Finding LOVE is Overrated

16 Jul

Finding LOVE isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be. There, I’ve said it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed seeing the various sculptures around the state — see Capturing LOVE in Virginia if you’re “lost” — but they’re sometimes hard to find. And some no longer exist or have been moved.  So there’s an element of frustration I didn’t anticipate. Maybe it would be less frustrating in cooler temperatures.

At least it gets me out there, right?

This past Sunday, July 12, Hubby’s to-do list was calling, but I decided to completely shirk responsibility for the day and go have fun instead. After noting the location of several LOVEworks and mapping a route, off I went.

I kept seeing signs for that town, which made me smile. What an odd name for a town! I honestly had no idea if my route would lead me through Cuckoo, so when I saw this sign, I yelled “Cuckoo!” and veered quickly to the shoulder for a quick capture…

9_IMG_2953

What an unusual name for a town.

…or two.

8_IMG_2954

I’ve Gone Cuckoo

I couldn’t resist a fun selfie upon reaching Cuckoo.

After that quick stop, I continued on to Petersburg to capture LOVEwork number one of the day at Petersburg Pickers, a place to which I must return.

1_IMG_0001

Petersburg LOVEwork

I like when locales get creative with their LOVE.

2_IMG_0004

Coolest OPEN sign ever. When the goats are out, they’re open.

Now, I love places like that, but I was hot, hungry, and on the bike (minimal storage space), so I decided that it would be best not to even look in the door. It took self-restraint, trust me.

3_IMG_0005

More of the herd.

From there, it was off to Hopewell for the second LOVEwork of the day. I honestly think I drove right past it because a different sign caught my attention.

7_IMG_2960

BOJANGLES’!

I really, really like Bojangles’ and, since there are none close to home, I almost always stop when I see one on the road. Especially if I happen to be hungry at the time, which I was.

I’m not sure if I ever explained that I worked at a Bojangles’ as a teenager. There were several locations owned by the same group in and around Baltimore for a relatively short — four years? — span of time. Rumor had it that one of the owners or an upper-level employee embezzled a bunch of money, which caused all of the locations to cease operations. It was sad. They really do have the best biscuits. Hardee’s is a close second.

Anyway, it was a bit late for breakfast. I could have opted for some of their yummy, spicy, fried chicken, but it was getting hot. Who wants a stomach full of greasy fried chicken while sweating their ass off in full gear? Not me! So I opted for my favorite, protein-rich breakfast — a steak biscuit with cheese — and a half-and-half iced tea (half sweet tea, half unsweet tea).

You ever drink sweet tea in the South. It’s shockingly sweet. Really. Especially for someone who usually prefers iced tea with no sugar or artificial sweetener added. On hot days, though, I believe a little sugar helps.

After a few circles around the not-so-nice town, I managed to find the LOVEwork at the Visitor’s Center, which was closed.

Hopewell LOVEwork

Hopewell LOVEwork

The sculpture was surprisingly cute given the depressed-feeling nature of the town.

After that, it was off to Richmond. I’d planned on stopping to see another, unrelated sight, but it was getting really hot by that point, so I nixed that stop and continued on to Maymont, a former Victorian country estate, which seemed like it’d be a nice place to visit, if I had more time. It was actually quite crowded, and there was no place for me to park and zip in and out for the LOVE capture, so I just rested for a bit in the shade, sipping iced tea, before continuing on my way.

I did stop for a quick shot of my bike parked by this flowering shrub/tree.

12_IMG_2963

Gorgeous and big Crape Myrtle.

There was another LOVEwork sort of nearby in Richmond, which I believe was my favorite of the day.

16_IMG_2967

Richmond LOVEwork

Yep, that’s the Richmond International Raceway, a place I’m guessing NASCAR fans would really enjoy. It’s a HUGE complex.

14_IMG_2969

Richmond Raceway LOVEwork

I couldn’t decide which pic is my favorite, so I just decided to share all of my top selections.

13_IMG_2966

Richmond Raceway LOVEwork

 

15_IMG_2970

Richmond Raceway LOVEwork

After that, I’d planned two more stops. Bit it was getting late, and I wanted to be home in time for dinner with my Honey. I crossed the Spotsylvania LOVE off of my list and proceeded to Ashland.

Ashland, like Petersburg, is on my “must revisit” list. It’s a cute town. The LOVEwork was located at the old train station, which is actually still in operation. It’s unmanned, but trains do stop there to pick up and discharge passengers. Lots of freight trains pass through, too. At least that’s what the volunteer inside the station, which doubles as the visitor info center, told me.

6_IMG_2973

Ashland LOVEwork

 

5_IMG_0013

Bicycle Garden (local art project)

I was happy to have captured four LOVEworks in one day, but I’m still undecided as to whether or not I’ll plan any more trips specifically to see the remaining sculptures. Of course, I have been known to change my mind.

Next stop, home. That was the plan. Then I got thirsty and decided to stop for a drink.

11_IMG_2975

Another cute, rural-ish gas station.

