Monday, April 20, 2009

Virginia Run: Squirrel Hunting!

So with the Avons being fitting on Saturday in Winston, I figured I might as well take advantage of the weather and get some riding in. Being close to VA, I decided to do some research on roads up that way and plan a route.

I had been hearing alot of good stuff on a road called "Squirrel Spur." Many riders have mentioned its tight corners, great scenery and wide shoulders. So I spent a couple hours on Friday night, waiting on paint to dry, playing on S&T planning a route. Keeping in mind that I wouldn't be on the road till lunch time at best, I kept the route short. I found another road online called, Willis Mountain Rd, that looked to be alot of fun as well so I did what I could to tie it in.

Here is what I came up with. This is a copy of my tank map.

So before I headed up to Va, I made a run down to Salisbury and back to pick up a kick stand for one of the mechanics there at the shop. This gave me an opportunity to get some miles and heat in the tires to get rid of those dreaded oils and release agents.
The trip took me up Hwy 66, which one of my old roommates had told me about. He warned me that it was a bit rough but still a nice road. He was correct, it was beat up in many places, but with a resurfacing and some shoulder work, this road could be a hoot. It wound its way up to Hwy 89 which turned out to be a great road. Full of twists of varying degree, some sweepers some tight, a bit of everything really. I wouldn't mind finding my way on to that road again.
From 89 I ended up on 103 and I decided to pull over at a gas station for a soda to perk up a bit. I stopped at a "Neighbors" gas station inside this small town. Went inside looking for a Cheerwine, and to my surprise they had it in glass bottles! Went up to the register and handed the lady my card. She quickly ran it through and the machine beeped at her. She complained about the "antique" equipment and said she needed to slow down for it. I laughed and then said said that the computer was running Windows 95 and their Internet was still on dial-up! No sooner than she got that out, I heard the machine dialing out! I haven't heard that sound in years. Then she told me that the two islands (4 pumps), credit card machine and phone line in the store are all on the same line! That store desperately needs an update.
I took my glass bottled Cheerwine outside, checked my bags and cleaned my visor and windshield. One of the locals was looking at the bike and commented about something. Hard to understand a 80 year old man with a mouth full of chew. I laughed and smiled, having no idea what he said. Finished my Cheerwine and headed on.
Off of 103, I made a left onto Unity Church Rd. which led to Squirrel Spur. Unity was a small farm road back in the rolling hills of Mt. Airy. It was a rather nice ride, and I wish I would have stopped for some pictures. Off in the distance you could see the mountain range coming up. A few miles later I came up to the intersection at Squirrel Spur. The road was narrow, the shoulder was busted up and the road was rough. I was bit confused. I eased my way up and to my surprise the pavement changed, there was a fresh asphalt and new guard rails and the corners got tight! It turned out to be one heck of a road. I was really enjoying it and I would love to get back there soon.
The road went back to crap again and the shoulder disappeared. A few more miles of this and I was up to the parkway. I rode the parkway up to hwy 58, which was all too familiar from a ride earlier this year. From 58 I took Hwy 8 north to Tuggle's Gap. I pushed the bike a bit in the corners here to see how the Avons felt. I was honestly too darn worried about the slick stuff and didn't get a good judgement of the tire condition to make an honest call on them. But they did well, and the bike never slid. Transition from corner to corner felt a bit different from M3's but other than that, they did well. A quick stop at Tuggle's to clean my visor again, the bugs were out in full force, and I was off back down the parkway to 58 again. This time I headed west on 58 to catch 52 South. I stopped for a quick picture, as the sun was not as harsh any more.
58 west to 52 south was rather uneventful. I was watching the skies closely as looked as though I might be getting wet. Which would be perfect since I didn't pack the rain gear... Once on 52 I was found my way back to the parkway to head north looking for Willis Mtn Rd. Several miles in I was starting to think I might have missed it so I found a wide spot at an intersection to turn around. Turns out that was the intersection was for Willis! The lighting was rather dark, but the woods looked pretty cool, so I stopped to get some more pictures.

Jordan's response to the last picture. "Would it kill you to smile or were you trying to be tough?"
I am sure I was rather amusing to the people that passed by as I was stacking rocks to set the camera on. I had to get the camera up about 6 inches so that the road was not half of the shot.

Willis Road was nice, it was a bit rough and too populated to really feel comfortable on, in my opinion. Some nice small houses off this road with a good sized trucking company at the end. The road didn't put me out where I thought I would be, so I 'winged it' and just went right. Some how I got lucky and went the right direction which put me on 104 which led to 103 and 52. There at the intersection of 104 and 103 there was some huge play ground. I mean this thing was massive! I am sure if Jordan was with me, we would have stopped, lol.

I found my way back to 52 and set a path home. It was getting late and I was hungry. ~360 miles later I was back in Lexington. This included the ride from Lexington to Winston, and then from Winston to Salisbury and back to Winston. I am planning on getting back up that way soon to do some more exploring.


1 comment:

Runner said...

When I get back up that way, it would be great to let you take me out on some of these roads. Great write-up and some nice photos. You should enter one or two in the MTF photo contest.