Monday, December 18, 2006

Skyline Drive is not a Short Cut

While pondering the title for this post, I considered:
- my trip on Skyline Drive from 211 to 66
- 211 gets twisty on the way to Skyline Drive

- 45 mph, a speed limit for hairpin turns!?
- deer on Skyline Drive
- Skyline Drive is not a short cut (the winner)
- Low on gas at 3,000 ft
- Half an hour is not long enough to navigate Skyline Drive from the middle entrance to the Northern entrance

The weather today was too good to pass up. So, wrapping up work a bit early, I headed out on the gixer via I-66 and 211 to the middle entrance to Skyline Drive.

The sunset was absolutely beautiful during the whole trip west. But, when I arrived at the middle entrace to Skyline Drive later than I'd hoped, determination won over common-sense. I reasoned: Skyline Drive will cut off some of the northern return trip, and get me further east as well.... it might even be faster than turning around and returning via 211! Uh hunh.

With the sun nearly set behind the mountains, I headed north on Skyline Drive past too many deer to count. The throb of the gixer's 1L engine in 4th gear at 45 mph seemed to be enough to drive most of them off the road. A few lingered just to make sure I was paying attention, affording fun for all of us.

At about the midway point between the Skyline entrances/exits, the low-fuel light began to blink. Oh joy. Could I have consumed that much gas already!? If I could run low on the trip out, did that mean that I'm averaging 25 mpg rather than 35 or 40 mpg!? How long is Skyline Drive again?? ...That was the longest nine miles of coasting downhill, ever. Arrived at the 7-11 gas station near the park entrance/exit with a gallon still in the tank.

Well, back in the real world again, at least. Time-check: I had hoped to be back home 15 minutes ago. It's dark. Getting cold. ...No rain, please.

Traffic is light on 66 East. The same can not be said for 66 West, which appears to be bumper to bumper much of the way back to Rt.28. But average speed for traffic my direction (east) is 75 to 85 mph! 80 to 90 mph in the dark; not high on my list of favorite ways to return home.

An accident on Waxpool (west of the Loudoun County Parkway) has traffic backed up a mile or two south on Rt.28 in the left lane, over the fly-over, and all the way down Waxpool. Taking another "short cut" via Rt.7 reminds me that NVA rush-hour traffic sucks! Loudoun County Parkway is clear, except that the Waxpool traffic is bumper-to-bumper through the intersection. ...Being thin has its advantages.

Home at last! ...It gets really dark at 7:30PM these days.

Oh, and, Skyline Drive is not a short cut!

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