Motorcycle Karma took a turn for the better on January 16th. The previous ten days provided so much rain you would not have been surprised if you saw Noah building a boat. Starting on Tuesday the 18th, temperatures would plummet to below freezing for another week, yet, the Sunday the 16th, we found the clouds parting with a high temperature of almost 60 degrees. Karma smiled down on those of us who were anxious to ride.
Because I could not coax anyone drunk enough at the Christmas Party to volunteer as January's Ride Leader, it fell upon me to lead the ride. I will always be of the opinion that the destination will always be secondary to the ride taken...even as it turns out that you are uncertain of the route. Getting lost can be half of the fun. There were five of us, with four who live in Hanover, so of all the various options as to where we go, the Hanover, Caroline, and points beyond route seemed most logical.
We started at the Shell Station on U.S. Route 301 and Stumpy Road. The first leg was a west and north swing through Hanover and into Caroline County - utilizing Mt. Hermon Road, Blunt's Bridge, and Route 738. This has been one of my most favorite rides, which is abundant with twisties, horse country, farms, and well maintained road surfaces. The first leg concluded at Ladysmith. We passed a farm as we were coming into Ladysmith, which had a unique feature - a Florida Room constructed atop a silo.
We stopped at Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant. No one was particularly hungry so it turned into a pit stop for some, a smoke break and a map consult for me. So far, we have covered just under 40 miles. The second leg took us north up U.S. Route 1 to U.S. Route 605 (Paige Road). This road meanders across Caroline and ends at U.S. Route 2, just north of Bowling Green. Once in Bowling Green, we took U.S. Route 207 west to U.S. Route 601 (Penola Road). At the time, I was considering once we arrived at U.S. Route 301, that would be the end of our sojourn. However, as we arrived at the stop sign for U.S. Route 301, I wasn't ready to leave the twisties. The road crossed 301 and I had no idea where it led. So far, we were over 70 miles on the odometer.
We'll call the next segment the "I have no idea where we're going, but let's see where we come out" leg. Most of the time the sun was off my right shoulder or in the faces giving us an eastward, and occasionally southward, direction. I didn't know if we would see Route 30 or Route 360 first, so we just kept taking the turns to the east or south when we came to a "T" intersection. Eventually, we found ourselves in King and Queen County by way of Mattaponi Road and Newton Road.
By their very nature of being nice asphalt with yellow lines, I was no longer worried about being "lost" and was confident our next stop would be recognizable. So it was. U.S. Route 360 turned out to be the only stop light since leaving Bowling Green. If we continued across 360 we would be on Route 14, which takes you to Gloucester. I knew at that point where we were. I took the right to go west of 360 and realized the rest had decided to stop at the gas/convenient store on the corner. I made a U-turn and rejoined the group for what would be our last stop of the ride. At this point, we had traveled about 100 miles.
Rick and Joe were going directly home by way of 360. Steve, John, and I were still game for the meandering our way home back into Hanover by the back roads. Steve's knowledge of these back roads is unmatched and I was ready for him to lead us home. All told, 140 miles was traveled and new routes have enriched my knowledge, which is the goal of what we try to achieve with each ride, whether planned or not.
As of this writing, no one has yet to volunteer for February's ride. Lacking a volunteer, I am considering a Chesterfield, Powhatan, and Amelia ride. I am also considering the "five and dime ride" or any suggestion at the time of the next meeting. Ken Denton is leading March's ride; Steve Johnson April's ride. Aside from Charles' October ride, that leaves May through September unspoken for as yet.
Please volunteer to lead a ride!!!