|08-11-2013, 02:22 PM||#1|
Joined: Jul 2013
Turning work into a 1400 mile motorcycle trip
This is my first attempt at narrating one of my rides.
I'm a 30 year old MS student at Virginia Tech, currently working on my thesis. I started riding last March with my 89 PC800 that I bought locally. I came to ADV because I've been researching a few bikes that I'm interested in either replacing the PC800 with or parking next to it. I have a little over 12k miles that I put on the PC800. Last summer I took a trip with a friend of mine and his CX500 along the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, through Deal's Gap, then back home. We didn't get too many pictures on that trip because it was raining and foggy almost the entire way.
Through my GRA work I was tasked with venturing out to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Wallops Island for some field tests. I had a choice of using a state vehicle or using my own (and getting mileage reimbursement). Naturally I figured this would be a great opportunity to get paid to ride my motorcycle! This trip came at a perfect time because I've needed some "me" time for a while. I'm a meticulous planner, but this trip I decided to loosen the reigns a little bit to help with my mental break. The original plan:
Depart Christiansburg, VA for Chincoteague, VA early on Sunday 8/4. Take route 460 to Norfolk, hook up to 13 and head North to Chincoteague.
Work from the evening of 8/4 through Thursday morning 8/8. Dinner date with some cousins in Onancock on Tuesday 8/6
Leave Chincoteague on the 8th, and make a pilgrimage to Rehoboth Beach, DE to visit the Dogfish Head brewpub for lunch.
After lunch, run back down the Eastern Shore to Yorktown, VA to stay with family.
Depart Yorktown on Saturday for Danville, VA via 58 to watch the "Chump Race" at VIR. VT Alumni relations people had organized a "Virginia Tech Day" at the track. The motorcycle club and car club at VT got free admission and access to the skidpad. I would camp out at the track Saturday night.
Leave Danville for Christiansburg on Sunday.
So there we have it, that was the loose plan. No planned fuel stops or meal stops. I figured I would stop for gas when I needed it, and get food where it smelled good.
0630 on Sunday, I had everything packed up the night before. All I had to do was remove the bike's cover, put my gear on, last minute checks, and get on the road. Depsite living off US460, I took the interstate to Troutville so I could bypass putting through downtown Salem and Roanoke. I've done that once before, and its much easier to just ride around the city. Hopping onto US220 to take me to US460 I stopped at a gas station that also happened to have cooked-to-order breakfast.
I really love riding in the mountains of VA. I really wish I had a gopro or something to share the scenery around here with my friends that live elsewhere. I pulled off in Montvale to try to get a decent picture, but it didn't work out too well.
US460 was very quiet with very little traffic. I was able to make great time getting across the state. The scenery was great, and the temperatures were nice and cool.
Initially I was thinking of trying to find some BBQ for lunch. Making my way east of Petersburg I saw a sign with a delicious looking Virginia ham sandwich on it. I quickly changed my mind and decided that I wanted a ham sandwich. My family typically buys a couple hams around Thanksgiving, so having some good ol' country ham in the middle of summer sounded great. Yeah I realize I could just stop by a couple of the ham shops and pick up a whole ham any time of year, it just never really occured to me. Anyway, this place has plenty of signs to attract tourists en route to VA Beach and OBX:
Its billboards were also effective in persuading me to order a ham sandwich.
After having my fill and hydrating myself, it was time to ride into Norfolk to head toward the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. The toll is $12, one way, for anything with two axles (there is no reduced rate for motorcycles). I've been through the bridge tunnel several times before, but this was my first time crossing the bay on a motorcycle. The sea breeze felt great and I really enjoyed the height and field of view from the bike.
Here's stopping on the southern island. If you've never been, they have a fishing pier, food, and a little gift shop thing. Lynnhaven Inlet is the shoreline in the distance.
A several miles of bridges and tunnels later and I'm on the Eastern Shore
US13 is a very straight road, and I was starting to get a little bored with straight lines. A quick glance at the map showed I could take SR679 Metompkin Road all the way to Chincoteague Road. It was a typical paved back-country road. A lot of bumps, dips, and ripples in the pavement. It was still more exciting than going straight. After a while on 679 I encountered a modest town:
Finally just before 1700 I arrived at my hotel in Chincoteague. I meandered to a nearby watering hole for a cold beverage while awaiting the arrival of the rest of my work party. Talking with some of the locals the bar used to be an icehouse/packhouse for the watermen.
