Dr. Greg & Milledue try to make sense of the Civil War...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Dr. Greg, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    Doc as for WV roads, milledue will love Rt 20 (twistys) through the mtns and hollows or 219/55 a few twistys and big sweepers through gorgeous valleys. If you take Rt 20 you HAVE to stop at Rellas Cafe, Hacker Valley, WV, a real down home place, nothing else like it, and Rella will love that you stopped by, she knows all the WV/VA/PA ADVers.
    #61
  2. ob1quixote

    ob1quixote Been here awhile

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    If you are planning a stop here in Charleston SC, I'd be happy to ride/guide you around town to the Civil War sites!

    Drop me a PM!

    (How can you do a CW tour and not stop where it started?)
    #62
  3. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Monday 10/1: Hazard, Kentucky - Huntington, West "By God" Virginia

    Well, at least I got into a different state...NO, not "state of consciousness..." Sheesh.


    The Weather Finally Catches Up to Dr. Greg

    Aside from the first few hot days, I had pretty much experienced beautiful weather this whole trip. Well, that came to an end this morning:
    [​IMG]

    I had been following the weather "electronically," of course, and I expected the rain to start when it did. But...it's always nice to hope the forecast is wrong. But it wasn't.

    So it's pretty much rained all day today in Kentucky (which is where I was). Didn't even bother to have the camera out on the bike, although the vistas of clouds hanging in the many "hollows" of the hills were spectacular in their own way.

    I did snap one pic at a gas stop; just proof that it was really raining. BTW, can't tell from the pic, but as I left this fuel stop it was rainin' HARD. Visibility was rather poor for a while. Don't like that...
    [​IMG]

    So I made it a short day. I was feelin' pretty tired anyway; it was cold (59 deg F...perfect hypothermia weather) so I called it "quits" early. That's one of the wonderful things about not being on a schedule.


    Tomorrow's Ride

    The last time I was in West Virginia (Fall 2010) I was astounded that none of it was flat. Back then I hadn't really taken any time to ride the backroads. Well, rainy weather and unknown backroads are a tricky combination in my book, so I think what I'll do is make Tuesday a short day as well, then try and ride a few West Virginia backroads on Wednesday as I work my way closer to Gettysburg, PA.

    I've gotten a couple suggestions on roads; I'll just "play it by ear" (remember, I have perfect pitch) and see what happens.

    I'm not a big fan of camping in the rain; I've got a couple possible "homestays" in PA and MD. And when the weather clears up camping is again a possibility.

    Sorry there was so little to write about today...maybe it's getting time for me to take a "REST DAY." I often do that on trips. Heck, maybe I'll just stay at this motel ($59 for a big ol' room) another night, and wait for the weather to clear. Let Milledue dry out a little...

    Anyway, I'll let y'all know what happens.

    --Doc
    #63
  4. JNXPILOT

    JNXPILOT Adventurer

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    Enjoying your RR this afternoon. If you're coming through the Raleigh, NC area, I can put you up for a night or two if you like. Can ride with you a bit as well. There are several battle sites in the area.
    #64
  5. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    JNX,

    Hey, thanks. Can you PM (or email to gpstarr@gmail.com) me your contact info? It'll be a few days, but I might take you up on it. Glad you're enjoying my travels and thanks again.

    --Doc
    #65
  6. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Well, I have a tentative plan for the next couple of days...

    With some assistance (thanks, DCRider) I've decided to make tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/2) a short day and ride to Summersville, WV and stay in some motel there.

    Then, on Wednesday, is the EPIC day in West "By God" Virginia (I just like typin' that). I'm gonna leave Summersville, WV and take WV 41 to Craigsville, then WV 15 to Valley Head, WV, then WV 55/US 219/250 N as far as I-68 (I think). Or I might camp at Blackwater Falls SP, if it looks nice.

    It should be a sunny, epic, beautiful day of Fall colors and wonderful backcountry West Virginia ("almost Heaven") roads. I can't wait. There'll be lots of pics.

    Depending on where I stay tomorrow night in Summersville, maybe I'll update again from there.

    Cheers,

    --Doc

    PS. Oh yeah, almost finished watchin' the Moto2 race, then gotta watch MotoGP (fairly slow Wi-Fi connection at this motel, but I'll survive). Then I'll finish just in time for the MNF game, which (although I'm not a big NFL fan) features the Chicago Bears, and my ol' buddy (and University of New Mexico "colleague") Brian Urlacher. Although coming from Eastern New Mexico, he's almost an honorary "Texan."
    #66
  7. ob1quixote

    ob1quixote Been here awhile

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    I'll shoot you a PM instead!
    #67
  8. creggur

    creggur There are no curves here.

