#146 West Virginia Summer Mountain Ride

Fleeter Log #146
West Virginia Summer Mountain Ride

2009 August 6-9

Time again for the MTF to gather in the mountains of West Virginia for a Summer Mountain Ride. We'll muster in Beckley and ride loop tours from there.
Cloverleaf touring around Beckley, WV 

Day 1 - Thursday
Aug 6, 2009
276 miles
Fredericksburg, VA to Beckley, WV

"Sic jurat transcendere montes"
Today on my way westward, I choose to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains following the route of the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Expedition of 1716. I crossed the the mountains at Swift Run Gap on Spotswood Trail (US33), near where Governor Spotswood led his group of explorers as they traveled west to see what was there. They were hoping to find land worth settling. Turns out that there is a lot of land west of the Blue Ridge Mountains worth developing.

After the journey, the Governor presented the explorers with a Horseshoe shaped pin inscribed with "Sic jurat transcendere montes", which translates into English as "Thus he swears to cross the mountains."

Once I crossed the mountains, I drop into the Shenandoah Valley where I turn south to Grottoes before I turned back to my westward heading to Beckley.

Day 2 - Friday
Aug 7, 2009
200 miles
 Beckley, WV

I join a few friends to wander around Beckley to see what we can find.

After checking out the Glen Jean Bluestone National Scenic River Visitor Center and collecting an ink stamp, we found our way to the old Thurmond Train Depot.
Highway 25 between Glen Jean and Thurmond

Thurmond Depot

Just across the tracks and up the hill, we find the abandoned town of Thurmond, West Virginia. The US National Park Service now owns most of the old boom town. Only a few families are left; the 2000 census listed just 7 current residents. Their homes sit high above the original commercial section of the town, now designated as a Historic District.
Abandoned town of Thurmond, WV

After convincing some of the my fellow riders to follow me up the narrow switchbacks above the historic main street and into the residential area perched on the mountainside, we were rewarded with a bird's-eye view of the route that got us there.
Thurmond, WV

View of the New River Bridge on US19 from the Canyon Rim Visitor Center.
US 19 New River Gorge Bridge at Canyon Rim

Kanawha Falls near Gauley Bridge, WV

Lunch at The Kitchen in Clay, WV.

Sometimes you have to watch out for even the good roads or they can drop right out from under you! Highway 11 between Clay and Dille.

Dille, WV post office

After wandering around the New River Gorge area all day, we met the rest of the MTF group at Dirty Ernie's Rib Pit in Fayetteville for a group supper. 

After supper, some of us went back to see the new bridge from the bottom of the gorge, where we crossed the narrow, old bridge.

New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville, WV

Day 3 - Saturday
Aug 8, 2009
260 miles
Beckley, WV

After spending yesterday riding with some friends, today, I am ready to get back to my solo riding. I start my lone ride by heading to Pax and then heading west deep into the coal miner country.

Railroad into the unknown.

Sylvester, WV

Unlike Pie, New Mexico, there are no Pie vendors set up to serve those looking to feast on pie in West Virginia
Pie, WV

US52 in West Virginia

My path crosses the Hatfield-McCoy Trail in Matewan, WV.
Hatfield-McCoy Trailhead at Matewan, WV

Rangers patrol the Hatfield-McCoy Trails to avert any new feuds breaking out.

Mullens, WV

Hotel Wyoming in Mullens, WV

Back to Beckley in time to meet the MTF folks at Pasqualie's Restaurant for supper at 6pm. Dessert at Dairy Queen afterward ... I followed the Goldwingers.

Day 4 - Sunday
Aug 9, 2009
300 miles
 Beckley, WV to Huntersville, WV to Fredericksburg, VA

Time to leave the the SMR gathering and head back home. Of course, I'll be taking a detour or two along the way.
I64 in West Virginia

Back to the smaller roads ... now the fun begins!

West Virgnia's hwy 19 known as Richland-Carol Hill Road
WV Highway 19

Bio break time at Blue Bend in Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.

Blue Bend Rec Area

Entering back into Virginia at Bath County.

Entering Brownsburg, VA
Wades Mill, VA

Minutes after leaving Wades Mill, I was back on I81 for my last leg home.
Total Trip:  1,121 miles in 4 days

Copyright 2009 Fleeter Logs

1 comment:

  1. I've been through most of this area ... but never like this! Gorgeous, gorgeous photos!

    Oh, and I'm totally stealing this route! :)