Check out these When to use the DRS images:
228. Tardis Christmas 2014 Pipe
Image by atelier-ying
atelier ying, nyc
The wonderful painter and actor Martin Mull likes to paint small 6" x 6" watercolors when he’s at a hotel room between shoots. My tiny 6" x 4" Moleskine reporters pad is a playful nod in this direction.
The famous Dunhill Christmas pipe book collection with the theme, "The Twelve Days of Christmas", spanning the years 1993 to 2004 provides the inspiration for a playful departure to my "Twelve Doctors" Tardis collection.
Each leather bound book presentation case will be in a navy blue leather with white lettering and a medium gray velvet interior lining, the traditional colors of a British police box.
This dark briar pipe commemorates the 4th doctor, especially with the circular roundels in clear polish and panels, both are motifs of the Tardis interior console, carved into the pipe bowl, whose interior is a square volume.
A crystal ring inset separates the bowl from the stem. This crystal is also used to make a tiny decanter and pipe tamper in the shape of a tardis, The central vial holds less than a third of an ounce of Drambuie liquor. The capacity of the decanter, to literally hold drops of Drambuie, recalls the story of Prince Charles Edward Stuart who savored drops of his family’s liquor to recall his homeland, something Dr. Who could sympathize with.
Design, concepts, text and drawing are copyright 2014 by David Lo.
C.H.A. Guest House, Barton Chase, Marine Drive East, Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire
Image by Alwyn Ladell
Published by Jos. M. Etches.
Postally unused (c.1960s).
See the article by Douglas G Hope, Researcher, here: www.yorkrambling.btck.co.uk/AboutthefounderofCHAHF
In case it vanishes, here is Douglas G Hope’s text:
The legacy of Thomas Arthur Leonard, founder of co-operative and communal holidays and Father of the open-air holiday movement.
Thomas Arthur Leonard, who founded the Co-operative Holidays Association (CHA) in 1893 and the Holiday Fellowship (HF) in 1913, was described on his death in 1948 as the Father of the open-air holiday movement. This article seeks to show that this epitaph is no under-statement.
By common consent, the CHA originated in 1891 when Leonard, Minister of the Dockray Square Congregational Church in Colne, Lancashire, took 32 members of the church’s social guild on a four day’s holiday to Ambleside in the Lake District. Leonard sought to dissuade the young workers of Colne from going in droves during ‘Wakes Week’ to Blackpool, Morecambe or the Isle of Man and introduce them instead to the pleasures of the wilds of Pendle Hill, Ribblesdale and the Lake District. The following photograph of that first holiday group is taken from ‘A Hundred Years of Holidays’ edited by Robert Speake, a long serving CHA Member, and published to celebrate the centenary of the CHA in 1993.
In most references to the origins of the CHA and HF, Leonard is described as the Reverend T A Leonard, a congregational minister from Colne, Lancashire, and the image presented is of an elderly Victorian gentleman. The following photograph is taken from David Hardman’s History of the Holiday Fellowship: 1913-1940, published in 1981, which also appears in Harry Wroe’s more recent Story of HFholidays, published in 2007.
What else do we know about Thomas Arthur Leonard, the man, and of his many achievements?
According to his birth certificate, Leonard was born in Finsbury, London on 12 March 1864, at 50 Tabernacle Walk near John Wesley’s first chapel on City Road, Finsbury. His father was a clock and watchmaker; Finsbury and neighbouring Clerkenwell being centres of clock and watchmaking in the 19th century. His mother was the daughter of the eminent congregational minister, John Campbell, minister at the Whitefields Tabernacle on Tabernacle Row just round the corner. Leonard, therefore, inherited a Congregationalist tradition.
Leonard’s father unfortunately died when he was five years old and the family moved to Hackney, where Leonard’s education included trips to Heidelburg in Germany, an experience which sowed the seed for his interest in International relations. Little is known about this phase of his life but Census Records show that by 1881, the family had moved to Eastbourne, where Leonard’s mother ran a lodging house. Leonard worked as a builder’s clerk and it was at Eastbourne that he met his future wife, Mary Arletta Coupe, a Sunday-school teacher. His leaning towards the congregational church led him to enrol in 1884 at the Congregational Institute in Nottingham, newly established by Dr. John Brown Paton, a pioneer of educational and social reform. Subsequent events confirm that J B Paton’s undoubted influence on Leonard shaped the character of the future CHA and HF.
After 3 years at the Nottingham Institute, Leonard took up his first pastorate at the Abbey Road Congregational Church in Barrow-in-Furness in 1887. At this time, Barrow was expanding fast with widespread squalor, sickness and conflict between migrant communities. Leonard sought to improve the social as well as spiritual conditions of his congregation but struggled to reconcile his faith and ideals with the reality of life in this Victorian boomtown. Church records reveal that he had a few differences of opinion with his deacons, who felt that he was rather too radical. It was at Barrow that he first took his congregation on rambles in the Lake District.
