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Old 01-26-2009, 08:02 AM   #1
Sir Not Appearing OP
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Wicked Belated Ride Report: 2008 Motorbike Extravaganza

This is a belated ride report of a ride that took place 8/2/08-8/9/08.

Back in the spring of 2007, I started planning a trip that I was going to do solo by using the http://www.byways.org site and finding roads that seemed to be interesting due to history, scenery, and relative isolation from the rest of the world. I had a group of roads that I wanted to ride, but just needed to figure out how to connect them:

- Ohio River Scenic Byway
- Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike
- Skyline Drive
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Cherohala Skyway
- Deal's Gap

I had a lot of things going on in my life at the time and the trip got put on hold until the next summer. In the fall of 2007, there was a group of about five that were planning on doing this trip. We all got together a few times did some planning and extended the trip to the ocean via Atlantic City, NJ for the gamblers in the group. Over a couple nights, I put the trip together using the roads mentioned above and worked out the part with NJ as much as I didn't really want to go there. About this time, I decided since it was our first big ride, it would be called the 2008 Motorbike Extravaganza. It sounded good at the time. People fell to the wayside due to jobs, lack of vacation, and one simply had an aching vagina stating that his Sportster 1200 could not handle the twisties and a host of other reasons. He also had a list of reasons why my brother and I would fail at making the entire trip. Oh well.........

So as of spring 2008 we were down to my brother (Vinn) and I. The trip was modified a bit by removing the NJ section and replaced it with a trip down US1 in DE to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel at the last minute.

8/2/08

We took off about 8am or so armed with my Garmin 2610 loaded with maps and my brother's Magellen Roadmate as a backup for gas, food, hotels, etc. After reading many threads on how to pack, we took what we thought was the minimum amount of stuff needed for our 8-day journey.

Here are the bikes ready for their big journey:



And, an odometer check:




We headed south from our home in Elwood, IN and took interstate most of the way to the Ohio River Scenic Byway. We then followed it east across the southern border of Ohio. A few miles into it, we decided to stop for a restroom break. This had to be the worst smelling public restroom I've ever been in.

Here's Vinn just after he discovered just how disgusting the restroom smelled:



I swear I always have the dumbest looks on my face when a picture is taken



Then we took off again and came across our first few deer. Not long after that, we decided to stop in Point Pleasant, OH after we noticed we could get closer to the water and grabbed this shot. Not much there, but a really nice set of restored buildings and a really nice walkway along the river.

Point Pleasant along the Ohio River:



We took off again and it was time to grab some gas and I happened to catch a glimpse of this cable-stayed bridge just south of where we were standing. However, what I wish we had gotten a pic of was our bikes at the "Master Bait and Tackle" just down the road. I shit you not. It does exist.



From here, we didn't do much else that was too exciting. We got to the eastern corner of OH where we met some real characters at a gas station. A pickup pulls up and these two drunk guys get out, go in, grab a case of beer, and come back out toward us. One of them looked just like Dale Gribble from King of the Hill and over the next 5 minutes (which seemed like an hour) all he did was look over at my Triumph and mumble things like, "I bet that fucker will do 200mph" while his buddy explained to us why he was a big Yamaha fan. He claimed that a dealer had a new Yamaha that sat for months on the showroom floor without its kickstand because Yamaha's were so balanced that it could stand on its own......

We stopped that night in Wellsville, OH after what would be the biggest day in miles. We stopped somewhere around 375.

8/3/08

We got up the next morning to find that our bikes were still there. We started getting everything ready and as we were packing our bikes, another guest at the hotel started talking to my brother and then when I went out we all talked for a few minutes. He too was on vacation and had brought his Harley by trailer to do some riding.

We started out and soon were on the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike (WV-47) and made our way toward Weston, WV. One of our stops was the Weston State Hospital (AKA: Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum) which one of the largest stone structures in the USA and just has to be seen to believe. On our way, we quickly discovered that this part of West Virginia was beautiful and offered some great riding.








After some of the best scenery we'd see on the trip, we made it to Weston State. We took the 2hr tour and had a great time. The building was in use until the early-mid 90's and has sit empty since then. During its peak, people were hauled in on train in cargo boxes and then brought to the hospital. I could go on for quite awhile about this place, but here are a few "highlights" from our pics.

