Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Roads Were the Destination, Part 2

It's amazing what eight solid hours of restorative sleep can do for a body.

If you read yesterday's post, you know we did over 300 miles Saturday on some very FUN and challenging roads. By the end of the day, we were both exhausted.

Sunday morning, I was surprised by how amazingly well-rested I felt.

The aspect of Fate weaving our threads for the weekend must have been a motorcyclist. I cannot imagine how else we ended up with such perfect weather, such clean pavement, and so few cars/trucks/RUBs, etc.

That little unscheduled detour into Summersville, necessitated by the need for a place to rest our heads (and road-weary bodies!), paid off nicely by starting our Sunday off on this 23-mile stretch of road.

We'd originally planned on a WV-39 departure from Richwood. We wanted to get back on track, but like to avoid repeat roads whenever possible. The GPS had sent us from Richwood to Summersville via one route the previous evening. So for the return, we opted for a different road, which put us on WV-39 a bit earlier than planned.

I'm so glad we did. What a sweet little bit of pavement.

If you think I am over-emphasizing the awesomeness of these roads, click on THIS MAP LINK (same one as above) and plop the little orange Street View guy down at any point along that stretch of road.

I was a bit more relaxed on Sunday after that conversation with Hubby where he assured me I wouldn't blow my little GS engine. Rather than stress over RPMs, I just let loose and rode that bike the way I felt like riding it. The way it should be ridden.

I was in the zone. Saying I rode "balls to the wind" just doesn't fit a gal like me. And although "tits to the wind" sounds a tad vulgar, that pretty much describes the way I felt like riding on Sunday. It's not often you get the chance to ride in places like that.

Saturday had only been my warm-up.

When Franz started hollering at me, I finally understood what he'd been saying.

It wasn't ,"Jesus Christ, woman! What are you trying to do to me?!?"

It was, "Yeah, BABY. This is what I was MADE for!"

I do not ride a sport bike. I ride a little F650GS dual sport. But, let me tell you, that bike is fabulous on country roads. It's fabulous everywhere, really. But especially on long stretches of winding, dry asphalt like the one pictured above. It responds better than the cruiser ever did. Of course, it weighs about half as much. And the motor is engineered differently. It has something to do with torque that this non-gearhead cannot explain.

All I know is, touch the throttle at any speed and it goes. Roll back and it slows down. Immediately. Assuming you're in the proper gear, of course. I'm still mastering that fine balance between the proper amount of braking before a curve and using the engine to get me through. I think I'm doing pretty good, but there's always room for improvement. As evidenced by the fact that I consumed two-tenths of a gallon more gas than Hubby on both tanks.

Is that last image a great shot or what? I got lucky. The roads weren't as technically challenging on Sunday so I was able to ride one-handed while clicking away with the point and shoot. Yes, I captured a lot of blurry garbage, but I also managed to snag a few photographic gems to share.

I think you fellow riders will appreciate them, anyway. Non-riders will probably look at these pics and think, "What a bunch of boring road images." But I bet by the time you are done done reading this post you'll want to plan a similar trip to this region.

Please do. I'll be more than happy to be your free guide!

Back to the trip...

I love my little GS. Had we ridden the cruisers like we rode the dual sports for two days, those floorboards would have been ground to nubs. The saddlebags may even have been ripped off. :-)

We couldn't help it. Really.

Sometimes when opportunity presents itself, you just have to let loose and experience life on the edge. 

WV-39 really was a fabulous bit of highway. It was a more-relaxing yet equally exhilarating ride. I got to enjoy the scenery a bit more, too. It paralleled a creek/river (maybe more than one) for a good ways, so every now and then I'd catch a glimpse of this sparkling mountain stream cascading over big boulders. And trout fishermen casting their flies. It was a very western Montana-ish scene.

We stopped in Monterey for gas, closing the westernmost loop on our ride map. By that point, we'd been on US-220 for a while. Another fabulous, albeit different type of, road.

US-220 runs roughly north and south mostly in a valley. There are lots of long, gently curving and undulating stretches of road accentuated, every now and then by a heart-pumping twist or three. There's abundant scenery to behold, too.

