Motorcycle Ride: Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway (Route 39)

Posted: October 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

b (18)

This was a fantastic road to ride a motorcycle. All I can say is WOW.   

This byway gets its name due to the many rivers, creeks, and streams that you cross or ride your motorcycle parallel to throughout the length of the road.  The Mury, Gauley and Cow Pasture rivers just to name a few, each with fantastic vistas.  Additionally, the road crosses five counties in both Virginia and West Virginia.  We started our Route 39 motorcycle ride in Lexington VA. 

Riding out of Lexington you are in the Shenandoah Valley but quickly start to ride over the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain system.  This is the first hint at what will become a very cool, repeating mix of twisty mountain roads and smooth valley cruising.  

b (14)One of the neat things about this ride is the fact that the tourism/visitor centers for each of the counties have worked together to “lure” motorcyclist on to the byway. If you desire you can download a “passport” from the Scenic Route 39 website. If you make the stops to get your passport stamps you can earn a Route 39 lapel pin.  Additionally, they also offer a chance to earn a challenge coin, if you can correctly answer enough questions about geocaches.  We did both and the stops you make to fulfil the requirements are a lot of fun and make good breaks from the road.  

Our first stop was the Millboro Mercantile in Millboro VA. This is the quintessential small country ijustwant2ride.comstore, there even is a payphone outside. From my view the best part of this little store was the “extreme” taxidermy.  I have never seen a vampire or carnivorous deer until that day!  Oh, and sticking with the waterway theme, a creek runs under and next to the store itself.

b (12)Back on the bike we were off to our next destination. This portion of our motorcycle ride was through a mountain valley, the view from the saddle showed that fall is upon us.  The beginning of fall is well marked with the spots of color scattered across the mountainsides. It was not long before we made it to Webb’s General Store for our next passport stamp AND a glass bottle of Dr. Pepper with real sugar! OMG was it good!  Even if you don’t ride your motorcycle the length of the Byway, the ride through Rockbridge and Bath counties in Virginia is worth your time. 

It is shortly after you leave Webb’s that you leave the foothills and begin the climb into the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. LOTS of turns and climbs/descents of 6-9%! A motorcycle rider’s version of a rollercoaster.  Crossing the border into West Virginia (our home state BTW) we continued riding b (17)the rollercoaster until we dropped back into another valley and entered the town of Marlinton (don’t add a G, they even have a song or poem about not adding the G).  The visitor center for Pocahontas County, in Marlinton, is one of the passport stops and we had a great visit at the visitor’s center.

We talked with a couple of the employees but primarily with Molly.  We had a great conversation about what is going on in the area, about tourism and motorcycle tourism. It is my opinion that, for some reason, West Virginia just has not become a motorcycling touring/riding destination.  Many of the roads and accompanying attractions rival or even exceed east Tennessee and the Tail of the Dragon.  I will give the Pocahontas County Visitors Center a lot of credit though, they even have a motorcycle touring section on their website. 

b (21)The rest of the ride was much like the first, whipping the bike through the mountains and relaxed cruising along valley or ridgetop roads. More wonderful views and fresh mountain air all around.  So enough we arrived in Summerville and the end of our Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway but not our weekend. 

Riding south out of Summerville about 30 minutes we were visiting my mom in my hometown of Ansted, WV.  We also participated in the Hawks Nest State Park’s 42nd Annual Country Roads festival, a celebration of local craftsmen and mountain heritage.  

This park is also the start of one of the best motorcycle roads in the state.  The ride up or down Gauley Mountain on US Route 60 is an 8-mile ride on a moving serpent’s spine.  Multiple 90+ degree turns, including some approaching 180 degrees, is a floorboard dragging, smile inducing part of Wild Wonderful West Virginia.  Oh, Route 60 is also the Midland Trail Byway, 180 miles of which quite a few are mountain twistiness.  

To soon it was Sunday morning.  Back on the motorcycle we headed home across Route 39 and it was just as much fun going east as it was coming west.  Heck we even turned around in a few places to ride that section again.  An 800 mile round trip might seem a lot for a 3 day weekend…but the fun of 39 made it a blast. 

I highly recommend Route 39 as a road every motorcycle rider should experience.  I cannot imagine why any rider would be disappointed. 

 

 

 

 

Comments
  1. […] Motorcycle Ride: Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway (Route 39) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s