Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monterey, Virginia.

Start a road trip with a view of falling waters at a place called Falling Spring, and pause to enjoy the views.

Like everything of historic importance in the Commonwealth, Thomas Jefferson, an early governor of the state, seemed to have his finger here in pursuit of preservation. Despite modern perceptions of his stance on government, Jefferson saw a strong role for gummint in the preservation of things of value for the Commonwealth. He didn't just sell out public wealth to his friends running mega corporations.

Destination Monterey, on an overcast day in southwest Virginia. Monterey in this case is not the former capital of the Golden State, nor is it the capital city of Nuevo Léon in the United States of México.

It is the seat of the most sparsely populated county in Virginia

For some reason they named it Highland County, possibly in deference to the line of rolling hills that separate it from the rest of the state to the east.

Thrift stores are away of life supporting assorted causes, in this case the local pound. Even here they have surplus of pets it seems. Neutering as a way of life is as far off as ever.

The architecture reminds me of the mansions seen in Key West.

And as pretty as the homes are you can get a lot more mansion for your money here, than at 24 degrees North.

Four bedrooms built in 1856 for an asking price of a quarter million. This one below isn't actually for sale.

This one isn't either, but I think you can rent a room for the night at the Highland Inn. Not in my plans but I bet the beds are comfy. Breakfast on the balcony anyone?

The anti-Monsanto movement is alive and well. I read somewhere that Brazilian peasant farmers have filed a six billion dollar class action suit against Monsanto and it's crop patents. Well, this isn't Brazil but they are fighting back:

And they like flowers around here too. Cheyenne was indifferent.

Ancient houses abound but perhaps this was a manufactured home trying to look cool. I know less about architecture than I do about plants and I am notoriously ill informed about botany. It's quite possible General Nathaniel Greene slept here. And as he died in 1786 that would make the house old. If he did sleep here. Which I doubt as I just made that up.

On the other hand Bucksnort Lane is located off Seldom Seen Road, and you know that's true because realtors don't joke about this stuff. I joke about it all the time. I'd love to see this address on my driver's license. Ninety grand sounds pretty lovely too.

The day was starting to deteriorate if your idea of good weather is blue skies and sunshine. Riding a motorcycle without rain gear in the saddlebags was starting to look like a challenge.

I was in a car with working windshield wipers so I was relaxed. This guy was too, even though he had ridden from New Hampshire on a Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport, one of the bikes on my short list for happiness. The Aprilia behind him is faster but I am too old for that kind of sport. Seeing exotic Italian bikes on the street reminded me I wasn't in Key West.

Though even here lumbering Harleys do fill in the spaces between Italian bikes on the roads. This lot were looking more prat-like than usual in their matching orange outfits.

It was jealousy at work as they were riding and I wasn't.

However a few miles up the divine US Highway 250 to Staunton, filled with curves and dips and tremendous fun on a motorcycle, I was jolly glad I was snug in a car.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Carvins Cove Nature Reserve

The thing about mountains is that they tend to push back the approach of tidal salt water. However that doesn't mean water views are banned.

Cheyenne sniffed a while and asked why things didn't pong of rotting seaweed.

People fish in these ponds and apparently they are far more risky than you might think looking at them. Cheyenne took hours to figure out these miles of instructions.

The used monofilament repository got lost en route to the Florida Keys and ended up here, much to my Yellow Labrador's surprise.

This sign pissed her off, on principle, as she doesn't like to swim.

We took off looking for adventure alongside this very dangerous body of inland water.

More very extensive instructions.

Things were busy growing, and some of the stuff looked more like something you might use to accessorize a plate of food.

Cheyenne was wondering where the houses and trash cans were.

Sailors used to sailing salt water dread lake sailing if they have any common sense. The ocean looks intimidating but winds and conditions tend to be more predictable than these nasty bodies of water surrounded by conflicting valleys and peaks.

Cheyenne found a body of water she could sit in and drink if she felt like it. She did like.

The lake is artificial and hides behind a dam that let's the water out when the people of Roanoke need a drink. Funnily enough a sign in the loo told users not to drink the water from the sink as the tap water was from the lake and thus not potable. Hmm. I wonder if the good people of Roanoke know that?

Dogs can't but ducks can? Is that fair?

Pretty, I thought, and serene.

I quite liked the woods too. Utterly unlike mangroves.

That's the point of a vacation, to see other stuff.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Backroad Virginia.

My wife goes to Europe next week to hang with a friend in Holland where dope smoking in public cafés will soon be outlawed for foreigners. Meanwhile I took Cheyenne on a road trip to see what mountains look like in Spring.

Virginia is known as horse country but in remote southwest Virginia bucolic little farms are connected by tiny winding well paved roads. I want to ride my Bonneville here, not walk my beloved dog.

A few commuters buzzed me as I took pictures but we were mostly alone in this wilderness on the road between Catawba and Blacksburg.

Abandoned buildings sink into the flourishing undergrowth.

Scattered farmsteads nestle among the rolling hills that remind me of my childhood in central Italy.

Everything was green and fresh and the air was cool and crisp.

This perfectly manicured lawn was attached to no building or home as far as I could see. It was like a movie set in the middle of nowhere.

I was entranced.

Everywhere I looked I saw scenes like this.

Houses are tucked in so deep they don't intrude, even these modern suburban boxes.

My massive set of wheels was dwarfed by the rolling fields spreading across the horizon.

A Key West sign warning the dim witted that collapsing old barns might be dangerous. Imagine that!

Dangerous for the unwary, but charming in the early morning light.

A promising start to the day.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Strange Advertising

It's the time of year when local businesses seek local customers, their way of filling the gap left by the snowbirds and their expansive tastes. In order to keep busy during summer there are all sorts of special offers available if you have local ID and know where to look.

The newspaper boosts advertising with a special half page restaurant box, where members of the chamber of commerce can encourage under paid private sector workers to splurge on a meal out in low season. I was quite surprised to see one local eatery spending money on advertising. This is, I believe, a first:

The Greek Euro meltdown has yet to be felt on Main Street,U.S.A, and in an election year we are told things are just peachy. When Five Brothers feels the need to advertise for customers I wonder just how peachy things really are.

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Motorcycle And Chicken

I came back to the Bonneville and found a rooster nesting in the grass staring at my motorcycle, half daring it to run him down. The Bonnneville like my dog ignores wildlife. Good motorbike.

The chicken ran when I strolled up. Smart rooster.

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