Day 11

Leaving the Fancy Hill Motel after a good breakfast at the restaurant, I rode south on 11 past Natural Bridge, It was quite pretty and pretty hilly riding. When 11 got subsumed into I-81 a mile or so past Natural Bridge, I continued on the frontage road. Actually I stayed on 11, crossed I-81, said oops! when I saw there was no 11 on the other side, came back over and asked folks at a service station what to do. They pointed me at the frontage road.. It is SR-F055 and, starting a bit later, there is an F054 running on the other side of I-81. F055 and F054 are part of the Bike-76 and AC routes. Nice riding and less hilly than 11 had been since Lexington. SR-F055 dead ends after the Buchanan I-81 interchange, but you can just cross over I-81 and take F054 which becomes 11 as it goes into Buchanan.

At this point I had several routing options; I could continue into Roanoke on 11, go in on 11 and take a bypass (117) around the worst of Roanoke, go up on the Parkway from Buchanan, or try to follow the Bike-76 route around Roanoke to the west. I elected to ride into Roanoke on 11 and then take 117 which rejoin 11 near Salem. As I rode 11 towards Roanoke from Buchanan I could see the Peaks of Otter area above the valley to the east. Those hills in the distance above the farm are near the Peaks of Otter.

Riding through Roanoke wasn't much fun. There was lots of traffic but the road was four lanes for the worst of it, so the traffic was tolerable. I stopped for lunch in Salem - neat town - and then cranked on down 11. Riding was easy till I got near Christiansburg. Then I had to climb up the big hill. The Shenandoah Valley just steps up 500 feet or so and there is no way to avoid a steep climb. It was bad enough that I stopped to rest briefly part way up. Then I rode on through Christainsburg and Radford on 11. I stopped for a snack and then rode on to Pulaski.

This was a pretty ride after I got past Radford. In Pulaski I saw signs for a city campground, but when I asked some folks at a service station they said that it was too dangerous to camp there and they told me where I could find a cheap motel. I ate supper at a Sonic Drive In - kinda nostalgic - and I got a good nights sleep in my $25 a night motel room.


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