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Old 03-23-2014, 08:12 PM   #1
1drlust OP
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Joined: Jan 2014
Location: VA
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-Dusting off the cobwebs - Short ride to Skyline Drive

This is my first attempt at a ride report. I want to post it here for my own memory, even though most people in VA are very familiar with this route

On Saturday, I took my first long ride of the season – a 7-hour loop to skyline drive and back. I wanted to start it early in the morning to be able to come home before evening. I have a top-box on my bike and loaded it minimally: Some almonds for snack, a fleece jacket, my debit card and AAA card and my phone.

The day was supposed to be a nice one (highs in the 70s), but the morning in Richmond started off pretty dreary – low 50s and cloudy. I took the interstate to get on to Staples Mill Road (Rt. 33) going west and in about 15 minutes, I was on Rt33. For people not familiar with this road, it is very scenic road to take towards the mountains. Once you get past the suburbs and they extend pretty far west (about half hour out of town), you get into very pretty countryside (with lots of farms, cows, goats and horses).



The day was still cold and the sun didn’t get out for the first part. After riding about an hour, I stopped at a gas station in Mineral, VA to stretch my legs and take a bathroom break. I also put on a fleece jacket under my riding jacket as I was getting a little cold. For pants, I have the Alpinestar Drystar2 Long Ride pants and they kept me pretty warm throughout the ride. By this point, I hadn’t seen many riders on the road. Either they were still not ready for riding season, or they had the right idea about sleeping in and enjoying a warm comfy bed when the weather is cold outside. My original plan was to take 522 North from 33 West and go to Front Royal. At Front Royal, you can get into the Skyline drive going south and it is 105 miles of awesome twisties riding. However, to keep my ride short, I decided to go on 33 and hit Skyline drive midway at Elkton VA. From here, I had 45 miles of Skyline drive south before starting the route back home.

Another interesting thing is that there are a lot of vineyards on the 33 West route. This would be another interesting trip to visit the vineyards, but not on the motorcycle. Once you get past Barboursville, VA, the mountains start appearing on the horizon and the roads also start getting twistier. The last part of 33 going to Skyline drive is an amazing twisted road that snakes its way up the mountains towards the entrance point.

After paying $10 for entrance (this is good for 7 days in case you are interested in going back) – The annual pass for a motorcycle is pretty cheap at $30, you enter into the official skyline drive part of the drive. I think the Skyline drive is pretty famous all over the country for the amazing road as well as the nice views of the surrounding countryside. The posted speed limit is 35mph, but I don’t believe anyone riding on skyline drive (especially motorcyclists) follow the speed limit. There are also many good camping options on this stretch, but for this ride, I didn’t pack any camping stuff. I did stop at a few scenic outlook posts to enjoy the scenery. By this point (~12:30), the sun was out, but the wind and the high altitude still made for a decently cold day.







After the scenery, I hit the end of skyline drive and took 250 East back towards Richmond. 250 is a pretty big road in VA and goes right through Richmond (Broad street). Compared to 33, 250 is a pretty straight road that goes right next to the interstate (64E) all the way to Richmond. Where Rt. 33 is a winding road that goes through a lot of country side homes and farms, Rt. 250 feels is more of a straight road that does go up and down, but it feels more suburban. Also it is more populated as it goes right through both Charlottesville and Richmond. After about an hour of Rt. 250, I got bored and hopped on the interstate, 64E to come back to Richmond. I was home by 3PM and even though I was cold and a little tired, it felt good to ride out in the country and practice my twisties on skyline drive. Next trip would be to go on a similar road, but also add camping to the mix.

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Old 03-25-2014, 04:12 PM   #2
Huggin' Jugs
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Nice write-up

I'm just a bit north of you and it was 10 degrees cooler on Sun. I had to break out the Gerbings. A buddy of mine just got a new F800GS so we took 55 to Front Royal but headed north on 340 to Harpers Ferry.

Skyline can get expensive time wise... what started out to be a 5 hr ride once put me back home well after dark when I realized I had ridden to Roanoke.. heh heh

I'm assuming traffic was pretty light on Skyline?
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:02 PM   #3
retiredusaf
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I'm going to have to try that ride. I live in Stafford Va.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:02 PM   #4
1drlust OP
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Yes. The trip in all was pretty light on traffic. I wish I had some heated gloves in the morning, but once i got to skyline, the sun was out and it was pretty comfortable.
I think if you live in the area, def. makes sense to get the annual pass
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