Posts Tagged ‘West Virginia motorcycle ride’

Ijustwant2ride.com

We rode motorcycle across the Highland Scenic Highway as part of our long get away weekend.  I left this and another road off those posts as they deserve their own discussion.  In a nutshell, if you are anywhere near this road you owe it to yourself to enjoy this ride.

Ijustwant2ride.comIt is not a technical, twisty motorcycle road but fun in its own way.  It is more like the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive, 43 miles of ridge top riding with spectacular views and vistas.  Just a sit back, relax and enjoy kind of road.

The Highland Scenic Highway runs from Richwood WV to US Route 219, or vice versa.  The highway is also an “American Byway” that rolls through Monongahela National Forest. We were a week or two early for the peek fall foliage displays but if you time it right it is going to be a wow moment with all the hardwood forests on leafy display.  There are 4 overlooks to stop and view undeveloped wilderness, not all had open facilities, but each had paved parking and picnic areas.

As for the road itself, it was well maintained with mostly rolling ridge top riding.  Toward the IMG_20181005_145617771_HDRnorthern end there was a long, steep incline, parts of which are 9% or (seems) greater!  With over two thousand feet of elevation change, I had the motorcycle in 3rd gear and used engine braking for what felt like miles of decent.  Had the day not been getting late and the shadows long, I would have turned around and rode the Highland Scenic Highway again.

Make sure your tank is topped off before riding, while it is relatively short there are no fuel or snacks along the route.  This road would make for a nice picnic ride, pack your lunch in, stop at an overlook or trail head (there are a lot of hiking trails) for a fun afternoon.

This Scenic Highway is not as easy to get to as most others, it really is in the middle of nowhere.  However, the roads you need to take to get to this byway are just as fun as any we have rode.  If this area and the Highland Scenic Highway are not on your motorcycling bucket list, you need to add them right now! 

 

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 Click here for part 1. 

After stopping for a break and lunch at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park we were back on the motorcycle.  An hour or so later we make it to the southern terminus of the Highland Scenic Highway. 

About 43 miles later we came out on the other end of the highway near the Snowshoe Resort Area. I am going to do a separate post on the Highland Scenic Highway.

 

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The view from the top of Snowshoe Mountain.

In the mid-Atlantic area of the US Snowshoe is one of the premier snow skiing areas, and in the summer is renowned for mountain biking. For us, today, it was the end of a day of riding and touring on the motorcycle.  We rolled up to the Snowshoe Inn, got a great meal at a nearby restaurant and turned in early. 

The folks at Snowshoe Inn were very motorcycle friendly. The allowed us and three others to park our bikes under their covered entrance, somewhat out of the elements.  

ijustwant2rideThe next morning, we awoke to dense fog in the valleys that climbed quite away up the mountain sides.  We rode at a slower pace due to visibility issues and not wanting to run into any deer, literately.   

The ride out of the Snowshoe area could have been great fun.  If we could have seen more then a couple dozen yards ahead!  Oh well, maybe next time. 

ijustwant2ride

There were a LOT of hairpin turns!

 

By the time the fog had burned off we were back at Yokum’s Store in Seneca Rocks.  A sausage, egg and cheese sandwich with a Dr. Pepper hit the spot and now both the motorcycle and its passengers were full and ready to roll. 

Roll we did, through the rolling hills of the Greenbrier and Canaan Valleys, up and over a couple ridges we were soon at the last stop of our long weekend, Blackwater Falls State Park outside Davis, WV. ijustwant2ride

Blackwater Falls gets it name from the color of the water that flows over the waterfall.  A very dark brown to black flow, picked up from the rocks over which it flows.  400 steps round trip for some wonderful pictures and a good time with the wife. 

The last major road we traveled was Corridor H (US Route 48) or as many call it, the “Road to No Where”.  It starts north of Davis, WV and ends near the VA boarder running for about 100 miles.  I am going to do a separate post on this road as it is a real beauty.  

