Light green, rust, orange, brown, red, yellow. Those were the colors Vic and I saw as we drove down the Skyline Drive in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, overlooking the Shenandoah Valley.
Vic is my recently obtained Ford Crown Victoria. He was in the car hospital on Friday and got a new battery and an oil change. So by Sunday I figured we were both ready for some fresh air.
As drove up to the entrance to the Skyline Drive I knew I had a choice. I could either go north, away from my destination in Blacksburg, or south, toward it. I had been on the northern route several times in my life and I knew it had some beautiful views. But the southern route was one I probably had been on once in my life.
The ranger said the southern route from our point covered 44 miles of the 105 mile drive. So since it was already noon and I figured I would get a good part of the route in, Vic and I headed south.
I am glad we did. It was a fantastic afternoon. The weather that morning was clear and sunny, but by the time Vic andI got to the Skyline Drive, some clouds had begun to set in. However, they actually were helpful because the sun still got through. The light was quite mellow.
I got a new look at the gaps, watersheds, hills, ravines, valleys and floras of the Blue Ridge. With the fall foliage, it was all stunning. Even the shoulders of the roadway were nice viewing.
I promised myself though that I would keep my eyes on the road. But I stopped and got out of the car at every single overlook. I learned a lot. For example, I learned that the area had been treeless in the early part of the century due to faming, lumbering, fires and other intrusions by men. But with the area being part of Shenandoah National Park now, the area’s plant life has been restored.
Also, I learned that Massanutten Mountain is a ridge that runs for several miles and cuts into the middle of the valley. That particular overlook was my favorite.
After about 2 1/2 hours Vic and I reached Waynesboro, the end of the southern route of the Skyline Drive. Waynesboro is 20 miles from the home of Thomas Jefferson and 10 miles from the birthplace of Woodrow Wilson. I made a note to come back.
Also, I missed my turn on to the interstate and ended up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, another scenic drive that continues south for over 400 miles. Vic and I had had enough for one day, but maybe will give that one a shot next year.