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Dan Hughes

Wednesday June 16, Catlettsburg KY to Canaan Valley WV

Today I’m aiming for the high mountains of West Virginia. Specifically the Canaan Valley State Park and Resort. Mary and I have stayed there a few times. It’s a very nice place for a restful break. And I hope it’s even cooler there than the past couple of days.

I leave Catlettsburg on a big road because I need to get across the Big Sandy River, but I’ve spotted some thin-line roads in Western WV to explore. I’m thinking these should lead to nice rides deep in the cool boonies. I get on US 60 soon after crossing the river aiming for WV 34 that will take me North and East toward US 33. The latter road will then take me directly toward Canaan Valley.

Not many miles on WV 34 and I see a sign that a bridge is out and a detour onto US 35 is necessary. I start out on the detour, a very big four-laner, and this is not what I was looking for today. I spot a another thin road that’s not on my real time moto road trip planner so I take it. It’s very nice, following the river that the closed bridge crosses. At a service station I find out that there is a bridge nearby that will cross the river and get me back on track on WV 34.

This is a very twisty road riding up on the ridges, with an excellent surface, and lightly used. Lots of shade to keep the Sun off, too. At I-75, my map indicates that WV 34 continues Eastward and intersects other roads that will take me to US 33. So off I go.

But, this is not the road that I just was riding on. The surface is a total wreck and it is becoming very narrow. I’m thinking it just a bad spot and ride a few more miles. I finally make it to the intersection for the next road, all the while thinking i’m making a mistake. At this T-junction I see two tiny, barely one-laners, with no markings going deep into the darkness of the forest. Suspecting that they are very twisty, and not wanting to meet any other kind of vehicle under these conditions, I decide to turn around. My map shows place-names back in there, but I’m thinking the only people who go there are those that live there.

Looking at my map right now, I see that many of those roads don’t have numbers. Maybe that’s a clue.

I have to take I-77 for a short hop to Ripley to get to US 33. US 33 is a good road, but it’s too heavily used to be a lot of fun, if you get my drift. There can be short periods of fun, but sooner or later you’re going to run into traffic. Then, passing on the double-yellow is your only choice to have more fun. With this go-fastest sport-touring model, I can safely do that. And maybe I did a couple of times.

I stop at Arnoldsburg at the Y Cafe to get a burger and fries. I can’t recommend the place.

At Weston, maybe 100 miles from Ripley, US 33 has been made into a future I-Sate grade road. And just when we get to the good high mountain parts. Part of the Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System. I’m certain that Robert C. Byrd has decided to eliminate all most excellent two-laners left in Eastern West Virginia; from North to South. It like riding an I-Sate from Weston to Elkins.

From Elkins to Canaan Valley we have now gotten to the really good stuff. Lots and lots of fun. Twisty, excellent surface, cool shaded road. However as I get closer to Canaan, I notice that additional sections of US 33 are being prepared for four-laneship. We have to ride them while we’ve still got a few of them. They’re all gonna go.

At Harmon WV 32 leads to Canaan Valley State Park And Resort. It’s really cool up here, temperature in the 70s F, nice cooling breeze, wonderful green trees everywhere.

And, most excellent road riding roads.


June 17, 2010 Posted by | moto touring | | Leave a comment