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Norfolk, Richmond, and on to West Virginia

After a day on the road from Savannah to Norfolk, I had the chance to spend some time with dear friends, Brian and Sherrie. Brian is an old buddy from my sailing days. He is a retired Navy flier and now works for the USO. His wife, Sherrie is one of the sweetest people you'll meet. They are headed to Italy to work for the USO there. So, since I was already going to be on the road, I doglegged north to Norfolk before turning westward. It was good to see my old friends, but it's always tough to say goodbye for for what is now a yet to be determined amount of time. Brian and Sherrie are excited about the new adventure, and I know it will be fun for them. I'm already looking forward to hopping over to see them as soon as they get settled. 

This is me crushing their game and their hopes and dreams as I once again demonstrate why I am called the Godzilla of Rummikube.

This morning it was a quick look at the waters of the Chesapeake before the Big Ride got started in earnest.

From Norfolk, I charted a course to Richmond. On previous trips, I've taken the beautiful Colonial Parkway, which runs from Yorktown, where Washington trapped Cornwallis, forcing a British surrender and gaining our Independence, to Colonial Williamsburg, to Jamestown, where my father's family came to America back in 1626. This time I chose the Colonial Trail, which took me through Suffolk, Surrey, Smithfield (home of the famous Smithfield Virginia hams), and on to Richmond.

In Richmond, I took a break for lunch and afterwards visited the American Civil War Museum. This museum used to be called The Museum of the Confederacy and was located adjacent to the Confederate White House, where Jefferson Davis lived while serving as President of the Confederacy. Since his time there, the home has been completely surrounded by the buildings of Virginia Commonwealth University. The university purchased the old museum building, prompting the relocation of the museum to a new site...with a new name...The American Civil War Museum.  

The building is located right on the river in some reclaimed iron works buildings, and boasts a "more balanced" representation of the conflict. Having seen both old and new, it's more than a little bit disappointing. Here are a couple of pictures.

Monument avenue remains unchanged and apparently the statues arent going anywhere.  

Robert E. Lee.

J.E.B. Stuart.

Stonewall Jackson.

After Richmond, it was westward again through the beautiful Shenandoah National Park.

Yamacraw went over the mountains like they weren't even there. Such a great bike, and great riding and weather. Here I am in the Washington and Jefferson National Park. This picture doesn't really don't justice. It was like being in the German foothills. Just gorgeous... unfortunately I was too busy most of the time to take many pictures.

I was in great shape and thought that I might actually be able to get a little bit ahead of schedule but some rain moved in and I had to call it a day at the stop I had originally planned for today Franklin, West Virginia. It's a pretty little town, nestled in the mountains...with no internet connection unless you're in the motel room and you hold your breath. 

Here's the Corner Shop. Nice people and good chow at good prices. They we're interested in the ride and were very nice to me.

Here's the local hardware store. Established in 1860.

The Star Hotel. Obviously uptown. 

But here is where I ended up, just down the street, avoiding downtown prices.

The absolutely palacial Thompson Motel.

And these are my luxurious accommodations! 

But, it's clean and the people here are SUPER nice, so it's all good. I am sure I will sleep very well. Tomorrow it's across the rest of the Appalachian mountains and on to Columbus, Ohio. Pray, tell your friends, donate if you can. God bless!

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Post Script

The ride home from Murrell's Inlet was an easy run right down US 17. For the first time, I didn't need a GPS. It was also the first time since Vermont that I wasn't cold. Finally, I was able to ditch