Northeast Jaunt - Road Trip - July 2014
(GoldWing - Road Trip)

Road Trip Background - I'm heading out in the early morning hours tomorrow on my little excursion NorthEast for a week on the Wing. Basically running up to Towson, Maryland to see my sister then up to Watertown area in New York to see my little brother. Then back down through the Adirondacks and Catskill Mountains and pause a while in West Virginia to take in those twisties and the Morph Ride In there ... from there bring her back home. Will be using the SW Connect App on Iphone for those that want to track my route.

Friday, July 18’ 2014

Never ceases to amaze me what little value long term weather forecasting brings to road trip planning. As I’ve said before it’s strictly for entertainment value only. This was confirmed for me this morning as I rose at o-dark thirty stumbled into the bathroom and heard the pitter patter of rain on the roof top. I could hardly believe my ears. Hadn’t rain for well over a week in Dover, Tn with every day sunny and in the 80’s and 90’s and now ... now ... the day of my planned road trip ... down to the hour mind you ... I squeak open my blurry eyes and see on the radar a massive green blob of rain all over western Tennessee and heading east right where I was about to head to start my road trip. I guess I get the 100% of the 10% chance of rain today that was forecasted. I cursed the rain and stuck pins in a voodoo doll of a weather man I keep for such purposes but after a while I optimistically figured I could ride between the rain drops and off I went.

The up side of the rain was that temps wouldn’t be as hot as they could be for July and that was a good thing. I left at 6:30 a.m. and my tentative plan was to get north above the rain and then move along the Kentucky Parkway NE toward West Virginia. I manage to do just that avoiding the rain although skirting just along the edge until around mid day when my luck ran out and the big green blob of rain merged into my path. I already had the rain suit on so it was time just to press ahead and get as far as I could. I figured the rain was going to spoil my plans to break away from the freeway slab in Charleston, West Virginia later in the afternoon but as it turned out I actually got ahead of the rain and enter a spot with rain behind me and rain about 100 miles ahead of me all moving to the Northeast. Since the Rain Gods provide me a small opening I took it.

I veered off I64 in Charleston and headed along highway 60 and the Kanawha River in search of twisties. Here’s a pic.
Hummm this picture actually looks a little sunny ... this was all the sun I saw today and it was brief.
The Wing taking in the view as well.

I had my sight’s set on Elkins, West Virginia for my planned stop this evening but that was still about 170 miles north and it was already 5:00 p.m. There were routes to get me there a lot quicker than the way I wanted to go but I figured I might not ever get the chance to ride these roads again so I mustered my second wind and took the long way there along some great twisty roads instead of the direct route. Highways 60, 61, 39, 20, 15 & 219 fit the bill and they were all very nice. Sections were bad in some areas and some gravel but over all excellent. Roads were wet but not enough that prevented me from enjoying every twist and turn. I went right through Cowen and Webster Springs where I had served with the Red Cross up here a few years back when Super Storm Sandy hit. This area was buried in snow back then and we had several shelters set up for folks. I said at that time I should come back up here with the Wing and ride some of these roads. Now I’ve fulfilled that promise.

The rain was just moving out of Elkins, West Virginia as I rolled into town and to the motel. 13 hours riding today covering about 655 miles. Way more than I usually do in a day but I enjoyed being back out on the road so much it seems like it went by in a flash.
When you’re working off roads like these who cares how many miles you do. My back held up good and while my legs were stiff it’s nice to know I can still pack in the miles when I want to. I refuse to look at the forecast for tomorrow and figure I’ll just get up and be surprised by what ever mother nature throws at me.

Wing is humming like it always does and I love the tune it sings to me.

Resting tonight in Elkins, West Virginia

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Saturday, July 19’ 2014

No real surprises this a.m. The green blob of rain was still there and wasn’t moving much. I mounted up between showers and the race was on to get and stay ahead of it.
The infamous Green Blob -

Headed east on Highway 55/33 out of Elkins and really had wanted to head north and explore up on Highway 32 and do a loop up around some of the state parks and roads up that way for a few hours. Appears to be some really good roads on the map to explore but it wasn’t to be this trip. Rain, wet roads and fog made the decision for me so I pressed on east. Least the rain was abating some.
Would be a better without the billboards. This is at the junction of Highways 33/55 and 28
Aaaaah that’s better ... Seneca Rock without the clutter ... el natural!
Seneca Creek which dumps out into the North Fork South Branch of the Potomac River