Later that evening we had some work to do, which involved doing a survey along one of the beaches
We still got back in time to enjoy the view from our hotel
I don't have any pics of the work we did, or of the meals we ate during the week. About the only memorable meal was a lunch I had at Bill's: half dozen oysters in a half-shell and some crab soup. I rode down to Onancock to visit my cousins and enjoy dinner, but we were also working on 2nd shift. There wasn't much time for pictures as I had to make quick work of the sprint down and back on US13.
We wrapped up our work a day early, which kind of put a kink in my original plans as I would now leave Chincoteague on Wednesday the 7th. I modified the remainder of my schedule to ride back home on Friday and leave for Danville from my house.
Packing up the bike on Wednesday morning I noticed my license plate hanging a bit crooked. I guess the bumpy roads shook one of my mounting bolts loose. I managed to source some string from something I had packed in the bike for a quick fix. It's still holding up and I haven't gone to the tractor supply down my street to get some new hardware
All packed up and ready to go, I'm leaving at 0900 or so on Wednesday to Rehoboth Beach. Weather forecast shows I might get a little wet. No big deal, though, I have a rainsuit if it turns into a deluge.
Crossing into Maryland I double-checked the weather. It looks like I'll just be arriving at Ocean City and going up the coast right at the tail end of some rain. No need for the rainsuit.
At 1000, riding North through Ocean City was a breeze. The Coastal Highway was a nice scenic ride up into Delaware.
Right around 1130 I reached my destination. The parking lot was empty, as was the street parking.
Moving up to the front of the building I remembered they didn't open their doors until noon. No big deal, I can stand around and stretch my legs for a bit.
Little did I know pulling in at 1130 that the streets would be jam-packed at noon! There was a line of some 30+ people behind me by the time Dogfish Head opened their doors. When I left the streets were packed and there was no longer any parking available. I got some dirty looks from a couple minivans circling the tiny Dogfish Head lot as I was gearing up to depart. Anyway, back to the brewpub. I sat up at the bar and ordered myself a sampler:
All of their beers are pretty high-gravity. I finished the Namaste and India Brown. A couple sips of the Palo Santo (12%!) was enough for me. I drank about half of the My Antonia and 90 minute. If I was staying around for the afternoon I would have partaken of more beverages, but I had to be conscientious of my intake. I've had their 90 minute, but all the rest of the brews were new to me. I really enjoyed all of my choices for the sampler. The Palo Santo was a bit too strong for my tastes, but I wouldn't turn it down if someone offered me one. After ordering the sampler I needed to get some food to accompany it, enter "The Indulgence Burger"
The fries were great, and the burger was better. That's real cheddar cheese on top, and it is plenty sharp to let its presence known. It also has a "bacon-stuffed onion ring" on it. What is there not to like?
After lunch had settled, I left Rehoboth around 1300 or so in an attempt to jet back down the coast and get to Yorktown in time for dinner. I left myself some extra time and told my folks I would be there no later than 1830. In hindsight, I should have padded my time just a little bit more. The Great Google said it would take under four hours to get back. I figured on some traffic around Norfolk and the HRBT because I would be there about rush-hour time. What I didn't figure was the 40+ minutes it took me to slooowwwwly work my way south through Ocean City. Hot and miserable is about all I can describe that experience with. I guess no one gets out on the road until after noon in those resort towns.
Back in The Commonwealh it was smooth sailing to Yorktown. A quick phone call with the in-helmet bluetooth comms after reaching the mainland verified my route across the James River. I rolled into my parents' driveway right at 1830.
My departure from Yorktown back to Christiansburg is set for Friday morning, and my wife is looking forward to having me home for an evening before I turn around and head out again. I decided to spend Thursday putting around the historical sites in the area.
My first stop is one of my favorite places to visit: The Yorktown battlefield. This is the place where independence was won as Lord Cornwallis surrendered his entrapped army. I entered the battlefield at the first siege line and French battery:
From there I went to my favorite spot in the battlefield, Redoubts 9 & 10. These fortifications were originally part of the British earthworks until they were captured by the continentals.
An interesting note about the earthworks and fortifications in Yorktown is that they were used as a winter camp for the Confederates during the Civil War. Moving away from the earthworks is a road that leads to a depot where engineers would deposit supplies needed for men working on the siege lines.
Following this path leads to the "approach road" that follows this creek.
Moving to another part of the park, I find "Surrender Road" any guesses where this road goes?
Wrapping up my battlefield tour, I took a jaunt down the Colonial Parkway to head toward Williamsburg and Jamestowne.
The parkway follows the shore of the York River before turning to cross the peninsula to head toward Williamsburg and Jamestowne
Despite having family on the peninsula, I had never been to Jamestowne. I took a stroll along the tour road.
