Charlotte to Winchester

Cheerful skies, filled with white clouds that had no intention of raining on us, greeted our morning.  The temperature was still relatively cool as we bade our farewells and continued our adventure.  Today would have a few of them, mostly good surprises.

The I77 connects to the I81, which is the best way to head north towards Jersey.  Our intention was to break up the journey at Winchester, Virginia, which would give us time for laundry and sorting out all the accumulating maps and things.  You can only imagine how squirrelly things can get when you’re dumping into the car trunk all the time.  As our tradition dictated, we stopped at the Virginia Information Center as soon as we crossed the state line.  Clean, well lit and cheerful.  Ken, behind the desk, was very helpful when I showed him our intended route.  How fortunate that we took the time for conversation – he had news of a bad backup on the I81 – and suggested we take the Blue Ridge Parkway and cut over to the I81 past the trouble spot.  Sure, why not?  It certainly was worth the time.  We drove from Fancy Gap through Rocky Knob before we cut back to the 81 by the 8.  There are some spectacular views to experience, as well as farmland and livestock.  Trails and campgrounds abound.  We absolutely loved driving through Floyd, which is right on the 8.  It’s a really quaint town with a Farmers’ Market and artist wares as well.

Food once again dominated our brainwaves, and we ventured off the freeway when we reached Lexington.  There are several universities located on both sides of the freeway (Southern Virginia University, Virginia Military Academy, Washington and Lee University) so we figured there was good grub to be had in the area.  After a few false turns, we were not disappointed when we reached the downtown area.  The Southern Inn caught our eye, and  soon we were seated and ordering. Cesar (that would be me) had a salmon BLT and  Bozo ordered the meatloaf.  Both tasty dishes and a credit to the chef.  And I just loved the fact that the waiter warmed up the mug for my tea as well as giving me really hot water – sometimes the smallest things make all the difference in the world.  Bozo ordered a local beer which was crisp and tasty.  Our dunch (late for lunch, early for dinner) was topped off with a cinnamon pecan ice cream made in house that was perfect and hit the spot.

Onward bound, the hotel was easily found and the laundry finally done.  Tomorrow it’s Jersey and meeting with the family!

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