We made a quick trip to Mount Airy this afternoon to drop off our retiring Previa van. After a quick dinner with our friend Steve, we headed back to Roanoke. We had gone through heavy rain on the way down and the temperature appeared to be dropping. Those are all warning signs for fog on Fancy Gap. We take the back way, Pipers Gap Road to I-77 so we miss the automated fog warning signs. Of course the last two clear and sunny afternoons the signs were warning of imaginary "Dense Fog ahead." Likely my forty-one years of driving up Fancy Gap is probably better than automated signs anyway.
As we drove along Piper's Gap, we could see fog in the valley and occasionally in the trees so I knew we would hit some degree of fog on the mountains. Sometimes when the weather is moving through there is just enough air movement draining down the sides of the mountain to leave about twenty-five feet of clear air. As we headed up the mountain, I thought we were going to sneak through with just patches of fog drifting across the highway. Then about about a mile or so below the summit, the fog closed in until the visibility was twenty-five to fifty yards. Fortunately it never got any worse and about one half mile over the summit, we descended out of the fog. We have been on the mountain at times when visibility was twenty feet or less in front of your car so I felt lucky tonight.
We came on up the highway and hit I-81 and headed home. The whole way up the valley we could see the clouds or fog about one hundred feet above the highway. It was a little like driving just below cloud level, not spooky, but definitely a little different view of the valley even if it was dark by the time we got to Radford. When we got to Christianburg Mountain it looked like the fog was going to catch up with us again but it didn't. We were even lucky enough to get home up on our mountain without fog obscuring everything. Tomorrow morning will likely be different. Depending on how things cool off, we could be in the fog or the valley could be covered in fog. Our rain gauge showed one and one half inches of rain since we left this afternoon so there is plenty of moisture for fog. Of course there are rumors of snow showers this weekend, but I still plan to get my tomato plants at the Roanoke Market tomorrow.
I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow morning if the fog is interesting. I did find this website with pictures of Fancy Gap and the engineering marvel of I-77 carved into the side of the mountain.