We've spent quite a bit of time further north on US-220 as it runs near our WV place. The road has the same flavor there. At least from about US-50 on south.

Blue skies. Perfect temperatures. Picturesque farms. Wildflowers. Fresh air. No traffic. Does it get any better?

Are you ready to schedule that trip yet?

Tired of road pics? Okay, here's one of me.

In case you didn't know who that was.

And that's my handsome Hubby, poorly positioned and staring into the sun.

We'd stopped for a short stretch in Marlinton, WV. But quickly got back onto that sweet, sweet road.

Surprisingly, as good as it had been, the best was yet to come.

For real.

In Franklin, WV, we headed east on US-33.

There's this 7.6-mile stretch of US-33, about 15 miles east of Franklin, that straddles the WV/VA border...

View Larger Map

...which is our new favorite stretch of road on the planet.

Yes, I meant "planet." Passo dello Stelvio, in the Alps, may be high and scenic, but it's technical, challenging, and hard.

This little piece of road is pure oh-my-sweet-Jesus fun. Really. Plop the Street View guy along there once and have a peek.

After that, it was time for lunch.

Lucky for us, Harrisonburg, VA was in our sights.

What a cute town!

That's the courthouse.

And a little strip of shops, bars, and restaurants.

It's a college town. As evidenced by this drink menu...

The food at Finnigan's Cove was actually quite good.

I made a meal of crab and artichoke dip while Hubby enjoyed a wrap.

Then it was time to head home.

A little bit east of Harrisonburg, we closed that middle map loop.

This shot was taken heading east toward the ridge that carries Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park. Eventually we crossed that and about an hour and a half later, we were home. We got rained on for about a minute, but managed to skirt the worst of the storm.

Does it look like we'd just added a total of 595 miles to the odometers? It sure felt like it!

That trip is going to be a hard one for us to beat. We'll certainly try, though. One day.


Deb said...

Beautiful days, gorgeous scenery, quiet, peaceful, uninhabited roads that wind through the countryside.

My kind of riding too!

I ask myself, why ever travel? I've got all I need here! And I lived in Europe as a child and would love to go back and ride there, but if I never do it, what do I care?

As you already seem to feel, these mountains are paradise!

Thanks for the tour! I enjoyed it!

wet coast bob said...


I have always planned trips based upon which roads to take. The challenge is trying to find modern motels along the way as small towns only have old places with few conveniences.

tsk, tsk playing with your camera whilst riding is frowned upon, better to use a video cam. It would be safer

looks like you had two great days of riding great roads.

Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

ToadMama said...

Deb, glad you enjoyed it. Bob, I forgot the helmet cam. I don't usually do that while riding. I figured out a way to do it that wasn't too inhibiting, but admit it is still not the preferred method.

Trobairitz said...

Oh my, there are so many good things in that post.

Isn't it wonderful to have a weekend so good you don't know if you can top it? Those are the best weekends.

Those roads looked magnificent. Nice clear pavement and little cars, sigh.

I especially liked the last picture of the two of you relaxing after your weekend. Very nice.

Oh and even though we live in a college town, I don't think I've ever seen a drink called the twatwaffle on a menu, bahahaha. Man that made me laugh.

ToadMama said...

Brandy, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. That drink name tickled me, too! The weekend was definitely a memorable one. Thanks for the picture compliment, too. I don't get in many shots since I am the family photographer.

Fuzzy said...

West Virginia is just so beautiful. Lucky girl!

I've never ridden that side of 33 but hope to in the next couple weeks. Now you've got me salivating over it!

What a great trip & great pics :)

ToadMama said...

Thanks, Fuzzy. You can't go wrong with that section of 33. East of Harrisonburg, it's unremarkable. But that 7-mile stretch is fun with a capital F. :-)

Shybiker said...

Great report. I'm so happy you have a motorcycle that's capable of giving you thrills and chills. Ride the heck outta that thing!

P.S., I'm impressed by your colorful language.