Moto Road Trip to Athens, Georgia: April 21 to May 4, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, Porter Corners to Sayre/Waverley
We got a late start from Plank Road due to chilly temps and other duties. But once off we made good time. We started up Rt 7 but decided to jump on I88 in Cobleskill to make some time. Not a fun ride but we did reach Sayre, just West of Binghamton after picking up US 17. Stayed at the same Inn where we had stayed during our first trip South together back in June 2003. We found that things had changed there in the last seven years. However, we both enjoyed the trip back in time.
Thursday, April 22, Sayre to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
We took US 220 out of Sayer and headed South. Picked up US 522 in Selinsgrove and rode it down to the end of PA. US 522 is a great ride. Tried to find motel in Hancock, MD, but there weren’t any. Went on down the road to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia and found a super froo-froo Spa type place that Mary said was wonderful.
While riding around the town looking for motels, we had spied a Real Bar-B-Que place, so we decided to try it out for supper. Worked out far better than expected; great ribs and great pulled-pork. While looking over the menu, we noticed that the place was also open for breakfast and that Fabulous Homemade Grits were were available. Decided to have breakfast the, too, and did. The grits were most excellent.
Friday April 23, Berkeley Springs to Covington, Virginia
Great, great roads today. Started out on WV 9 and picked up WV 29 just South of Paw Paw. Mary and I have ridden the roads in these parts several times. Rode WV 29 to pick up WV 259 at Baker. Putt-putted on down this fast road into Virginia and pulled into a run-down, used-to-be service station for a break. Now the corporate offices for Turner Hams, turnerhams.com is here in Fulks Corner. Also filled with tons o’ brick-a-brace. Mary loved the place.
One of the guys the recommended one of those local three-digit VA roads over to US 33 and then to US 220 south bound. Well, we must have ridden over three passes on these roads. Fast and twisty. Narrow two-laners without much of a shoulder. So far, the day has been nothing but Biker Trash Paradise. And yesterday wasn’t all that bad, either.
Putt-putted down US 220 into Covington and found a motel on the out skirts of town. Covington is a small industrial town with a really huge paper-making plant. We didn’t find anything of interest to us here. The ride on 220 was great.
Saturday April 24, Covington VA to Hillsville VA
We took VA 159 out of Covington to VA 311 to VA 42. Wonderful fast twisty roads again today, especially VA 42!! Then hit US 460 East bound to get to VA 8 heading for Floyd and maybe the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mary and I have been on these roads before, starting back in 2003 when we rode to Mountain City, and again in 2004 and maybe a couple or mor times since then. We strolled around Floyd thinking about stopping for the day but didn’t find a place. So we rode on down US 221 to Hillsville. US 221 is known as the little parkway and is a great biker ride.
And so ended another wonderful road-riding day.
Sunday April 25, Hillsville VA to Blowing Rock NC
We left Hillsville on US 221 aiming for VA 89 at Galax and the Blue Ridge Parkway. As we headed uphill toward the Parkway, the weather conditions started turning not so good; cool, cloudy, windy and very foggy. We could barely see the Parkway turn at the top of the ridge and so continued down the other side. Just barely moving in the deep, wet, and very cool fog. This would prove to be the first of several attempts to ride the Parkway over the next two days; none successful. We continued on VA 89 into Mount Airy, NC where we stopped to review our situation. The weather was threatening over on this side of the mountains, too, but it was dry for the time being.
We took US 601 out of Mount Airy, just kind of putt-putting along Southward. At NC 67 in Boonville we took a right off 601, looking for thinner lines on the Real Time Moto Road Trip Planner and heading back toward the mountains. Just as we made the turn Mary saw a real diner, so we found a parking place to check it out. The place, Tish’s Restaurant turned out to be a treasure of a find. The special of the day was the After-Service Sunday Buffet. We just made it through the line and got seated when we noticed the line backing up to the door of the place. While we enjoyed our really-home-cooked food, people constantly came into the place. A most-excellent food find.
We continued along NC 67 aiming for the mountains. The weather was holding and the road was great. We picked up NC 268 in Elkin and run this narrow, smooth two-laner to US 321 South of Blowing Rock and ride up the mountain, the weather still holding. Mary loves Blowing Rock and we’ve stopped here several times. We find an adorable little room and settle in after walking the town streets. After our big lunch at Tish’s we get a sandwich to go from a froo-froo place that we’ve stopped at to get sandwiches to eat along the side of the Parkway.
Another road-running day on the small twisty roads in the mountains.
Monday April 26, Blowing Rock NC to Mars Hill NC
We left Blowing Rock on US 221 South with the objective to ride the Parkway. Well, our Fair Weather Crystal must have run out of mojo today. Cold, windy, foggy, rainy weather; far far from fair weather. The thermometer says it’s 50 F, so we cross the Parkway and headed down the mountain looking for warmer temperature. We’re for sure above the Springline up here and the tress don’t have many leaves out yet.
We continue along 221 heading South, but it doesn’t get much warmer. US 221 becomes a wide four-laner and I see a small-line road, NC 226A, that goes back up to the Parkway and over to Spruce Pines, another place that we’ve ridden several times. The ride up Roan Mountain is a world famous Biker Trash road and we’ve been over a few times. We stop at the side of the road just after getting onto 226A to chat about the weather and estimate the best way forward. We decide to give the Parkway another try.
NC 226A is a wonderful Biker Trash Road, and while we’re stopped several machines pass by heading up the mountain. It’s another wonderful ride up the mountain and we see a few places that we would stop and stay if the weather was more favorable. This time we have to zip on by.
We hit US 19E at Spruce Pine and head West. At Burnsville our Fair Weather Crystal hits empty and we have cold rain. We decide to try to make it to Asheville, and head off for our last attempt for the day. We landed here in Mars Hill.
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