Day 1: Virginia

And we’re off! This will truly be an adventure: 43 grueling days of driving from sun up to sundown (and sometimes more than that), with four feisty dogs, tracking down roadside goodies. It’ll be fun… but it’ll be a physical challenge as well. I’m wiped out already as I only got a 1.5 hour nap last night between work and a full day of driving & picture-taking. So I’ll keep this brief and give you more photos than words…

If you are new to my blog — basically, I use this forum as a place to throw misc. photos that don’t fit in with my website categories (or aren’t nice enough for some reason). It’s a chance to recap my day and share the ups and downs of my longer roadtrips. I hope you enjoy traveling along with us and welcome your comments. Keep in mind that these postings are written at the end of very long days and I apologize for any grammatical errors or incoherencies.

On with the show! Let’s start with a few signs.

I love these “OK” used car signs which are pretty rare now. Although the neon’s gone on this one in Winchester, the owners still keep it nicely painted:


From a great old hardware store in Front Royal. I’ve seen other plastic Stihl chainsaw signs but this one seems older than most.


A great atomic detail from a laundry sign from Winchester. I assume those little dots flashed (hey, maybe they still do!):


This nice mix of painted and neon signage in Harrisonburg might not be around too much longer: the building is vacant:


It’s important to have good road snacks on these grips and this place was one of the highlights of the day. Route 11 Chips in Middletown focuses on potato chips and manufactures them on the premises (you can watch through the glass windows). Tough to chooses between all the flavors — I went with “Mama Zuma’s Chile Enchilada” (great, not too spicy, thick and crunchy; the dogs give it a paws up as well) and “Sour Cream & Chives” (haven’t tried yet).
Here’s their website:

You can see snow in the photo – luckily, that didn’t last long. I can take photos fine in the rain (with my cardboard shield) but nothing you can do about snowflakes.


Here are a couple roadside relics —

a former theatre in Mount Jackson:


and from Waynesboro – a train bridge to nowhere now:


I have to sneak in one photo of one of my “kids”. This is ‘Nik alerting me to the fact that I’m not drinking my Diet Coke fast enough. Boink-boink-boink because he’s not allowed to grab it himself. I usually give him my empty bottle to play with for awhile when I’m done. He immediately strips off the cap, then the red ring and chomps on the plastic top til it’s a blob. Then he insists I throw it for awhile. Yes, while I’m driving, I hurl it to the back of the van and he scampers to retrieve it. Back and forth til my eardrums hurt from the other three dogs barking at him. Not to worry — my eyes never leave the road and I drive well with one hand….


And lastly, a little sequence –> a nice little courtyard motel (the Shenandoah Motel in Front Royal) featuring what I believe is called “giraffe stone”. My understanding is that it’s flagstone that’s arranged in this color pattern which resembles giraffe markings. I have mostly seen it in Missouri and never noticed til today how much of it is in Virginia. The Shenandoah also has little Streamline Moderne features.


Here’s another example of this stonework — even prettier — at the Smyrna Presbyterian Church in Waynesboro:

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