(Words and photos by Benoit Pigeon) – For the past 16 years, Star City Motor Madness has been an important event for the Roanoke Valley in Virginia. Once thriving from an economy based on railroad that included manufacturing of locomotives, today Roanoke and it’s region are a place for the art and history, including museums.
We’ve all witnessed model train displays that mix ultra modern, old, multiple bridges, old locomotives, train tracks of course, mountains and old landmarks like an illuminated beverage sign on top of a building. If you were to travel South to North on I581 through Roanoke, this is exactly what you would witness, including the cliche, rail car shop and helicopter flying off the top of an hospital flanked at the feet of the most dominant mountain in the valley.
Roanoke is the hub for the region when it comes to about anything from health to shopping and it’s no wonder that transportation is important in that part of Virginia. In fact, Downtown is the place for the Museum of Transportation, home of the J611 steam locomotive recently totally restored. Motor Madness happen to be is a found raiser for the museum, organized once a year toward the end of June. It is divided in two events, the Friday night cruise on Williamson Road and the Saturday Car Show the next morning.
Plan your visit for next year. Things to do in the area include visiting the D-Day Memorial in near by town of Bedford. From Bedford, find directions to the Parkway by the Peaks of Otter and start your drive toward Roanoke. The extremely scenic road, includes traveling at the very top of the mountain ridges. About 40 minutes later don’t miss the view of the Roanoke Valley from the overlooks at the top of Mill Mountain and it’s giant star. The Transportation Museum is Downtown and don’t miss the Winston O Link Museum as well if you like trains. There are evening concerts often at the recently remodeled Elmwood park and plenty more to do for a weekend. The annual Cruise starts at 6pm on Williamson Road and the Saturday show stops by mid afternoon. Most of the things to do are about 5-10 minutes from each other.