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    Enjoying the RR, Doc. Subscribed..
    #68
  9. Merlin III

    Merlin III Lone Wolf-No Club

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    From Wikipedia: "In the southern US, the term is sometimes used in derisive reference to any Northerner, especially one who has migrated to the South; a more polite term is Northerner. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas pointed out as late as 1966, "The very word 'Yankee' still wakens in Southern minds historical memories of defeat and humiliation, of the burning of Atlanta and Sherman's march to the sea, or of an ancestral farmhouse burned by Cantrill's raiders."<sup id="cite_ref-20" class="reference">[21]</sup>

    In Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary Yankee is defined in this manner: <dl><dd>"n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. (See DAMNYANK.)"</dd></dl>Also, the term "war of Northern Aggression" is not really correct. Read American Nations by Colin Woodward. He footnotes letters from Jefferson Davis which document why Fort Sumter was fired on and what Davis expected to happen as a result.

    Great report and interesting writing style. :clap
    #69
  10. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Great RR so far, Doc. Sorry you missed Shiloh, but you have a pretty aggressive schedule. Can't see everything I guess.

    Looking forward to your ride through WV. I've only passed through there a couple times and well north of you. Hoping to get some route ideas.

    -P
    #70
  11. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Plan to catch Shiloh on the way home.

    --Doc
    #71
  12. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

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    SUMMERSVILLE, WEST VA! Tis Gauley season!!! you might want to investigate a raft trip down the Gauley. drawdown of the lake is happening (maybe not to the end of the week) making the Gauley a wild ride! it would be a shame to miss something like this while you're there. good old class 5 adrenalyn rush!!!!
    #72
  13. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Omigosh! Sounds like it would give poor old Doc a heart attack!! Sorry, mate, but crazy water stuff just scares me to death (yes, I can swim...fairly well, actually, but...)

    But thanks for the suggestion. And, just out of curiosity, that's the "Gauley" River, not the Kanawha? (that's the big one I've been crossing...although it looks pretty smooth).

    --Doc
    #73
  14. TowPro

    TowPro Lets ride

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    Doc, I was thinking the same thing, but when I saw the posters name was "kitesurfer" I said, ok, that fits, one of those guys who loves the adrenalin rush from extreme water sports. :deal
    I watch Kite Surfers down the outerbanks every year. Looks fun, but I think I am content just watching.
    But they did have this backpack you put on, that had water shooting out the back that actually lifted you into the air.
    I degrees, back to the regular scheduled ride report
    #74
  15. Dr. Greg

    Dr. Greg Tryin' to get home..

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    Tuesday 10/2: Huntington, West Virginia - Summersville, West Virginia

    Short ride today, but a strategic one, so to speak. And the last 30 miles or so provided lots of enjoyment.


    A Rainy Night in West Virginia

    It had rained pretty hard all the day before, and it continued raining through the night. As I indicated last night, I had decided to head for Summersville, WV today. That meant taking I-64 from Huntington east to a few miles past Charleston, WV (the state capitol).

    I suppose ya seen one interstate, ya seen 'em all, but I-64 was better than some:
    [​IMG]

    I got all 6/6 camera functions set correctly fast enough to get a pic of the Kanawha River:
    [​IMG]

    And then a few miles later I was tickled by the name of this WV town:
    [​IMG]
    Actually, this has more meaning for me than you might think. When I was a kid (mid '50s) I was intrigued by "chemistry"...in particular EXPLOSIVES. My folks had bought an Encyclopedia Brittanica, and I thoroughly acquainted myself with all the "explosives-related" stuff. Hey, I was a GUY! These days the "authorities" would have labeled me a a...God knows what. But I just liked explosives. I knew all about "brisance," Cyclonite, PETN, Picric Acid (had a big bottle in the closet)...all the good stuff. Stupid stuff like gunpowder...who cared! And the thing about explosives: they are all based on NITROGEN in some way. Yeah, I grew out of it, but I also grew INTO mathematics, and physics, and a lotta stuff that gave me a CAREER. So anyway, I was tickled with "Nitro, WV." Oh yeah, think "October Sky"...that's how I grew up. One of the RR installments I'll have to elaborate on the "Dr. Greg" logo...that's what's on my T-shirts. Maybe this installment, maybe not. Probably not.

