#80 Paint Bank

June 11, 2007
406 miles

Paint Bank
Day 4

The next morning at about 8am I headed west on I77 into West Virginia. The Bluestone Scenic River - Sandstone Visitor Center will open at 9am. I should get there about right...That's what I thought up until I started looking at Jill's screen and thinking, "That there road through Athens, WV sure looks more appealing than this Interstate...Ummm...I've never been to Athens, WV."

(As you recall - July of last summer I decided to visit every Athens I could find between Athens, Texas to Athens, Georgia = Fleeter Log #29. FYI: I found six, including my start and stop locations--TX, LA, MS, AL, TN, & GA. Since then, I've been to at least one this year in Ohio.)

So I take the exit to hwy 44 which takes me to hwy 20 and right through Athens, WV.

I find it amazing how little people know about the area they live in. For example, I stopped in Lenora to top off with gas, since I didn't know what this back road had in the way of fuel stops. I've learned that when you get on the back roads anywhere - especially in the mountains of West Virginia - you shouldn't count on finding fuel, or food, at the towns represented by little dots on the GPS. So I go in to pay, because this is one of those little places with the old style gas pumps...no pay at the pump in this town. While paying, I ask the clerk if there's much between here and the Sandstone Visitor Center. She looked at me as if I were asking her for information about Yellowstone National Park. I added that it was up about where hwy 20 meets I64. The clerk still looks at me as if I'm asking her about some faraway land. (By my calculations, with Jill's help, the Visitor Center would be about 25 miles away.) She offers that she does know that Hinton is up the road that way...she's been there. As if her personal verification of Hinton's existence would put me at ease...? Other than knowing about Hinton's place on the map, she apologized that she didn't get out of town much so she couldn't be much help. I thanked her, swung into the saddle and continued my ride. Sure enough about 15 miles up the road was a small/medium size town -- Hinton. I guess these are the people that look at me with the most disbelief when they find out where I'm from, where I'm going, and how I'm getting there. It truly is hard for them to comprehend.

I crossed this bridge between Lenora and Hinton.
Hwy 20 runs along side the Bluestone River most of the way to I64. This most certainly is a better road for fleetering than the Interstate.
There's no tunnels though the mountains along here. You just have to go around them.
Here's the Bluestone Lake Dam that took the place of Lilly, WV.In Hinton, I crossed over the Bluestone River and continued north on hwy 20.This is hwy 20 through Hinton... The main road though town. Not even a painted stripe on the road.
But it was a very nice road the rest of the way to I64. I recommend it. And to think, if I'd stayed on the Interstate, I would have had to have paid a toll -- Hwy 20 was free! Got three stamps here at Sandstone.
Come on, lets get on down the road to the next destination...a VA Tour stop.
So did you have an opinion on what a Paint Bank would be?
A place to safely store your paint?
No, just a small Virginia town.

Here are the photos...Paint Bank, Virginia 24131 Paint Bank seems a small and idyllic community nestled in the Allegheny Mountains of the Jefferson National Forest...but you never know when a super hero may need a phone booth. They aren't easy to find now days. But here in Paint Bank, if the need ever arises, the super hero is in luck. I'm not sure if it's a threat to Paint Bank or not...I'm not even sure what it is. The sign doesn't help me much... But sitting back near the old mill, overlooking the General Store is this...Udderly Chic Cow?!The old Paint Bank Train Depot has been transformed into a small lodge. The Depot Lodge.
Next is another VA Tour stop...Blue Grass, Virginia.
Riding north along US220, I see something that may be interesting... I pull over and walk back a ways.

What do I see? Could it be...?
Why... yes, it is... It's a nice size water fall! This is near the small town of Falling Spring, Virginia.
These hills hold all sorts of little gems. Just here for the re-discovery.
Gems you will never find from the Interstate!Here's another gem...
Who is "Mad Ann" Bailey? Wonder how she got the nickname "Mad Ann"? Was she a bit looney or always angry? It is definitely hay baling time. I don't think one tractor was left idle today.
This field had been cut and waiting to be baled. Arrived in Blue Grass, Virginia with rain threatening from the west. I rode into to town, shot some photos and turned back east where the skies were much less threatening.
This is the town library. It is called the Blue Grass Book Bank. Riding back northeast, I ride across the Virginia / West Virginia state line several times as I wind my way from the Allegheny to the Shenandoah Mountains.
There's one of the local tractors putting in a day's work. US220 follows along the Jackson River in a valley carved many years ago between the Allegheny to the Shenandoah Mountains. In this valley, the grass is "fence-top high" before the mower cuts it down for hay. No sign of a drought in this valley. This was on US33 coming back into Virginia. Nice big sweepers through the Shenandoah Mountains. Some of them got pretty tight for sweepers. I think here Jill said our elevation was over 3,400 feet here in the Shenandoah Mountains.
There were some nice pullouts along US33, even if they were all gravel... Riding US33 down into the Shenandoah Valley, the road begins to straighten, but was still a nice road.
Here I am riding east into Harrisonburg, Virginia. From Harrisonburg, I rode up I81 to New Market, then over to Luray and across the Blueridge Mountains on US211 and on back home.
A great little ride. This is what it looked like in Streets & Trips.
Total trip: 1,210 miles

States fleetered in this trip: 4

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