The Blue Ridge Parkway was practically empty on this Saturday; have Americans stopped going outside anymore?
I had driven up to Virginia from Carrboro, before cycling along the Parkway. I then descending into the Shenandoah Valley and Lexington.
This cycling trip of about 36 hours was up and back between the towns of Lexington and Staunton, seeing as much as possible in between.
Everything in life now seems political. With the universities Washington & Lee, and Virginia Military Institute, Lexington is clearly a conservative place. It is the older of the two towns, and it has a more colonial appeal.
At W & L, not just the University is named after Robert E Lee, all sorts of other buildings are named after him as well.
I had always wanted to see VMI and I finally had the chance. A long time ago I had secretly wished I had gone to VMI, I had thought that the discipline would have been good for me. Or maybe not.
The Shenandoah Valley is horse country, and now, increasingly, is the place where people, frequently quite wealthy, want to establish their own plantation, and have horses. The views are stunning, with mountain ranges on both sides.
Staunton feels quite different from Lexington. For a town of less than 29,000, it feels urban. Because of the tight terrain, the town seems dense, squeezed in between the hills. I had a great meal Saturday night at the restaurant Zynodoa, and had a pleasant conversation at the bar with a lawyer visiting Staunton from Richmond. While not a native, he has lived in Richmond for forty years. He regretted making Richmond the place of his life’s work, saying the social environment there is stifling.