He resigned his post at Barrow-in-Furness at the beginning of 1890 and it was in September of that year that he arrived at Colne. The following June, he took his first holiday party to the Smallwood House Hotel on Compston Road, Ambleside. “It were champion” was the verdict of the thirty-two men who had walked the fells, heard talks on flowers and trees and the contours of the mountain scene, listened to the poetry of Wordsworth, and learned the pleasures of fellowship. The details are described in Leonard’s book Adventures in Holiday Making.
After an equally successful trip to Caernarvon in North Wales in 1892, J B Paton encouraged Leonard to expand his holiday programme under the auspices of the National Home Reading Union (NHRU), which Paton had founded in 1889. “Do it for thousands” he is reported to have said. From 1893, holidays followed to an increasing number of destinations with a voluntary committee with Paton as Chairman and Leonard as Secretary. Holidays under the auspices of the NHRU continued until 1897 when the Co-operative Holidays Association was formally constituted with Paton as President and Leonard as General Secretary.
The objects of the CHA, as set out by T A Leonard were:
To provide simple and strenuous recreative and educational holidays and to promote friendship and fellowship amid the beauty of the natural world.
Leonard has been described as a Christian Socialist and disciple of Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin. There is no doubt that he was influenced by contemporary social and political thought. He gained inspiration from William Morris, Edward Carpenter and Charles Kingsley. The term guest-house for the CHA accommodation, first used when Ardenconnel House near Rhu on the Clyde was purchased in 1898, came from Morris’s News from Nowhere, although the term Gasthaus was in common usage in Germany. Lecturers and guides at CHA centres included leading academics and distinguished professionals such as Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley of Crosthwaite, near Keswick, later founder of the National Trust, who introduced the first parties to the Lake District to the poetry of Wordsworth and the teachings of John Ruskin.
Reflecting Leonard’s philosophy, the CHA’s first purpose-built centre, Moor Gate Guest House, at Hope in the Derbyshire Peak District, opened in 1916, was designed in the Arts and Crafts Style. The house was extensively refurbished in 1991 with the introduction of en-suite facilities and continued to provide all the year round CHA holidays until 1999 when it was sold to Shearings. Now privately owned, and re-named the Losehill House Hotel, it is a luxury hotel and conference centre.
Leonard was also an enthusiastic member of the fledgling Independent Labour Party in the 1890s and knew many of its leading figures. He shared a platform with Keir Hardy at a meeting in Colne in 1894 and advertised holidays in Labour Prophet, a socialist journal established by John Trevor, a Unitarian Minister who founded the Labour Church. Leonard was outspoken at meetings on socialism, betting and liquor reform and the local paper, the Colne and Nelson Times, reported many of his speeches and activities during his time at Colne. In fact, his socialist views once again caused friction with the deacons of his church, although the majority of his congregation strongly supported him.
Leonard resigned his Ministerial post at Colne Congregational Church in 1894 in order to pursue his wider social aspirations. Letters and other contributions to the Colne and Nelson Times illustrate the heart-felt sorrow of many of his congregation at his decision to leave his work at Colne.
Leonard and his wife left Colne on 24 December 1894 “accompanied by the well wishes of a large crowd of townspeople who met them at Colne Station”. Leonard spent 1895 running J B Paton’s first Social Institute in Islington, London, although he did return to Colne on a number of occasions to preach and give speeches in local halls. During 1895, the holiday scheme operated from an office in South Tottenham and in 1896 from the CHA’s first centre at Abbey House, Whitby. However, by 1897, the continued expansion of the holiday programme required a permanent office and so the Co-operative Holidays Association was established as a legal entity.
By 1913, the CHA had thirteen British centres catering for 20,000 guests. Although foreign travel was not one of its original objectives, the CHA experimented with trips to Switzerland, France, Germany and Norway. During this time, Leonard became great friends with J B Paton’s son, John Lewis Paton, who as High Master of Manchester Grammar School was an outstanding educationalist of the Victorian and Edwardian periods. With J L Paton, Leonard organised exchange school trips between Britain and Germany, students and young workers staying at CHA centres.
It came as a great shock to many members of the CHA, when in November 1912, Leonard announced his intention to resign from his post as General Secretary of the CHA and form a new organisation. The reason given by Leonard in his book was his desire to extend the work begun 20 years ago and bring holidays within the reach of poorer folk. Records reveal a growing dis-satisfaction with the General committee’s desire to improve the quality of centres. In his letter of resignation he makes his views clear:
I have been conscious for some time that an important section of the Committee have lacked confidence in my judgement upon certain matters…..The questions upon which my advice has been passed over has reference to the appointment or otherwise of Manageresses, the selection of furnishings, provisioning and other arrangements at the centres.
It may also be that his opinions on British-German relations jarred with the views of some members of the Association. Leonard was a convinced pacifist and supported efforts to prevent the outbreak of the First World War. He became great friends with a number of like-minded labour politicians. Hubert Beaumont, a future Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons in the 1945 Labour Government, was a family friend before the First World War and both Ramsay MacDonald and Philip Snowden (Prime Minister and Chancellor respectively of the Labour Government in the 1920s) were visitors to Leonard’s home at ‘Bryn Corach’ at Conwy in North Wales during World War One. In his book he describes ‘Bryn Corach’ as ‘A haven of peace to many nerve-strained folk from the raided areas and for the soldiers in training and their friends, and not least to those peace-lovers who suffered for their principles in those days’.
