Serious Helmet Time in VA (2011)
I needed some serious helmet time so I went for a ride. I miss the mountains.
I left work at 4 on a Thursday, once defeating the traffic (gravitational pull) of the city, I found myself on 55 heading in the direction of the Blue Ridge.
I stopped for a water break in Fort Valley along Passage Creek
It had rained all around me but somehow I stayed dry :thumb
Scooted over to Crisman Hollow Rd and snapped this sweet shot
I hadn't seen Bloochdog or Banshee in a while so they offered me a place to stay on the river. It is very rare for me to rather spend the night with friends than in my hammock in the forest. Such great folks :D
And wouldn't you know it, we hopped in the truck and went over to El Paso for dinner and margaritas!
Afterward is was back to the cabin to watch a movie and drift off to sleep. Thanks again you two!
I woke up at 5:15 and was riding by 5:30. I made it to Mile 0 of the BRP around 6:30 as the sun was rising to the east.
I promptly saved this little guy from death. I saved three turtles this trip.
The valleys down toward Buena Vista offer some of the most picturesque views.
I stopped often to photograph flowers. As much as I like to GO GO GO, sometimes you need to take a break for everyone following the pictures. Also, I ride so much I'd just as well forget about some beautiful view years later without a photo.
Gates always getting in the way
Quick shot of Mabry Mill to add to my collection. I have Spring, Summer and Fall but no winter yet!
Oh why hello there :wave
How can you not love this sign?!? The corner isn't even bad either... :huh
I came around a couple turns and spotted this rain storm in my path.
I rode through the rain for hours until climbing Mount Mitchell...where it was raining only at the peak.
I've been up top before and time was of the essence so I forego the walk up for a souvenir or two and some photos.
Yup add this to the collection.
After the rain let off, the clouds and fog stuck to the hillsides. They sure are the Smoky Mountains.
Who won? The GS or the hare?
Sun was sinking lower, gotta keep pushing on!
I finished the BRP around 6:00 that afternoon completing it in under 12 hours with many many stops along the way. Not too shabby. What a great road! I saw one police officer all day. I'm going to try and ride this road more often on the weekdays :evil
Cruising into Bryson City, I always see these cars used to shore up the shoreline. That's some 60's technology for you rusting away at work.
I had a printed map of primitive NFS camp grounds around Lake Santeelah so I headed down that direction.
Okay this one will do :D
Cooked up some dinner and had some cheap wine.
A small fire then turned in early.
I packed the bike before first light and set out on the dirt roads in the area.
Saw a pontoon boat go cruising by on the still water.
Such a dense forest. I love the Appalachians.
Then up to the Cherahola Skyway
From the Skyway I rode NC1134 along the water up to 129. It was a tight and technical road barely two cars wide. Just the sort of appetizer I needed for The Dragon.
I came, I saw, I didn't crash. Good enough for me.
The view from the overlook
I enjoyed riding it that Saturday morning. There weren't any cops on the first section so it was just the photographers to look out for. I have seen a bunch of my action shots and will place an order or two in the coming days. On the retrun back down, I passed a KTM Supermoto and shortly after came across a lowsided Hayabusa off the cliff. It took all 10 of the stopped riders to help pull this thing up the steep incline. Eventually it was up but had a cracked triple tree and who knows what else. Not my problem for the day. Off I went!
Now to go ride 28 to the dam.
OH OH! Dirt shortcut :D
So faced with the rising temps in the low 90s and slowly chugging through towns all day, I decided to make it back to the BRP for a return run. What a great idea. It was in the low 70's and gorgeous.
See the tunnel entrance ?
Where was I?
Riding the BRP in the other direction is like riding a totally different road sometimes...so that made for a great day. I don't have any more pics of the remainder as I just rode and rode stopping only for gas. That night I made it to Blacksburg where I made a visit to my brother attending VT. We enjoyed each other's company but I made it clear I'd be leaving early.
I awoke at 5:45, zipped on my Stich' and bid farewell to my sleeping sibling.
Lowest fuel of the trip: $2.96
Onward I rode toward the land of LadyDraco and all that is beautiful.
Good morning :wave
Don and Tracy were such wonderful hosts and gave me coffee. We sat around the kitchen table enjoying the company for an hour. I could have stayed all weekend but I knew I had a long twisty day ahead of me. I am so happy I made the detour to stop in.
From the farm, I rode to Tazewell and picked up Hwy 16, recently referred to as "The Back of the Dragon" or some such nonsense. This carried me back to the coal towns of S.WV. War, Caretta, Coalwood, Welch...the list goes on.
The old Caretta Store. I'm sure there have been many uses under it's roof.
Looking in to the old Olga Machine Shop. I have many pics from a trip here about two years ago. You can check those out if you haven't been to Coalwood.
The script says "Majestic"
The Ol' Launch Site
Breezing through Welch.
You know you are in coal country when:
I just set the GPS to home and followed it somewhat aimlessly. Usually this works great. It took me through this valley down below and wound me up to the end of the Coal Fields Expressway.
This hasn't been paved yet heading South...so I had some 90mph gravel fun. YEAH BABY!!! :clap
After playing around for a bit, I decided to make my way to the New River Bridge and the original lower bridge below.
Stuck behind a minivan doing less than 10mph on a one way road, I found plenty of time to stop and take pictures..
After playing around under the bridge, I made my way to Hwy41 then to Webster Springs on 20. Once in Webster, I decided I couldn't come that close to Mama Rella's without stopping in for a visit. It just wouldn't be right.
Rella said business has been particularly slow and she needs more of us motorcyclists to show up! Come on gang, let's pay her a visit :deal
I usually keep a big saw hanging above the sink beside the firearms as well. She is too cool.
If her chair could speak the stories it has heard.
The "Special": Salad, Meatloaf, Potatoes, Peas and a Roll = $6.25 !!!!!! I also got two slices of pie to take with me. Oh and I couldn't finish the special. I never can. Leftovers today while writing this were awesome.
Taking an hour out of riding to visit with such a genuine person is always worth it. I sat weighing the ride home in the dark and it was all worth it (provided I didn't hit any deer).
I took Hacker Valley Rd up past the park toward Pickens.
Eat my dust!
Still staying true to my roots
Here I am in Helvetia at the Hutte
And the inn across the stream
Stopped in Elkins for a replacement headlight bulb since mine had been out and then continued back on 33. I never stop to take a picture of the "negative cube" as I like to think of it.
The view on top of Rich Mountain is absolutely bucolic.
Crossing the Eastern Continental Divid
Some side roads I wound up on.
Seneca Rocks. Come by here all the time.
Riding Old 55 the whole way back is always the best decision. Sure there were tons of deer but no traffic. The views are pretty good outside Baker as well.
Filling up for gas the final time in VA as the sun sets behind me.
Would I do it again? Yes.
Would I change anything? I'd get a point and shoot for action shots.