We still look for new destinations to ride to on day trips. The longer we live here, the harder it gets to ride somewhere we’ve never been, but its till fun to try. A couple of weekends ago, we decided to ride to Roanoke and visit the Roanoke Transportation museum. I’m sure there are plenty of interesting destinations to the south and east of us, but since the land is flat and more urban that way, we never bother. Roanoke allows us to take fun back roads north, and then take the blue ridge parkway into the city. The point is always the riding, where we end up is much less important.
“Transportation” might be overly broad in this case, as it really a Norfolk & Western railway museum, plus a select collection of road cars. Misnomer aside, if you like museums, its a fun (and cheap) way to spend the afternoon. There is a lot of interesting information about the evolution of rail technology, the history of rail in the area, and you can go inside actual coal and steam engines, and a few passenger cars, set up behind the main building.
The historic car collection seemed a little out of place to me, but it was still fun. The displays often had an historic link to the Roanoke area, with many of the vehicles donated from local residents. My favorite was the electric car from 1913 below. I would love to drive that around today.
I am not becoming less of a nerd as I get older. I LOVED the model trains. This model was one of the largest I’ve ever seen, with multiple trains traveling on multiple tracks on multiple levels, elaborately constructed bridges, tunnels, and cutesy store names on the little buildings in the model towns.
Its a fairly small museum, so we were able to pretty much cover the whole thing in a few hours. We left at closing time, and were able to make it home before dark.
If you are in the area and have a few hours, I would definitely recommend the trip. Its a neat look into the heyday of rail transportation in southwest Virginia and North Carolina.