"Bryce Bike Resort"
Jeff our producer is a big mountain bike rider and I am a long-time road biker! You can always find great places in the country to speed around on your "skinny tires" like on my triathlon bike, but a lot tougher to find great places to ride on the magnificent mountains we found at "Bryce Mountain Bike Resort" in the mountains of Central Virginia! What a wild time. You can ride up the chair lifts to the top of the mountain, then ride down on specially equipped rental bikes. Twists, turns, jumps and flat out speed, are the name of the game! There are bike resorts all around the country, Just Google it!
"Cyrus McCormack, The Grain Reaper"
Back in the early 1800's the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia was sort of like the Central Valley of California. It was called "The Breadbasket of the East" because of the abundant Wheat and other grains that were grown there. Thus, one of the most practical inventions in modern agriculture was developed there. We headed down to Virginia Tech, one of the leading agriculture centers in the world to discover the actual fields and streams among which Cyrus McCormack invented the “Grain Reaper!" It's hard to imagine such a simple piece of machinery could have such a magnificent effect on the whole world! Imagine this when you have a bowl of Shredded Wheat with your next morning paper!
"Original Air Force One"
As an avid aviation buff, when I heard the Original "Air Force one" had been purchased by a nearby Specialty Flight Corporation, with its own military length air strip, the crew here at "OTBP" couldn't pass up the chance to go and look! Dynamic Aviation, located in rural Bridgewater, Virginia, owned and operated by Karl Stoltzfus, himself an accomplished pilot made the acquisition last summer! Karl began his career in flight at the spry young age of seventeen, flying an old bi-plane. His mission: As a "Crop duster" flying low over the fields of rural Western Maryland! His mission today: to bring Dwight D. Eisenhower's Lockheed VC-121-A- LO Constellation "Columbine II" back to its original glory! He flew it from the Arizona desert, here to the east along with several professional pilots specializing in antique aircraft! When it's finished, you can bet it certainly won't look like an "Antique!" Wait until you see what it’s all about!
Here the staff of "Off The Beaten Path, with me your Host Pete Churney," love a good cup of freshly brewed coffee! With so many Universities sporting small on campus coffee houses, the "Fresh brewed" coffee phenomenon has sprung up across cities, towns, tourist attractions even Historic Locations everywhere. That's where we found ourselves recently in "New Market," VA, the sight of the Civil War Battle, "Battle of New Market." Famous for its last-minute use of over 4,000 young Cadets from The Virginia Military Institute. VMI is in Lexington, VA, some 85 miles South of the battle. The Confederate Soldiers, marched to the battle ordered by the famous "Stonewall Jackson," to what was then the field hospital at the Historic location, now Jackson's Cafe! Over a century later, owned and operated by "Master Roaster" Kevin Fox, takes us inside his operation, showing us his new custom built roasting oven and all about bean selection, roasting and worldwide distribution. He even had his "Barista" prepare some excellent select "Java" to drink while we were on the shoot! This show will really keep your eyes open!
"The Planetarium at James Madison University"
We all know the young and not so young love to gaze at the stars at night! With a little bit of searching we found a place where anyone can go during broad daylight to do just the same! The JMU Planetarium located in Harrisonburg VA is overseen by internationally known Astronomer, Sunil Vernali. Professor Vernali illuminated the indoor "Dome" to explain all about how the planets rotate, the names of numerous stars, the constellations where we can find them and "Super Novas" and how they, and the whole Universe may have begun. Wow! This Planetarium and show, you will see, are really "Far Out!"
"Climbing at Nrocks"
Take a couple of deep breathes and get ready for the hands-on thrill of a lifetime! In this segment, we head out to the Nelson Rocks of West Virginia. In this beautiful mountain wonderland, we found "Via Ferrata," Italian for "Iron Road." Nrocks', “Via Ferrata” was constructed during early World War II, for our troops to train for combat in similar mountain cliffs in Italy, France, Germany and elsewhere. With Nrock Director Dave Huber to show us around we learned specifically how almost anyone can enjoy this outdoor activity with little or no risk at all! it is breathtaking as you cross a suspension bridge over a deep gorge to climb sky high cliffs hundreds of feet off the ground! Scary, but all the while protected by the "Iron" foot and hand holds and sharp eyes of your personal mountain guide! Here's your chance to get over your fear of heights while enjoying the action of real" rock climbing! Let's get "Off The Beaten Path”!
"Scrambling up "Old Rag"
Loving the outdoors like I do, any opportunity to go climb a nearby mountain or crag is a must to take advantage of. Anyone with a little spirit and desire can experience the exhilaration of "scrambling" to the summit of the Shenandoah National Park's "Old Rag!". So, we grabbed our gear and headed out. What a great experience for people of all ages to enjoy! Just pack up and make sure you have a level of basic fitness and take a day off. You will soon witness spectacular views and grand vistas on top of some great geologic formations! One of the largest "Promontories" East of the Mississippi, on a nice day, it seems like you can see the whole world! With the help of four "virtual studios" we bring the whole trip right to you at home, so get ready to go truly "Off The Beaten Path With Pete Churney!"
"Skydiving at Orange!"
A lot of people have a "Bucket List," You know a list of things they want to do or accomplish before they get too old. Some people have one that includes some stuff they will probably never get around to! Skydiving may be one of them. But not with us! I said, "Hey everyone, today let's really get "Off The Beaten Path with Pete Churney!" We decided to leave the ground all together and go over to Skydive Orange, check in with the professionals, take a plane up to 13,500 feet and jump out! So, that's what we did with Kevin Reynolds, a veteran skydiver and instructor sporting over 3,500 jumps personally! Kevin is one of the top instructors of over twenty-five at Skydive Orange in central Virginia, close to our Nation's Capital. He showed us all the different jumpsuits and equipment that the pros use and then fit me out with the latest body suit available for our jump. All the while joking around with us all about how safe it is! Ha, Ha, right? Soon after the 15-minute flight up to altitude, sitting in the door of the plane about to jump, he said to me: Ready Pete? Before I could say anything...we were already in the air!