Took a break Saturday.

Taking a break usually means crawling on a motorcycle for a ride and I did just that, meeting up with fellow rider and friend Nick Piazza at Smart View on the Blue Ridge Parkway before heading north to Roanoke for a customer appreciation day at Roanoke Valley Harley-Davidson.

After free hotdogs, we traveled back to the Parkway to venture further north to Peaks of Otter Lodge for a stop for refreshment, then down a few twisty turns on Virginia 43 to Bedford, hooking up with Virginia 122 over towards Smith Mountain Lake and right on Virginia 27 back to the Parkway East of Vinton and Southwards to Floyd County.

Not a major ride.  We started at 11 a.m., spent more than an hour at the dealership, another hour at Peaks of Otter and a quick gas stop just before getting back on the Parkway outside Vinton.  About 185 miles, but a pleasant break in good weather.  Pulled into my driveway shortly before 5:30 p.m. after a stop to pick up a few things.

A lot of other bikers on the Parkway, both on motorized two-and-three wheelers and on bicycles.  Several four-wheelers too mostly headed South.  I wondered if they were headed to FloydFest.

At the dealership, several asked why I wasn’t at FloydFest.  I had spent July at the event for the past 15 years, shooting thousands of photos and hours of video, writing thousands of words for The Floyd Press, Blue Ridge Muse, and other places.

I walked away voluntarily from coverage after the end of last year’s event.  It was time, I told editor Wanda Combs.  Colleen Redman took over sole coverage of the event for the paper.  Her coverage can also be found on her blog, Loose Leaf Notes.

Some Saturday afternoon asked if I missed not being at the event.  I had offers of tickets and a campsite if I wanted to come just as an attendee, but I declined.  I was, and still am, burned out.  I enjoyed covering the event for a decade and a half but my aging and no longer agile 71-year-old body can’t traverse the uneven domain and cover the events as well as needed.

Thankfully, I’m still able to cover local news and the upcoming season of high school sports for the paper.  I can still balance myself on a motorcycle (or use my wife’s three-wheeled Can-Am if I can’t), but the latest mowing of our front yard is now a multi-day event because of the needs to take breaks.

A 71-cent clinch pin delayed the latest mowing this week when the right side of the mower deck fell to the ground when the pin snapped.  That was on a late Thursday afternoon and I had to pick up a new supply of clinch pins on Friday after an appointment at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke in the morning and a stop afterward at Brambleton Hardware.

Replaced the pin Friday afternoon and mowed the lower part of the yard with no further problems.  Did some other yard work after returning Saturday from the “break” ride and hope to finish the yard later Sunday and Monday afternoons.

But I may take another motorcycle ride this afternoon first.

Got to keep my priorities straight.

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