Sunday, August 23, 2009

First Solo Road Trip Part 2. Washington DC-Front Royal, VA

Front Royal, VA

Front Royal, VA

'Sky-Light Drive', VA

From Washington DC I backtrack and stay the night in a place called Front Royal, a small beautiful town in the Appellation foot hills in a motel set against mountains and dense forests. My arrival is spooky as a huge dramatic thunderstorm suddenly comes out of nowhere, which makes my decision to stop in this particular place for me, instead of pushing on, as it is still early in the afternoon. I get a great and cheap room with amazing views of where I will be heading in the morning. At dawn I get up early and head out for the 'Skylight Drive' on the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. A road which climbs to the top of the Appellations and takes you 400 miles to the other end in Georgia, I believe. It is a spectacular drive on single empty winding road with fantastic views 4000 feet up. Valleys in the early morning filled with thick clouds which in between I see the sprawling mountain range on either side - endless forests layering away into the distance, from peek to peek, until they faded into the sky itself, like a giant green ocean. Unimaginable again to think this is America and understandable too that such stories and movies like Deliverance and Wrong Turn were born from this very landscape - ultimately remote in every way and totally mind-boggling. After two hours of driving hypnotized by the smooth but winding road and the magnificent view, which had now cleared of clouds and was spectacular all over again, with deer casually feeding and unafraid at the roadside and the constant high pitched ring of crickets in the warm summer air I suddenly meet a small traffic jam of caravans and massive coach sized RV's blocking the road and parked in a long zig-zag. Unable to pass I pull over to see what the holdup is and see it is nothing but a Tortoise crossing the road. Before this I hadn't seen a car for an hour in either direction so these cars that were now waiting in front of me now must have been there for some time. I wanted to get out of my car and go and simply pick the Tortoise up and move it to the verge, but a little girl beat me too it.

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