EV Baker’s store is in Unionville, not too far south of Culpeper. It’s just the sort of quirky gas station/general store that I like. And the water was cold. 🙂

I guess I should mention the ride, which was quite pleasant until I hit the more-populated areas around Petersburg, Hopewell, and Richmond. The bulk of my ride was on US-522 from Culpeper to its end near Powhatan at US-60. There was very little traffic most of the way. The pavement was smooth, mostly straight, but humpy (small up-and-down hills) and alternated between picturesque farmland and forest. There was a little traffic near Lake Anna — big recreational lake — but, for the most part, I had the road practically to myself all morning and afternoon traffic was quite light. All in all, it was a very pleasant ride.

There’s a Spotwalla map for my Richmond-area LOVE tour if you’re interested.

Do y’all think I should give up on my LOVE quest, or keep on keeping on? In other words, do you enjoy seeing the LOVEworks I’ve visited? This inquiring mind wants to know.

13 thoughts on “Finding LOVE is Overrated

  1. That Raceway love sculpture is pretty cool, but nothing beats the goats!! You should have strapped one to the back of the bike and taken it home.

  2. Kind of like going geocaching on the bike. Sure, I vote for “keep on keeping on” but not necessarily for the sculptures themselves. There is entertainment just hearing of the search and pursuit of the elusive art. It’s not me riding in the blistering heat and humidity while fighting billions of tourists, bugs and RVs. Of these 4, the first was my favorite.

    • Richard, it is sort of like a geocaching adventure, isn’t it? 🙂

      When things cool off, I’ll keep looking. Probably.

  3. You’ve found your home town! 😉

    Love those goats.

    While the Richmond love is definitely way cool and awesomely flashy – the way you captured the Hopewell love makes it seem like there is something simply sweet about it.

    Do you know if the site gets free reign to make the LOVE work out of anything they want, in any size? What about new towns participating? I wonder how the whole process of getting love in your town works.

    I know exactly what you mean about sometimes being let down when you chase after something you’ve read about or saw on the internet. Maybe the let down is the ride being boring, the thing went missing, or it simply wasn’t as WOW! as you’d hoped when you finally got there. The fantasy of perfection that I sometimes build up in my mind simply cannot be duplicated in real life. Even so, I rarely come home feeling totally bummed out about the trip – something else will usually step in and make the whole thing worthwhile.

    As for leaving home just for the love? It seems like the more sub/urban settings are a problem. Why not keep them on the backburner until the weather gets cool or stick them as favorites in your GPS for when you’re in the area? Maybe they can be nice supplements to other rides but not the sole goal. Keep your focus on the rural areas or in the mountains while it’s hot out.

    How do you save or keep track of stuff you want to visit? Do you scribble it down, keep a list, write notes, pins on a Google map, rely on memory? I’d be interested in knowing your process.

    • Rachael, Hopewell struck me as one of those really cute small towns that’s sort of on the decline, but has potential to be great again. I’m sure there are nice areas in and around town, but it was too hot for me to explore. Maybe I’ll pass through again someday.

      I’ve been pondering a post about my process for trip planning. I usually just make mental note of places and sights I’d like to visit/revisit. That’s not the most efficient method, but things that seem REALLY cool and/or interesting do tend to stick out more.

    • Rachael, I forgot to address this part of your comment: “Do you know if the site gets free reign to make the LOVE work out of anything they want, in any size? What about new towns participating? I wonder how the whole process of getting love in your town works.”

      We are actually in the process of bringing LOVE to Warrenton. The site does have free reign, and pretty much anyone in Virginia can participate.
      The LOVEwork must be permanent in highly-visible, well-trafficked areas (indoor or outdoor) that experiences high visitation and can be easily and SAFELY photographed and shared on social media. The proposed LOVEwork needs to be large – big enough for an adult to stand beside for a photo! Projects should promote or incorporate local/regional themes, materials or items that are unique selling points for the destination (i.e. seashells for beaches, murals for historic downtowns, canoe paddles for outdoor adventure, etc.) The project applicant assumes all responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the LOVEwork and agrees to secure any necessary permits or permissions for constructions/creations. Applicants cannot charge a separate fee to access the LOVEwork but it is acceptable to host the LOVE creation/artwork at a tourism destination that requires a fee (i.e. Mount Vernon, Monticello, Busch Gardens, etc.)

      It takes a little money, someone has to be willing to donate a site or grant permission for the site’s use, and someone (person or persons) needs to spearhead to effort to have the think created and erected.

      It will be a big day when LOVE finally does appear in Warrenton. 🙂

  4. I am with Fuzz, wait till it’s cooler and then it will be more fun! Everything is more fun when you’re not sweating.

    My favorite LOVE (of these three) is the one in Hopewell. Even if the town is not too fun. I enjoy seeing your love finds, for sure!

    And those goats…what a cute idea!

    • Cool weather may come again one day. It’s funny, the last couple of years have actually been mild in comparison to past years, but when it’s been hot, it has been REALLY hot and/or humid. It’s just gross.

Comments are closed.