LOVEly Drive to Roanoke

I had to drive to Roanoke on Sunday to pick up a package. Unfortunately, the cargo wouldn’t fit on the back of my bike, so I had to take the car. As usual, I decided to multitask a bit and squeeze-in an extra or two.

Extra #1 – Bojangles’ Breakfast

I HAD to stop at Bojangles’ for breakfast, I just had to. It’s my favorite.

Overview Map

Roanoke is roughly 200 miles from my house. I took the slower, more-scenic route to get there and used the interstate to get home.

Heading wast on US-33 toward the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Interstate highways suck. Especially I-81. It’s two lanes in most parts of Virginia, heavily traveled by trucks, and there are some pretty hilly sections as the road winds through the foothills and mountains.

Clogged Traffic

I almost always encounter slugs of traffic like this one. The big trucks tend to stick pretty close to the speed limit and travel in the right lane. But there are always passenger vehicles that don’t observe the Keep Right Except to Pass (KREP) rule, so traffic piles up. It gets even worse when you’re climbing a hill, which is hard for fully loaded trucks, and a big rig with a lighter load, no load, or simply more power gets into the left lane to pass. Still doing the speed limit. Which means it takes like FIVE MILES for the passing truck to get around the other one and back into the right lane. And another five miles for all of the law-abiding citizens to get past the truck. If you’re lucky, everyone returns to the right lane for travel. I’m not usually that lucky, and end up stuck behind a big-ass pick-up with a four-wheeler in its bed. Or a minivan. Which means I can’t really see the road ahead and it drives me NUTS. Not enough to incite road rage, it’s just soooooo frustrating. Traffic would move so much better if people were more considerate of others. Sigh…

I didn’t have enough time to take all back roads, so I suffered through. At least it was a pretty day for a drive. I’d never been on that section of I-81. And I’d never had any real reason or desire to visit the city of Roanoke. It is a city after all. And it’s surrounded by mountains. I’d much rather play in the mountains.

Driving into Roanoke

That day, I had a reason. Roanoke has a LOVEwork. 🙂

Roanoke LOVEwork
Extra #2 – Roanoke LOVEwork

Roanoke has a pretty rich railroad history. And it’s actually a cool-looking city. I didn’t have much time to look around, since the trip took a bit longer than I’d anticipated, so I just snapped a few quick pics.

I wish I’d been a tad further away so the image fit the frame better.


I drink Dr. Pepper, don’t ya know…


Market Center


Charming Downtown


Interesting Architecture


Parking Lot

As it turns out, I’d stumbled across Roanoke’s Railwalk…

…David R. and Susan S. Goode Rail Walk, paralleling the railroad for a third of a mile, with kiosks explaining the details of Roanoke’s iron horse history.

If you’d like to learn more, that quote comes from this article.

Along the Roanoke Railwalk


Hotel Roanoke (built in the late 1800s)



It was a nice little park. The train engineer even waved to me as he chugged past.

One thing is for sure, the state tourism department’s LOVEwork campaign has made me get out and explore parts of Virginia I would otherwise not have seen.

Perhaps one day, Hubby and I will get to visit Roanoke and spend a weekend exploring.

5 Replies to “LOVEly Drive to Roanoke”

  1. Roanoke looks like a great place to spend some time.

    I wish Oregon would do something like the LOVEworks to get people wanting to get out and explore new places.

    1. It really is a cool idea. Virginia is such a big state. There are so many towns I’d never see if it weren’t for my LOVE mission. 🙂

    1. Karen, that’s pretty funny.

      The BRP runs along the edge of the city at one point. I remember that as being one of the flatter and warmer spots on my BRP tour. But I never would have gone into the city if it weren’t for the LOVE. We usually stay in inexpensive hotels/motels along or near highways when we are traveling, even on the bikes. But Roanoke had such a cool vibe, I want to go back..

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