|US 250 - Helvetia - WV20 Route : July 30, 2010|
Okay, this trip originally started out with big plans. I was going to meet up with the some of the Christian Sportbike Guys (even though I don't ride as such) at the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Waynesboro, VA. That's easy to get to, just take US250 all the way until I get there, I figure about 200 miles of twisty highway and I'm there. Then, after the 2-day rally I would then head south on Sunday and do the entire Blue Ridge Parkway. At the bottom, I would then catch US 23, and then follow that up to US 119 which would take me home again. At least those were the plans.
And I did a heck of a lot of planning. Got my front tire changed by my tire guy Ryan at Cyclemart on Thurs, I checked out of work early on Friday, got the Monday and Tuesday off, and back on Wed. Tight, because I had a work deadline on Friday but hey, who can't get 5 days of work done in 3 when you're gonna have tons of fun, right?
So here goes nothing ....
I get to Elkins easily enough, and couldn't help notice this dental office. Let's just say I don't expect Bob Brown (CSBA President) to be a customer anytime soon, LOL
Discovered a neat shortcut around the horribly busy intersection where US250,US33,WV92,WV55 and US 219 all meet. A real mess.
Stopped for gas at Dailey. This is how three cats come together: Tiger, Lion and Black Panther (Baghira)
I happened to glance down at my rear tire and noticed it was starting to wear down to the cord. Good grief, how could I have missed this! Why didn't I get Ryan to change my rear while he was doing the front, which I figured I was going to have to do soon enough anyway? Now the trip is OFF! There's just NO WAY I was going to make a 1000+ mile trip when I even questioned whether I could make it home. Now I suppose I could have left this in God's hands and maybe the tire would make it to the rally, meet up with the boys, and then I would come home the next day. That would make the trip maybe 600 miles total. Now I'm no theologian, but common sense tells me that God seldom rewards stupid, and that's exactly what I'd feel if the tire didn't make it. You can't break the laws of physics, so the only thing to do was to head home. So, I had to call Mike, already at the hotel in Waynesboro, that I could not make it.
I checked the map, maybe I can salvage at least an interesting route home that I've not done before. I've got it, down the road at Mill Creek, I'll take this secondary road that goes thru Helvetia, and evetually to WV20 which then easily takes me home thru Buckhannon.
The route looks pretty interesting. Especially staring at the mountains from the gas station, which I no doubt would have to cross. And shortly, I'm on roads like this:
And down the first mountain range, I find myself at this railroad crossing.
More twisty roads later, and I find myself in Helvetia. Now, I have actually heard of this place through I think NPR. Didn't realize it was so isolated. Anyway it's somewhat famous because this is where the Swiss settlers settled in WV. Also neat because I actually lived in Switzerland from 1982-83.
Their community hall had what I recognized to be the line-up of Swiss cantonal crests / shields.
This one is my favorite (Thurgau, the part of Switzerland that meets Germany and Austria)
These are from the French speaking part of Switzerland (Suisse Romande)
There was even a restaurant there. The Hütte which I suppose should be Die Hütte. It's dinnertime, so time to grab a bite to eat :-)
Well, what do you know, the menu is brought to you by the Black Panthers (and I'm riding one!)
So I ordered a sandwich but I was distracted by the serving staff who were dressed up in Swiss fashion that I forgot to tell them how I wanted it. So I got white bread (wanted rye), mayo (hold that), no mustard and no onions. Oh well, I guess I'll have to come back and get it right.
The rest of the twisty route would take me thru Czar and Selbyville. Seems this photo could have been taken anywhwere, LOL.
Finally reaching WV 20.
Now it's a simple matter of following that to Buckhannon. Couldn't help notice this house from the highway.
Once north of Buckhannon, I decided to take Hacker's Creek Rd off WV 20 at Hodgesville. This would take me to Jane Lew.
A really beautiful route with farmland and hills in the background
Once at the Jane Lew Truck stop, I then decided to take Jesse Run, hoping this would lead me to Lost Creek.
A neat tree tunnel
Someone's got a garden wa-a-y-y below!
Next thing the road turned to gravel and headed in the wrong direction to boot, I thought Great!, I'll get lost on my way to Lost Creek. The road got a bit dicey in spots, but even with my street tires, the geometry of my bike allows me to stay in reasonable control as long as I don't get crazy.
Finally the gravel ends a few miles later at this haunted house (to the left of my bike) parked here.
Now I'm on a narrow road that would take me to Johnstown before reaching Lost Creek. No tractors in sight here.
More nice farmland.
And deer out to pasture. Saw deer previously but couldn't get a photo as I was too busy riding.
Once I got to Lost Creek, I knew where I was, it was then just a matter of taking Mt. Clare Rd, past Pyramid Valley MX, to Clarksburg. After filling up with gas, it was getting dark, so it made sense to simply get on the Interstate and get home. Good timing, got dark just as I was finished.
So, all told this trip was about 190 miles (instead of the 1000+ mile trip I originally planned!) I got on the road around 2:30pm and was home by 8:30pm, so I guess 6 hours total. It's nice to prove that you really don't need a lot of time to have a gr-r-r-eat trip. I could have done this any Friday after work or any day on the weekend :-)
The funny thing is, adrenaline is what keeps me going while I'm on the bike, but once I get home after a trip like that, I am beat. I don't know why this is so, but that's what happens to me.