Back in June, I had taken a picture of the previously posted white-border US 360 unisign, and the interest in it on Facebook caused me to casually comment "If there's ever a Richmond meet, this would definitely be part of it." That sparked interest from a few roadgeeks, so I began to ponder other potential road meet sites in the Richmond area. Since I had never even attended, let alone hosted, a road meet before, I did a lot of research and, quite frankly, worried a lot. (Looking back, I don't know why.) I consulted Will Weaver, a fellow Richmond-area roadgeek and former resident of the city itself, for ideas, and over the summer the date of October 13 was chosen. I had planned to begin scouting meet sites as early as my first weekend off in August, but I was in a car accident two days before, and getting everything settled from that took about a month. While I had already started work on the itinerary with sites I knew, I was still deciding between downtown and Short Pump as the meeting place and lunch site. I had initially chosen downtown, and Sine Irish Pub (where one could get a Sine Salad), but the restaurant's reviews were mixed, to put it nicely. I and others ultimately agreed that Short Pump worked better logistically as a starting point, and I chose a barbecue restaurant, The Halligan Bar & Grill, for lunch. The itinerary I'd made was a mix of old and new sites across the area: the new North Gayton Road extension, which opened a week prior to the meet; the John Rolfe Parkway, completed earlier in the year; the unisign; a widening project on VA 76 (as well as its backwards mileposts where it becomes a toll road); mileposts and a high-speed toll project on VA 195; old signage and cobblestone pavement downtown; assorted cutouts, state-name interstate shields, and a pair of white-border shields across the city; and the still-under-construction Huguenot Bridge. Will and I did a test run of the original itinerary the week prior and finished it all in a little over three hours, but I quickly learned that things go much less smoothly with 16 people as opposed to two. In addition to Will and myself, the attendees were Jason Ilyes (TN), Billy Riddle (SC), Chris Curley (NC), H.B. Elkins (KY), Mike Tantillo (DC), Oscar Voss (VA), Elric Naslund (LA), Doug Kerr (NY), Steve Alpert (NJ), Laura Bianca (MD), Mike Pruett (MD), Carl Tessier (QC), Scott Davis (NY), Shawn DeCesari (NC), as well as lunch-only attendees Allen Seth Dunn (VA) and Stephanie Ilyes (TN). The lunch reservation was at noon; I got to the restaurant at about 11:40 AM, with Jason, Stephanie, Billy, Chris, Mike T, H.B., and Seth already there. Oscar and Elric arrived not long after I did, and we went inside while the others arrived over the next hour.
The food arrived in waves. Some ate while others waited.
Will and Doug discuss Nova Scotia, where Doug had just visited prior to coming here.
Elric was one of the first to get his food on my side of the table.
The other side of the table.
Will and Laura chat.
The map table, where there were many maps for the taking.
Overall, lunch took about the expected two hours, although there was a delay when my waitress forgot that I paid her. After that was settled, we went outside to group into cars to go visit the sites. In the next installment, we'll take off on the tour.