Still couldn't make it to Crete, so a loop around the SE it is.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Baggi'tard, May 3, 2021.

  1. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,717
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    For obvious reasons, we've had our planned ride around Crete cancelled for a second spring. We were literally on the way to Atlanta last year when our trip was cancelled (the next morning after the night Trump announced the European travel ban in mid March). We held out hope until mid-winter, but then had to "move on" with other plans. In the end it was just to much to take to figure out any other alternative than to just stick close to home. In the end we still had some beautiful weather, saw some great scenes and history, and of course just less drama all the way around with a "staycation." Owning and running a bed and breakfast inn, that's basically what we've been doing for the past year, just providing a nice place for people that live within a few hours to just get away from it all.

    So , we just loaded up the Multistrada and did a big loop around TN, KY, WV, VA, NC, and SC. This was the basic plan, about 2200 miles. While it took us 10 days, in my mind this isn't an "epic ride" so I'm putting it here in day trippin. I altered it on the fly as needed, or as required by shoaling. We stuck to state and county highways. The only large city we visited was Wilmington NC and the only other one we blasted around was Roanoke VA. We've learned our pace isn't about blasting out miles, it's about scenery, architecture, learning some history, and having some great food and drink.

    ride.jpg

    Only took a handful of pictures, but I did record quite a bit of video, so mostly this will be a video ride report.
    #1
  2. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,717
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    First couple of days took us north into Kentucky, then back south again to Marion VA. We passed through a lot of Daniel Boone NF and a lot of coal heritage trail. The entire western limb of this route was through the NF, perfect riding with great roads and great scenery. The first night we stayed in Slade KY. Lots of camping, hiking, and rock climbing in the nearby state park. Nothing to write home about for accommodations at the Lil Abner motel, or food. I did find some local beer at the store adjacent to the hotel. Only coffee offered at the hotel the next morning even though there's a restaurant attached. So we had to ride all the way to Morehead for a late breakfast and coffee. Already on this trip the "we don't offer our guests services due to COVID" excuses were still in play. Luckily, sticking to small towns that's a lot less of an issue than large cities (this seems to play out everywhere).

    KY.jpg

    Within the first few miles the second morning we drove through an old hand dug single lane (probably old railroad) tunnel that was about 500 feet long. We accidentally found hand-dug railroad tunnels on our way to Niksic, Montenegro in 2019. And, we accidentally found the "legend of John Henry" hand-dug railroad tunnel further along in this trip too. Funny.

    Scenes from Kentucky.

    #2
    klaviator, DesertPilot and bomose like this.
  3. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,717
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    End of the second day we finished up with SR-16 north into Marion VA. AKA, Back of the Dragon. It's been years since I've ridden it, but it was pretty much as good as I remember. You go up and over three sets of ridges and valleys with beautiful farmland down in the valleys. One of the few places we actually saw traveling motorcycles on our 10 day trip. Only thing that was a bummer was salt and sand all over the road in the higher elevations (Laura thought about 3000 feet and above). Boo. But, since the first three morning of the trip started out at 27° F, and there might have been some moisture in the forecast, I guess it was warranted. Some nice scenic overlooks at the ridge tops too.

    SR16.jpg



    In Marion we stayed right downtown at the General Francis Marion hotel, built in the 1920s and renovated and re-opened in the mid 2000s. Very nice. Even parked right out front on the street. Decent coffee and "to go" breakfast the next morning (even though there's a restaurant in the hotel). That night we ate dinner next door at the Moon Dog brick oven restaurant.

    Originally my plan was to ride SR-16 back north again on our way to West Virginia. After all the sand and salt I decided to take another route around. Same ridges, same views, cleaner roads on the way to Bluefield. I forgot all the crazy ATVs in Bluefield! Soon enough I punted us off onto some county highways and found our way back to the "plan." The whole plan in WV revolved around going to the Barnwood Builders store in White Sulphur Springs. Unfortunately we arrived on a day they were closed. What is in White Sulphur Springs is the famous Greenbriar resort (and secret presidential bunker). What's not in White Sulphur Springs is anything else, not places to stay, nothing to eat, so we moved on. Stunningly how HUGE the resort is, how huge some of the golf course houses are and 1/2 mile down the road in downtown there's nothing, depressing.

    WV (2).jpg

    But! we ended up in Paint Bank. Now, I've ridden through there years ago too, but this time the cool little railroad depot town (or collection of buildings as it were) is very much restored and there are a couple very nice places to stay, with at least one really good restaurant. We stayed in the railroad Depot Lodge, and ate across the street at the general store. We had local farm raised buffalo for dinner. Highly recommend the Depot Lodge, very gracious owner, and well appointed rooms and grounds.

    IMG_8054.JPEG

    IMG_8055.JPEG

    IMG_8057.JPEG

    Scenes from VA/WV on day 3, including the Great Bend Tunnel near Talcott WV and the legend of John Henry.

