Sportbikes and stuff.

5 Days, 5 States Summer Ride

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Stan has been planning this trip for months.  I have been planning to go for months.  Did this mean I was prepared?  Nope.  Days before the trip I realize that I am short on stamina (only did 2 long rides this year), maitenance (really bad chain and some speedo/odo issues), and gear (crappy helmet, deficient gloves, no luggage).  Nevertheless, I am committed. I am anxious, but I am ready.  I lube the heck out of the chain, and pack everything into my backpack and trunk.  . 


We meet at 7am in Front Royal on Thursday, and the ride officially begins.  This is a Tour de Backroads of sorts.  The plan is to hit the best twisties and gawk at some cool scenery.  Only back roads, naturally, no highway.  Four of us begin the journey, Stan55, Umus, BlkonBlk, and myself. 


To start things off, we work our way down to Shady Valley, TN.  This area is awesome.  Deals Gap is a cool place, but I think this area may have higher concentration of spectacular sportbike roads than Deals Gap.  One day, I want to do a trip here instead of Deals Gap. 


We practice our form. 


We hit more roads, and finish the day at Cracker Barrel. 



The next day, BlkonBlk needs to roll home because of prior obligations.  His bike is a bit dehydrated. 


The three of us continue on. 


Action shot…


It’s about here that my chain is starting to become a PIA.  It is starting to slip.  We adjust one more time, moving the axel almost to the end. 


Despite moving the chain so far back, it’s still slipping pretty bad.  I tried to get this work done 3 days before the trip.  I called 3 shops, and guess what?  None of them had the parts and/or ability to take care of this within 3 day span.  Washington, DC major metro area my A**. 

Yet is here, in the middle of nowhere, that I find a Suzuki/Yamaha dealer.  I give them a ring, and they have both the parts and willingness to do this on the spot for me. 


I get my chain and sprockets taken care off, and I pick up a new helmet as well.  Siderant: do not ever buy HJC.  They are the worst of the worst.  I had a low end helmet from the lineup, and I can’t believe they have the nerve to sell such utter junk.  Maybe some of their more expensive helmets are better, but I will never know cause I’m never giving them any of my business. 

Anyway, I get my business in order, and we continue our trip on some cool back roads.  


Lots of coal mines in this region.  Lots of coalminers outright railing in their cars on backroads. 


Sometime during this trip, I expected to see stripped mountains, piles of coal, and general environmental decay/negligence, but I saw none of this.  Environemtally speaking, things look great in this region – at least on the surface.  The biggest influence of coal appears to be in the cities. 


We end the day by crossing into Kentucky via a sweet mountain road with some of the sketchiest dropoffs I have ever seen. 



I’m up for adventure, but White Castle for breakfast is a bit too much for me. 


Break at some famous natural spring…


And here is the Nada Tunnel (KY)


KY far exceeded my high expectations.  Some amazing roads can be found here.  I dare say… it might be better than WVA/VA/NC/TN.  Kentucky is not as mountainous, but it seems like every road is curvy and designed for motorcycles.  I want to come back here for a few days and just explore KY.  I know we only touched it. 


By the end of day 3, we finally cross into Ohio.  


There are no pictures from Ohio, because Ohio sucks.  It’s ironic that it is in Ohio that we first encounter mountains 1/2 logged of trees.  The roads follow farms (long straights followed by hairpins) and don’t flow at all.  I am a bit pessimissting in my assessment, but having just ridden in KY, I would prefer to stay in Kentucky. 

Day 4

We get the heck out of Ohio and make our way back into WVA. 


The highlight for today is New River Gorge.  But first, we grab a bike to eat at a pretty good place near the bridge…


We did pull off on top of the Bridge… We snapped a few photos.  It took two squad cars about 200 seconds to rush to the Bridge to see what we are doing.  Lesson: don’t pull over on the Bridge. 


Looking up from below.


New River Gorge is another nice region.  Lots of great roads around here.  This is a cool vacation spot too.  They have good montain climbing, repelling, whitewater rafting, kayaking, etc.  Below is a closeup of the whitewater rafting going on right below the bridge. 


Road near the bridge. 


The weather has been very cooperative on this trip.  Mid70s all day everywhere, primarily because of scattered T-storms everywhere.  We successfully avoided getting wet until this point.  Our luck run out on this amazing stretch of road here.  This road is like a tigher and much longer version of 211 – simply amazing.  But sadly, we got caught in a downpour with nowhere to hide. 


Surprise, surprise.  We hid from the rain and discovered a nice waterfall at the pull off. 


We ended the day at night… again…. lol



I can’t believe we’re just spend 5 days riding around.  We continue hitting some nice spots, and increasingly familiar territory. 


The trip ends here.  It was exhausting.  But it was awesome.  I don’t know what mileage we did, but it was comfortably over 2,000. 

Rest of photos below…


Written by Sportbiker

June 28th, 2008 at 7:37 am

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