Heading back to Yorktown on the Colonial Parkway, I turned toward historic Yorktown. I tried to find a good spot to get a picture of the riverwalk area, but there wasn't any good spots to stop for a moto pic. Instead, here's a pic of the Coleman Bridge.
This is a parking lot right next to the Watermen's Museum and the Riverwalk area. Across the river is Gloucester Point. Back in the historic district:
Another one of my favority places is the Yorktown Victory Monument. It has a very scenic overlook of the bluff onto the river.
I'm done touring for the day, and spent the remainder of my afternoon visiting with family. Friday morning now upon me, and it's time to head back to Christiansburg. On my way out of Yorktown in the morning I made one final family-visit-stop. Now I get to be in a pic with the motorcycle for once!
For my return trip I decided to take the Colonial Parkway to the Jamestown Ferry. What's a motorcycl trip without a ferry ride? Here's a pic of one of the James River pull-offs
Thankfully, getting onto the ferry I'm not selected for a random screening.
I got guided onto the ferry behind the cars. It's just a short trip and the river is calm. There's no need for tiedowns or other things. I did position my bike to try to best deal with the "bump" at the end.
Things are getting pretty warm and humid, so I decided that the return trip probably won't have too many photo stops. Getting off the ferry I wanted to take SR10 to SR40 to get onto US460 and head west. SR10 was so nice of a road that I missed my SR40 turn! I was almost 2/3 to Hopewell before I realized I had missed it. Oh well, I just got to spend 30 minutes on a little side-track riding a well-shaded country road.
Back on track and heading home my stomach grumbling reminded me that I should look for some food. This time, not to be distracted by a ham sandwich, I wanted some BBQ:
The BBQ was decent, I like to have a little more smoke flavor in the pork, but I do also enjoy the variety of seasonings and cooking methods of BBQ. The sauce was good, it was a bit too red to be called a carolina sauce, but still vinegar based:
Back on the road and into the humidity I try to make the best time I can. I love the full fairing and tall windshield when it's cold and chilly, but on long trips in the heat I have to do some shifting around to get my jacket vents into the airstream. Around the area of Appomatox I see some dark looking clouds in the area that I'm getting ready to go into. A stop in a Wal-Mart parking lot gives me some time to hydrate and evaluate the weather situation.
I determined that I wasn't going to ente a monsoon, and opted to press through. Some cloud cover and some sporradic drizzling were a welcome change. I arrived at home after 1800 on Friday. After a shower and a change of clothes I went back outside that evening for a "quick-turn" on the bike. I still needed my camping gear for Danville, but no longer needed to carry 5 days worth of clothes and supplies.
Up and out my door by 0830 on Saturday, I met up with the Motorcycle Club at Virginia Tech to ride with them down to VIR. If you look real close, behind the bald guy and CBR250R is an M3. There's also the nose of an FR-S on the left as well. Their drivers are part of the Car Club and followed us down to VIR. We rode down one of my favorite roads in the area, SR8 to US58.
The VT Alumni Association had a pavillion set up next to the skidpad. We had a good overlook onto a portion of the racecourse. We saw a few spin-outs at this corner, but no major carnage. The motorcycle club and car club were set up for a small show and tailgate competition.
I found the hospitality building in the pit area and managed to scrounge up a bbq sandwich. This sauce was pure carolina style and pretty tasty. The fries were piping hot straight from the fryer.
Later in the afternoon we had a raffle for some door prizes and other things. The PC800 got one vote for best in show for the motorcycles. The "Hokie Hog" (http://hogs4hokies.org/Welcome.html) beat out all the bikes. I voted for a clean looking R90 that made a brief appearance. I won a baseball autographed by Pete Huges
I was planning on camping out at Danville, but the temperature and humidity wasn't going to let up. I decided to make the trip back home a little after 1730. I managed to catch some downpours on the way home, but they were only a few minutes long as I was skirting around a storm moving through the area.
I finally made it home last night around 2030 or so. Overall it was about 1400 miles and a ton of fun on the PC800.
|08-12-2013, 05:06 AM||#2|
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Southeast Lower Carolina
Nice ride report on a very good looking bike. Lived just South of VIR and ran shifter karts there several years ago. Wonderful track and facilities.
2009 BeeMWhua G650
Family, Friends, and Felons in Florida
|08-12-2013, 11:09 AM||#3|
Joined: May 2008
Location: New Mexico
Nice ride and report! Brings back memories. I did not know that Dogfish had a brewpub! Gotta get back there.
krishl IBA10823 DL650 KLR650 ST1300A Trek4900 Tuono
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