Finally, around 10:30 a.m. I was free of the rain. As I headed north through the valley below Seneca Rock on the Cumberland Highway (28/55) the scenery was so peaceful and serene.
Sitting here in the saddle soaking in the grandeur all around me as the Wing purrs along beneath me I can’t help but reflect on the simplicity of life. Lean left, lean right and repeat ... and oh yeah don’t forget “twist” as in twist the throttle when the urge strikes. The simple enjoyment of rolling into a parking lot at a monument or place you have never been to before, surrounded with unbelievable beauty, no one around and everything you need is either on your person or on the bike. All self contained in a perfectly compact package. Taking solo road trips is both exciting and scary as hell all at the same time. Anything can happen to you out here on the road and it can happen at any time and you have to be ready to face it. The bottom line for me is out here you’re meeting life head on and sometimes you have to be a MacGyver using only the things you have with you to solve any issues or problems. Thankfully today wasn’t one of those days on the road and I smiled as the Wing purred back to life and I was once again in the zone.
My home away from home
Sunny skies prevailed the rest of the day all the way into Towson Maryland and I arrived safely at my sisters house around 3:00 p.m. The Wing and my journal will take a breather Sunday as I spend time with family but all that changes on Monday when I leave Towson, Maryland and head North to the Empire State. Can’t wait to see what’s up ahead ... stay tuned.

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Sunday, July 20’ 2014 - Visiting Family - No Riding/Journal this day

Monday, July 21’ 2014

Well, after a great visit with my sister I was back on the Wing and off to up state New York to visit my little brother Mitchel. Mitchel is 11 years old and we were paired up via the Big/Little Brother Organization a couple of years back when they lived in Tennessee near me. Their family had since moved to Lowville, NY so I told him the next time I was up this way I would ride up and visit him as well. Plus it was a good excuse and another place to ride the Wing to. Ha ... as if I needed an excuse to ride the Wing.

I departed Towson, Maryland early enough to dodge the Monday morning rush hour by taking the back roads out of town north. I stop by a very quiet Lock Raven Reservoir on the way out.
Not a soul around ... but the view and serenity sure stirred my soul.

Unfortunately, from here most of the rest of todays riding was filled primarily with Interstate riding but I did manage to get off and on to a smaller highways near Binghamton, NY around noon. I can only take so much of the slab. I jockeyed back east off the interstate and over to Highway 8 and then 12 that took me on two lane roads up near Lowville, New York.
The afternoon turned out spectacular with puffy non threading white clouds and mild temps for mid summer.

Since I made good time on the interstate getting up North I had a little time to play around before getting to Lowville and I veered off onto highway 28 that led back northeast some into the Adirondacks and did some exploring. Since I wasn’t coming back this same way I figured this would be my only chance to see this portion so I went for it. I was rewarded with finding this really beautiful spot along Moose River Road that ran along the .... wait for it ... Moose River :-)

I stopped and walked out on the rocks right out into the middle of the river and got some really great shots and it was the perfect place to sit and reflect on the beauty.
Slight breeze, Temps in the upper 70’s low 80’s .... I sat and enjoyed my afternoon apple in grand fashion outdoors in the middle of the river. Great Spot! Always feels so good to find these gems. Some how the Wing just sniffs them out.

As it started getting closer to evening I tore myself away and mounted back up for the short run back over to Highway 12 and then into Lowville and my little brother Mitchel’s house north of there arriving around 5:00 p.m.

Resting Tonight in Lowville, New York

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Tuesday, July 22’ 2014 - Visiting Little Brother - No Journal this day

Wednesday, July 23’ 2014

Had a great visit with my little brother Mitchel and his family in Lowville, NY ... here’s a pic of me and Mitchel
With family and extended family visits out of the way it was time to focus back on the road and points south as plan was now to mossy back south and eventually back into West Virginia to attend the Morph Goldwing Ride in that would be taking place in Marlington, West Virginia later this week. As per normal when I’m on the move the rains not far behind. Another glob of rain appears to be moving through the Ohio Valley heading east so I was expecting to hit some rain later in the day as I moved south.
Sunrise over the Adirondacks in New York starting off with clear skies.
I ran down highway 12 south out of Lowville until I get onto highway 8 then jog east to get onto highway 30 south. This looked to be a good road to take me down south and dump me out around the Catskill Mountains area. Least it looked good on the map.
Passing through the Village of Speculator, New York the view was pretty Spectacular!

