Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wake up to the sound of crashing waves and the smell of saltwater in a quaint bed and breakfast along the Atlantic. Enjoy a spicy, smoky pulled pork barbeque along the roadside stand for lunch. In the afternoon, wend your way along quiet rural byways through rolling hills carpeted with wildflowers and forests. Stop by the General Store for a cold soda and spend some time swinging your legs on the front porch. Watch the world pass by. At dinner, camp among the stars in fresh mountain air.
This year, enjoy everything the Commonwealth has to offer by joining the Virginia Grand Tour, sponsored by the Governor's Motorcycle Council of Virginia in partnership with the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association.
The tour kicks off with an April 4th launch at Kings Dominion. Register for the tour and you'll get a passport to collect stamps at participating locations around the Old Dominion. Riders who collect the most stamps will be eligible for some great prizes. Regardless how many stamps you collect, you'll be rewarded with great riding around ol' Virginny.
For more info or to register, click here to visit the MotoVA website
Clearly, Larry was onto something. Years ago, when I commuted between Virginia and Cleveland for work, we’d often fly over the area. As the plane breezed over ridge after countless ridge, I’d feel the same thrill as an Old World explorer. “Look at all those twisty little backroads,” I’d exclaim. Sometimes out loud. “How about those double-switchbacks on that road there! That’s something!” Fellow air passengers gave me a wide berth on those flights.
I’ve only passed through the area briefly on a few runs to elsewhere, but I recently discovered that Google Maps has mapped the area extensively in its Street View function. If you've played with Google Maps and haven't yet tried Street View, you're in for a treat. Give it a try.
Open maps.google.com. Look up "Pennsville, Ohio". See that little "person icon" just above the zoom control? Click and drag that icon over to the map. Wherever the road turns blue, you can tour the road. Drop that little guy on OH-377 somewhere north of Pennsville. Once the first picture loads, you can use the cursor keys on your keyboard to navigate up and down the road, or stop for a moment and use the right or left cursor key to pan around 360 degrees.
Motorcycle Journeys Through the Appalachians is due for an update this year, so I'll be spending a lot more time in Southeastern Ohio, sampling those roads firsthand. From what I've seen from the air and from Street View, I'm really looking forward to it.
Have you toured in the Marietta, OH and Parkersburg, WV region? Send your ideas and suggestions for routes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I was nearing the end of day three in a ride spanning the Memorial Day weekend. In a rare piece of luck, I was able to make it a four-day run. It had been a flawless ride in every respect. On this particular day, Sunday, I'd just rolled in to Marlinton, West Virginia after a run of a few hundred miles through the heart of the Mountain State. I've always enjoyed West Virginia's roads, but this day was the sweetest in recent memory. I'd revisited many of my favorite roads, finding them clean, deserted, and begging to be ridden.
The day's run ended with a sprint down WV 39 to US 219 which brought me to Marlinton. I stopped in at a restaurant situated along the Greenbrier River for a bite and found they offered rooms for rent above the cafe. I snagged a room and some grub. For a while I sat on the porch and watched a game of horse shoes playing out in the park across the street. I could have called it a day, but I still felt the call to ride, so I suited up once more and pointed the bike north. I think the bike knew as well as I where we were headed--the Highland Scenic Highway.
The Highland isn't a road to be ridden for sport, it's a road to be savored. Its long straights and longer sight lines tempt the rider to wick it up, but that's harldy the point. The Highland traverses a remote, undeveloped corner of the state overlooking the Cranberry Glades Recreation Area, forever preserved as part of the Monongahela National Forest . It's a great road for reflection riding; that special time in the saddle when your usual stream of thoughts are overwhelmed by the sheer perfection of the elements; the amber cast of late afternoon light, a gentle rush of warm air, the steady trill of the bike, views ranging to the horizon. This was one of those times.
A few miles along the Highland, the need to ride began to wane as I reached one of the higher vantage points. I just pulled over and sat to enjoy the quiet and the view. Occasionally, I lifted the camera to snap a few pics of other riders buzzing by, but for the most part I just stared ahead, absorbing the silence. I might've been there ten minutes or it could have been two hours, I don't know. Time was passing though. An instant dip in temperature told me without turning around that the sun had slipped behind a nearby hill. Daylight began dissolving to dusk and the return ride was at hand. The perfect day was fading into the perfect night.
Whether by accident or design, I'd come across just the right place bring this journey to its close. The restaurant was dark by the time I returned and I found the whole building deserted. As the only room-taker for the evening, I had the entire run of the place. My bike, alone in the parking lot, looked vulnerable. I moved it closer to the entrance to keep an eye on it though I knew nothing would happen. TV in the room? Nope. Cell phone coverage? Fuhgetaboutit. In fact, the closest phone was a five minute walk across the bridge to a pay phone at the gas station. You know, the one with the handset that had been ripped out of the phone box. Perfect.
I walked out on the now-empty restaurant deck and took a seat at the rail. Nothing moved but the water. No sound, but for the occasional click of the town's only traffic light. Nothing to do but prop my feet to watch the river and contemplate the meaning of an empty Main Street.
For everything that went right on that trip and that last evening on the road, it's a highlight that'll be hard to top. I can't wait to get back out there to try.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
My shop, Open Road Outfitters, builds Harley and Gold Wing trikes. This is a sample of our latest work, the Santa Trike. The custom motorcycle paint was done by Webster Designs in Ruckersville, Virginia. I can't wait to get a chance to ride it, but am told I'll have to put on a Santa suit. No problem!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The new site is called Motorcycle Trailer Guide and is located at www.mctrailerguide.com. It contains over fifty articles on all aspects of motorcycle trailering and includes a discussion forum and photo gallery. I look forward to building it out -- it's a whole lot easier with someone else's tools!
Come on over and join the fun!