Come along on a ride with me!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

West Virgnia here I come!

Mother Nature hasn’t been very friendly here lately. It’s been over a month since our last group ride and it’s been raining almost nonstop on the weekends. She finally decides to cooperate with us so we were able to get a West Virginia ride in on Saturday.

We are to meet at the usual place in Strasburg. The Marathon at the intersection of US250 and I77 at 7am. So I set the alarm for 4:20am so I have time to get awake and get the important coffee drank before heading out just before 6am.

I headed into Ashland to get some cash out of the ATM. Go figure its down. So I set my sights on Wooster and hope that one is open. The sun was just coming up and making for a beautiful sunrise.


Luckily the ATM in Wooster was open and I could get some much needed cash for the day ahead.

For a change the ride into Strasburg up 250 was uneventful. Usually I get stuck behind people that have no clue how to drive.

I was getting to the gas station about 10 minutes early so I started looking to see if the others beat me there. Yep, as I make the turn I see the 3 other bikes. Alan finally beat me to the meeting spot. LOL. I could see Elaine and Bobby, new to the group, were there too.

After fueling up I rode over and we all greeted each other and let the stories begin. LOL. It was great seeing everyone again and I knew we were going on a great trip!

I took the lead for a change since Alan called tail gunner. The spot I usually like. Get better pictures that way I think. I set kind of a fast pace but noticed I was getting too far ahead so I backed off to the speed limit.

The trip down 77 was nice and peaceful. We made good time to southern Ohio where we stopped for gas. As I teased Alan about how little gas my bike took to fill up, a nice gentleman there fueling up his dual tank pickup was kind enough to offer to switch bills with me. I thanked him and said no I couldn’t do that to you. We both got a good laugh out of that.

It amazes me how friendly complete strangers can be when we are out riding like this. I mean we try to present a positive image of bikers in general. It must work because several times during the day we had people stop to talk with us about our trip.

After our fuel stop Alan takes the lead and I get to be tail gunner now. We cross the river for my first time in West Virginia this season. We are tooling along and we see some black smoke on the horizon. I didn’t think much about it because it’s not that uncommon. Until a couple miles later I see a car coming north flashing their lights. I figure ok cop ahead. We round the next corner and traffic is coming to a stop. That is when I notice that the black smoke was coming from the middle of our lane.


There was a red Ford F-150 all but broke in half on fire. We must have gotten there just a couple minutes after the crash. I guess what happened, from a news report I read a few days later, was he blew a tire and went airborne across the median into the south bound lane and a van then t boned him. The truck driver was fine. The van driver broke both legs.


So here we are stuck on the interstate. After some deliberation we decide to chance it through the median, which was pretty wet and muddy. We all made it ok and we headed north to find a way around the wreck.

We got off at the next exit and turned up a side road that we thought paralleled the interstate. After several miles of nice scenery but crappy roads we stop to decide what to do. A truck stops beside us coming from the other way. He tells us that this road doesn’t go the way we wanted. He made the same mistake and got directions and we need to go down 21. So we turn around and back track. Getting lost sometimes can be fun. But today wasn’t the day for it. We wanted to get to the New River Gorge Bridge.


We get on 21 and head back on the interstate. Talk about weird. We four were the only people in the southbound lane. It was kinda cool and creepy at the same time. So I zipped up beside everyone and snapped a few pictures. As we continued south traffic started to reappear. The rest of our trip on 77 was thankfully peaceful!

We get off the interstate on rte 60 to Gauley Bridge. When we encounter the moron of the year. He is flying up from behind us just as we are over taking a very slow car. Two of us get around the car and this idiot decides he is going to pass the slow car on the shoulder. Then as Elaine is trying to get back in the right lane this idiot comes flying up on her right side. Luckily she was able to see that he was doing this to her and she held her lane and stayed out of trouble. Then this idiot goes a couple tenths of a mile more max and turns off into a parking lot. The moron put everyone in jeopardy to save what, 30 seconds max! Needless to say we were all a little upset and it was a topic of discussion at our next stop.

With all the rains they had gotten in the last couple days in the area there was little waterfalls everywhere along our route. I had never seen this kind of water in my previous trips down here. It was really pretty.


We pull off into a parking area to get some good shots of the falls at Gauley Bridge. I took a few videos too. The camera does full HD video might as well take advantage of it.

About a mile down the road we pull off for gas and lunch at our normal stop at the Sunoco.

Then we head out for the falls. I have never seen this much water here either. This gets to be a common theme of the day. It’s as pretty as I have ever seen it.


Back on the road we pull off again at Hawks Nest for more sights.


Now we get back on 60 for the short ride to the New River Gorge Bridge. We get to 19 and head south. We ride across the bridge, turn around and ride back. We pull off onto County Road 82 for the trip to the bottom of the gorge.

This was a downhill ridiculous sharp right hand turn. Can’t say I had ever experienced anything like it before. But after the turn it because an awesome ride.


The road wasn’t very wide at all. Good thing its one way most of the time. We flew down the road at hair raising speeds approaching 20mph at times. There were little streams and waterfalls all over the place. When we finally got to ride under the bridge for the first time you can really get a sense of just how big it is.


Reaching the bottom of the gorge there is a pull off so we stopped to enjoy the sights. We walked out on the bridge and there were rafters coming. So we watched them take some of the rapids.


Now for the journey back to the top and civilization. It was just as twisty as the way down. Again many streams and mini waterfalls. Just simply awesome!


Back at the top we get on 19 again and head back across the bridge. Our next destination is the Summerville Lake and Dam. We turn off onto 129 and stop by the lake. What an awesome sight.


Then just a short distance later we stop by the dam.


They had one of the 20 foot pipes opened up and draining some of the water from the reservoir. This is a zoomed in shot. We discussed whether to go to the bottom or not. We decided next time.

We continued on 129 until we got to 39. Made a short stop there to top off the tanks and get some refreshments. 39 was a nice road. Lots of twisties. Some tighter than others but fun overall. We stayed on 39 until we got to 16 then turned north heading home.

We followed 16 until we got to 4. Like most roads in West Virginia 4 is another great twisty road. We followed 4 until we got to 36 and started heading west until we got to Spencer.

We stopped in Spencer to rest and some needed gas again. After that we got on 33 for the trek to the interstate.

Back on I77 north we crossed back over the river and stopped in Marietta to fuel up. I parted ways with the group because it was getting late and I was tired and ready to get home. So they headed to McDonalds and I headed north.

A few miles south of I70 I started to see rain drops. At no time were there any rain drops in the weekend forecast that I had seen. But it was only a couple then it quit. Whew!

As I was nearing Strasburg where I would turn off on 250 for my final leg home it started to rain again. I pulled off at the marathon where we all met at earlier in the day to stretch and put on my sweater under my jacket. I was starting to get a little cold.

I had an hour to go and now it was in the rain. Just lovely! So I get one of my towels out so I can keep my face shield wiped off and make the slow trip home.
I got home about midnight. Did 661.5 miles on the day. It was a great day over all but the last 130 miles really sucked. I was too tired and then the rain just had to come.

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