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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Amphib, Aug 9, 2019.
The rain was getting more intermittent and from the breathtaking views is was getting, I was hopeful that the weather would be a non-event.
One thing that made a very huge impression on me this morning was the smell in the air. I have no idea what it was, but it was the freshest most perfect thing I've ever detected with my nose. All the cleaning products out there, air fresheners, detergents, candles, when they are labeled as "fresh" or "clean" or "summer cotton" it's like they are trying to artificially copy what was in the air.
It was a magical morning with the mist in the air, low lying clouds, the perfect smells.
Finally the sun started peaking out, the steam rising off of the asphalt, and I pulled over to look at an old farm and eat a little breakfast.
I continued on, turned on what appeared to be a forest service road. It was muddy, slick, and I was questioning my judgment after the rain. I eventually saw a totally outfitted recent model Toyota 4-runner. I stopped and chatted with Carl for a long time. He was driving from Indianapolis and sticking to back roads. He was on his way to DC to pick up a buddy. We talked about gear and the trips we were having, the road ahead and the road behind.
About the time I was wanting to get back on the bike, a brand new triumph tiger pulls up with (I think his name was Mark) from Pittsburgh who said he was riding the mabdr. "so this is on that route?" I say.... Yep.
We talked for way too long, but it was the only real in depth interaction I'd had on the trip. Both very nice guys and it was cool to compare notes and hear about other journeys.
The road continues on, several small water crossings and i really don't care where I'm going. I'm just enjoying the ride and the beautiful day that has emerged.
Great trip report, it feels as if I am riding along with you. Beautiful photos of the area you are in.
The gravel eventually led back to pavement and small single family homes led to sprawling fenced in estates with electronic ornate iron gates. I was getting hungry and thirsty and wanted to top off the gas tank. Gas stations in these parts are not frequent and many are closed down or no longer provide gas. Mark on the tiger I met remarked that it was a bit stressful for him and would put gas in the tank every chance he could.... Even if it was only a bucks worth.
I was never concerned, I did carry a full rotopax, and never got much below 1/4 tank before finding a place, but I was on alot more pavement than he.
I opened the maps and decided it was a good idea to point myself in a direction. I decided to head back towards New River gorge and depending if I came in towards the north or east, would try to camp at babcock again, or Bluestone state park.
Staying on back roads was going to take alot of effort to navigate with many turns.... Nothing was direct. I was feeling lazy so I just stuffed those thoughts in the back of my mind and decided to keep wandering and stop again down the road somewhere and evaluate from wherever I ended up.
There were so many beautiful roads.
I explored Moomaw lake.
I explored Hidden Valley.
There's an amazing old mansion in the background that is a bed and breakfast....
I ended up on 39 heading west and stopped on the state line when I saw this marker.... What the hell, I turned.
The road followed a ridge that also functioned as the state line between VA and WV. I got glimpses of amazing views, but I imagine coming back after the leaves fall would be incredible. Road was in fair shape except for the flat areas up high which were rutted mud bogs.
I turned left once I reached pavement. It was now 4:30 and after looking at the map, I was going to head back south and check out Watoga state park, if that was a no go, I could cut through and get on 219 and then to babcock.
Watoga was beautiful. It opened as a park to the public in 1937 and still shows itself like it did back then from the buildings and cabins. This area is pretty centrally located to all of my family and I think next time we all try to get together, I'll definitely suggest this place.
I cruised over to the primitive camp area which was actually along an old grass airstrip. It was a great campsite that sat beside a creek surrounded by pine trees with nobody nearby. I made camp and preceeded to get a much needed hot shower.
I made some dinner.... Rice, packaged tuna, and sour gummy bears for dessert.
I spent the evening relaxing by the fire after a stroll around the campground. Many thoughts passed through..... I thought how much I missed my family and how much I think they would love this place. Alot of my rides end up being recon for future trips, both motorcycle and family. It was a bit sad considering my last night but I consoled myself by promising to make the ride home interesting. My family is everything to me and it is a never ending struggle to find that perfect line of balance. There are times when I swing like a pendulum, I can see that perfect point, but life doesn't work that way. We just have to try and get as close as we can.
I climbed into my hammock content and fell asleep listening to the frogs.
Day 3 mileage: 172 miles
Great pics. Thanks for sharing what we love so much about our two wheel vessels of wander and wonder. Before I had a home in the mens, I traveled much further away from the area. It's been too long since I have traveled in the areas in WV, VA, etc.
I just want to say I really appreciate the great comments and input. This is my first real ride report and it's encouraging to say the least. I had thought about doing one but from past experience, i can get pretty lost in the ride and wouldn't have many photos or stories to tell. This trip I made a concerted effort to slow down. This trip was all about slowing down.....the whole reason for it. My work has been going gangbusters and it has taken its toll on me. This trip was all about unplugging, doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. Other than worrying my wife, a huge perk was the lack of cell service. There was no intrusion from work or anything. I was able to queue texts and receive some from my wife, but I never knew where or when. I could've sought out some wifi or made my way to a large city........... Anyway the thought of doing a ride report was in my mind which was actually a cool thing that helped me process what I was seeing and experiencing. I'm extremely thankful for the folks who do reports. I love seeing the world through another's eyes and I feel honored to be able to participate.
My final day started early. I drank a few cups of double strength coffee and started quickly packing up. (I love that as time goes by on a trip how good at packing I get.... Every little thing finds its own place and my kit gets smaller and smaller. Packing gets faster, more balanced, tighter, and my frequently used things get more accessible.)
