#77 Going To Asheville RTE

June 8, 2007
565 miles
Going To Asheville RTE
Day 1

I left the house at 9am and then realized that I forgot my cell phone at 9:20am. Returned home. Left the house again at 10am. Headed south on I95 toward Richmond. The plan is to be in Asheville, North Carolina tomorrow morning. On the way, I make a few of the VA Tour stops. Most of my riding today will be on minor and medium roads across the southern part of Virginia. Hard to tell from this angle, but this is/was a ballpark. Really. I can prove it!

See. There's the sign!

And right next door...the old, closed down gas station/grocery store.
The old gas pumps still show the price per gallon the last time they were pumped...


and 64.9 ¢
This is a single lane bridge over the Banister River as you enter into Halifax, Virginia.
There is a traffic light on each end of the bridge allowing traffic to take turns using the bridge.
Riding around the back roads, I see many small log buildings set close to the road without anything else nearby. I don't know how many of these I saw before I realized I had no idea what they were used for. Didn't seem right that they were regular barns or houses.
So I "thunk" on it as I rode along. Riding Fleeter is always good "thinking time." A hundred miles later or so I came up with an answer.
I think it's the right one. But if anyone wants to correct my thinking...feel free to "set me right."
Sorry there's only these pictures. I didn't start taking pictures until I had it figured out. (If I'm right.) When I took note of the flues on top, I came up with my answer. They made me think of the old smoke house where we smoked jerky and sausage when I was growing up. It was my job to restart the fire for good "smoke" each morning and evening.
I think they are old tobacco drying barns. That's why they are out in or near the fields, but close to the roads. They don't look like they are being used much anymore.
So I put this thought with my other mystery I was "thinking on" as I rolled on the miles.
What are these buildings? Not the stock trailer...that I know!
The long metal building with flues...and something that looks like a huge kiln?
I decided that they must be the modern-day equivalent to the old Tobacco Smoke Barns.

It was rather warm today. I learned something about GPS Jill. I knew that when it's sunny, she shows a shining sun icon in the weather menu, but I didn't know that when it's REALLY HOT she shows a maxed out red thermometer icon. I guess this icon is triggered when the heat index gets to 100 degrees. It was warm, but not as bad as Texas in August. My mesh riding gear makes it bearable. I also rolled up a slice of a synthetic car chamois inside my bandana, wet it down, and tied it around my neck. This keeps my neck cool for several hours. It helps that as the day goes on I am getting closer to the mountains...and cooler weather!

This is an example of some of the back roads I traveled today.
Some of those roads that Jill knows about that you don't find on State Transportation maps.

Single lane, no center stripe.

US40 has some very nice twists... This was my favorite stretch of road today...at least the best one that I got a picture of.
Along US58 I stopped at a pullout for a quick photo-op. This was close to where US58 intersects with the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I played touch and go with a storm the rest of the evening. I lucked out and didn't have any rain...only wet roads where the rain had passed that way just minutes before I came through.

My hope was to make it to Morganton, NC for the night. That would be about dark (or a little after) and one hour out of Asheville. Wasn't meant to be though. I got there, but all the motels were booked up...graduation, family reunions, weddings. It was about 9pm...I called 20 miles ahead and had them hold the last available room at the Super 8 in Marion. It's all good...now I'm just 40 minutes from Asheville. Means I can sleep in tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow: ASHEVILLE RTE 11:30am at Texas Roadhouse

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