two obstacles can be separated. Anyway, it was kind of fun because the barrels for the diminishing lane were bumped pretty frequently and it was usually more than one, so I’d hear “thump, thump, thump” as the bus picked up speed to meet the minimum before I had to go and measure the distance between the bumper of the bus and the obstacle cone. Right behind us was a pair of reverses. And I think I learned something I can use for parking my own vehicles, so that was cool.

We knew there was a chance of rain on Sunday, but we accepted that when we rode down. What we weren’t prepared for were the huge number of accidents just between Hampton and Williamsburg. Traffic was at a standstill for long enough that our bikes were getting really hot, so we had to pull off under an overpass to let them cool off before we could go again. When we took off, we had to stop at the next exit to get oil for Dad’s bike and we were both pretty miserable. We tried to take another route to get home, but it was a toll road and we didn’t have the cash for it, so we had to go back to the interstate. Which was clear for about two miles before we hit another backup. We, fortunately, didn’t have to stop again, but we were glad to get around Williamsburg. It started to rain a little before Richmond and didn’t let up until I got home, just before it was full dark. I was cold, wet, tired, and miserable. When I texted Dad to let him know I was home he said he hadn’t made it yet because his bike was acting up. Fortunately, his friend was on his way to get Dad and I’m so grateful for that.

March/April pictures


Motorcycle Fork Work

Last year, the right fork tube on my motorcycle stopped working right (if there’s a technical term for what you see above, I don’t know it). For those of you who don’t know, the gap should be the same all the way around the tube. Things have been busy, but Dad and I finally got time to start working on it.

We got as far as completely disassembling the bike, but when I left Monday, the tubes needed to be pulled apart so they can be reassembled with some new pieces. I’m really excited about getting my bike back on the road – Tony’s is nice, but mine just fits.

Covered Bridge Tour – Sunday

Sunday we went for breakfast at Gillie’s in Blacksburg. The food was good and we got there just in time. We had about a five minute wait and by the time we left, I would guess the wait was at least 20 minutes. They were waiting 20 minutes for breakfast….

After breakfast, we drove up to Newport, where Clover Hollow Bridge is. This particular bridge seemed to be really well cared for and I think it might have been my favorite stop on the whole trip.

After our stop at Clover Hollow, we took 42 up to 311 at New Castle. We stopped for a break and a group of more than 10 bikes stopped. It was a really interesting group in that there were Harleys as well as sport bikes and metric cruisers. I was bummed that there wasn’t a single woman riding her own though. I asked Dad if he thought the guy on the R1 would let me borrow his bike for a little while if I asked. While Dad said he thought the guy might (joking, I’m sure), I don’t figure he would have. Not like I had the nerve to do it anyway.

We meandered down to Paint Bank, where we’d been told there was good food. We weren’t hungry, but we stopped to look around. The buildings around there are well-maintained and Dad found a caboose to photograph. It was a nice stop, but we didn’t stay long. We were on our way to the bridge that I was most excited to see: Humpback Bridge (we’d heard it was closed, but we went to see what was what anyway).

When we got to Humpback Bridge, near Covington, we saw that it was accessible insofar as we could walk up toward the bridge and we could view it, but we couldn’t walk through it. That was okay with me, although who wouldn’t rather go to a picturesque place and not have all kinds of equipment in the way of the photos?

Humpback was the most touristy of the bridges we saw on the trip. There seemed to be a pretty steady stream of visitors. There weren’t a lot of people there, but it was a more than at the other stops (a couple of people stopped at one of the bridges we saw, but we were leaving at that point, so I don’t really count them).

After Humpback, we decided we were ready to go home. The trip was a lot more relaxing than the trip to North Carolina and I think we kind of wanted to keep that feeling, rather than pushing for more, more, more. We stopped for lunch at Penny’s Diner (which is, apparently, a chain…oops) in Clifton Forge. Dad’s lunch was good (our meals got mixed up and we didn’t notice until too late to switch), mine was not what I was expecting.

I have to say, we had great roads and awesome weather both days. Mountain roads are probably my favorite for riding. I’m not interested in tearing up the pavement, but I really enjoy some good corners at a reasonable speed.

Route and more pictures.

Covered Bridge Tour – Saturday

This past weekend, we (Dad, his friend, and I) took another short trip, this time to look at covered bridges. According to VDOT, there are only five that are on public property.

I met Dad and his friend at Piedmont and we took 20 south. We had lunch in Bedford (same place we had dinner on the way home last time). It was just as good as the last time. After lunch, we went in search of covered bridges. The ride from Rocky Mount to Woolwine was amazing. It wasn’t as intense as the Dragon, but it was fun (if you want to compare for yourself: Dragon v. 40).

This is from the Bob White Bridge. In my opinion, it was the nicer of the two we saw on Saturday. It was hot enough that the water under the bridge was really tempting. If not for all the gear, I would have been looking for a way to get in without falling in.

After stopping at Jack’s Creek Bridge, we rode up to Blacksburg, where we stopped for the night. The lady who checked us in told us about a few places to eat and also warned us that traffic might be complicated because of Steppin’ Out. We figured that might be something fun to do, so we headed downtown to see what the deal was. It didn’t take us long to figure out that wasn’t really our scene and we went looking for dinner.

We went to dinner at Bull and Bones. I don’t think it’s on our list of things to do again. They brew their own root beer, but it felt like they were going for a really subtle flavor and I thought it was a little too subtle. It grew on me as I drank it, but it it was never something I would be in a hurry to go back for. Dad had a steak that was really good, but Dad’s friend and I weren’t really all that impressed with our dinners. So, apparently Bull and Bones is good for steak and not much else.