Our weekend covered 3 days and 610 miles of awesome Twisty, Technical, Tight, Scenic roads.

 

signs Below is a description of our long weekend motorcycle ride.  I cannot put into each of the descriptions of where we stopped during our ride how astounding the roads are for riding a motorcycle.  Curvy, twisty, technical, rolling, tight, flowing, and scenic are just a few of the adverbs I could use to describe the roads in this amazing area.  The roads here can be dangerous as well; road conditions, weather, wildlife and bad drivers, of course, can make any road dangerous but these roads can pull you into over riding your abilities.  Decreasing radius turns abound and can catch you unaware. Ride safe.

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Creating a long weekend, the wife and I took a 610-mile motorcycle ride through eastern West ijustwant2rideVirginia.  We left our home Thursday morning with neither true routes set nor lodging planned. 

I knew that there are cabins for rent at the Smoke Hole Caverns Resort, so I set the GPS on the bike to take us there via the scenic route.  I can truly say that it the route the GPS lady took us was nowhere close to the route that I would have picked by looking at the map.  However, we did enjoy the path it laid out.  Twisty in the mountains, rolling valleys and great views.  We were not disappointed with what the HD GPS programs had provided (this time LOL).

ijustwant2ride.comWe arrived at the Resort about 4PM and we got the last cabin (or room) available.  It was a happy coincidence that we got the “Honeymoon Cabin” on the day our 32nd wedding anniversary.  The heart shaped whirlpool tub was just the ticket for rest and relaxation after a day of motorcycle touring.

The next morning, we rolled out with the idea we were going to ride the Highland Scenic Highway.  The ride across the Highland Scenic Highway was AWESOME ,but that will be another post!  ijustwant2ride

Our first stop of the day was for breakfast at Yokum’s Store in Seneca Rocks WV. This store and its next-door neighbor, are throw backs to the era of the “General Store”.  The food was good (good enough we would stop again the next day), and folks friendly.  

Back on the bike, we headed to Marlinton, WV (GPS still on scenic) which is the southern end of the Highland Scenic Highway.  The route took us near the Green Bank Radio Observatory, so we decided to defy the GPS lady and ride off her route and check out the Observatory.  We “recalculated” her route LOL. ijustwant2ride

The visit to the Observatory was a lot more fun they one would think.  While you do not get to peer through a telescope it is still quite interesting.  A nice visitor center, a guided tour of the grounds and some cool stories (like how a short circuit in an electric toothbrush 8 miles away was picked up by the telescopes) made for a great 2 hour stop. Make sure you add this as a stop on your motorcycle tour of West Virginia.

Back on the motorcycle and again following the GPS ladies’ (what would you think of a GPS that used Ozzy Osborn’s voice? LOL) directions we soon came to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.   ijustewant2ride

This state park is located at a stop on the old steam engine rail line.  They still use several of the original steam engines to take riders up to the top of “Bald Knob” mountain (4.5 hours) and other locations.  Both the wife and I have ridden the steam train to the top of the mountains as kids so we passed on this trip.  I do recommend if you are in the area to take the trip to the top or one of the other rides if you are in the area!

That is enough for this blog post.  Check out Part 2. 

 

 

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While I don’t think West Virginia does enough to promote motorcycle tourism things are getting better! Four eastern West Virginia counties have joined forces to create a new push called RIDE THE HIGH FIVE. I have not traveled each of the roads listed but I have been on few plus many others in the area (check out our ROUTE 39 ride from last year). The RIDE THE HIGH FIVE web site include GPS routes and a lot of additional information, check it out.

A while back I wrote a post on the “Decline of the motorcycle”. BUT here is a article that talks about the “Most popular motorcycles among MILLENNIALS!” I have to say I was on a little surprised.

Some of the funniest motorcycle commercials!

 

Watch how not to catch a runaway motorcycle!

How about a 360 degree view of a record setting speed run up Pikes Peak on a KTM 790 Duke motorcycle!