Nevertheless, the split with the CHA was reasonably amicable, with the HF taking over the CHA’s centre at Newlands in the Lake District and a centre at Kelkheim in Germany. The objects of the new organisation were similar to those of the CHA but with a greater emphasis on International Relations. There was no thought of competition between the two organisations.
Prior to 1913, Leonard had moved from CHA centre to CHA centre. Leaving Colne in December 1894, he lived in Tottenham, London for a year and then took up residence at Abbey House, Whitby in 1896. The CHA’s office and Leonard moved to Ardenconnel, Rhu in 1899 and then to Park Hall, Hayfield in 1902. When the CHA established its office in Brunswick Street, Manchester in 1908, the Leonard’s took up residence in Marple Bridge, near Stockport. In 1914 he moved to ‘Bryn Corach’, Conwy, the HF’s first headquarters.
Leonard was General Secretary of HF from 1914 until 1925 when HF decided to establish its headquarters in London. He resigned as General Secretary and the post of International Secretary was created for him, a post he occupied from 1925-1930. He then took a back seat, moving from ‘Bryn Corach’ into a nearby cottage, ‘Wayside’ in 1935, but remained on the General Committee. He was elected President of the HF in 1938/39 and was then Vice-President until his death in 1948.
By the time of his death, HF operated some 30 centres with over 45,000 guests. CHA meanwhile had also expanded and operated some 25 guest houses with 30,000 guests. Notwithstanding Leonard’s aim of returning to more Spartan accommodation, the CHA and HF developed in a very similar way with country house accommodation. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the HF operated some 40 British Centres catering for over 60,000 guests. The CHA, renamed Countrywide Holidays in 1964, operated 25-30 guest houses catering for some 30,000 guests. The following graph shows how the two organisations were seriously affected by changing economic circumstances in the latter part of the twentieth century. Recession and inflation in the 1980s led to a considerable down-sizing of both organisations with the CHA eventually going out of business in 2004 with the sale of its last property, Stanley Ghyll House in Eskdale in the Lake District.
Although Leonard’s involvement with HF declined after 1930, he never rested on his laurels. It’s probably true to say that through the 1920s and 30s, Leonard also became dis-satisfied with the progress of the HF. Minutes reveal him constantly trying to reign-in those who wanted to continually expand and improve the standard of accommodation provided. He pushed for youth centres and Spartan accommodation such as that provided at Wall End Farm in Great Langdale in the Lake District, rather than the country house type of accommodation favoured by the General Committee of HF.
His desire to keep accommodation as simple as possible led him to play a prominent part in the establishment of the Youth Hostels Association. It was at the headquarters of the Liverpool HF Club that the Liverpool & District Branch of the British YHA was set up in December 1929 by Leonard, Harry H Symonds, Tom Fairclough and others. When the YHA was formally founded in April 1930, Leonard became one of its four Vice-Presidents. When he was gifted Goldrill House in Patterdale by HF on his retirement in 1932, he promptly let it to the YHA as one of its first youth hostels.
He was President of the Merseyside Ramblers’ Federation before the establishment of the Ramblers’ Association and chaired the first meeting of the ten Area Ramblers’ Federations held in 1931 to form the National Council of Ramblers’ Federations. He became the National Council’s first Chairman and continued in this role until 1938 when the Ramblers’ Association was formed. He then became the Ramblers’ Association’s first President, a role he held until 1946 when it was taken over by John Dower, the architect of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.
Leonard was connected with a range of other organisations. He strongly supported the National Trust (founded by his close friend, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley and Octavia Hill), the Footpaths Preservation Society and the Campaign for National Parks. He was a founding member of the Friends of the Lake District in 1934. He was President of the Grey Court Fellowship, founded in 1935 to provide holidays for unemployed workers and their families from North-east Lancashire. They still run a holiday centre near Arnside on Morecambe Bay. He founded the Family Holidays Association after the Second World War, which was formed to convert derelict Government training camps into holiday homes for families. This organisation continued well into the 1960s.
Leonard joined the Society of Friends shortly after the First World War, the absence of a rigid creed and the freedom for intellectual thought which it afforded appeal strongly to him and he was a member of the Colwyn Bay Meeting for almost 30 years. In reaching this decision he might well have been influenced by friends and acquaintances such as Arnold Rowntree, Liberal MP, who championed the cause of conscientious objectors during the First World War. Arnold Rowntree was a prominent Quaker from the famous York confectionary family and was the first President of the Holiday Fellowship.
Leonard was awarded the OBE in the 1937 Coronation Honours for his work in outdoor activities. The extent of his influence on the development of countryside leisure is illustrated by the range of organisations represented at his 80th birthday celebrations held at the Friend’s House in London on 18 March 1944 attended by almost 100 guests.