Some of the original equipment used in the hospital including electro-shock therapy and lobotomy tools in the glass case:



So....it's 1985 and you caught THE AIDS??? Well, back then a young infected couple were admitted and then watched closely by staff to monitor the behavior until they met their demise:



There were lounge areas that had exposed pipes and you could see where people had hit, kicked, and headbutted them out of shape:



Below is where you were taken if they thought a lobotomy would help. A doctor would ride a train down to Weston State every few weeks to perform the surgeries in this building:



Below is the tuberculosis building:



The bikes parked out in front of Weston State Hospital. I had no way to get the nearly 1/4-mile long building in the pic with my camera, but believe me it's BIG:



After we left Weston State Hospital, we decided to get something to eat. This is when we stepped into the Twilight Zone. We walk into this little place just down the road. We walked past people eating and a couple workers at the front and had a seat. It was like they were in a different dimension and couldn't see us. After sitting for a few minutes, we left.



Living in central Indiana, there aren't many windfarms besides the few near Lafayette and this was a bit of a surprise to us to come around a curve and see these huge things just off the road:





Then, we finally made it to Maryland. However, that was a sign that our "good riding" was over for a bit until we made it back to the BRP in a couple days.



Or at least we thought it was. A few nice roads were still ahead of us:



That night, we stayed at the edge of Cumberland, MD. Nice little hotel. Old, but well-cared for and clean.



Day 3

The next couple of days would become a little tedious with heavier traffic, straight roads, and not much excitement. But, hey we were still on vacation and we'd never been through MD or DE. We made our way south through DE on US1 and back into MD and stopped in Criswell, MD. We had dinner and stopped at a small hotel and were in for the night. In fact, day 3 was probably my least favorite day and this is the only pic that I have. We stopped at a gas station and while sitting on the curb I happened to see the "Berlin" water tower in the background.



Day 4

We woke up and left Criswell. Today would be the first time my GPS failed me. We were about 7 or 8 miles from Criswell and not wanting to backtrack, we headed on and my 2610 said there was a gas station in 2mi. When we arrived, there was no evidence there were ever any pumps at this place. So we went to where it said the next one was and I swear it looked like it had been closed for 15 years. At that time, I pulled over, popped the cap, and rocked the bike and all I could see was a small puddle down at the pickup. I don't know if its internet legend, Triumph folklore, or simply bullshit but I have read it in forums and been told face-to-face to never let this bike run out of gas or it would have to be taken to the dealer to get the pump primed so that it would draw gas from the tank. Not wanting to find out whether this was true while in rural MD, my brother took $20 from me and headed back to Criswell for a small gas can and a gallon of gas.

We got back on the road and Vinn wanted to get some seafood and just before getting on the Chesapeake Bay bridge, we stopped at this place and he got some soft shell crab. It looked absolutely disgusting.



I had a delicious Mountain Dew while he ate, and then we headed south to the bridge. Once we got there, we stopped at the outlooks and at the souvenier center.

Random Shot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel



A rock harvester (I really have no idea what it is other than a boat)



One of the tunnel entrances:



Tunnel exit and gift store:



Our only night of camping at the 340 Campground near Waynesboro, VA:




Sir Not Appearing screwed with this post 01-27-2009 at 05:20 AM
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:03 AM   #2
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Days 5 and 6

We broke camp, and got back onto the bikes and grabbed some breakfast at the local McDonalds for something quick. We arrived at the Blue Ridge Parkway after a fuel stop.





The Blue Ridge Parkway is quite the experience. If you haven't been and have the chance, GO! Its 469-miles of great riding except 20-miles either way of Asheville, NC. We met a Canadian couple that had come down on their 883 Sportster from the Wasaga Beach area. It was one of those "its a small world" moments because my brother and some friends had gone up their to play paintball at this huge game that was put on by a magazine back in '99. We shared our stories from the road and ended up running across them a couple other times.

After riding awhile, we stopped just off the parkway for some lunch. Good BBQ and friendly people. Oh, and Royal Crown in glass bottles. How can you go wrong?



