Murfreesboro, TN to Alexandria, VA (June 20-21, 2016)

After thanking Ken and Vicky for the wonderful weekend visit at their home in Murfreesboro, I resumed my journey towards Alexandria, VA at 8 AM CDT on Monday, Jun 20th. Due to the distance of nearly 700 miles, I had allocated two days for leisurely travel across Tennessee and Virginia in order to reach the home of my step-brother Morrie and his wife Holly in Alexandria by Tuesday afternoon. My visit with them lasted for only two days and I resumed my journey on Friday, June 24th. This travelogue report covers my two travel days along with my short visit in Alexandria.

The first day’s ride took me as far a Wytheville in the southwest corner of Virginia, where I stopped overnight at the Travelodge motel and continued the next day. The following maps show my routes for both days.

My route from Murfreesboro across Tennessee to Wytheville, Virginia

My route from Murfreesboro across Tennessee to Wytheville, Virginia

My route from Wytheville to Alexandria, Virginia

My route from Wytheville to Alexandria, Virginia

As usual, I had planned my routes to avoid interstate highways most of the way, especially since I needed two days to cover the distance, even though I could have made the 700-mile trip via interstates in a single 10-hour day. The slower speeds, less traffic and much fewer trucks on secondary highways make the journey much more enjoyable.

During these two days of travel, I took only a few photos on the way across Tennessee, and just one in Virginia.

Nearly an hour into my journey along US-70S, I came to a bridge just east of Smithville across the Caney Fork River, also called the Center Hill Lake. These first photos show the bridge, the view towards the south, and several small houses on the eastern side of the river.

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After riding for nearly 2½ hours, I came upon a Subway sandwich shop in the small community of Wartburg, TN and took a lunch break for nearly 35 minutes.

About 30 minutes after resuming my journey, I came to the city of Oak Ridge, but passed by it too far away to see much of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory from the highway. Perhaps I can return there someday to take a tour of the facility.

Approximately 1½ hours further along, I was riding along a backcountry road called Rebel H0llow Road and paused to take photos to create this panoramic view of the scenery ahead. On the left side, a tractor can be seen parked next to some freshly rolled hay.

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Nearly an hour later, as I was travelling eastward along US-421 just west of Duffield, VA, where it runs along a high ridge at nearly 2,300 ft elevation, I noticed the view and took this final photo towards the north.

IMG_0152sAt 5:15 PM EDT I arrived in Wytheville at the Travelodge motel and checked in. Surprisingly, it is located on a steep hillside and consists of multiple buildings separated by some distance. A Bob Evans restaurant is within convenient walking distance going downhill, but a steep climb returning to the room.

The next morning after a modest continental breakfast in the motel lobby, I departed at 8 AM EDT and rode north along I-81 for nearly 25 miles, exiting onto VA-100 near Dublin. I had planned my route along the Cumberland Gap Road (VA-42) through the Jefferson National Forest in order to see interesting scenery. Although I enjoyed the ride through that area, I did not feel motivated to take any photos.

North of Roanoke, I crossed over to the eastern side of I-81 and continued on various secondary highways towards Charlottesville. However, I did ride along I-64 around the south side of Charlottesville, turning north on VA-22 to resume my route along secondary roads towards Fredericksburg. At Fredericksburg I decided to continue north on I-95 towards Alexandria. Just before reaching Dumbries, I received a traffic alert on my GPS, confirmed shortly afterward by an electronic highway sign, that there was a serious backup ahead due to an accident. I exited from I-95 at Triangle and continued north along US-1.

As I continued along US-1, I approached the area under a severe rainstorm. Thinking that the storm would continue for a long time, I pressed on, riding through the occasionally quite heavy rain, until I finally reached my step-brother’s home just after 4 PM. My new riding jacket and pants, bought in late May, did a good job of keeping me dry.

For the next two days, I mostly relaxed with Morrie and Holly. For one evening they had arranged for tickets to a performance of The History Boys at the Little Theatre of Alexandria. It was a very engaging and entertaining performance by several talented young actors. It’s been quite some time since I had last attended a live stage play and I really enjoyed it.

That concludes this travelogue report for June 20th-21st. On Friday, June 24th, I resumed my journey to Vermont. More about that day’s journey in my next report.

Don

About Don

I'm a retired computer programmer who enjoys touring the country by motorcycle.
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