The attendance book is signed by representatives of the CHA, HF, YHA, Ramblers’ Association, National Trust and the Councils for the Protection of Rural England and Rural Wales. All these organisations owed their existence to some degree to the example set by Leonard. Many of Leonard’s old friends such as Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley and Ramsay MacDonald had died by 1944 but signatories include Lord Woolton, President of CHA, who as Fred Marquis was MD of Lewis’s in Liverpool before World War Two and was Minister for Food during the war (and famous for “Woolton Pie”); Hubert Beaumont, Derbyshire County Councillor between the wars and Labour MP in Ramsay MacDonald’s Government in the 1930s; C E M Joad, an eminent philosophy, ranking alongside Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw, who also visited Leonard at ‘Bryn Corach’; Tom Stephenson, celebrated access campaigner and originator of the Pennine Way; Harry Griffin, journalist and writer, who wrote the Guardian’s Country Diary for 53 years; and John Lewis Paton, son of J B Paton who had such a strong influence on the development of the CHA and HF. Arnold Rowntree, President of HF, was too ill at the time to attend the celebrations but York was represented by Walter Ingleby, President of the York CHA & HF Rambling Club.
In his book, The Englishman’s Holiday published in 1947, J A R Pimlott ranks Leonard alongside Thomas Cook and Billy Butlin as a pioneer of the holiday movement.
A series of photographs taken in 1947, probably for a newspaper article, glorify Leonard’s accomplishments.
When he died he was cremated at a simple Friends Service at Anfield Crematorium in Liverpool. Obituaries appeared in newspapers published all over England, Wales and Scotland. They describe him as at his best and happiest when originating some new venture; a crusader; also a rebel, never reluctant to ‘tilt at windmills’; but also generous and gracious. One obituary states “His fertile imagination, his great powers of persuasion, his friendship and warm heartedness were responsible for the initiation and success of many enterprises which brought joy, happiness, fellowship and comfort to tens of thousands. He sought no personal gain for himself.’
The memorial plaques erected after his death are inscribed with the words: Believing that “The best things any mortal hath are those which every mortal shares”, he endeavoured to promote “Joy in widest commonalty spread”. The first part is taken from a hymn, written by Quaker Lucy Larcom, which was a popular CHA and HF song before the Second World War. The second part is taken from Wordsworth’s poem, ‘The Prelude’. They epitomise Leonard’s approach to holiday making and are still relevant today.
This article has concentrated on Leonard and his many achievements in the field of outdoor recreation. He has been somewhat ignored in recent times, as his vision of simple, affordable and sober holiday-making combined with the quiet enjoyment of the countryside has suffered as a result of increasing consumerism, changing cultural attitudes and expectations, and the search for more adventurous and exciting forms of outdoor recreation. Nevertheless, his promotion of friendship and fellowship in the outdoors remains as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.
His achievements in the outdoor recreation movement are rather under-rated today and I hope, through my research, to put that right.
Douglas G Hope
Hazel River Inn (1)
Image by D.Clow – Maryland
Flew out of work, the fleet flight of Friday before a holiday weekend. Everyone cracks a smile upon stepping out of the concrete and glass coffin of the corporate work week. The motorcycle is quickly gassed and loaded, I leave Washington DC at three-thirty, vowing not to check the time for the rest of the adventure. Adventure, the American adventure of the open road is what I seek. The road, my cameras, and escape.
Right turn off of 15th St. NW and I’m motoring past the Washington Monument and the White House. Harleys and clones are already lining the Mall for the annual Memorial remembrance that is Rolling Thunder. I’m soon over the bridge and on I-66 west. I plan on avoiding major highways when at all possible. Preferring scenic byways to drab highways. 66 is a necessary evil to flee the DC metro area as quickly as possible. At the start, 66 is a good quick run, for awhile anyway. Loads of Rolling Thunder riders are heading in 66 eastbound.
I keep the ubiquitous two fingers down to the side salute to fellow bikers out for extended stretches of time. In my experience, HD guys return the acknowledgement about 30-40% of the time. No big deal, some animosity exist though between different bike cultures. Motor-ism two-wheel stereotypes. However with the Rolling Thunder guys there is a noticeable increase in response, perhaps due to no longer just one biker acknowledging another, but a patriotic sharing of support and remembrance for those left behind, POW-MIA.
Traffic worsens further out 66 and I come up on a full HD dresser. Screaming Eagle back patch worked in with POW-MIA covers his vest and is topped by a “Run for the Wall” patch. I keep back a pace and we adopt the natural offset positioning of multiple riders.
After some 66 backup, stop-and-go, we strike up a staccato conversation in the pauses of the traffic flow. Where you been, where you going, see the rain coming? I tell him I’m headed out to the mountains, Skyline Drive and West Virginia. He says he’s just in from there recently, was in DC for Rolling Thunder for the day and will be coming back in on Sunday again. His license plate is obscured by luggage, so I’m unsure of his port of origin.
Later on we part ways and my thoughts turn. Of my parents friends only my step-dad was drafted for Vietnam. Luckily, for us, he only went as far as Ft. Hood, TX, and came back with some good stories about army life and venturing into Mexico (at least the ones he’s shared with me). I think about all the life he’s lived since then, all his experiences and joys. Thinking about what all those who didn’t return gave up, lost, when they didn’t come home. The loss felt by those who loved them, families that have a name on the Wall.
