Motorcycle Wanderings, General Travel, and a Weird Mix of Other Stuff

Missing the Point

IMG_0028My Hubby turned 60 on October 4. Sixty! We don’t usually make a huge deal over birthdays, but I thought hitting 60 was a milestone that deserved a celebration. And what better way to make merryย than spending a long, three-day weekend riding our bikes through the mountains of Virginia and neighboring states?

I worked long and hard planning a ride. It’s not as easy a you might think. Why? Because it’s not about the destination, it’s about the roads. The roads are what make the trip fun. Really.

I still get a chuckle at the look of confusion on people’s faces after I tell them I don’t really have a destination in mind for a three-day excursion into the mountains. I mean, I had planned overnight spots, but they were just convenient resting places.

After a couple weeks of sporadic research and planning, I settled on a route. Then the East Coast region was hit by a crazy combination of storms — a nor’easter AND tropical storm/hurricane — which made us cancel our plans.

A lot can change in two weeks. Fall has arrived. Each day we have fewer hours of sunlight. AND temps have been dropping. So, once we settled on make-up dates, I had to re-work the route. Remember, celebrating Hubby’s birthday was the point of this trip, so I couldn’t plan many stops to see goofy stuff, which I enjoy but he doesn’t.

He knows I like roadside oddities, but he also knows that I know he thinks that’s all sorta silly. Still. He knows if I see some roadside awesomeness, I’m gonna stop. Which is why we both had a good chuckle over breakfast on Saturday.

There was a Bojangles’ in Wytheville, which I love, so it was my job to get us there from the hotel.ย After checking in on Yelp, which also posts to Facebook, my friend, Rachael (aka Fuzzy), commented, “Home of the big pencil!” Fuzzy likes roadside oddities even more than I do.

Her comment made me laugh out loud. Of course, Hubby wondered why I was laughing, so I had to explain Rachael’s comment.

“She said that about your Bojangles’ check-in?” Hubby asked, with a look of confusion.

“Yes, because it said Bojangles’ in Wytheville. And she knows Wytheville’s the home of the big pencil. I’m not sure where it is though,” I told him.

“What? I saw it. You didn’t see it?” he asked. “I thought for sure that’s why you were turning when you turned.”

“Wait… you saw the big pencil and didn’t say anything?!?” I asked.

“I thought you saw it,” he insisted, sheepishly, because he and I both knew he was really hoping I hadn’t seen it, ’cause that would have meant stopping for a photo, which would have delayed breakfast. Plus, we were already a tad later than we would’ve liked.

He tried explaining the location, saying how I could just follow the GPS route backwards or plot a return trip to our hotel or some other scheme that would’ve required far too much thought at that early hour.

“I’ll just plug in the address. Finding it will take two seconds,” I told him. The look of confusion on his face was priceless.

How does one quickly find the address for a business with a very large pencil as a sign? With the phone app of course (Fuzzy told me about that one years ago). All I had to do was enter “Wytheville, VA” to get a list of local oddities. The Big Pencil was at the top of the list.

For Fuzzy

For Fuzzy

Since he was probably feeling a teeny bit guilty for not having said, “Oh my God, did you see the big pencil?” as we’d passed, he didn’t complain about retracing our steps. And he was happy to take this pic for me.

Me and the Big Pencil of Wytheville

Me and the Big Pencil of Wytheville

It really is a pretty impressive pencil. Thanks for that timely reminder, Fuzzy!

I’ll tell y’all more about the ride in future posts. It was awesome. Here are a few teaser pics for you.


Bridge across the Cowpasture River



Lovely River Road



Robinson Tract Road



Somewhere in Virginia

And y’all wonder why I don’t post more pics of myself.


  1. October 19, 2015    

    When all else fails to inspire a destination, roadsideamerica can help!

    • October 19, 2015    

      Dom, I agree 100%. Problem is, my husband does not share that opinion. ๐Ÿ™‚

      When he and I travel together, oddities are incidental. When I’m off exploring alone, I often use RoadsideAmerica to help formulate a ride plan. Every now and then, I DO sneak stuff in on trips with Mike, especially if we’re in an area I may not get back to soon, if ever. Some stuff is just too cool to miss. Like a hillside full of concrete statues. LOL.

  2. shan's Gravatar shan
    October 19, 2015    

    I miss fall. Thanks for letting me see it through your eyes.

    • October 19, 2015    

      Better for you Shan. You would have FROZEN.

      • shan's Gravatar shan
        October 20, 2015    

        Considering I just about freeze on my bike when it’s 65, that’s probably accurate. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I just like seeing it in general, so it still works!

    • October 19, 2015    

      Cool pencil. Nice photos of the fall leaves!

      • October 19, 2015    

        Thanks, Richard. More leaf pics to come. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. October 20, 2015    

    Ooo, those rural roads look mighty delightful, ToadMama. I look forward to reading about what’s around those bends.

    And what are you talking about?… Nothing makes for a better photograph than a couple of happy folks with moto-helmet hair and moto-grin faces.

    • October 20, 2015    

      Good point, Ry. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks. Oh, and the roads in this area — VA, WV, NC, and TN — are fabulous.

  4. October 20, 2015    

    “… he and I both knew he was really hoping I hadnโ€™t seen it …”

    This just makes me laugh. it’s so loaded with things not said ๐Ÿ˜†

    • October 20, 2015    

      Yes, Fuzz. It was loaded. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. October 20, 2015    

    I can’t believe there is a big pencil in Wytheville and we didn’t see it!!!

    Looks like a lovely trip and that is how we plan pretty mcuh every trip, for the roads!

    PS: Happy Birthday to Mike! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • October 20, 2015    

      Lynne, you need the app. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The Big Pencil is right on Main Street.

      • October 21, 2015    

        You are correct…getting that app now! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • October 21, 2015    

        Ok, I am an Android, so no app for me. But I bookmarked the page…

        • October 21, 2015    

          Darn. It’s a great app, but access to the web page is just as good. It’s a fun resource.

  6. Annelies's Gravatar Annelies
    October 20, 2015    

    We didn’t even realize it was a big birthday! Lovely photos of the fall scenery. Tell Mike he’s been more patient than I thought on our joint travels. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  1. Big 60 Ride (Friday) | on October 21, 2015 at 10:12 am

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