GSPD Fly and Ride

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by b dash rian, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. b dash rian

    b dash rian Adventurer

    Jul 19, 2012
    ok... i'll finally get around to finishing this write up... 12+ hour days at work have been eating my free time to nothing

    Day 5: Cosby, TN to Seneca Rocks, WV

    Miles 1909 - 2352 (443 miles)

    Seeing old friends and new places, and new friends in old places

    Got up reasonably early, and headed north. Nothing of any major awesomeness as far as roads in the morning. some surprisingly windy 4 lane through northern TN and southern VA.

    I headed for Blacksburg, VA to see a friend from elementary school who is finishing up at Virginia Tech. Made it there for a late lunch, where i had the BIGGEST slice of pizza i've ever seen. It was like a 36" diameter pizza, cut into 6 slices. it was AWESOME!

    From Blacksburg, i was looking to camp at a old favorite of mine, Yokum's Campground in Seneca Rocks, WV. I rode a motorcycle solo for my first time at that campground, on my dad's 1971 BMW R60/5 when i was all of 12 years old. That was the start for me, so what better places to "finish" my journey than there. I knew the last day was going to be mostly highway, since the WV-PA-NY route can take 3 days on back roads, or 8 hours on highway (and i was getting low on time), so this was the last real day for me.

    Anywho, the route:
    From Blacksburg, head back out of town on US 460 West. Not far out of town, i hopped on VA 42 towards New Castle. AKA, Cumberland Gap Road. WOW. The last part of this road, coming into New Castle, gives the Dragon a run for its money. just as many turns, but with serious hills to boot, perfect pavement, and NO TRAFFIC! At the bottom of the hill in New Castle, there were 4-5 crotch rocketeers in full race gear. I was jealous. A quick wave, knowing i had to continue on, and onto VA 311 towards Paint Bank, and eventually, White Sulfur Springs, WV.

    Now, having rode the dragon (US 129), and now Cumberland Gap (VA 42), i had some pretty solid twisty experience on this trip. VA/WV 311 would test that above and beyond what either of those roads did to me. This road is seemingly ENDLESS (actually, just shy of 40 miles) of up-the-ridge down-the-ridge riding. Maybe not the concentration of turns that US 129 has, and certainly not the quality of road, but OMG, it puts that to shame.

    20 miles in, i had to stop and get off the bike. My concentration was completely shot from the turns and the tar snakes (they are a-plenty on the road). Easily more challenging that US 129. The tar snakes take a little extra concentration to pick clean lines turn after turn after turn, and the intense climb, and immediate descents actually caused some brake fade in my single front disc, rear drum braking system, which i had not experienced until now.

    By the time I popped out onto I-64 in WV, i was welcoming some easy turning highway. Fueled up in White Sulfur Springs, and North i went on WV 92, and connected with WV 28 to take me to Seneca. 92 and 28 are two more WV favorites of mine. They are the classic "follow the edge of the valley, because the valley is for farming" type roads. That also means that anytime the valley edge squiggles, the road does too. Relatively fast flowy sections give way to quick, tight climbs, a hairpin over the crest, tight descent, and back onto flowy valley floor roads.

    Seneca Rocks is just up the street from a place called Greenbank Radio Observatory. Here, they listen to space. In the middle of 13000 square miles of radio silent West Virginia, is this:
    (not my image)

    If you get a chance to sample the roads of eastern WV, make it a stop. They will take you for a tour in a diesel bus (they can hear your spark plugs if you get too close) and tell you all about it.

    Anyway, i made it to Seneca, got checked into the campground ($6, cheapest camping of the trip!), and walked over the the only restaurant, wait, only anything in town. Walked upstairs and ordered some pizza, then walked back downstairs to by a cold Yuengling at the general store (buy the beer downstairs, bring it up the the pizza shop upstairs). Then sat and enjoyed an evening of live music, and was regaled by stories of the climber of "Trad Fest" that was happening the same weekend. I've climbed here in the past, and it is one of my favorites, in fact, is even considered by some as one of the "Classic Climbs" of America.

    A light rain fell as i walked back across the street to my awaiting tent. If only it remained "light" rain...
  2. b dash rian

    b dash rian Adventurer

    Jul 19, 2012
    Day 6: Seneca Rocks, WV to Chautauqua, NY

    Miles 2352-2708 (356 Miles)

    Isaac, Round II

    Woke up in the middle of the night to heavy rain, though when it was time to actually get up, it quit for long enough to pack up, and hit the road. But not for long. 2 miles from Seneca Rocks, if started raining. Hard. I took US 33 over to WV 32, the Appalachian Highway towards Canaan Valley. Just south of Canaan, i cut out WV 72.

