07-29-2008 I left after work today on a 2 week trip around the country. I'm heading up to Iowa for a brief stay around my old stomping grounds in Coralville. Then up to North Dakota for a family reunion and down to Colorado for WestFest 2008! Ya baby! At WestFest I'll be meeting up with some friends from the Iowa City/Coralville area. I haven't seen them since I moved to Charlotte just over a year ago so I am excited to hang out, ride some great roads, and throw back a couple beer in the evenings with them. To my surprise, Sturgis bike week is going on next week as well, so I'll probably swing by on my way to Colorado. Why not! Fair warning to all the WestFest attendees, before I left Charlotte, I ate at the restaurant below. I know what you're thinking, "This can't be good!". With a gut full of Joe Momma, I was ready to hit the road! I took the back roads out of southern Charlotte, to avoid traffic on I-77. Although I am a big fan of two lane highways, I am in a bit of a time-crunch to get up to Iowa, so I can spend an afternoon with some friends before heading north to Fargo, ND for the reunion. So after skirting around the outside of Charlotte, I hoped on I-77 for the majority of the evening. The goal of the night was just cover some ground, to ease my ride tomorrow. Honestly, the ride this evening was pretty uneventful. I stopped by a really nice rest stop in Virginia. I swear Virginia and Minnesota have some of the nicest rest stops in the US. Back on the highway... I was getting bored of the super slab so I decided to take a bit of a detour on HW 52 around the Virginia/West Virginia border. Turned out to be a heck of a nice scenic byway. HW 52 snaked through a national forest, across some Appalachian mountain passes before spitting you out on beautiful prairie and finally meeting up again with I-77. Here are a couple shots from my only stop on HW 52. Just before meeting back up with I-77. Awesome 2 lane highway. While climbing the mountains, the weather started cooling down a bit, which was a welcome relief from the 95 degree heat of Charlotte. Started getting late when I stopped in Pax, WV for gas. The gas station attendant said the nearest motel was about 40 miles away in Charleston, WV. So thats where I headed. Got in this evening around 10pm. 300+ miles covered today, not bad considering I left after work! Gonna get to sleep so I can get up early and make my way towards Coralville, IA! Until tomorrow. ps. Slappy MacGee wish you were along brotha!