    #3
  4. x32792

    x32792 Cracker American

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,658
    Location:
    Winter Park, Florida
    No, it sure ain't Crete, but thanks for sharing AND inspiring us to get out there and enjoy what we do have to enjoy.
    #4
  5. bomose

    bomose Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,268
    Location:
    Dixie
    I rode up through some of those same roads a couple of years ago. I loved the roads, scenery, and old towns with history. I think I'll do it again. Thanks for the report.
    #5
  6. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,717
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    Fourth day wasn't really sure how far we'd make it, the only plan was to hit three history stops one after the other. Beautiful ride outta Paint Bank just lead to a blast around Roanoke. Once past Roanoke we planned the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Appomattox Court House NP, and the High Bridge SP. Had previously been to the D-Day Memorial (in 2004!?, where's the time go?), but Laura hadn't been, so it was a good stop. Mostly a self-interpretative tour. If you wonder "why Bedford VA", they suffered the most losses during the D-Day invasion. All the kids in town ended up in the same couple of units, same boats, same beaches and they gave it all. Definitely one of those places that makes you wonder if we, as a country, could ever muster that type of effort and result again. 80 years on, those lessons from history are disappearing aren't they?

    Next up was the Appomattox Court House NP. Site of Lee surrendering to Grant. Turns out Appomattox, the town, used to be at the location of the NP. There are a few buildings left in the original town. Sadly, I guess you'd have to say it's mostly an interpretive display. The courthouse burned down after the war and the town basically relocated itself to the current location based on where the railroad depot was. So the current courthouse is a replica (and it looks "straighter" than you think it should). The McLean house, where the generals met, while likely on the original location, is rebuilt. The federal govt took it down in 1890s to display in Washington DC, but then never did, so the park service rebuilt it back on site in 1940. Interesting site, but in the back of my mind I'm just thinking "movie set."

    Next stop was to be the High Bridge state park outside Farmville. When built, 1870s I think, it was the longest steel bridge in the world. I love old stuff like this, especially "biggest, heaviest, longest, tallest, etc" stuff. Arrived at the trailhead (the roadbed is a hike/bike facility back into Farmville) and it was closed to traffic (even walking) for repairs/maintenance. Crap. I'll have to remember this thing for a trip some other time. Interestingly we met some people a few days later that have family nearby and couldn't wait to go to the bridge again, they really like it. They were pretty bummed out when I told them it was closed. Farmville is a really nice little town tho, could spend time there.

    So our three stops didn't really take as much time as we maybe thought it would and we ended up riding all the way to Roanoke Falls NC for the night. Nice easy rolling farmland all the way from Farmville to Roanoke Falls. Stayed at a chain hotel and had dinner at the Waffle House. Pretty much a shit show trying to get dinner. Restaurants only allowed half full, but yet the lobbies were packed full of people standing around waiting. Disgusted, we finally found the Waffle House doing business smartly, walked right in and snarfed down breakfast. Hard working courteous people, as usual.



    VA.jpg
    #6
  7. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,717
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    Next day was one we'd both been waiting for, hitting the seashore. We used to take a lot of diving vacations, we probably miss the ocean a bit, but there's lots of other stuff in the world to see so we've been doing different travel in the past 15 years. We've never been to the NC outer banks and the famous sites on the islands. We left Roanoke Falls and did a pretty windy ride through the coastal lowlands to get to Manteo on Roanoke Island early enough to check into a hotel. The little town of Edenton was very nice, right on the sound, we stopped for a coffee downtown. There was a stretch along Hwy 264 (north side of Pamlico River/Sound) that we didn't see a single gas station for close to 100 miles I think. We got gas around Engelhard, if it wasn't for that, there wasn't any gas until Manns Harbor.

    NC1.jpg

    Then we headed for Kitty Hawk Wright Brothers Memorial to knock that out before dinner. It was pretty interesting. What I didn't recall from history was that the brothers actually spent the two years prior (1901 and 1902) flying gliders off the Kill Devil hills. First powered flights were 1903, not the "first flights." You can hear me in the video wondering why in the world two guys from Ohio had to come all the way to this remote island to fly. I guess the steady winds, not like they couldn't have found some huge hills/mountains long before they got to the coast. We overheard a couple other people wondering the same thing, LOL. The "main" highway along Nags Head is US-158, six lanes and all stop lights, horrible in April, must be absolutely bonkers in the summer. We went a couple blocks over to the "old" highway, NC-12. No stoplights, no traffic to speak of, zipped right along at 35 mph speed limit. Brilliant, y'all stay on the big highway...

    After Kitty Hawk we had dinner at a Triple D or Delicious Destination restaurant we had just seen on TV, Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe. Good seafood, including the unique clam chowder of the area, and some local beer. A nesting pair of Osprey right out the front window drew lots of picture takers. Apparently they've been at the restaurant for a few years. After dinner we had a short ride around Wanchese, the small fishing village on the south end of Roanoke Island, and the old downtown port area of Manteo too.

    Scenes from Day 1 in NC.

