One of the joys of hiking in southern Virginia is driving through all of the rural roads. When possible, I make sure to take the back roads and stay off of the highways. While I was growing up in Michigan, I lived in a somewhat rural area. We had our share of barns, farmland, cows, etc. and I always wanted to live in a big city. Funny how things change. I am not a “country” person in the stereotypical ways. I hate country music. I wouldn’t want to live on a farm. But I do dream of living in a rural area when I retire. I live pretty close to rural areas now but because it is forever-expanding, we still get a lot of traffic.
When I was driving on some of the roads around Bland, Virginia there was no one else on the road with me. I had the luxury of pulling over, jumping out of my car, and taking photos. Sometimes I still felt rushed and do wish I had taken just a couple of extra seconds to check my camera but I was able to capture some photos that give me that “feel”.
Rolling hills, cows, and the Blue Ridge Mountains
One of my favorite photos is of a church. I had passed it on our way to Bush Creek Falls. Lo and behold this was a rare moment I had someone behind me. I saw it too late and couldn’t pull over. However, on our way back, I made a point of it. I think about this whole 3 minutes of time and it still makes me laugh. The area where I pulled over was a parking lot of a closed business. I stepped out of my car and immediately some dogs on the property across the street started barking. That woke up the cows and sheep on the farm adjacent to them and they mooed and baaed. I was in the middle of an intersection trying to get my settings right while it sounded like a farm erupting. Then, at the house to my right, I heard a screen door slam. If you have spent any time in the country or a country town, you know the sound. They have different sounds. And this particular slam was one of, “Who is that out in the intersection, making all the animals go crazy, taking photos of this church?” I finished and ran back to my car before someone yelled at me.
Old Sharon Presbyterian Church, est. 1805
Needless to say, I probably didn’t need to fear. I emailed the photo of the church to an email address I found on the small town’s website. The lady was very gracious and told me all about the church and history. I am sure no one would have been upset with me. Just a small anecdote to share how life is in some very small towns. When you travel, do you take the back roads? If you don’t, I highly suggest it. Especially with our mapping tools we have these days. It is almost impossible to get lost so taking side roads isn’t a big deal.