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Dan Hughes

Thursday June 16 though Saturday June 19, Canaan Valley WV to Oneonta NY

Looking for the tiny-line roads across Pennsylvania.

I spent the day Thursday at Canaan Valley just veggieing around. A riding group was showing up a few at a time, so we chatted, kicked some tires, and told some lies when comparing our machines. The group was, where the ST means Sport Touring. Everyone was very jealous of my riding schedule. More correctly, the lack of a schedule.

Friday morning I tried a couple more back-country roads in West Virginia and again ended up disappointed. Too many pot holes. Didn’t end up on any faint mountain goat trails and didn’t hear any banjos this time. I finally learned to stick to the more bigger lines on the map. We’ll have to come back and check out the back roads in a little more detail.

I hit US 50 between Elk Garden and New Creek and decided as this is a US highway, it will be in better shape. Wanting to avoid the big towns in Western Maryland and having ridden many of the roads, I headed West on 50. Oooops, West is the wrong direction. But I continued on.

The road is for the most part an excellent ride. Beautiful countryside. The short chunk in Maryland has the best surface. In West Virginia the condition of the surface seems to vary by county. There were no really bad parts. Many curves, wide sweepers and tight twisties and some marvelous Ss. A beautiful and very enjoyable ride.

Before I knew it I was way too far West and had to turn North. I’m supposed to be heading North and East, not West and South. Most of the morning is gone and I’m only a few miles from where I started.

Sticking with the big-line roads I pick up US 119 just East of Grafton and head North for Pennsylvania. I’m wanting to ride up the state on the Western edge for a change. Our main corridor for crossing the state is generally through the center of the state. And, shudder, I-15 when we’re in a four-wheeled vehcile.

Robert and I came down the Western side back in 2000. If you’ll check your maps you’ll see a big chunk in North-Central Pennsylvania that doesn’t have many roads. Always a good sign and a big clue for where to head. I pick up PA 26 / 281 East of Morgantown. A most excellent choice. I stopped near Confluence at a BBQ place for a snack. Bad choice. As I should have known because BBQ is mis-spelt.

Having spent far too much time off task, I hit US 219 to make up some miles and time. Not a good choice. Way too much traffic and way too many small villages and towns and the posted suggested minimum is mostly 35 or 45. Nonetheless, I stay on task. Not having much fun, tho.

Now it’s getting very late in the day and there have been no motels for miles and miles and miles. So I have to aim for the I-State and the reliable presence of rooms for the night. I-80 is at the Southern boundary of the sparse-road chunk and there are no motels out here in the boonies along the I-State. I have to ride way East to find a room.

Saturday morning I decide to check out some of the roads that are hidden between those long, endless mountains down here in Pennsylvania. And that’s what I do for a couple of hours. It’s beautiful country with those picture-perfect farms set way back from the road. Endless numbers of picture-perfect farms.

Again I’m off task so I head for PA 144 to transverse the empty chunk. A most excellent choice. A genuine jewel of a road. The surface from Snow Shoe to near Renovo varies considerably, and long sections are under repair. But no really really bad sections. The road runs through a beautiful high-altitude ( as that goes in these parts ) forest. There are a few long views of the endless mountains. The road goes over several ridges and there are twisties when going up and going down. Very nice. Again the posted suggested minimum is mostly 35 or 45. Seems to be un-patrolled so the suggested minimum is easily maintained, if you get my drift.

At Renovo there’s a section that has been up-graded and is a real joy. Renovo seems to be too big to be out here in the middle of the boonies with no visible means of support. After this section, the road reverts to that of the more Southern sections. But still no really bad parts. Not much traffic here, and lots and lots of camps ( aka cabins ). The posted minimum can be basically ignored.

At US 6, up in Northern Pennsylvania, I head East. So I continue to be on task after the diversion this morning. I start East on US 6 and immediately encounter lots of traffic. After the second town that is having a Festival / Function, both involving chrome and motorcycles, I decide to hit the really Big Roads.

At Mansfield I pick up US 15 which goes due North. We’ve been on 15, but not way out here and not for a few years. US 15 is being upgraded to I-State status. Another one bites the dust. Ride’m while we’ve got ’em.

In Southern New York, I pick up US 17 which runs due East. Now I’m on tack for sure.

And I’m on a modified destination run for home. I’ll ride NY 7 tomorrow morning and maybe a couple of other local New York roads. I’m in familiar territory now, so I know which roads to ride.


June 19, 2010 Posted by | moto touring | | 3 Comments