Friday, June 24, 2005

Reston, VA to Roanoke, VA


Bike Virginia is one of our favorite tours. This will be our 10th tour with them. It's a well-organized tour that traverses a different part of Virginia each year. In recent years the tour has involved fewer transfers, stopping at some cities for several days at a time. Initially the tour would involve travel from one city to the next on a daily basis, returning to the start point at the end of the tour. Logistically it's a nightmare, especially for those who camp. The day is filled with breaking camp, riding, setting up camp, eating and sleeping. Staying in a city for an extra day or two gives riders a chance to see some sights and get a bit more rest.

The layover day concept must be popular, as this year's tour involves only two transfers, from Roanoke to Lexington and back to Roanoke. Since these are relatively large cities, there are also many motel options as well.

Kerie waiting for the
shuttle bus to tent city
Traffic on the drive from Reston to Roanoke even at 1 p.m. was heavy, even bumper to bumper in parts. After leaving Northern Virginia it thinned out and became normal Friday afternoon escape traffic. We eventually found the Ramada Inn, a dive of a motel next to the river and just south of downtown. The motel was in a good location, across from the long term parking at Victory Stadium and not far from tent city. Since parking was limited at tent city, we took the shuttle to the school to register and check out the Expo, which was pretty much a bust. The usual vendors were present, selling bike accessories and clothes, including the obligatory 3 pair of bike socks for $10, my source for socks for the year.

At the hospitality desk we learned about a Thai restaurant in town, that ended up being closed. Instead we returned to Awful Arthurís where we had eaten a few years back when visiting Roanoke. Had some decent fried oysters, crab cake, salad, hush puppies, fries, and sauteed zucchini.

As I mentioned, the motel, the Ramada Inn Rivers Edge, was a dump. The building is crumbling, the beds were the lumpiest on which I've tried to sleep in a long time, and it smelled bad. When we returned to the motel, a wedding event was being held and there was no nearby parking. We ended up parked in the lot of a business next door.