Disclaimer: this aint the whole ME to GA shebang. I would love to do it if someone would work up the northern half. On many of my rides, I find myself seeing the white rectangle guiding hikers between Georgia and Maine, and it's always in some great location. That's the idea of the trail. Well, Layla was heading off to school, and the last business day before she left, she determined that she had a bad ball joint/control arm. Rut roh. We have a problem. Some quick thinking and I had a plan. This summarizes our relationship: she crawls under the car and figures out what needs to get done, and I figure out how to turn it into a motorcycle ride. So here's the plan: I take her and her DRZ 400 to UVA and drop her off. Oh yeah, I had my bike too, so I could stop on the way back and do some riding. Then I would drive her repaired car back to Charlottesville and ride the DRZ back home sticking as close to the footpath as possible. I spent so much time poring over Delorme's Atlas of Virginia that I was seeing red lines on a green background in my sleep. Let's git it started: Saturday we visited Monticello. As a public school teacher, I have always been a fan of Thomas Jefferson. TJ speaks to us through the mists of time. We spent 5 hours there. It's worth a visit. Good flower sniffing there. TJ was down with plants. Sunday, Layla implored me to find my own thing to do as she had a lot of studying to do. They are giving her a lot of physics to do. So I headed out to Rockfish Gap to do a little bit of reconnaissance. My dad and I whiled away a few days in this area some years back. You can't really go wrong in Sherando. This brings up another point: do federal employees take some kind of oath of ignorance? The Parkway information center lady told me that the nearest gas is on Rte 56 near Wintergreen. Luckily, this fellow rider overheard the conversation and told me that I can buy gas, biscuits and guns in Sherando. Big Levels. Nice road. I came across a gaggle of teenagers waaaay out in the middle of this run. No adults to be seen, no means of getting there. "Oh my God, it's like, a guy on a dirt bike." I also passed a DS group going the other way. This dumps you out on the Parkway. I didn't do any of the side trails. Someday, maybe. So I rode the Parkway to 814 and on down to VA 56, one of the greatest stretches of pavement anywhere. Crabtree Meadows Shoe Creek rocks! FR 63 is a smooth screamer road. Super fun and beautiful. At the pass, I made a right and chased down a bunch of roads that started to get sketchy. The erosion bar/tank trap dichotomy was a real question out here. I got to the top of the mountain with some towers. No real view, but it was a nice place to eat lunch. These are like little bombs. The explosion. More claws, too. It was getting pretty dark, so I hightailed it to the Parkway. I rode in the rain for about 2 minutes when the Montebello store appeared. Timing is everything. I enjoyed to company of this fellow from Waynesboro who was rather vocal about the virtues of his 650 Burgman. I wonder if there's a retail establishment where I can get some of these fine looking fruit. Yes there is. The idea of some peaches and ice cream was setting off all kinds of internal alarms, but I had a social engagement to attend. But first I need a shower. I'm scamming floor space and shower facilities in a women's dormitory, so when in Rome... One of Layla's colleagues took it upon himself to throw down a fajita cookoff. We brought peaches. Tomorrow morning, we hit the road and go cross country.