Day Six by Dave Schultheis
Saturday, May 24, 2002 - Front Royal, Virginia
I slept okay and was up at 6:46 a.m, dressed warmly and checked two weather sources. The Weather Channel said it would be rainy, the view from the motel window showed clear skies and wet pavement.
Downstairs, I started and warmed the Road King, rode across the street to the Texaco Station for a fillup on my Shell card, then rode out to the Ranch. The roads were wet but there was no rain, and no deer, on the under 10-mile ride. I got there at 8 a.m.
I had missed a lot of things that had happened overnight. This is one of the risks you take by not staying on the property. But in this case, it was better for me.
Evidently Ace and Rochelle had come in late on Friday night, he on his bike and she and son Edward by car, and Ace had slid in some grass clippings at the edge of the road and crashed into a ditch a few hundred feet from the driveway. Several people ran up from the ranch to provide help, and local authorities responded as well. Ace ended up in a hospital fairly far away and Rochelle was a little frustrated by the whole thing.
Bill B. had put a pig in his cooker (on a trailer) at 6 a.m. and gave everyone strict instructions NOT to open the lid, or the cooking time would be extended by 45 minutes per peek. I think he posted an armed guard, but I'm not sure.
So when I got there I met and saw Rochelle and Eddie, Flyer Fan Jim, Andrew ("Curly"), Banker Bob, Carroll "Rip" Ripley on his 1965 FL (what a beauty!), Jim H. and daughter Sarah, and Dan from Fairfax. I admired Barb's bike and wrote down that it is "candy sapphire sunglow blue." Later Hilljack and Roger arrived.
The call went out to prepare for a ride, led by Jim and Rip. Some went, some stayed. A kind soul was nice enough to take my picture with my camera as we lined up to ride. I often count the number of bikes but did not this time; I suppose there were about a dozen.
We left about 10:40 a.m., traversing local roads to U.S. Highway 522, and made a gas stop at a Mobil Station, where we were joined by The Poser and Rick Armstrong. Then we took U.S. Highway 211, Virginia Highway 231, U.S. Highway 29, Virginia Highway 230 and U.S. Highway 33, riding over hill and dale through the beautiful Virginia countryside to Harrisonburg VA, where we took a scenic tour of the downtown area of this historic college town, then stopped for lunch at Calhoun's Brew Pub at 12:35 p.m. There we met John (JEE) and his wife Leslie and daughter, and later, their dog.
The people at Calhoun's treated the group well; set us up at a big table where we wouldn't bother the few other diners in the place. There were many menu choices and everyone had a very nice meal. And of course, several different brews were served.
After lunch we started off again, back through Harrisonburg and stopped at an Exxon Station for fuel at 2:15 p.m., then headed back on Virginia Highway 42, local route 675 to U.S. 211. Jim and Sarah were kind enough to stop and help me take a photo at the Shenandoah National Park sign.
We went up and over two ridges of hills in the national park, including a photo stop at a scenic vista turnout, then ended up in Sperryville VA at 4:15 p.m. Cooter's is just across the road from a couple barbeque places, and offered Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia, cold drinks and snacks, and a couple specimens of the General Lee (that's a [very fast] car, for those not familiar with the television program).
It was our luck that we were there on a day that they'd had a music festival, and Cooter (actor and former legislator Ben Jones) was there, kindly signing autographs. So I bought a $24 tee-shirt and Ben autographed it. Very nice guy. He remembered my name for about 15 minutes and remembered some of our group who had made previous visits to the place.
The group returned on U.S. 522 and local roads to the Ranch; I kept on going for a quick look at nearby beautiful downtown Hume, of which there wasn't much, and returned to the ranch in a few minutes.
Other arrivals, some of whom I knew and some I did not, were Len & Pauline B., Kuda & Amy, Kathy (but I missed Ken S., sorry to say), Tom (who was acting as rangemaster), Tailgunner, Dave, Bill (the ordnance guy, with a special project), Mitch, Tom from Alexandria, Jim I. and another Dave. There may have been others whom I missed.
I watched some shooting practice (talk about big guns!), and had some interplay with a horse in a field (I sometimes do better with animals than people).
The dinner that night was wonderful. Bill's pig was cooked to perfection, there were beans and salads and breads and all the refreshing drinks that could be downed.
As darkness came, various folks joined with Bill and Hilljack to put on a fireworks show, the finale of which was an excellent display of the words PEACE and OUT, in memory of Topp's late wife Thumper, who was beloved by many.
I left the ranch about 10:45 p.m. and headed back to Front Royal in mist and fog with some mud on the road, again riding slowly to watch for deer. After a quick stop at a favorite place, where it's possible to "eat great, even late!", I got back to the Super 8 at 11:20 p.m., parked in front and cabled to the post, took a shower, watched American Chopper on the Discovery Channel, set the alarm for 6:30 a.m. and went to bed sometime after midnight.
Miles for the day = 216. Miles for the trip = 3333.
Tomorrow: Washington, D.C., Rolling Thunder, and a family visit.