I consulted the maps and my options were very limited here unless I went north to go south, then east to go too far east, or west to hit bigger towns and possibly back on my route that I took up here.
I opted for due south out of the park which looked sketchy on the map and I wasn't sure if I'd even be able to get through. I'd ride this to 92 in white sulfur springs then pick up 311. I'd figure out the rest somewhere on 311.
Another magical morning in the mountains.
Congrats on your year! Great looking ride. Hopefully we’ll meetup one of these days.
Amphib - Your summary at the end of day three really hits home. I find myself trying to balance this insatiable urge to travel and explore with my first love, my family. It's a delicate balance trying to maintain a perfect mix.
I would like to know what brand of darts you use. They seem to be very agile and flickable, always finding the most gnarly routes.
Brilliant pics Amphib, your Africa Twin is looking amazing too! Particularly love your pics from the morning in the mountains, that haze/dew which you get in the morning in the mountains always looks amazing in the sunshine! Very nice photography, and looks like a great trip!
Well, I certainly have enjoyed the beautiful pictures and the accompanying thoughts as they resemble my own in some ways.
I wish I could wean myself of the cell phone for a few days as well, but having a young family at home makes it simply not an option at the moment.
Maybe one day I’ll try and conquer my being intimidated by off-road and camping and follow Amphib’s example.
Thumbs up for a great trip and RR!
I finally wound my way to white sulfur springs. It was a bit strange rounding a bend and seeing a strip mall, fast food establishments, a grocery store, and other various shops. I pulled in to a gas station to fill up, get myself some much needed nourishment and see about where I could pick up 311. From my map I couldn't tell if I had to jump on i-64 briefly or if it ran parallel for a stretch.
I went in, bought some real cheese... sharp cheddar!....and some water. I asked the older woman at the cash register where I could pick up 311.
"311? Why on earth do you want 311? Roger? Can you help him?" A gentleman older than the cashier approaches and in a fatherly, scolding tone of voice says to the woman..
"Well someone who wants to take the mountainous way to Roanoke might take 311."
To me.... "Are you heading to Roanoke?"
"No, I'll find somewhere to go west long before I get to Roanoke." He gave me a nice smile and pointed me in the right direction as we walked out of store.
I ate some cheese, beef jerky, and some nuts and picked the town of New Castle for my next stop.
I hopped back on the bike, fortunately traffic on i-64 was minimal, because the on ramp was torn up and I had to try and merge perpendicular to the lane due to the severe uneven lanes..... No sign regarding that mess at all.
311 is rediculously amazing. It has a bit of everything. The sights, farms, curves, this was another zen experience for me on the bike. Most of the road was in the midday sun and tires were sticking like glue. Traffic was minimal to non-existent and the only thing really keeping me in check was the frequent smell of rotting deer carcasses.
I haven't brought it up yet, but deer are ever-present. I saw dozens. I saw no difference in activity throughout the day....they were active all day long. It was a fact that was always on my mind on this trip and definitely was now, eyes always looking.
Maybe it was the timing of this road on my trip, but it was a true standout in many ways and I highly recommend if your ever in the area to ride it.
I got into New Castle and decided to turn right at Craig Creek rd to 460, stopped in Narrows then made my way to the bluegrass trail.
Depending on time, I wanted to head south at Haven Ridge road and stick to backroads to Marion nc...by dark. It wasn't to be. I made some wrong turns and made a giant loop between another mountain range. It was a spectacular diversion full of mostly abandoned farms that were taken over by larger ones. Twisty road, cattle on front porches. It was surreal and powerful thing to see on such a scale. I kept thinking about how one by one I wanted to snoop through all the buildings to see what treasures might be left behind. In hindsight this was a blessing in disquise.....I would have really been pushing it, racing the clock, and besides, I've got more stuff closer to home.
I stayed on 42, retracing quite a few miles, picked up 16 south and stopped at Hungry Mother state park. Looking at the time I'd just make it home before my son's bedtime so I jumped on the slab excited to see see my family.
I can't say enough how special this trip was to me... on multiple levels. I've got a pretty awesome wife who puts up with my wanderlust and supports my hairbrained schemes regarding travel. The ball definitely gets put in my court to try and lessen the impact so I try my best to keep it simple, keep costs down, try to best time it with her schedule, and most importantly, don't be gone too long.
Day 4 mileage : 405 miles
Total trip mileage : 1176 miles
Thanks for following along!
Great pictures and great write up. Not only did I enjoy following along on your trip but many of your thoughts resonated with me as well. Like you I have a wife who understands my passion for riding and encourages me to go out and enjoy it.
I think in the future you will be really glad you took the time to stop and take pictures and write up your trip. It's great to be able to go back, look at your ride report and relive the trip. At least that's how it is for me.
I have ridden some of the area of your report and this reminds me what great riding there is there and makes me want to go back.
So thanks for posting and I hope to see more reports from you in the future.
You were only 15 min from my house. Four Seasons Outfitters is only a 1/4 mile from my workplace.
Not to brag, but we have some of the best riding in WV.
I've been to all your pics. Love the ride from Huttonsville, WV to Monterey, VA. and on to Staunton, VA.
Glad you enjoyed our state!!
I loved your state and can't wait to get back. The riding was incredible it didn't matter what road I was on, they were all great. I enjoyed the people I met. I've already told my wife I want to retire there. (she basically grew up there... near Harper's Ferry)
Great pics and nice write up. Thanks for taking us along.
Outstanding photos and great commentary too -- thanks!
Well done! I've done most of that area and I love it more every time.