Rain is sprinkling before Manassas. Enough to cool you off but not enough to get you worried yet, at least for a bit. Whooooo. Then come the big drops. I head off the ramp to gear up with the rain paraphernalia under the gas station pavilion. Finally get it all on and get strapped back up and out pops the sun and the rain stops. Too funny. Now I have wet clothes on under the raingear. Rain gear now keeping the wind out that would dry me. I motor on as more rain is promised on the horizon.
This brings up a point about rain. People always ask, “What do you do when it rains and your on the motorcycle”. I reply simply, “I get wet”. Duh. Rain riding has never bothered me. On the straight highways it’s no big deal. Just give more cushion to the cars in front of you. Drive like grandma on the exit ramps.
My turning point is finally reached. Off of 66 west and onto 647, Crest Hill Rd. at The Plains, VA. Crest Hill Road is my first slice of motorcycle heaven to be had this weekend. I’m delighted to find that the squiggly line I traced out on the map when planning this trip has translated so well in reality. The road is still wet from the passing rain clouds, and I give a small rabbit and then a chipmunk a near death experience. My first of many animal crossings this weekend. The road is fantastic. A mixture of hilltop road and tree lined canopies that create forest tunnels. Speed limit is 45mph, 55-60 feels comfortable on most parts. Keeping an eye out for a hilltop barn to photograph that I’ve seen in my minds eye, lit by the sun breaking through the clouds and backed by the mountain vista. No luck on any of the barns actual placement to fit the mental picture I have framed.
Crest Hill Road and Fodderstack Rd is a long stretch. I take shots of a church and other buildings along Zachary Taylor Highway. Fodderstack gives more of the same as Crest Hill, just a narrower road. The asphalt is of my favorite variety, freshly laid. Washington, VA is a tiny town of historic bed and breakfasts. Local wineries appear to be an attraction here too. Right after Washington the rain returns while I’m in route to Sperryville. Then it really starts to come down, a full on summer thunderstorm. Visibility is down. Road and parking lots soon resemble rivers. Rain drops of the monster variety explode on the pavement, and you know it hurts when they hit you.
I quick soaking circuit of Sperryville confirms there are no local hotels. I duck into a barn shaped restaurant to wait it out. My drenched gear takes on bar stool and I occupy another. There’s a few flying pigs about. The bartender get me a hefeweizen, and recommends the angus burger. Locally raised and grass fed, we exchange jokes about my passing the burgers relatives on the way in.
Don’t freak about the beer. I have a one only rule when riding. It was followed by a meal (best burger of the weekend!), several coffees, and this bar top journal entry.
Somewhere along Crest Hill road I decided to keep the cell off for the weekend. In addition no tv, newspapers, internet, or e-mail sound like a good idea. Of course I now am studiously avoid eye contact with the two beautiful plasma’s above the bar.
Hazel River Inn, Culpepper, VA, has the coolest street side seating in town.
The downpour let up at the Shady Farms bar in Sperryville and due to the deficiency in local lodging I quiz the bartender for options. Over the other side of the mountain, the opposite side of Skyline Dr via 211 is Luray with lots of motels, but I want to save the mountain for the morning. The waitress suggest Culpepper, there being a Holiday Inn etc.
Stepping outside the sun has broke through the clouds again. Enough for some shots of Shady Farms Restaurant and a bridge. Heading down 522, the Sperryville Pike, I keep an eye out for photo ops to catch the next morning as I’ll be rerouting back through. Following the mantra of Dale Borgeson about tour riding in the US, I aim to avoid large chain establishments, whether they are restaurants or hotels, and explore the mom-and-pop local variety businesses. I have a dive-ish roadside motel in mind, Culpepper comes through with the Sleepy Hollow Hotel.
Before check in I ride through downtown historic Culpepper. It’s a cool place. The Shady Farm bartender had recommended the Culpepper Thai restaurant. I see it but don’t visit, still full from the meal earlier. Cameron Street Coffee looks like a great place, located in an old warehouse. Unfortunately their closed for the night.
Shower and changed, room 102 at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel. I hop back on the bike, refreshed and dry and ride through the warm night air back downtown. The coffee at the Hazel River Inn comes with a sweet fudge confection on the side. The peach and blackberry cobbler with vanilla sauce is divine.
The reconfigured plan for this getaway is to shed. Shed worries about the job, career, housing, and relationships. My motorcycle is therapeutic. It’s 600cc’s of Zoloft on two wheels. The road lifts my spirits. This wasn’t supposed to be a solo run, and there are stretches of road where I feel the emptiness behind me.
The cobbler is finished and I can hear the sound of a band doing their sound check. The banging of the drum requires investigation.
I found Brown Bag Special in the cellar pub of the same restaurant I was in. On my way to the door the noise of the sound check floated up the stairs and directed my feet downward. Brown Bag Special opened the set, appropriately enough, with “I drink alone”. The ol’ man, Big Money, would have loved it. Drink alone started off a Big Money Blues trifecta to include “The Breeze” and “Mustang Sally”. Then they made the mistake a lot of bands make that have a great lead guitar player. They let him sing. The lead guitarist karaoke sucked his way through a Tom Petty hit. He was so off key in his singing it made you appreciate the guitar solo’s all the more for the relief they provided. Thankfully the regular singer soon resumed his duties and the night went on. More good stuff from the band.
