The other morning, I had some time on my hands. The weather outlook for the day was decent, so I decided to go for a ride.
It was about 6:30 when that decision was made. Naturally, breakfast was on my mind. And since I really, really like Hardee’s breakfast biscuits, but there are no Hardee’s in the immediate vicinity, I googled Hardee’s locations near me. I opted for the one in Luray, Virginia. It’s not the closest, but it was opposite the direction I’d traveled on a couple recent rides.
Now, I admit, 43.6 miles would be too far to go for a simple, fast-food breakfast if I was in a hurry and/or had to turn around and come right back. But it makes a perfect pit-stop for a loop ride. In my opinion.
Which meant I had to define the rest of the loop.
I’m a map person. I love reading maps and plotting routes. Google makes it so easy, too, telling you how far you’ll be traveling and how much time your route may require.
Here’s a link to the actual Google map of the route I ended up plotting.
At some point, I started wondering if there was anything interesting in that area to see. That’s when I remembered “the parade thing” at Shenandoah Caverns. I’d read about it years before, but had never managed to visit. Hubby isn’t quite as interested in roadside oddities as I am. And some of the stuff I consider to be fun, he just thinks is dumb.
“Why would anyone collect old parade stuff?” he said when I got home and told him what I’d seen.
As it turns out, there’s a good reason. The guy who owns Shenandoah Caverns, Earl Hargrove, also owns a company (Hargrove, Inc.) that has been making parade floats for many years. He’s purchased quite a few floats from famous parades, too. And he thought it would be cool to share his collection.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
After I got dressed, I walked into Hubby’s office. He looked at me and said, “Are you going for a ride?”
Wonder what gave him that idea? I was wearing my black, Under Armour, capri-length pants, black over-the-calf socks, and my lucky t-shirt.
It was a gift from my mother-in-law. She prays a lot, so I figure the shirt must be lucky, right?
Plus, it’s covered in toads.
I didn’t mention that the route took me across US-211 and Thornton Gap. That’s a road I’ve mentioned here before.
Usually, it’s clogged with cars and other vehicles. That day, I didn’t encounter one pokey vehicle until I’d reached the top. At a point where I had plenty of room to pass.
How awesome is it that we live so close to Shenandoah National Park?
I did get stuck behind a roll-back tow truck on the way down, which was carrying a full-size, smashed-up pick-up truck and pulling a van. It was CREEPING down the mountain. Luckily I was able to pass him, too.
Soon after that, I was at Hardee’s.
After enjoying a leisurely breakfast, I was on my way.
Since I was still headed west on US-211, I got to cross the New Market Gap, too. It’s not as nice or as long as Thornton Gap, but does have some good curves, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
My next stop was only about 20 miles from Hardee’s, so I got there in no time.
You’ll never guess what I saw when I arrived…
I almost didn’t believe it myself. And, yes, I did squeal loudly with delight after laying eyes upon this adorable behemoth.
The big green guy isn’t actually at the parade place — American Celebration on Parade. It’s across the road at another part of the caverns complex.
Just seeing the giant frog would have made the whole trip worthwhile. Really.
But there was so much more to see. I decided to keep my helmet on and re-visit Mr. Frog more closely after viewing the parade exhibits.
I do have more images to share, but I’ll save them for the next post.
It was SUCH a fun place. 🙂