A Ride Through Canaan Valley

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by chasbo, May 12, 2010.

  1. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer

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    Prescott Valley, Arizona
    Sometimes you just need to ride. Other people have therapists, I have a motorcycle. Whenever life starts to pile up and get to me, all I ever need to do is jump on the bike, twist the throttle and head out somewhere special and just let twisty roads and beautiful scenery bring me back to an even keel. I must have had "that" look the other day, because my wife suggested a good long ride might do me some good. Hey, who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? So at the crack of dawn, I suited up, gassed the 990 up and headed west, my destination Sirianni's Pizza in Davis WV. I planned a nice twisty route there via some of the best roads in these here parts.

    I started out on Route 40 west over Sidling Hill nd on through to Cumberland, Md.
    Sidling Hill
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    Sidling Hill Creek
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    view from Town Hill
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    Then it was 220 south and 50 west into Virginia and some sweet twities...
    Interesting Marker Stone on highway 50, no idea what it means...
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    From there I followed along Patterson Creek Rd to Petersburg West Virginia. Lots of farms and general greenery to enjoy...
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    Had a quick snack and filled the 990 back up in Petersburg before heading down 42 west to Smoke Hole Rd, maybe the most fun twisty road I've ever ridden.
    Just cross this creek and crack open the throttle!
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    #1
  2. donnymoto

    donnymoto Long timer

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    Great area! :thumb
    #2
  3. frijole

    frijole Clickin'

    Joined:
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    Nashville
    You're right about ridn' being like therapy. Beautiful country you got there!:thumb
    #3
  4. ozgnp

    ozgnp Half/fast

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    Location:
    Brunswick, Maryland
    Nice ride. We're lucky there are still some open spaces
    in our area. I need to check out some of those roads myself.:D
    #4
  5. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer

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    Smoke Hole Road is one of my all time favorite twisty roads. Most people in the area use the state highways, so this road is almost always deserted, especially mid morning in the middle of the work week! The first several miles is a non stop roller coaster of a road. It is a typical West Virginia back road in that it is barely wide enough for two cars to pass one another, so good thing it stays fairly low traffic otherwise it would be pretty scarey.


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    the other direction...
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    The worst thing about the road is that the rider in me wanted to just crank it and go while the part of me that loves the scenery was constantly tempted by the beautiful views all along the length of the road. Thankfully, after one stop, I put the tourist away and got in touch with my inner Rossi.:evil

    Many miles down the road, I came to a T intersection and got to play Mr. Tourist again...
    Saw this cool little store...
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    next to a picturesque little trout filled creek...
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    I followed the creek for the next several miles and had a blast...
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    Finallly, I came to the end of the road and turned right and headed west some more towards Seneca Rocks....
    #5
  6. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer

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    About a million years ago, I used to go to Seneca Rocks to boulder and top rope with friends. I never was able to screw up my courage and climb the big boy, but then again, I was never that good to begin with. Still, it is one of the prettier spots in the area and I always try to stop and take a gander...

    The big view
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    Cross a little creek to a fun dirt road...
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    I like this view a lot...
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    After enjoying all the scenery, I pulled across the road to fill my camelback up and grab a chocolate bar. For whatever reason, everyone I met was fairly grumpy. These two riders on Harley's stepped over to check out my Garmin, but when I said hello, they just glared at me and went into the store...sheesh!
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    When I went into the store, the lady behind the counter just walked away when I asked her if she was having a nice day. Apparantly, I was wearing some sort of "be an asshole to me" sign. Hmmm...maybe she needs a motorcycle and a day off....
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    I filled the bladder, ate my bar and beat it for parts further west. My new destination was now Davis West Virginia and a kick ass lunch. No way these grumpy people are going to rain on my day off!!!

    Up and over the Eastern Coninental Divide (I crossed the divide something like four times in all this day)...
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    It is not as tall as the one further west, but full of some beautiful views for sure! I think this was High Germany Valley...
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    Next stop Canaan Valley Rd!
    #6
  7. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer

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    I can't remember all the turn offs, I have them written down anyhow, but after another hour of fun twisty West Virginia state highways and back roads I finally came to the turn for Canaan Loop Rd. It is pretty low key at first, but eventually winds up and really gets tough as it goes from groomed gravel to rutted double track, at least for my feeble off road skills. Still, it was one of the main reasons I came out here, so tempting fate, I headed in.

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    The scenery was once again pristine...
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    Eventually, the road deteriorated to very rutted and muddy double track. I came to a point where after nearly dropping the 990 three times, I stopped to take stock of my situation. The stock Pirelli Scorpions were really out of traction at this point and I knew there was a fairly tricky off camber rocky section up ahead. I didn't think the Scorp's or I could handle it safely and since I was riding solo, I put away my pride, did a u turn and headed back the way I came. I was a little sad I didn't complete the road, but I also didn't want to go down alone on a seldom used section of road with no cell service. The good news was, since I knew the condition of the road now, I could open the 990 up a bit and slide around some corners on the way back. So where I had been fairly conservative on my ride in and stayed around 25mph, i was now comfortable with doing almost double that on the way back. I HAD A BLAST!!! This bike was made for his sort of hooligan style riding.

