Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Sailing Read

This is that time of year when vacations happen, even to me, and I find myself away from Key West, traveling or better, I hope, wandering. Thus it is, because this blog is a series of apparently endless photos of what I see around me, the pictures at the moment are concerned with places other than the Florida Keys. Which makes a pleasant change for me, and I hope for you. If not, take heart, when you are at home under a cover of snow the pictures here will be of the Keys regularly once more, and a lot sooner than that as my vacation time runneth out.

In the meantime permit me to draw your attention to an essay, filled with photos, in a blog of which I am rather fond, which is unfortunately too rarely updated to qualify as "regular." I find that great a pity but this story of unbelievable boating derring-do is a nice reminder for me that soon I hope my own skiff will be back in the water running properly this year as against last year's horrible engine failures. Christopher Shepherd is a novice sailor of immense enthusiasm whose unflappable optimism gave me the creeps as I read his astonishing tale of unlikely and perfect boat deliveries. To imagine navigating a shallow water bay by flashlight on the first day of boat ownership after 12 solid hours out on the park a boat up a Big Pine canal cut off by shallows in the sure and full expectation of future sailing adventures, take the breath away of an old sailing fart like myself. Stories of sailing into refrigerators (as my wife and I called the square wind waves that kicked our boat's ass for hundreds of miles in Central America) and bouncing up Hawk Channel remind me why I no longer am crazy about sailing. Too much motoring in poor conditions put me off sailing after years of determined struggle. I hope you enjoy this improbable tale as much as I did:

Tuggle's Gap, Virginia

The restaurant and motel like to be known as part of the Crooked Road Trail celebrating bluegrass music but their better known location is Milepost 162 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The restaurant is well known among motorcyclists, not least for something called Tuggles Gap Pie which consists of pastry filled with chocolate custard nuts and syrup.

The menu is basic in a casual atmosphere,

...and riders gather here in summer mostly and on weekends. I came by to eat breakfast on a day I craved oatmeal ($3.50) but it was hot so I chose a granola and yoghurt sundae for five bucks:

Supping it up with a long handled spoon made me feel like a kid again! It put me in mind of a knickerbocker glory which if you don't know what that is Wikipedia is your friend.

On a sunny day it looks pretty enough.

And the motel charges $51 for two with ten bucks extra for a pet which I like. Cheyenne might too.

Virginia funk is the theme.

But it is for sale, which seems ominous.

According to the literature the place opened in 1938 to serve the Parkway which was being built and the need for places to eat and sleep was starting to be felt.

Up the Parkway a couple of miles I came across two slightly unusual touring motorcycles.

I am not going out on a limb and figure put if this actually is a 69S but it looked to be in excellent condition and ready to tour.

The other machine was equally interesting to me, a Yamaha 250 which reminded me of the SR500 I once used to own.

They were I suppose an odd couple but in terms of performance I figure they must be reasonably similar.

What a great way to ride the Parkway.

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