 

 

ijustwant2ride.com

The view of the Shanghai skyline.

I have always been interested in going to Shanghai but a trip to China is not in my future. So a motorcycle ride to Shanghai West Virginia would have to do.

Leaving the house the early cool air hid the fact that it was going to be hot, the mid 90sF according to the weatherman. I headed west toward Martinsburg, WV where I stopped for a quick breakfast.

SOMEWHERE between getting off the bike and getting back on the bike I lost a glove. I back tracked into the restaurant and searched all the places I had walked and sat and then back out to the bike but, NO GLOVE…what the heck?!?! There was only so many place the glove could be and it was nowhere to be found. Dang. This made no sense, how do I lose one glove!

Giving up on ever finding my glove in the Bermuda Parking Lot of missing gloves, I rode out of Martinsburg on US Route 9 looking for WV Route 7. Somehow I missed the turn onto Route 7, maybe it was the awesome rolling road and wonderful scenic vistas. But no worries…….it is the journey not the destination, right?

Route 9 took me into Berkley Springs, WV were I turned onto several different roads ending up on WV 13 which was also Shanghai Road. Shanghai Road climbs up the and over the steep mountainside with a lotof switchbacks.

If the pavement had been in better condition this would have been an INCREABLE ride. Shanghai Road has MULTIPLE 150-170 degree turns with serious elevation changes, both up and down the mountain, and almost no traffic! The tarmac on Shanghai Road was so poor that that a good bit of fun was sucked out of the ride, some but not all.  A better conditioned road and this would be a sport bike heaven.

Dropping down the other side of the mountain you end up at the cross roads of Black Creek Valley Road and Tuscarora Pike which is also SHANGHAI, WV. Not too much in Shanghai other than a small scrap yard, a Mom and Pop country store and farms. I stopped at the store for some water and a snack. Back on the road I rolled back through Martinsburg and on to home.

A couple notes of interest. First is, part of this ride was on the George Washington Heritage Trail (an American Byway) and second I went past the Morgan County Observatory. The Observatory was closed but it looked very cool way out in the middle of nowhere.

There is not a lot of pictures from this ride as my wife/photographer was out of town. After this 175 mile ride I can now claim I have been to Shanghai….. Shanghai, West Virginia.

My friend Doug and I linked up this past weekend to going riding.  We had no particular place in mind and decided to scoot over to Winchester Harley Davidson to look at the 2014 bikes.  

We rode west on US 7 and then cut across VA 601(the Secret Blue-Ridge Mountain Northern Stretch) to US 50 where we continued west until we reached the dealership.  We spent nearly an hour at the dealership looking at their bikes and merchandise.  They did not have very many of the “Project Rushmore” 2014 bikes, with the exception of Street Glides. They had six or seven of the new Street Glides in most of the available colors, in particular I really like the Big Blue Pearl paint.  As we were leaving the dealership we decided to visit the Gander Mountain outdoor center.  

Doug rides a Suzuki Intruder without a windscreen and on the way to Gander Mountain he had an olfactory impact with a stink bug at about 60 MPH.  His telling of the incident was particularly funny in that he was getting a strange smell, off and on, during the ride over to Gander Mountain and attributed it to the normal smells of riding.  Once in the store the smell was following him around until he noticed it was coming from his shirt!  A quick trip the restroom fixed that issue.  I am sure if we were members of a motorcycle club he would have a new nickname! 

After riding through “Old Town” Winchester we meandered through the border area of Virginia and West Virginia.  I would bet we crossed the state line no less than 10 times.  We traveled several “really” back roads including “Smokey Hollow Road” and “Il Pugh Road” until we emerged onto Route 11 (the same Route 11 as the Potato Chip ride).  We took Route 11 north to Charles Town, WV and then Route 9 (same Route 9 that Debbie and I rode) back to Leesburg. 

I put a bit over 175 miles on the bike that day and Doug and I both agree that we need to do it again soon.  Like a dummy I forgot to take pictures on this ride!