I recently spent an excellent week riding with friends in perfect weather. We stayed in a cabin in Luray, VA, rode Skyline Drive in Shenandoah NP from end to end, and rode all around the scenic Shenandoah valley. A great trip!--but nowhere near the original plan.
The plan-which had been out there for a long time- was to trailer our three bikes, my NH 750, Jerry's Triumph Bonneville, and Brian's BMW R65, up to Nova Scotia from Virginia, and then camp and ride. The plan was in effect until a few days before the planned August 22 start, when it became obvious that the weather for our non-trailering 5 days was probably going to be very wet.
So Plan B was loosely hatched: New Hampshire. The weather looked better there and we'd have a much smaller travel investment going from Virginia to NH rather than NS, should we be laid up with some bad days. So Brian procured the trailer, hooked it up to his SUV, and drove up to northern Virginia from Charlottesville, where Jerry and I loaded our bikes and we all took off on Saturday evening.
Plan B remained in effect for about 3 1/2 more hours, at which time Brian's car's transmission burned out spectacularly, leaving us near Myerstown, Pennsylvania. By about midnight we had the trailer towed to a motel and the car towed to a local transmission shop. We would be there until Monday because nothing could be done on Sunday. So the next day, we replaced my broken brake line (I'll file that story some time under "Trailer loading hijinks"), unloaded the bikes and spent most of Sunday riding around some beautiful Pennsylvania countryside, getting down to Mt. Gretna, over to Hershey, and up to Fort Indiantown Gap in the process. We were feeling good at this point to have a nice riding day in the middle of the wreckage of the trip.
Plan C was born Monday morning, once we looked at the weather for the Luray area, where Brian had a cabin, and figured out how to get the trailer back to its home base. We rented a UHaul truck for this and then towed the trailer back to Charlottesville, stayed there a night, and ditched the rentals Tuesday morning. With just the bikes now and under blue skies, we rode the spectacular 74 miles of Skyline Drive from Rockfish Gap in the south to Thornton Gap to get to Luray.
The rest of Plan C was to ride around the Shenandoah valley every day and to finish the northern section of Skyline. All was done and enjoyed. I'm afraid a lot of the map specifics run together in my mind, but I can say that Fort Valley is well worth riding through, as is the road that goes through Orkney Springs. And Camp Roosevelt Road over some of the Massanutten range was always fun. This wasn't a high mileage trip--about 700 miles in all--but beautiful weather, excellent friends, and fun and scenic roads made it a great one.
Jerry, Brian, and me at a Shenandoah valley overlook
The bikes chilling at the Rodeway in Myerstown