Folsom Prison Blues
Cheap Sun Glasses
“can’t you see, can’t you see, what that woman, what she’s done to me”
Off to bed now at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel with the ghost and shades of dead hookers and overdoses past.
150 miles today.
Morning breaks on the Sleepy Hollow Hotel, a hot shower and I’m back on the bike. A quick stop downtown to shoot the Hazel Inn, then it’s back on the Sperryville Pike. More stops to capture some sights seen yesterday. Mr. & Mrs. Pump. The open mouth caricatures are an accurate representation of the current gas cost and the pumps eating your wallet.
I keep telling my daughter that her first car, college car, will be a hybrid. She thinks they are ugly. The bike isn’t so bad, averaging around 40mpg. At about 180 miles on the tripometer I start to look for a refill, although I’ve pushed it to 211 miles before.
A quick left in Sperryville on 211 and up into the mountain, Blue Ridge Mountains and Skyline Drive. Heading up the mountain I get the first bite of the twisties I’ve been craving. The fee at the gate to Skyline Drive is well worth the price. Great scenery and fantastic views. The only drawback is the 35mph speed limit that is well enforced by the park rangers.
I shoot some self-portraits at Pollock Knob overlook. They’re funny in that with all the scrambling and hurrying to be the camera timer, then trying to effect a relaxed pose. I’ve also broke out my old friend this trip, the Lubitel 166, a medium format, 120mm film, twin lens camera. I’m like Jay-Z with this camera, I have to get it in one take. There is no digital review after the click for instant gratification. As a fellow photographer it’s “Point, Push, and Pray”. I’ll be interested to see the results. Not that I’ve left digital behind. Carrying both cameras, I’m an analog/digital double threat.
After the self-portraits and some dead tree shots I’m about to pack back on the bike and leave when I meet the preacher and his wife. He offers to shoot me with my camera and I return the favor with theirs. Conversation flows and in a ‘small world’ moment it turns out that he works for same Hazel family that owns the restaurant I was at last night for his Monday thru Friday job. I get a friendly “God bless” and I’m heading south on Skyline Drive. I make several more stops and break out the cameras again at Big Meadow.
There is a gnarly dead tree in the middle of the meadow. It has burn damage at the base, either the result of some wild fire or perhaps a controlled burn done to maintain the field. I spot and shoot a few deer, they probably won’t turn out as they’re to far away for my lens on the D100. I shoot a bunch of shots of the tree with the D100 and then totally switch processes with the Lubitel. The picture setup with the Lubitel takes about a minute-and-a-half. Manual zoom, i.e., walking back and forth to get the framing I want. Light meter reading. Then dealing with the reversed optics of the look-down box camera. It is fun though, to switch it up, change the pace and the dynamics. Just one click though, hope I caught it.
It’s a long but enjoyable ride to the south end of Skyline Drive. Unless you really like slow cruising I would suggest picking which third of Skyline Drive you’d like include in your trip and leave the rest. I drop off the mountain and into Waynesboro. Finding Mad Anthony’s coffee shop for a late breakfast. I overhear that it’s around noon. The Italian Roast coffee is good, in fact, it would prove to be the best coffee of the trip.
One of the pleasures of traveling by motorcycle is that it’s an easy conversation starter. People ask you where your coming from, where you’re heading, ask about your bike, tell you’re about their bike or the one they wish they had. One of the peculiarities of these conversations is that if the person even remotely knows of anyone that has died on a motorcycle, they will be sure to share this fact along with details. These stories usually involve a deer, a car pulling out, or someone taking a corner to fast. The conversation goes something like this:
Stranger“my cousin Bob had a friend that hit a deer and died on his bike”
You“yeah, deer are dangerous, got to be careful”
I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve held variations on this conversation many times. Luckily this isn’t the conversation I have with the owner of Mad Anthony’s. He’s a former sailboat instructor who now finds the same release and head clearing on his motorcycle that he used to get from his sailboat.
This brings to mind the same wave – don’t way dynamic that occurs between sail boaters and power boaters, very similar to the sportbike & HD crowd.
The proprietor is a coffee guru, we discuss roasting (my Italian roast was just roasted Wednesday this week). We talk about the good and the evil of Starbucks. We’re both in agreement that they over roast their regular coffee, but I think their foo foo drinks are tasty. He has in his shop both the Bodum press and the Bodum vacuum coffee pot that I got my mom for x-mas. A shameless plug here, the Bodum vacuum coffee pot makes the best home coffee ever. It’s also an entertaining crowd pleaser, no joke.
Leaving Waynesboro the plan was 340 northward to 33, then into Harrisonburg, VA (home of the Valley Mall and JMU). 340 proved to be boring so I jumped on 256, Port Republic Road, for a better ride to Harrisonburg. I don’t know if the coffee wore off or if I was just worn out. I pull over at Westover Park, pick out a spot of grass, and take a good nap in the sun.
