For many years Margaret and I both have wanted to see some of Americas Colonial and Civil War history areas in the Northeast. We knew there was far too much to see in one trip so we chose highlight areas that were major turning points in America history. After researching some destination options on American history we finally decided on Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Richmond, VA, and Washington, DC. We knew it would be a lot to cover but we also knew it would make a great trip on our iron horses!
Jamestown was the site of the first permanent English colony to settle the Americas in 1607. Archaeologists recently uncovered the original site of the settlement and are unearthing artifacts daily on their digs. They were working as we visited the site. There is a very comprehensive museum that was built to house the historical artifacts and provide information on how the early settlers lived.
Yorktown was the site of the final decisive battle of the American Revolution. The battle site is marked and details of the battle through a tour are available along with the firing of a powder cannon.
Williamsburg was the site where the first established government was moved to. There is an entire city of original restored colonial homes, workshops, gardens, courthouse, governors mansion, and artisans. The townsfolk wear the attire of the time period and practice their trades in the same manner as was done in the 1600 and 1700’s. It took 2 full days to tour this remarkable city and experience all it had to offer. Re-enactments of political views, civil protests, musket and cannon shooting took place throughout the day.
Richmond is the current capital of Virginia and is the home to the Civil War Museum- The White House, and the Museum of the Confederacy, The Tredger Civil War Museum, and the Historic Tedger Ironworks that played a vital role during the Civil War.
Washington, DC being our nations Capital was a necessity for the trip and was an unforgettable experience that everyone should see at least once in their life.
This was the longest of our rides so far that took us 4200 miles across 9 states. Because we knew there was so much to see we took a full 3 weeks to make the ride. We actually only rode 12 days on the trip because at most of our stops where we spent multiple days we just parked the bikes and took convenient public transportation to get around. Even 3 weeks wasn’t enough as there is an incredible amount of history of America to visit. The ride also brought on a couple of really great ideas for future trips that we are already beginning to plan.
We had some great riding experience through out the trip. The Tail of the Dragon was fun though the Diamondback Motorcycle route is by far a better ride if your wanting curves and corners. While riding Skyline Drive we encountered bears crossing the road multiple times. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was quite a ride. 17 miles of bridge and tunnel took us across the Chesapeake Bay with a stop along the bridge for great viewing. The Blue Ridge Parkway provided some of the most beautiful scenic views you could ever want to see. This time we were able to complete it almost rain free, only getting drenched one time on the 3 day ride. We were able to spend time at the Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge this time as well. The Cherohala Skyway was a mess. There was quite a bit of road construction going on, mowing and trimming was taking place and the road was covered deep in grass clippings and branches. A strong storm hit while we were on it making the grass over the road slippery. It rained so hard at one point we had to pull over and stand in the rain until it died down a bit because we couldn’t see the road to ride. We didn’t take our planned route home after the Cherohala Skyway due to storms and just let storm fronts drive us where it would so we could stay dry. We ended up 100 miles from Mobile, Al and then took some scenic byways west to get most of the way home. It turned out to be great riding and we got to see some small town areas of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana that were far of the main roads because of it.
Both bikes ran flawless the entire 4200 miles. We only had 2 issues on the ride both of which we were able to resolve quite easily. Margaret’s tour pack straps stretched and the pack came loose and started to slip off the bike. We stopped at a Petro and purchased some tie downs which ended up working better than the straps that came with the touring pack. In Yorktown, VA one of her passing lamp bulbs went out so we stopped at the Yorktown Harley Davidson Dealership, purchased a bulb, and changed it in the parking lot. We topped off the oil on the bikes one time midway on the trip only using half a quart between both of them. We both almost hit dear on the Blue Ridge when the mother dear crossed in front of me, her baby got confused and jumped in front of Margaret.
We met some wonderful people as well. The people of Virginia and Washington, DC were notably extremely friendly. They made you feel welcome and comfortable. Two people in particular we met I want to mention, Jay in Richmond, VA, and Keith in Washington, DC. Both fellow riders and it was wonderful to meet them both. Thank you both for welcoming and taking time to talk with us.
There were a couple of notable places we ate at as well. We stopped in Memphis, TN on our first day. Memphis is known for its dry rubbed ribs so we ate that evening at Corky’s BBQ where we got the most tasteful ribs I’ve ever eaten. In Knoxville, TN we spent the evening at the Smokey Mountain Brewery where I had some great local brew. I am a die hard Shiner Bock fan but they had one beer called the Black Bear Ale which I just loved and would probably drink over Shiner. I looked for it upon our return home but haven’t had any luck finding it. In Washington, DC we found Extreme Pizza and couldn’t get enough of their good food. We ate there 3 of the 5 nights we stayed having pizza, salad, and sandwiches all of which were extraordinarily good. The Protein Bar was a great lunch place in Washington, DC where were able to find vegetarian meals and smoothies that actually tasted good and input natural vitamins back into our bodies.
I also tried to compile some video as we went along the ride. We took a laptop for the purpose of doing this but I kind of failed to complete the attempt on the last parts of the trip. The days were long and we did a LOT of walking in Washington so by the time we returned to our hotel I was just too tired to spend a couple hours trying to go through clips and put a video together. I try to get more up now that were back home but in the meantime here are the links to the ones I put up during the trip.