The roads were just ok but I’ve yet to find any real consistently well paved smooth roads in New York State ... least where I’ve been so far. I will say Highway 30 out of Amsterdam, NY down to the Catskill Mountains was pretty decent. Many of the other ones I’ve been on are down right terrible and only brief sections of smooth riding at various intervals. The scenery has been great but the roads and even some of the people I’ve encountered seem detached, disjointed ... uneven as it were. Don’t get me wrong I’ve met plenty of friendly folks up here but I can tell it’s really not the same as what I’m used to seeing and experiencing in other parts of the country, especially the south. They all seem so pre-occupied and less likely to engage in friendly conversation or heaven forbid if you should wave at someone. Many (not all) don’t seem to know what to do in return. By noon it became apparent that the rain had dissipated and it turned out to be a mostly sunny day with temps finally heating up some into the 90’s
Fortunately, there were always many spots like these above and below to pull over to the side of the road and cool my heels.

Finally ran into more populated areas and seeked out a good place to bed down for the evening. Less than 400 miles left to Marlington, West Virginia which should be easy pickens for tomorrow’s ride.

Resting tonight in Wilkes-Barre, PA

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Thursday, July 24’ 2014

Woke up to cloudy skies this morning but at least it wasn’t raining and the temps were mild. Another glob of rain was on the radar to my south but it seemed to be tracking east. Figuring I’d hit rain at some point today I suited up just in case anyway and started my trek south I needed to get myself down to around Winchester, Virginia today before I would be able to get off the Interstate and on to some more interesting roads. That meant I would have to put in my time this morning trudging through Interstate traffic and trucks on I-81 before I could play on roads like this one.
I exited off of Interstate 81 near Winchester, Virginia just pass noon and took Highway 50 across the top part of West Virginia. The weather turned out to be both a curse and a blessing. I hadn’t entered the rain yet at this point as it was moving west to east and I was now moving east to west just above it and the blessing was that I was able to avoid it entirely and then duck in behind it once I hit Highway 220 south. I couldn’t have planned it any better if I tried. Temps remained cool about 68 to 72 degrees behind the front but for July that felt pretty darn good. Unfortunately the curse was that the rain had left the best roads of the day wet.
Nevertheless, they weren’t so bad you couldn’t enjoy them and it was a great ride down Highway 220 followed by 84, 92 and finally 39 into Marlinton, West Virginia. This entire route had some quality roads with nice easy twisties going through farmland dotted with those little mounds of hills (I think they called these mountains here :-) valley after valley. Very nice route.

I’ll probably be hitting some of these same roads tomorrow and a few others as well as meeting a few new people that are attending this Ride In. I got to the Marlinton Motor Inn around 5:00 p.m. and a lot of Goldwings and some Harleys were already sprinkled throughout the parking lot. I’ll get some pictures in the morning.

Resting tonight in Marlinton, West Virginia.

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Friday, July 25’ 2014

Today started off with everyone eager to get out on the road and do some exploring in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
All the Goldwings awaiting their master’s command. What a nice looking red one up front ;-)

At first it looked like I would be riding with Larry (TheCruiser) and Vince (BlueKarp) and the plan was to head up to Seneca Rock and beyond to explore some of the State Parks north of here and enjoy all the curves getting there. Unfortunately, Larry had to bow out before we left due to some tire issues so it ended up just being Vince and me riding together. We hadn’t ridden together before but I’m always excited to meet and ride with new people ... you just never know when a new acquaintance might become an old friend. As we rode out of the motel neither of us realized it at the time but this day wouldn’t be your ordinary riding day.
A tale of two very different days was unfolding for both of us. The morning was beautifully as you can see from the picture above. Conditions were perfect for a ride with no rain in the forecast and extremely mild temps for a summer July day. This was on Highway 220 north heading towards the little town of Monterey, Virginia. We stopped at the gas station there and chatted awhile and we discussed our pace some and we both were in agreement as to how we should match riding styles. We pulled out and headed back east towards the West Virginia border on highway 250 which was a very curry road in sections.

I was leading and about 7 miles later as I glanced in my rear view mirror during a straight section I see Vince’s bike coming around the last turn but not upright. He was horizontal and sliding across the lane and off the road onto the shoulder where he came to a stop on a small embankment. I was about 100 yards ahead at that point and immediately did a u-turn to go back and check on Vince. Fortunately, he was ok with only some road rash on his knee and some bruising and soreness in his chest and hip area. A nice couple stopped and helped us get his leg patched up and the bike uprighted. There was damage to the right side of the bike but it started right up and was rideable. Vince road the bike back down the hill and me and the couple in the car followed.