My brother checking out the scenery:



The Daytona taking a break:



We ended up having to detour through Roanoke, VA due to a closing on the parkway. We grabbed some food and gas and headed back out. This would be the second time my GPS got us off track. We headed back toward the parkway and we got on a road that the GPS showed intersecting the parkway. The farther we got we started up this mountain side on the worst road I've seen since I was in Mexico. It was dirt and gravel and the shoulder of the road had crumbled off in places. That along with steep elevation changes made for a butt-puckering ride. We survived though:



A few random pictures from along the Blue Ridge Parkway:







Vinn making his way down to the Orchard at Altapass store:



Lots of delicious-looking jams, jellies, etc. are available here:



More random pics from Days 5 & 6:

















And sadly, the end of the BRP:



During our journey down the Blue Ridge Parkway, we met some friendly people, rode through beautiful scenery and saw lots of deer. In fact, that was when we decided to get off the parkway and find a hotel on day 5. When the deer started coming out at dusk it was fine, but after a few crossed in front of us after dark, we pulled off the parkway and grabbed a hotel. At the end of day 6, we stayed at a hotel in Cherokee, NC and would get up the next morning to head toward Deal's Gap.

Day 7

I got up and while Vinn was getting ready, I went out and checked the bikes out and mine needed the chain adjusted. After everything was ready, we made our way toward Deal's Gap. We rode it each direction and ended up back at the resort.

Random Tail of the Dragon pics:







Vinn taking some pics to send to friends at home:



Once we left the Deal's Gap area, we hopped onto the Cherohala Skyway. The Cherohala is like a really short version of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Its a nice ride, but only 36-miles long.

Random shots on the Cherohala:











After leaving the Cherohala, we headed north and ended up in a small town in TN. I don't remember the name, but it was late and both of us were about to fall asleep on the bikes and I was riding sloppy and I could see that Vinn was too as I looked in the mirror. We checked my GPS and saw that there were a couple hotels coming up soon. The first hotel looked good, but after pulling up, we were greated by the night manager who was not overly friendly and told us that he had no rooms. After pulling into a convenience store for some snacks, the lady there called the hotels and found one that would stay open long enough to book us in for the night.

We didn't have much choice, but the place was gross. It was one of those hotels that you sleep on top of the covers and inside your sleeping bag to avoid ringworm. We also didn't feel safe leaving the bikes outside:



Day 8

The last day was uneventful. We rode toward home and made great time. When we got home, my girlfriend (twride on ADVrider) had some friends over, prepared us dinner and we had a little party for our return home.

Odometer check at the end:



Trip total: 2649-miles

Problems encountered:
  • Brand new Nelson Rigg bag ripped on Day 4
  • My right fork seal started leaking on Day 3
We learned quite a bit on this ride. Our planning, while good was a little too optimistic especially the days on the BRP where the speed limit is 45mph. This kept us from camping as much as we wanted. Many nights we were either too tired or just didn't want the hassle of setting up camp in the dark. Also, we over-packed. Not much, but we could have eliminated a few pounds off of each bike by leaving a few items at home. Vinn, twride, and I are going to do some sort of ride in August and I'll make sure we take more pics this time

Sir Not Appearing screwed with this post 01-26-2009 at 09:46 AM
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:09 AM   #3
roninwva
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Great report and pics, Thanks for taking us along. I rode across the Chesapeak bridge and tunnel a few years ago and it was a great ride. May do it again this summer. Lots of snow and ice on the roads today!!!
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:31 AM   #4
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Belated summer riding reports are always welcome.. especially when it's freezing cold outside! BRP rides are always great rides! Thanks for the detailed report and all those pics
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:49 AM   #5
DaFoole
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That was af fun diversion. Thanks!
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:39 AM   #6
Sir Not Appearing OP
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We got very lucky on the bridge. The day after we crossed it, we were getting our things into the hotel for the night and turned the TV on. The news was on and a tractor trailer went over the side of the bridge and they shut it down. That would have really sucked if we'd been a day behind.

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Originally Posted by roninwva
Great report and pics, Thanks for taking us along. I rode across the Chesapeak bridge and tunnel a few years ago and it was a great ride. May do it again this summer. Lots of snow and ice on the roads today!!!
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:08 PM   #7
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Congrats on a great ride! Thanks for sharing :)
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