    Wikipedia says this about WV 72:

    They aren't lying.

    Here i am, stealing some else's pictures again (sorry if they are yours, it was too rainy for me to take any, and they captured the road well. Just imagine gloomier, and raining cats and dogs)

    I think this road would be a blast if dry. But it rain so hard it was like throwing 5 gallon buckets at myself, it was less-than-ideal. There were lots of 1st gear corners, and you could see the road exiting the corner before you could see the corner numerous times. I was cold, soaking wet, and tired, so this'll have to be re-done on a return trip for me.

    From Parsons (the end of WV 72), i beat feet up US 219 (as much as i could, in more torrential downpours) to US 50, then across to Grafton, where i tried, quite unsuccessfully, i might add, to use a payphone. Yeah. A working payphone. That didn't want to accept my money. (My cell phone was dead, and i was trying to touch base with family, to see if i should stop in Pittsburgh or not). Oh well, it was worth a shot.

    I boogied up US 250 and hopped on I-79 for the long slab ride north, through PA, and across I-90 through Erie, PA, and onto I-86 to my family's lake house. This was really the end of the trip for me. The next day was an uneventful ride back to Horseheads, NY, only 182 miles, and roads i travel on all the time.

    Total mileage door to door: 2890.6

    I didn't think about it before the trip, and in fact, didn't even realize it during the trip, but spending that much time alone with one's self in a helmet makes for a whole lot of thinking time. The week or so after the trip really had me thinking about all the thinking i'd done during those 7 days, 2890 miles, and 12 states.

    No Control, by the band Pepper come's to mind:
  3. b dash rian

    b dash rian Adventurer

    Jul 19, 2012
    OK, now that thats done, i can starting on my bike updating:

    I got new boxes:

    They are boxes made by a guy in the 4Winds BMW club out of Pittsburgh, PA. I think he made 4 sets, and each set was different. I think these were the only "two big" boxes he made other than the ones for himself (which got painted/PC'd black). They were made years ago too, and i know where 3 sets are, all still in use today! Mine measure 10" wide x 18" long x 16" deep, for about 47L each.

    I mounted new tires (K60's)

    I got new head gaskets, along with all the required crush washers for regular maintenance, though i haven't found the time to do any of said maintenance.

    And my dad stitched me up a new cover for the PD, and is working on one for the Ugly Duc.

    Family Photo:
    Under the tent on a Saturday "Motorcycle Maintenance Day"
    The KTM locked up on me at the last WNYOA Hare Scramble for the its in tear down mode now. The Ugly Duc needs tach and speedo motors. Italian spaghetti wiring...
  4. Briar Rose

    Briar Rose Fan of Mark_O!

    Jan 7, 2009
    Ithaca is Gorges
    Hi Brian!

    I really enjoyed reading your ride report, especially all of your road recommendations! Rob and I have ridden around WV for the past three summers, and look forward to testing out a variety of other roads you and others have recommended, so I am happy you've shared your observations.

    We played hookey Monday and spent the day looping through the Adirondacks! (You can see a bit of Rob's handiwork on the NY Dirt Tag-o-Rama thread :D) The wind really picked up late in the day, and was also gusty and variable - there were a couple of uncomfortable moments for both of us on the trip home. That said, we still played hookey on motorcycles all day!! :clap

    It was really great to meet you last weekend! I hope our paths cross again. :thumb In the meantime, ride safe!!

  5. Paul_Rochdale

    Paul_Rochdale Been here awhile

    Sep 19, 2012
    Aylesford, Kent, UK

    That was a good read and reminded me of my 2002 and 2006 East Coast to West Coast and back again ride on my Pan (ST1100). When you were in Denver you should have ridden up Mount Evans (14,260ft), America's highest tarmacced road, and Pike's Peak (a mere 14,130ft) and very scarey on a heavy tourer. Deal's Gap was memorable and I've been three times now. We just don't get roads like that in the UK. You did some high daily mileages on that PD (I have one) so how comfortable did you find it? The soft suspension is rather good and they are much lighter than a Pan. But 500 mile days on a near naked bike must have been tiring? No?