I had my motorcycle bug handed down to me by my step-dad. My kindergarten year of school we moved right at the end of the school year. Rather than switch schools at this inopportune time my Dad stuck me on the back of his Honda and rode me to school and back again for the last month or two. Even earlier than that I have a great photo of me in 1973-4 sitting on his chopper with him. Me in a diaper and him with his long hippy hair. The wild side of the Reverend indeed.
Refreshed from my nap it’s back on 33 westbound. Heading out of the Shenandoah Valley and Rockingham County is more glorious twisty roads and the George Washington National Forest. GW is a beautiful tree canopy lined road with a river off to one side. Franklin, WV is the destination, a return to the Star Hotel.
I stayed at the Star a few years prior when they first re-opened the historic Star Hotel. The owner, Steve Miller, is a great guy, friendly and conversational. I told him I’d be back again, but it’s been a few more years than I thought. Late lunch at the Star is pesto grilled chicken on ciabatta bread with roasted red peppers. Not the type of fare one might associate with West Virginia, but people have misperceptions about everywhere. Steve promises a prime rib later at dinner tonight to die for.
So that there is no misunderstanding, in as much as the Sleepy Hollow Hotel was a dive, the Star Hotel is a dream.
Dump the gear in the room back on the bike for some roaming around. I head back to explore a river road I passed on the way in, Rock Gap. It’s a gravel affair and I follow it back a little ways. Photo some river shots. Down further there is a large cliff face with some college aged kids de-gearing after a day of climbing. I’ll try to stop back in tomorrow and shoot some climbing action, as well as some fly fishing.
I pick up a bottle of Barefoot Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, and drop it off with Steve at the Star to keep for later. I’ll enjoy that bottle later tonight from the 3rd floor front porch. South out of town I head, into some very secondary roads. I shoot an old decrepit cabin that would be right up Bobby Sargent’s alley. I put it in the metal folder for a possible future model shoot location, along with the river spots I’ve seen.
There are a couple more stops on this little ride. Once for what appears to be a feral chicken, and then for middle of the road stare down with a young doe. She’s camera shy though and is off before I can get a shot. Sportbike probably isn’t the best conveyance for nature photography. The pavement stops and gravel begins, I motor on. Rick & I once spent a full day just about on gravel roads, crisscrossing the back country around Cumberland, MD. So I’m comfortable with the less than ideal riding surface. A few miles on the road dead ends at a pair of chicken houses (source of the feral chicken’s ancestors perhaps?) and I turn around and survey the valley I’ve just ridden through. I have to stop the bike and soak in the scene. A picturesque farm is nestled in the corner of the valley, up against the hills. I meet some inquisitive cows, along with the farmer and his wife.
It seems that when you are in WV and you pass a sign that says “snow removal ends here” that the already suspect road conditions are going to quickly deteriorate and will soon resemble somewhat more of a logging road. I motor on through some back country, no houses, no farms, just mountains, steep roadside cliffs, and wicked gravel switchback curves. The part that gives you the willies are the downhill corners where the road grade is slanted to the outside of the curve and to the drop below. Yikes!
I creep along where a four wheeler would be much more functional. Although I still hit it a bit in the straights. Pavement arrives again and I’m unsure of my exact location. I follow the chicken farmers directions and soon discover myself back in Brandywine, intersecting the same stretch of 33 I rode on my way into Franklin.
Back at the Star Hotel it’s a shower and fresh clothes before heading down for dinner. Downstairs I find the prime rib to be as good as promised.
How beautifully staged is this. Barefoot on the 3rd floor patio, wine to ease the back and the ache in the knee.
205 miles today, the last 30 after check in, just to explore.
Out early in the morning. I find no climbers at Rock Gap, unsure of the hours they keep. Out of Franklin on 33 west, looking for another squiggly line I had seen on a map. Bland Hill Road name is a misnomer. A single lane country road winding through German Valley. I got a few shots of German Valley from the 33 overlook before turning on Bland Hill. Now I find myself in the same location I had shot from above.
The road cuts through some open pasture land and I meet some cows standing in the road after rounding one bend. They’re pleasant enough, if in no particular hurry to cross, and don’t mind posing for a shot or two before meandering on. People talk about the danger of hitting a deer, a cow would really ruin your day! Off of Bland Hill and on down into the valley. I come up on the rock formation I had seen from the overlook previously. It’s not Seneca Rocks, but a formation of the same ilk. I get some more photos, then onto German Valley Road. I’m still staying at the Star, there is no real destination today. It’s relaxing to stop as much as I like.
German Valley Road puts me back on 33 west and not long after I’m ordering breakfast at the Valley View Restaurant. Dale Borgeson warns of places that advertise home cooking, but that’s about all you see in these parts. There are a fair number of cars here and that’s usually a good since the food will be alright. Hell, even the Army could make a good breakfast. It all works out and it’s a hell of a deal, for toast, two eggs, hash browns, bacon, and coffee.
From 33 I hit 28 and turn off on Smoke Hole Road, just because it’s there and looks interesting. Boy, what a find it is. Combining the curvy one lane country road with nice wide smooth pavement (gravel free in the corners). It’s great. Smoke Hole Road turns out to run from 28 across the Seneca Rocks National Forest to 220 on the other side. Going west-to-east it starts out all curves and hills, then ends by winding along the south branch of the Potomac. There are lots of fly fishermen here enjoying the catch-and-release section of the river.
