Day 12 – On to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

After a restful night at the Hampton Inn in Elizabeth City, NC we started Day 12 of our motorcycle adventure. The previous night we arrived in Elizabeth City early enough to wash our clothes and wash the bike. So with clean clothes and a clean bike we head to Charlottesville, VA.

The first half of the trip we stayed off the freeway and drove back roads through the North Carolina and Virginia countryside. Our route is shown below.


The temperature in the morning started in the upper 70’s which is ideal motorcycle riding temperature. Later on, after reaching Richmond, the temps were in the 90’s. Here is a photo of the countryside, beautiful farm land interspersed with woods.


For quite some time we saw this crop along side the road and could not figure out what it was. At first we thought soy beans, but the crop had flowers. After a few hours we figured our little mystery out – cotton! Not native to our home state so we can be forgiven our ignorance!

We arrived in Charlottesville aound 1:30 pm. When we were looking for things to do between Elizabeth City and Charlottesville there wasn’t much. But then we discovered that Charlottesville is home to Monticello. You know the place, you’ve seen it many times before, on the back of a nickel.
Monticello was the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, who, after inheriting quite a large amount of land from his father, started building Monticello when he was 26 years old. Well you can read more about it here.
The view of the house you know so well.
From the side…
The inside was fascinating but no photos are allowed to be taken inside.
Monticello was built on the top of a mountain, this was Jefferson’s 50 mile view.
Thomas Jefferson had many gardens of various types.

Here are a few historical facts about Thomas Jefferson and Monticello:

  • Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States.
  • Thomas Jefferson was only 33 when he drafted the Declaration of Indenpendance. He felt that this was his most important life achievement.
  • He chose three accomplishments to be recorded on his tombstone, and being president didn’t even make the list. Here is what is inscribed at his grave: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and Father of the University of Virginia.”
  • In the Declaration of Independence he wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Yet he was a slave owner. Although he had lofty ideals, they did not match up with his own personal actions.
  • Monticello was not just a residence but also a working plantation, home to roughly 130 enslaved African Americans whose duties included tending its gardens and livestock, plowing its fields and working in its on-site textile factory.
  • The United Nations World Heritage List includes Monticello in its rankings along with such international sites like the Great Wall of China and the Tower of London. In fact, it is the only American residence making the prestigious list.
  • Jefferson’s biggest political move was buying the Louisiana Territory called “THE LOUSIANA PURCHASE,” this more than doubled the size of the United States.
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Day 11 – The Outer Banks

From mountain tops to the ocean coast. Today's adventure is truly different from the mountain riding that we have enjoyed the past week. We will be traveling the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks is a 200-mile long string of narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. We will be driving a narrow strip of land miles out into the ocean!

Our route first takes us to Cedar Island were we take a ferry to Ocracoke island. After driving the length of this island, approximately 15 miles, we take another ferry to Cape Hatterras, from there we finish our outer banks ride and hard to our final destination of Elisabeth City.

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Day 10 – Up the Coast to Atlantic Beach

This day's adventure takes us from Charleston to Morehead City, or to be more correct Atlantic Beach. After packing up the bike, we were able to get on the road just after 9 am. Weather looks like we could encounter some storms. Our destination is the Caribbe Inn (motel) in Atlantic Beach.

The day before, I suspected that the bike's rear wheel tire was leaking air. I checked again this morning, and yes, it's leaking. Now to figure out how fast. We stop to get gas, I fill the tire up to it recommended 42 psi. Will check on it throughout the day.

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Day 8 & 9 – Off to Charleston

Days 8 and 9 are combined due to Day 9 being a 'rest' day. Our travels begin in Maggie Valley, NC where we have just spent the last two days. We get an early start and head out towards Charleston, South Carolina – it's all freeway today. We try to beat the heat by starting early.

