Sunday, July 24, 2011

Father's Day Ride - West Virginia

Father’s day, a time when most young adults my age are at the point where they call their Dad say happy father’s day, maybe take them out for lunch or dinner and then carry on. Not around this house. See, for as long as I can remember now I have spent father’s day with my Dad doing something that involved riding a motorcycle. It’s what we do and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else at this point!

So when this years’ Father’s day weekend rolls around I went out and purchased Dad a nice set of Alpinestar riding gloves (almost didn’t want to keep em’ for myself) and made plans to head home from Raleigh on Friday evening so that I could spend the weekend with the old man. Not sure what exactly we were going to get into, but I knew at some point we would be going for a ride, somewhere.

Father’s Day morning, Dad and I check the radar and unfortunately it’s looking a bit bleak for the mountains. Rain is forecasted for most of the Appalachian Mountains throughout the day no matter where we went. However, being the stubborn McCrary men we are, we said, “To hell with it.” and made our way north up 52 to West Virginia to get some riding in up that way. We had hoped that we could get far enough north and let the storm pass under us and then head back down behind it.

Following Dad up Hwy 52 towards Pilot Mountain.

We started out on Hwy 52 heading north up through Mount Airy then turned off and made our way up Old 52 so we could take the fun way up the mountain. At the base of the mountain the skies were starting to look a bit rough, so Dad pulled off the road so he could put his rain liner in. (Chicken) For the past couple of months I have been thinking more and more about the possibilities of getting a C-14 or a FJR and every time I talk to Dad about this he always encourages me to take the FJR out for a ride. Knowing that we would be making our way to a rather fun section of road, I decided to take him up on the offer and asked if I could ride it up the mountain. True to his word, we made the swap and he took my FZ up the mountain while I piloted the FJR.

The FJR is nice; there is no denying that, it has lots of power and gobs or torque on demand and in any gear. I am not a huge fan of the Corbin seat that the previous owner had installed as it created a few pressure points for me and I felt as though I was sitting to low and in the bike. But those are minor adjustments that can be made on any bike… I could go on and on about what I like and dislike about the FJR, but then that wouldn’t be too entertaining.

Halfway up the mountain the roads became wet; apparently we had just missed the rain. With that in mind I cut the pace back a bit and just eased up the mountain in 4th gear. I say I eased up the mountain but in all honesty I was still running a good 60-70. I had no clue I was running that quick till I made a quick glance down after I exited one of the corners… oops. Guess that’s why they call it a sport tourer?

At the top of the mountain Dad and I pulled into the Lake View Restaurant for one of their homemade hamburgers. (Still have yet to find the lake) We talked a bit about the FJR and how it compares to the Connie and Dad is still encouraging me to take the FJR out for a good long day ride so that I can have a better appreciation for it. Eventually I will do that, but only when I am in a position to buy…I have a feeling I know what will happen when I ride it all day. Prime example: My hesitation towards moving up to a 250cc bike while currently riding a 125cc. After a day at Brown Mountain on a 250cc, the 125cc was for sale the following week. After lunch we continued up 52 past the shot tower and up onto 77 and made our way up into West Virginia.

Rolling through one of the tunnels heading into WV

Thought it was neat...

Skies are starting to look at bit rough

On my way home from The Summer Mountain Ride back in 2009, I took Route 19 south out of Beckley, West Virginia in order to miss the toll booths. I had mentioned this road to Dad, so we decided to make our way over to that and head north and then go from there. Now at this point I can’t exactly remember what we did wrong but somehow we ended up heading the wrong direction on one of the connecting roads and after we found ourselves almost in Virginia again, we figured something was wrong. To make things more entertaining that rain front was working its way in and we were starting to get wet… Fortunately the direction we needed to go was still under blue skies, but we didn’t know how long that would last. After turning around and riding back the way we came with the rain nipping at our heels, we managed to make it onto route 19 and started north towards Beckley.

Route 19 was just like I remembered a nice twisty, country back road with rolling hills and some amazing scenery. We stopped about half way up to Beckley just off Hwy 77 to top of the tanks and grab an oatmeal cookie then continued on up 19. The miles ticked on pretty good and apparently they got good to us because before we knew it we were rolling into Beckley, West Virginia. We pulled off in a bank parking lot to check over the map and to find a fun but quick route home. So we decided to make our way back down 19 to pick up 3 heading east and then catch 20 south until we ran into 77 and take that home.

I had been on Hwy 3 during the WVSMR and enjoyed it this time just as much as I did the first time. (Though I wasn’t getting out ran by some local in a Pontiac Vibe GT) 20 wasn’t a bad road either and it made for a nice country road as well. To be honest I really haven’t found a road in WV that I haven’t enjoyed riding… just saying.

Headed out of WV and back home

We made it home sometime around 5 pm Sunday afternoon with somewhere around 320 miles added to the odometers. It was a nice ride, however, if we would have started a bit sooner I am sure we could have spent some more time up that way and explored. But either way it was nice ride and we stayed dry for the most part. Another great Father’s day spent on motorcycles. I look forward to many more.