    After departing I-68, 2-lane US 60 was a little prettier...although every so often there's the reminder that COAL is the industry around these parts.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That beautiful Eastern deciduous forest again...
    [​IMG]


    Kanawha Falls

    As I was haulin'-A around US 60 just past "Alloy, WV," I rode past this area, the hit the binders and turned around. It was pretty cool.
    [​IMG]

    No, not exactly Niagara Falls, but still impressive, and able to generate a not-inconsiderable noise:
    [​IMG]

    A few close-ups:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Looks like an old "water-house" where they derived some mechanical energy from the ol' Kanawha:
    [​IMG]

    I even found a little Civil War content in the neighborhood:
    [​IMG]

    This was a pic "across the river" where the sign seemed to indicate. *Of course there's been many changes in the land- and water-scape since then...
    [​IMG]


    WV hwy 39 to Summersville

    Just past Kanawha Falls I noted the skinny little line of WV hwy 39 on my map, which looked like a "back road" to Summersville. Aha, just what we like, right? And it was...
    [​IMG]

    Of course there was the odd semi-truck to slow one down, plus the fact that the roads were still pretty much DAMP from the rain the night before...so I played it cool. Not too cool, of course.
    [​IMG]

    I always HOPE that folks living in "twisty-road" country are a little better drivers...but sad to say it seems the average WV drive goes "meandering" across the double-yellow in the corners just like they all do. Drive me CRAZY!! Stay ON YOUR OWN SIDE!!! My life might depend on it!!!

    One final shot of pretty country and some embedded industrial content...
    [​IMG]


    Tonight's Situation...

    So I'm ensconced at Summersville, WV tonight. Apparently this is the heart of some good "whitewater rafting," I don't really know. I leave the watersports to somebody else. I grew up on good ol' dry land. Never did like the water. Wait a minute, I LOVE running water. There's obviously some deep-seated approach-avoidance (see, I was paying attention in Psych 101) stuff going on there...


    Tomorrow's Plans

    Like I said yesterday, my plans are to devote tomorrow to an epic day of riding in the West Virginia mountains. From Summersville I plan to take WV 41 to Craigsville, then WV 15 to Valley Head, then WV 219/250 all the way to PA (almost). The weather forecast looks good, so it ought to be an EXCELLENT day of riding.

    At the end of the day, I'll either camp (haven't been doing enough camping) at Blackwater Falls SP, Fairfax Stone Historical Monument SP, or motel-it again somewhere near Maryland.

    Ought to be getting up to Gettysburg, PA sometime the night after. That's my northernmost point, and then I can start retreating southward towards my ol' high school buddy John Safford in Sumter, South Carolina ("hi, John").


    Final Word for the Day...

    Y'know, like I said, I'm a Westerner. The Eastern USA is always a little strange to me. Things are too close together, the visibility is too short, there are too many traffic signals. Yet there is a sense of HISTORY that I don't get in the West. And that's why I'm here.

    So far, so good.

    --Doc
    #75
  16. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

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    #76
  17. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Great post, Doc. I know exactly what you mean about the east. I'm from CA, and the first decade here I felt like I was living in a hedge. NH and VT offers some impressive sightlines, though. I ride up there to get my fix.

    Regarding explosives, as a 16yo I worked on a road crew in the Sierras one summer. I started as a jackhammer operator drilling holes in granite for blasting. I was about 120lbs and too slow, so they made had me filling the holes with dynamite and stringing the wires to the twist gizmo. But the glycerin gave me headaches :rolleyes, so they moved me to twisting the gizmo. Well, I picked me a spot behind a big old tree and strung my wires to it. The crew just watched silently. I got behind the tree and shouted 'fire in the hole'! Somebody shouted it back and I gave her a big old twist...

    I guess I was too close. I thought I had killed myself. After that they moved me to driving a dump truck up and down the grade we were making...I was pretty good at that until I blew the driveshaft off throwing a speedshift up the hill. It ripped the brakelines and locked the dumptruck on the grade, shutting down the job for a day before we could fix the truck. :shog

    Hope you are getting better weather than we have up here!
    #77
  18. Hakatan

    Hakatan quality > quantity

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    Hi Dr. Greg:

    It's nice to see another ride report from you -- my brother and I met you at a Maine campsite in 2010 on our way up to Nova Scotia.

    I am enjoying this latest ride report -- I rode an opposite route out west a bunch of years ago: Blue Ridge Parkway to Great Smokey Mountains, Natchez Trace, backroads across Texas and New Mexico to southern California. We sure are fortunate to live in such a geographically diverse country. Keep riding.
    #78
  19. gremor

    gremor RS'er

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    I'm in on this one.





    :lurk
    #79
  20. jposttx

    jposttx Been here awhile

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    Hey doc- enjoying your trip - ur on one of bucket list trips would love to follow that civil war trail
    In addition to the non fic you have read - I love all those series but really love Shelby foote - by the way

    I would strongly recommend killer angels about Gettysburg

    Reading a bio of Bedford forest ( the devil forrest ) right now - not sure if I recommend it yet.

    Would recommend a monster that is the 'offical' multi volume series of after action reports
    Got it on the shelf .....I'll fetchit here shortly
    Look fort in bargin bins or at a half price book store...wait here I'll go look
    Battles and leaders of the civil war
    #80