The ride to Charleston is pretty much a straight shot down the freeway. Approximately 340 driving miles. We started as early as we could in the morning anticipating a hot day, getting as much riding in while it was still cool. After an hour into the drive the temperatures reach the mid to high 80s. Before we reach Columbia we were already into the low to mid 90s. The temps peaked out at 99 degrees! With full riding gear, this is HOT.
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Day 6&7 – Last Days on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Day 6 starts in the small mountain town of Blowing Rocks, NC where we stayed the night at the Mountainaire Inn. We headed out early in the morning and traveled to Grandfather Mountain.

Grandfather Mountain is near Linville, NC. At 5,946 feet, it is the highest peak on the eastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A steep drive up puts you at the top after many hair pin curves. This day, we were in the clouds and couldn't see much, but it was still a nice drive up the mountain.

We continued south on what was to be our last stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, ending near Cherokee, but we got off at Asheville instead. After some lunch we headed over to a nearby motorcycle shop where we bought some rain gear articles. The past 3 days we have been in down pours, and we're still getting somewhat wet, annoyingly so. Hopefully we are all set now. Need another down pour to find out!

From Asheville, we headed to Maggie Valley where we checked into the Jonathan Creek Inn, our stop for the night. We will pick up the final stretch of the Parkway on the next day, Day 7. This is also to be a rest day.

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Day 5 – Riding the Blue Ridge

Yesterday's last stop was in Rocky Mt, VA where we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. This destination was approximately 20 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. This morning we found a backroads route to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was some of the most beautiful, windy, country roads we had been on so far. Sometimes you find a gem when you're not looking for it.

Our route today finds us on the Blue Ridge Parkway most of the day, with the exception of a lunch detour into the small town of Mt. Airy, NC. This is the sleepy small town where Andy Griffith grew up, and he pattern the Andy Griffith show after it.

Our final destination is in the small mountain town Blowing Rock, NC high in the Blue Ridge mountains.

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Day 4 – Skyline Drive and Lexington

Today our adventure takes us from Harrisonburg, VA east to the Skyline Drive. The Skyline Drive actually begins in Front Royal, VA, about 60 miles north of where we start on it. For the next 3 days we will be on this mountain top drive including the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Halfway through our ride, we come down from the mountains and take a break in the small town of Lexington. We end up the day in the small mountain town of Rocky Mount, VA.

First order of business this morning is to stop at Blue Ridge Powersports Honda motorcycle dealer to get a waterproof outer jacket for Deb. The people here were great and the prices were really good too. BTW – Debs Joe Rocket jacket was advertised as waterproof and it is not.

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Day 3 – Civil War Battlefields


Our adventure today begins in the historical town of Winchester, Virginia. Winchester sits in the northernmost corner of Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. This area is rife with Civil War history, in fact, the town of Winchester changed hands between the North and South 72 times during the war!

This summer I read a great book called Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson. So this year's adventure also has a theme, 'the Civil War'.

After Winchester, we rode up to the Antietam Battle Field for a quick tour. From there we traveled to Front Royal, took a right turn to the Shenandoah Valley. Down the Shenandoah Valley to Harrisionburg.

The weather today was hot, in the low 90's, with scattered afternoon thunderstorms

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Day 2 – Nothing But Twisties

Our Adventure today starts in New Philadelphia, OH on the scenic route US 250.  We travel south to the Wheeling, WV area. Once in WV, we take route US 250 to Fairmont, WV.  Nearly, 75 miles of winding mountain roads where there is less than a handful of places (in the entire stretch) where you can pass.  Just south of Fairmont we pick up US 50 headed West to our destination in Winchester, VA.  Nearly the whole day was tight windy mountains roads, my kind of motorcycle riding 😀.

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Day 1 – Transportation, Point A to B

Sometime you have to do a little driving before the adventure begins.  Today was about getting out of Michigan and most of Ohio, transportation day .  Our route begins at home and ends up in New Philadelphia, OH.  Almost a straight line from point A to B.

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