We thanked them for their help and then I followed Vince back to the Motel. Once we got back Vince seemed ok and insisted I go back out and ride the rest of the afternoon. I obviously felt bad for him and his pride was hurt but hey we have ALL been there and we ALL make mistakes sometimes when we ride. Sometimes no matter how hard you plan or try to be careful sometimes we just slip up in the pursuit of our passion. That’s ok. Thankfully it wasn’t any more serious than it was and I’m sure Vince will have his bike repaired and will be riding again soon.

It was approaching 1:00 p.m. when I mounted back up and headed out solo for an afternoon ride by myself. It was tough to get what happened off my mind but it wasn’t going to do any good sitting around the motel either so off I went. Based on a recommendation from another rider I found a road he told me about very close to the motel that ran right along the ridge behind our location. It was Highway 150 Scenic Byway. Got some really great pictures that capture just how beautiful this day was in spite of the rough start to it.
The Wing soaking in some of the beauty at a road side stop.

Here are some pictures from along Highway 150 scenic byway ...
Package this day and save it .... it was a keeper
Yummy cruising ... just eating up the road.

I dumped out on Highway 39 and took it west over to Highway 20 (both excellent roads) and then north up to the little town of Cowen where I was in this area 2 years ago when volunteering for the Red Cross. Hit another little rural road north of there and went out to Erbacon where we had a Red Cross Shelter set up two years ago here.
Dare you to find this little out of the way spot in West Virginia on a map. Funny to see my wing parked in front. Last time I was here there was a ton of snow and power lines and trees down every where. After some reflection I headed back to the motel enjoying those same two roads (20 and 39) again on the way back getting to the motel around 6:00 p.m.

What a day! I’m packing it in tomorrow and plan to ride the 550 miles home hopefully getting home tomorrow night. My better half was very understanding to let me be gone for a week riding so I figure it is time to head home. Based on recent conversations I feel that kitchen pass I had is slowly turning into a noose LOL.

Resting one more night in Marlinton, West Virginia

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Saturday, July 26’ 2014

With a long day of riding ahead of me to get home to Dover, Tn I was up early to tackle it. 530 miles doesn’t get done by getting up late and leisurely riding out whenever you feel like it. Normally a riders eyes open at the crack of dawn and then it’s a few minutes to pack, down a cup of coffee and off you go ... breakfast could wait for now. For me this all happened between 6 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. when I rolled out of the Marlinton Motor Inn and headed south on highway 219. Chill in the air but a warm thought in my heart knowing that all this riding and fun I had enjoyed for the last week was about to come to a conclusion at the best place of all .... home.

Only a few miles down the road Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park presented it self to me and I dare not refuse the invitation so I turn right in to check it out ....
A new day dawns and I was the first to see it from Droop Mountain West Virginia
A shot taken between the wooden supports from the Tower. A blanket of fog caresses the valley

By mid morning I had already dumped out onto the Interstates (yuck) but I wasn’t about to stay on them for long. Yes, it would have been quicker to take the Interstate straight home but I was having none of that. Best to savor this last day with just a few more back roads. I opted to take my favorite route east west or west east to avoid the interstates. Exited Highway 58 off of interstate 81 at Bristol, Tn which lead to Highways 92/90/100. These run along the bottom part of Kentucky starting around Cumberland Gap over to Russellville, Kentucky and is a great route. Once I got near Russellville, Kentucky it was local roads all the way to home that I was familiar with. Today’s weather was sunny and no rain ... one of the few times I’ve returned home this way without encountering rain.
Clear sailing home .... except ...

By mid afternoon with many hours to still go I was starting to feel it. Probably the culmination of a weeks riding of over 3,000 miles no doubt but I was starting to drag. Just got to maintain focus until home plate is reached. I was stopping frequently and downing water as fast as I could. Temps hit 93 degrees and this was probably one of the hottest days I had on this road trip. I continued to creep towards home, or at least it felt like that with all the frequent stops for rest I was making. Good things come to those who wait and as the clocked ticked 8:00 p.m. I rolled proudly into my driveway.

8 Days on the road!
3,471 miles covered in 6 States

Road Trips = Great Adventures!
You don’t know what you got until you go out and get it.

- Words of mine, voices in time ...


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