About 30 miles in, I saw a sign for Steeles Tavern (sic). I turned off the Parkway, thinking maybe this would be a cool watering hole. And because I didn't like the sweeping changes in altitude and what it was doing to my brakes.
In case you're ever in the same situation, do not go to Steeles Tavern from the Parkway. At first, I thought it was cool that I was suddenly going down down dowwwwn in hairpin-type s-curves with nowhere to pull over at 20 mph with signs that all vehicles should be in a low gear. It was deep woods, houses here and there, waterfalls. Beautiful (though depressed). But after a while, I started to hear something. Like a chain dragging behind me. I pulled into a driveway and looked under the car. Nothing. Back in the car, I heard it again. Getting worse. Frack. Finally, I got to an intersection (rts 56 and 11). I came to a stop at the Steeles Tavern Post Office. Wait--it's a TOWN?! Yeah, it's a town. Zip code 24476 (most of the numbers had fallen off the PO building facade). Oy, what a shit am I for breaking down here.
However, next to the PO is Walker Auto Parts. I sweetly explained my situation with my biggest aw-shucks smile and asked whether anyone could take a look at my car. Several very kind people took turns coming out to look at the car, look under the car, look in at the wheels/brakes/whatever's in there.
Mechanic dude: You just done come down off the mountain, didncha? Happens all the time. Gots to put it in a low gear.
Me: Yeah. And I did put it in a low gear, but . . .
MD: Well, a lower gear then. [??] It's hot, see. Can't even nearly touch the hub caps, it's so hot. You just let'er cool down a bit; she'll be fine.
So, I let'er cool down. I journaled for a while. People kept coming out to talk to me. All saying the same thing. And after a half hour, I went to the shop, thanked everyone again, and took off. All good. No more mountains for the Focus. We stayed on rt 11 south toward Roanoke. And saw another pesky dino. This time causing trouble on an old Dodge.
Natural Bridge is cool. Not 18 dollars' worth of cool, but fine, whatever.
And I don't know what I think of this next "offering." Dude, it's just a bridge, not Babylon. And, personally, I think the no-smoking icon just cheapens the whole thing.
I had dinner (in addition to the beer).