The day started perfectly. We met at 7 in western New Jersey and proceeded on an uneventful four hour ride through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and into Virginia. We arrived at Front Royal, topped up our water and fuel, paid the newly increased rate of $15 to enter Skyline Drive, and began riding.
About 20 miles in we stopped for lunch on one of the overlooks:
As soon as we started riding, a park ranger cruiser came up behind us with their lights flashing and siren blaring. We pulled to the side to let it pass and about 3 miles later came up on a car accident. We could only see a car in the ditch pointing perpendicular to the road, and the rest of the roadway in both directions was screened by a truck as well as the cruiser. A man was directing people to make a u-turn and return to the north entrance. While there are at least five or six East and West exits and entrances to the Drive, we hadn’t come up on one yet. Not only did we realize we now weren’t going to be riding Skyline Drive today, but we were now a little bit pressed to get back to the north entrance, 12 miles back to 81, and then start heading south from there. While riding north on the Drive, we came up on a long line of traffic stuck or just unwilling to pass a handful of bicyclists. The bicyclist were riding towards the middle of the road, but there had been plenty of opportunities to pass and the lead vehicle just wasn’t doing it. We watched as time slipped away, until we finally got back to 81. We were immediately met with a very long traffic jam. Rob could tell from his phone while we were sitting on our side-stands on 81 that it was at least five miles. Once again, we were denied an opportunity to exit as we were on one of those long stretches without an entrance or exit ramp to the highway. Eventually we passed a large recreational vehicle that had either blown a tire or just run into the right hand ditch for some other reason. We were rewarded for our suffering by an amazing ride of about 30 minutes from Rt 77 into the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills, to the hotel. It was about 8 p.m. when we got to the hotel.