    #7
    bomose and DesertPilot like this.
  8. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,504
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    Thanks for the ride report! I envy you some of those stretches. It looks like it was a great expedition. It might not have involved the Eastern Mediterranean, but you can console yourself with the fact that somewhere on Crete, riders had to postpone their long-planned vacation to TN, KY, WV, VA, NC, and SC.
    #8
  9. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,717
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    That's damn funny, and probably true. For whatever reason we like to think travel further away is better, new scenes are always better right? It'll be almost three years in the planning/waiting by the time we get there, I hope it lives up to the expectations. Certainly for just pure riding bliss, I'm lucky to live in the Appalachians, they offer world class variety, mileage, and quality as any place I have been.
    #9
    DesertPilot likes this.
  10. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,717
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    Day 2 on the OBX was a simple plan, ride south on Hwy 12 to Ocracoke and just stop and see whatever along the way. We found lighthouses, empty beaches, lifesaving memorials, encroaching sands, and beautiful weather.

    First stop didn't take long. Not far into the Cape Hatteras National Seashore is the Bodie Island Lighthouse, operating since 1848. The lighthouse is actually the third one in this location, due to instability and war. Did you know the lighthouses have different stripe patterns on purpose, to help identify them from the water? I didn't. Bodie Island is vertical, Hatteras is spiral, Ocracoke has no stripe. After the lighthouse whistle stop we rode across the highway to Coquina Beach to look and listen to the waves. After going over the huge new Oregon Inlet bridge there is the historic Pea Island Lifesaving Station (can see it in the video). We didn't stop because it looked closed due to construction (plus everything "inside" seemed to be closed), we did find an interesting lifesaving marker further down the shore.

    Next stop was the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. No doubt the most famous one in NC, we saw little replicas in people's yards all along the trip. Moving it was certainly a critical thing to do, but again it's kind of presented as a "1870" lighthouse, it's not. I'm sure it's most of the original materials (the foundation is not), but they had to move it a few hundred yards inland in 1999 to save it from the encroaching sea. One neat thing they did was engrave the names and dates of all the lighthouse keepers in the original foundation stones. After the lighthouse we headed toward the ferry to Ocracoke Island. Details and scenes from the trip in the video. I recommend you ride your motorcycle if you are going to do ferries. :rayof

    After we got to Ocracoke we checked in at the 100 year old Thurston House Inn, owned by 7th generation "O'cocker" or whatever it was they call themselves. Walked down the street to 1718 Brewing (the year Blackbeard (Edward Teach) was killed) for some drinks and appetizers. Good beer and good food. We then walked down to the harbor, aka Silver Lake for dinner at Dajio. While in Ocracoke Laura called the ferry authority and found out that the southbound ferries for the next morning were "delayed" due to shoaling and said to check back first thing in the morning. Usually people have reservations for the big ferries, but we just wanted to double check we didn't need one on a motorcycle, we didn't. After dinner we walked over to the harbor again, and the ferry toll booth. Sign on the door said all ferries cancelled for the next day. Shit. The next morning Laura checked the website about 0630 and it said all southbound ferries were cancelled for the next 4 days. She said, "we gotta go, now." stay tuned..

    #10
  11. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,717
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    There's a fair steady stream of small (30 vehicles maybe) ferries between Hatteras and Ocracoke. Early in the morning they are scheduled for once an hour, starting at 0430 or 0500. We easily made it on the 0730 ferry north to Hatteras. Talked with another guy on the ferry that realized they needed to head north as soon as possible too. He had a reservation for the 0730 ferry south to Cedar Island, showed up at the parking queue and nobody was there. The day before there were a LOT of people in line going to Ocracoke, and barely 1/2 full ferry's going north to Hatteras. No way there wasn't a horrible long wait a bit later in the morning when all the people with 1030 and 1530 reservations started learning there were no ferries running, and most likley they had no place to stay to wait it out. Ugh. When we got to the Hatteras landing we looked around as we were leaving and there didn't seem to be any signs telling people there was no way off Ocracoke, going south, for the next four days.

    So we had a rather uneventful ride back north and around the sounds to get down to Wilmington. Wasn't quite as far as I thought it would be, just over 300 miles. Got checked in to another 100+ year old inn just 7 blocks off the Wilmington waterfront. Plenty of interesting things to see, eat, and drink in downtown Wilmington. The best brewery we stopped at was Edward Teach. We had some excellent dinners at Caprice Bistro (a French/Belgian cuisine owned and run by an older French and Belgian couple) and Manna. Both restaurants recommended by our inn owners, both highly rated but a little hard to "filter" through all the overrated fried seafood restaurant reviews to find them.

    #11
  12. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,717
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    Final couple of days we rode across the top of South Carolina (mostly SR-9) to Gaffney. The azaleas and other flowers were in full color. Barely got a few sprinkles and pulled in to avoid the storms ahead of us. The next morning was beautiful as we returned to the mountains of SC, NC, and TN. I had not filmed in a long time on SR-28 north of Franklin, nor the Cherohala Skyway really, so there's some nice footage from those. Arrived home to puppy mayhem as usual.

    #12