Up 220 to Petersburg, I run into some Ducati guys at the gas station. We swap riding info and I’m soon on 42 north towards Mayville. Hanging a left when I see a sign for Dolly Sods. I’m back on secondary roads and I soon pass another prophetic ‘no snow removal’ signs. It’s gravel the rest of the way up the mountain til it breaks out on top at Dolly Sod.
I’m real happy with today’s roads, as both Smoke Hole Road and Dolly Sods were unplanned ‘discovered adventures’. I do some rock scrabbling at Dolly Sod and enjoy the cliff top views. A fellow tourist snaps a shot for me an I hike out well past the distance that the casual tourist and families go. Shot some more shots of the rock formations with both the digital and film camera. Do some more self-portraits. I then sit down to relax in the sun with the cliff side breeze steadily blowing and update this journal.
Well, fellow traveler, if you’ve made it this far I am duly impressed. I thank you for your perseverance. The rest of the day was spent riding without incident. Just more fantastic roads. You don’t have to be an explore on par with Lewis & Clark to find great rides in West Virginia. Just be curious in nature and unafraid to leave the beaten path. Drop off the numbered roads and take the route less traveled. Soon you’ll be in your own undiscovered country. Blah blah blah.
Out of Dolly Sod and I find myself on 32. Rough calculations put the dirt road travel around 25 miles for the day. While we are on stats, here’s today’s animal road count:
1 dead fox
3 dead possums
1 dead blob (undistinguishable)
No fearsome deer
I guided myself today by a rather non-descript map put out by mountainhighlands.com
Leaving Dolly Sod on 32 puts me in Dry Fork and back on familiar 33 west to Elkins. I cruise around Elkins on the off chance I’ll run into a guy I know named Dallas. Now all you need to know about Dallas is the following:
I don’t know his last name
I once gave him a hair cut with dog grooming clippers
I know he works at a bike shop making choppers
You figure the odds of me finding him, near zero.
If your curious it wasn’t the first time I cut hair, albeit the first time using dog shears. In Korea I cut in the latrine for a cut or for a 6 pack. Everything was barter in the Army. We had a cook that would make you a great custom birthday cake for a case of beer or feed you food out of the back of the chow hall at 3am when you staggered in drunk from the ville for the promise of a future round to be bought. Korea stories could fill another journal.
Anyway, out of Elkins and south to Beverly. Scott, if your reading this you were on my mind as I went through town, never forgive, never forget.
So far I’ve only tried to write about the positive food experiences of the trip without throwing anyplace under the bus. C&J in Beverly however, served only barely functional burgers and the vanilla shake was of the worst chemical prefab variety. There are some things that I am stuck on, good vanilla ice cream is one. The others that I’m picky about are beer, whiskey, steak, cheese-steak, and coffee. It’s just so disappointing when something you usually enjoy turns out to be sub par.
After C&J it’s 250 east to 28, which heads back towards Seneca Rocks and Franklin. It’s a good haul through the Monongahela National Forest. A road of the scenic variety, with good twisties up the mountain and through the scenery. These type road have become quite a common occurrence here in WV. Back in Seneca Rocks and 33 east into Franklin. I never shoot Seneca Rocks, the light is never right, number one can tell you how I get about my light.
The Star’s restaurant is closed on Sunday, dagger, so I shower and head into Franklin by foot. About Franklin, WV. It’s a nice little town, quiet and sleepy. No bars other than the VFW that I could see. Everybody I’ve met and spoken too has be pleasant, friendly and conversational, both here in Franklin and elsewhere in WV. I’m sure there are a variety of characters much as anywhere, this is just my observation from the tourist level.
Following last night precedent I grab another vino from the Shell station. The Star being closed is a dilemma; I’m in need of a cork screw (having borrowed the restaurants the night before). I wander back down to the hotel, wine in hand, and past the hotel just a bit til I meet an old man sitting out front. I explain my situation, wine without access, and he says he’ll sell me a corkscrew. He goes in the house, shortly to return with the necessary implement in hand. I figure I have it for -4 or maybe rent it for a one time use for . That proves unnecessary however, he says just to take it, and keep it for any future need.
The sole booking for the hotel tonight, I’m like a wraith as I glide through the halls. On the front porch with my bottle of vino in hand. I have some cheap cigars I also picked up and there’s nothing to do but kick back and watch the sunset.
It’s been a great trip. Somewhat lonesome at times. The lack of someone to talk to surely let to the length of this journal. It was a trip to getaway, to reflect. There was no great revelation or anything, just time to get to know yourself. The road gives you time to think. I know who I am and I like being me. I know what’s missing.
I’m resolved to take more bike trips in the future. It’s definitely my preferred way to travel and vacation. Motorcycling is the way to go.
Tomorrow I have my route generally planned out, more scenic byways for a winding route home.
Miles today, 240.
Just a short postscript. 20 miles east of Washington DC, on 66, the chain popped off the bike. It’s never easy.