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Old 07-29-2011, 10:22 AM   #1
Lifes2short OP
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Joined: May 2011
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4 Day Quickie

So since I already took off for an 8 day ride with a friend earlier this month covering 15 states and 5700km, I thought I would take my wife Lori who had a few days off to see some of the sights I really enjoyed and some that I missed on the earlier trip because of a lack of time.

Here's our ROUTE. I really have to say that as much as I like how many miles you can accomplish on the interstate highways, given the choice I would much rather take back roads anywhere. It's just so much more enjoyable and scenic, slower pace, better mileage, I mean the list goes on. Unfortunately given a finite frame of time and a desire to get somewhere specific, one must eventually succumb to the vortex of dirty air that is the interstate highway. That is if you want to make it back to work on time.

The trip was very enjoyable for the both of us, we travel very well together and really enjoy riding 2 up. 219 is a great choice for heading south from the Buffalo area, in fact 219 goes all the way into Rich Creek, Virgina, just west of Roanoke. Mostly 55mph speed limit but it does go through a lot of towns along the way. A highlight of the first day was once we turned off 219 onto 729 in a place called Grampian, just south of DuBois and then onto 865. Fairly twisty road with a lot of elevation changes running through farmland and forested areas. A lot of fun and very scenic, definitely a highlight of the day, at least until it got dark. Something about riding in unfamiliar twisty roads in the dark in the middle of nowhere with lots of animals around, I don't enjoy so much. Maybe it's just me...

We stopped at a Motel 6 just off 99 in Altoona. As the name suggests, it's a motel. Clean, had a pool that we didn't use because we got in after 10 and had a Cracker Barrel near by for breakfast the next day.

Day 2 started out on the freeways enroute to Front Royal. Skyline drive starts here and costs $10 for motorcycles to get in to the Shenandoah National Park. Overall this is a very scenic route offering lots of camping & lodging, food and gas along the way. The road itself is in fairly good shape, lots of twisty, I should say most of it is twisty rather and a lot of fun. Speed limit is only 35mph and here is a good reason why. Having done the entire 469 mile stretch of the Blue Ridge Pkwy I only saw a few deer along the way. Skyline Drive offered us a black bear and her cub withing a few minutes of entering the park. It's the first time we've ever seen a bear and it was simply brilliant being able to see them just walking around in their own habitat. I was tempted to get off the bike and try to get a better picture but thought it best to stay on the getaway vehicle just in case. As a result, we were not able to get a good photograph. In the 105 miles of Skyline Dr, we saw the following animals just off the road or in some cases crossing the road in front of us; total of 3 bears, saw another cub crossing the road and hopping up a stone wall, at least 5 deer, only 1 wanted to beat us to the other side as we came around a turn. Racoons, snake in the middle of our lane (although I'm not certain it was alive), ground hogs, chipmunks, squirrels oh my!

The day continued to the BRP as we headed for our yet to be determined destination of the day. The entrance to the BRP from the north is not as scenic as the south imho but it does have some very scenic views, twisty roads and elevation changes. We settled for a Comfort Inn in Lexington by about 6pm. This made for about a 9 hr day with several stops along the way, including about an hour for lunch. The hotel was very comfortable and offered a hot breakfast for only a few $ more than the Motel6.

I would love to have taken Lori down the rest of the BRP to the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway but it was time to turn back and start heading home; something about work and paying bills. The day started out with a treat as we headed out of Lexington on rte39 towards Marlinton WV. What an awesome stretch of road, I called it Virginia's best kept secret, admittedly only because I hadn't heard of it and no one mentioned it. Highly recommend if you're in the area, it easily rivals the BRP, Dragon, Charohala for awesome factor. Very twisty, very scenic, lots of elevation changes. Had me grinning most of the way. We picked up the 219 in Marlinton and headed north-ish. I could have turned off the GPS but like to have it running mainly for the more accurate speed it provides over the speedo on the bike and it lets me see what's coming up ahead.

Our stop for the night was in Ebensburg PA at another Comfort Inn. The hotel was very clean, had a pool & hot tub, which I was happy to test out after day 3 on the bike. There were some restaurants in the area and we decided to walk to one, hoping to stretch our legs. We quickly discovered that this is not a walking friendly area as there were no sidewalks. We opted to check out the plaza behind the hotel, restocked on some water at the grocery store (and I just want to point out that this store does not have alcohol in case you wanted a beer ). We settled for Wendy's right next door as we didn't want to get dressed in our gear and ride anywhere by this point.

Our last day was the shortest at about 8 hrs and we were back home in the middle of the afternoon. Nothing spectacular this day, other than the rain. Can't really complain though as 3 out of 4 days were pure sunshine. Shortly after crossing into NY it had started to rain and it looked like it was really coming down ahead of us so we pulled over at some local place that I can't remember the name but it was on the east side of the road with a very large gravel parking lot. It's worth mentioning because the food was actually pretty good and lunch for the both of us with some hot drinks came to $11. It seemed pretty popular with the locals and we had to laugh when we read the "do not serve" list that was posted at the bar. Our next stop was fuel and then the border crossing. We prefer crossing over in FE but the Rainbow bridge is by far the most scenic. Overall a wonderful way to spend 4 days.

Overall stats:
2006 Honda ST1300
2036km in 4 days
Avg 44.55 mpg with a high of 46.3 and a low of 42.7
States covered: NY, PA, VA, WV, MD

Lifes2short screwed with this post 07-29-2011 at 10:47 AM
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