To Bedford - Up The Parkways - CycleBlaze

May 20, 2013

To Bedford

Bears in the hills, goats on the ponds

This was one of our favorite days of the tour.  First off, the weather cooperated and gave us overcast but open skies, comfortable temperatures, and a light tailwind.  Even better, the forecast is for more of the same in the coming days.  Can't complain about that!

After starting the day with a fine buffet breakfast, we worked our way out of downtown Roanoke and back onto the parkway.  We found a reasonably quiet route through the east of town, and before long we were on the road again, heading north.

As soon as we hit the parkway we began climbing.  Roanoke fills the large, low gap in the range where it is split by the Roanoke River.  We had enjoyed a long (but wet) drop from the parkway the evening before, and paid for it with the climb back out this morning.  The climb was steepish, gaining 1500' in about 5 miles, but weather conditions were perfect and soon we were on top again - and this time, able to see beyond our nose and appreciate the great views to the east and west.

Once on top we rolled along for about 15 miles before reaching Peaks of Otter and enjoyed a pleasant lunch break at a secluded (that is, still closed for the winter) campground.  After that we dropped steeply off the east side of the ridge, toward our night's stopover in Bedford.  This was another day where we'd have been happier to stay on top, but the Peaks of Otter lodge hadn't opened for the season yet.  Beginning the descent we were almost immediately shocked by a black bear cub running across the highway perhaps 30 yards ahead of us.  I shouted back to Rachael to be alert, fearful that mom would burst out of the trees also and plow into us; but luckily for us the cub was unescorted.  It was a thrilling sight for us and one we remenisced over for days.

Our stay for the night was at a B&B about 2 miles west of Bedford - the aptly named Vanquility Acres.  This was a perfect stayover, offering everything we could hope for: a lovely setting, the chance to commune with the owners' herd of beautiful nubian goats, a hot tub, and a terrific breakfast the next morning.  For dinner we walked into Bedford and back, enjoying a slower paced look at the countryside.  

All in all, a great day!

The view to the west
Heart 0 Comment 0
An outcrop along the Parkway
Heart 0 Comment 0
The view to the east
Heart 0 Comment 0
Picnic break, Peaks of Otter
Heart 0 Comment 0
Putting a bug under the microscope
Heart 0 Comment 0
The nubians of Vanquility Acres
Heart 0 Comment 0
Communing with the locals
Heart 0 Comment 0
The pond at Vanquility Acres
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 42 miles (68 km)
Total: 227 miles (365 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0