Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Adventure WVa

Ryan has been "planning" a motorcycle adventure style ride to the mountains of WVa since we left there with out MTB bikes last September.  I say "planning" as Ryan is a single guy that is rather spontaneous, so, he left the planning to others.  In fact, maybe organized is a better word.  Anyway...  The group ended up as 5: Mike on his F800GS, Jim on a R1200GS, Jared on a DR650, Ryan on a KTM 640 Adventure, and me on the Buell Ulysses.  The plan was for a three day trip, riding down on Friday, checking out the roads and scenes on Saturday, and then back on Sunday, camping on the national forest land each night.

The weather last week was crazy.  Temps were high (hitting 80) only to have a cold front forecast for Friday bringing with it wind, rain, and cold.  We decided to take out of Athens at 7am to beat the weather to Thomas WVa., which we did.  We also decided to skip camping for Friday night know the weather and instead got a room (hostel) at the Purple Fiddle.  After taking care of that, we hit the road to check out Blackwater Falls, see the campsite for Saturday, and do some other riding around before the front hit.

The walkway at Blackwater Falls was closed.  They had a large tree service cable truck parked trying to pull large downed trees up.  Apparently the entire area was dealing with the cleanup from Hurricane Sandy since they had just recently thawed out.  From there, we found our campsite was a dumping ground for tree tops as part of the cleanup.  Luckily, there were other spots open.  By this time it was getting hot since we were all dressed for the weather front and not a sunny day of riding.  I opened my jacket vents and down the road we went.  It didn't take long until the rain hit, and hit in a big way.  In a flash the road disappeared, and my jacket, pants, gloves, and boots were filling up with water (thanks in part to me leaving the vents open on my jacket).  We finally got back to Thomas, changed clothes and watched it rain from the coffee shop.  After getting warmed up and dried out, we played some pool, grabbed some dinner, and hit the sack.

The Purple Fiddle, Thomas WVa
Blackwater Falls.
Campsite!?
Tip Top coffee and bar.
The Hostel.
Relaxing.
Excellent burger at the coffee shop.
Red at night...
Saturday started a little colder, in fact, while eating breakfast, it poured snow just long enough to dust things. We ate, bundled up, and headed off to the campsite to unload.

Breakfast at the Flying Pig.

Dusting of snow.

Bundled and ready to ride.

Campsite.

View down the river from camp.

We then headed out for Dolly Sods.  We were all looking forward to the long stoned roads in and out of the area plus, I have never seen the Sods and wanted to see the scrub growing sideways.  That all got cut short as apparently, the Sods were still snowed in.

Road closed into the Sods.

A liitle reroute and out to Smoke Hole with some of the loveliest asphalt of the entire trip.  It was miles of foot peg to foot peg riding.  I was thoroughly impressed with the guys on big dirt bikes and how they handled the twists.  Also impressed with the great acceleration of that F800GS who pulled away from my big 1200cc twin out of the turns.  From there, a quick break to along the river which was full of folks trout fishing, and then to Seneca Rocks, having lunch across the street before winding our way back to camp.

Trout were the game of the day.

Break on a forest service bridge.

Young man fishing, he told me he caught 6 goldens and 2 rainbows.

Don't remember the name of this lookout.

Pano of the view.

Seneca Rocks.

Ryan found a water crossing.

I made a pot of coffee and then headed into Parsons so I could call home.  Grabbed some Oreo's back to camp snapping photos and video along the way.  Jim and Mike cooked a dandy camp dinner for us all and we enjoyed the fire, the company, and the conversation until hitting the sleeping bags.

Pilots view of the river road.

A view of CR 26, seriously, see it on the other side of the river?

A happy rider.

Jared is officially the fire builder on all trips from now on.

Nice....
Sunday we got up to 28 degrees and frost.  Mike restarted the fire, made some coffee and we packed the bikes.  Two of us to had to be bump started.  The DR650 and me.  That big twin had to get pulled to get it rolling over, it was not happy about starting for some reason (I ride in cold all winter long commuting).  Finally got us all started and we rolled out some more beautiful back roads to the Alpine Inn for breakfast before Mike and Jim split to head south and Ryan, Jared, and I headed for home.

I can't wait to go back (though I now secretly want a big dirt bike)!

Frost.

Cold.

Loaded.

Alpine Inn.

That says it all.

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