    I quick stop at an earlier landmark for a self portrait. I left the helmet on to keep this a family friendly report...:lol3
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    Then it was onto Davis and a well earned lunch...Ahhhh, my favorite place to eat!!
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    #7
  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I love those narrow, twisty, deserted little back roads. Most people don't know what they're missing......and I'm glad. These roads wouldn't be much fun if they were full of traffic. I lived in MD in the mid 90s and used to take long day rides out to this area. Thanks for posting. Great pics, it looks like you had a great ride:ricky
    #8
  9. banshee

    banshee hi

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    Virginia
    shhhh about smokehole rd shhhhhhh ;)

    nice report :thumb. I ride in that area a lot, love love love riding in WV.
    #9
  10. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer

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    It was a nice break at Sirianni's Pizza. I had an Italian sub and some fries which I washed down with some cold ice tea. After an hour break, I headed up the road to Thomas to refill the 990 (they only had 10 percent ethanol...ugh) and my camelback. After paying for the fuel and drinks, I came outside and found a guy ogling the 990. We got to chatting a bit about riding. Seems he owns a GS and was really interested in the 990 as he had never seen one in person. He really liked how narrow the bike was and told me he saw me flying down Canaan Loop Rd earlier like a bat out of hell. He had been in a pull off down at the creek it seems. We said our goodbye's and I buttoned up and headed up 219 north towards Oakland, Md.

    Even though I was pretty fried at this point, I decided to head to the Fairfax stone, which had a little back road (Co. Rte. 9) I knew that was a blast to ride. I passed on seeing the stone, no biggie as I had seen it before and it was nothing more than a small plaque commemorating the source of the Potomac river (if I remember right).

    Anyhow, a mile down the road I came up on a black bear. Scared the snot out of it. It was in the center of the road and it tore off into the underbrush before I could get my camera out. I stopped the bike anyhow and watched where he ran to and was rewarded with seeing him make a bolt for it again and watched him climb a tree about 50 feet into the forrest. I wrestled with the idea of walking to the tree and taking a picture of him, but then common sense took over and I realized that being under a scared black bear was not the best idea I ever had. So I fired the 990 back up and headed down the road.

    I crossed back into Maryland at a little no name town and found a cool abandoned brick building to frame in the afternoon sun...
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    Eventually I got back onto highway 50, east his time and headed for Romney when came across Highway 42 north, which looked promising enough, so I made the turn and off I went. I didn't have far to go before a cool truck caught my eye to the right so I stopped and took these pics...
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    A little further down the road was this view of Lake Jennings Randolf...

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    That was the last photo I would take. I was really fried and just worked on reading the road and working my way home. So from there I made my way to 68 east and back over Sidling Hill to Hagerstown and a cold bottle of Dogfishhead IPA (well, more like 4 cold bottles!).

    In all I would cover just under 500 miles, about 50 of which were dirt/gravel road. I ate at my favorite restaraunt and rode some of my favorite roads. By the time I got home to enjoy some barley pop, I had also worked through "that" look as well. It is so nice to not need to spill my guts to a therapist. Riding a motorcycle is way more fun anyhow. If anyone wants better route data, let me know. I am going to head back to Davis soon to spend a couple days exploring the rest of the dirt trails and roads around there and to maybe hit Dolly Sods as well. For now though, I am just happy to have taken a day to ride these roads....cheers!
    #10
  11. SauS TaR-TaR

    SauS TaR-TaR Go BaBy Go...

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    :1drink
    #11
  12. UpST8

    UpST8 turnin gas to noise

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    Thanks for the report! I can attest that it does indeed get a little nasty toward the Blackwater Falls Park end of the Canaan Loop. That part makes me very thankful for a small thumper. :thumb
    #12
  13. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

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    :thumb
    #13
  14. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    I was thinking this is the other Canaan valley!! Still a lovely ride indeed, thanks for sharing it :thumb
    #14
  15. Evilnissan

    Evilnissan Adventurer

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    Elkview WV
    This is really a great driving / riding state with lots of twisty back roads.

    Keep going east to Sutton area, the roads lay on the hills like strands of spagettie and tones of dirt road short cuts my garmin tells me to use.

    I just wish I had a working bike right now but I hope to finishe the GL by June.
    #15
  16. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer

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    Once I take the time to order and install some crash bars and a set of Dunlops, I will go back and finish off the road, although I think I will start from the other direction this time. I was going to replicate the shot you posted in the "post any pic" thread. It was just a lot wetter and muddier than the last time I was out that way.



    #16
  17. jgunsett

    jgunsett Goin' Coastal

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    Ohio NTZ - Ft. Myers, FL
    Looks awesome. I used to snow ski in that area (Timberline resort) and always wondered what the roads would be like for some Adventure touring. By the way, I noticed a 2112 sticker on your bike. Rush fan???
    #17
  18. chasbo

    chasbo Long timer

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    I discovered the area twenty years ago as a mountain biker and climber. I always spend part of my year playing out there to this day. Took my wife there on our first overnighter when we were dating and she fell in love with the area as well.

    Been a Rush fanatic since 1976. 2112 was my first album and I love every thing they have ever recorded. I am the oddball fan that loves all eras of the band, from Working Man to Workin Them Angels...
    #18
  19. SteverinoB

    SteverinoB EstebanarinoB

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    Orangeville Ontario Canada
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    My brother Mike and I had lunch there two weeks ago...we rolled into town about noon on a not very pleasant day...other than the riding of course! Virtually everything was closed but Sirianni's and did it hit the spot and just in time...we will return.

    Excellent...Thanks...Steve
    #19
  20. Corbeau

    Corbeau Been here awhile

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    Ottawa, Ontario, Great White North
    Nice RR!

    Thanks, it brought back memories:

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    (Crappy scan of a print from grainy 800 ASA film)
    #20