Last Thursday, I loaded up my bike with enough gear to live on the road, topped off the tank and pointed the front wheel in the direction of Mountwood Park, near Parkersburg, WV and rolled out.
The forecast was clear and mild for all my destinations. However, that would quickly change to rain while on the interstate. After a break from the rain and wind, it was time to get back to it.
By lunch time, I was East of Cincinnati and starving. I stopped at Pickles and Bones for some tasty pulled pork, greens, and kale slaw.
From there, it was down to US50 to Parkersburg. The weather had improved greatly, traffic was light, and riding was great. I'm still getting my nerve and confidence back after being off of riding for almost 7 years. But that will come back with time and experience, and trust in my bike. I finally arrived at my home for the night, after riding a sport bike up a sizeable hill, in rutted gravel. It was an impressive camp site over looking the lake with a fire ring, table, and perfect trees for a hammock setup.
Well after dark, my friend from Chicago rolled in on his Harley, and successfully navigated up the hill and gravel.
With coffee and breakfast in our bellies, it was time to head towards the first destination of the day, Point Pleasant, WV, to see the Mothman Museum and statue. The ride was overcast and cool, but the roads were twisty at times, and in good shape.
Behold! The shiny hiney!
We filled our bellies with excellent soup beans, corn bread, and coffee from The Coffee Grinder, across the street from the Mothman Museum. With full bellies, monster souvenirs purchased, it was time to hit the road.
Our final destination for the day was The Long Branch Saloon, in Oakland MD. To meet up with a handful of other riders. The weather on the ride from Point Pleasant went downhill fast. We ran the slab to cut down on travel time, but the wind was pretty bad (especially on a naked sport bike), then just as we hit the most technical part of US50, the sun was setting, we were tired, we were cold, and it started raining! Adventure! We navigated the twists and turns without issue, and made it to the Saloon/Motel just after dark. The next morning there was coffee and some breakfast (scrapple) being served via our friend and his sidecar rig that was a rolling kitchen.
The bikes range in make, model, style, year, and condition, from my ratty CBR, to full dresser Harleys, and big BMW ADV bikes.
With more riders awake, we decided to head into town to have second breakfast at an interesting cafe/antique store called Englanders. Then a crew decided to go out and hit some seriously twisty roads. I decided to lay low and take it easy, as the scrunched up posture on the CBR had my knees, hip, and calves pretty sore!
Sunday morning, it was time to pack up, but not after some bike swapping and more coffee. I rode the Yamaha SCR950, and found it pretty damn fun! I do really like singles/twins more than inline fours. However, the peg position and weird wide engine / skinny tank really felt off. The engine though, was a hoot. Not sure if it would be any better on a trip like this. With goodbye's said, it was time for me to hit the road. Oh, did I mention it got down to 32 the night before? With the thought of frost patches on US50, especially in the deeper/darker sections that wouldn't see daylight until much later, I decided to cut north for the interstate. I rode up 219 alongside Deep Creek Lake, it's a really pretty area. From there it was zig zagging until I hit I70. I'm pretty sure I was in West Virginia at least 5 times that day.
Since my new route put me straight through Columbus OH, I stopped by Throttle Company and talked to one of the employees for quite a bit. I can't recall his name, as my brain was mush from riding into the wind on I70, with still about 45 minutes to go before I was going to call it a night. The shop is amazing. I was eyeing the Royal Enfield Himalayan before I got the CBR road worthy, and it's still on my radar, along with the NT 650 (especially after seeing the "scramblerized" version from the shop owner, on their Instagram page). I regret not getting pictures of the Moto Guzzi, and vintage room, so many great bikes in one place.
From here, it was off to dinner and to find a hotel. No road trip is complete without a trip to either Cracker Barrel, or Waffle House. Unfortunately, there was no Waffle House in range, so CB it was. With more beans in my belly, it was time for sleep.
The next day, packed my stuff, grabbed quick breakfast, and headed west with hopes of stopping at Heindl Engineering to look at the Urals and daydream about owning a Gear-Up in the next 2 years. My oldest got to ride in my friend's Ural and loved it. So, who knows, maybe we'll add one to the stable.
It was at the Ural shop that I realized I lost my petcock knob, somewhere West of Springfield OH. I thought I felt something hit my knee, guess I was right.
I did pick up a new helmet right before the trip, so look for that review soon.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, windy, and full of semis. Got home, unpacked the gear, hung up my tarp and hammock set up to air out. During the trip, I had a few coolant puddles under my bike, larger than what I had in the garage previously that I was unable to find the cause. Well, thankfully, it leaked again in the garage and I was able to track it back to a hose between the water pump and engine cylinders. A bit of new hose should resolve that.
1076 miles, and I felt every one of them.
The only printed part failure during the whole trip. Time to print another with more infill.
Overall, the trip was great, if a bit rough since I had no wind protection and no endurance built up. But, you gotta ride what you have right?
Stay safe out there.