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Ride Report: - "The Mothman Ride" to Point Pleasant
Madman in Training
Masamune's Avatar
Posts: 64
Join Date: December 13, 2004
Location: Arlington, VA
Ride Report: - "The Mothman Ride" to Point Pleasant - August 13, 2007, 03:20 PM

The Bike: 06 R6 freshly tuned and oiled

Equipment: Spidi 1 Piece; backpack; West Virginia Gazetter

The Ride: 2 days to Gallipolis, Ohio and back

The Route:
Day 1: Toll Road to 50 to 19 to 33 to 2 to 35 to 64 to Charleston

Day 2: 64 to 62 (U-Turn at Buffalo) to 62 to 34 to multiple one lane county roads to 119 to 4 to 15 to 219 to 250 to 81 to 66

Mileage: broke 1000 miles guess is 1060

The Report: (important info for WV explorers)

I write this with throbbing wrists and a grin. Over the past 2 days I learned something about West Virginia, something about myself, and a few things about roads and traveling in general. A long road is never the same ride twice and if taken in the opposite direction can have an entirely different character and feel. I had fond memories of route 50 over Mt. Storm as being a very fun ride heading this way. Outbound the road was not nearly as exciting and the great anticipation I had turned into slight disappointment and confusion as I wondered if this was the same road I journeyed on a few months ago. I wanted a change from 211 to 33 and a change is what I got.

Other than a break for snacks my first real stop was Point Pleasant. I did not see any Mothmen but I did see the bridge that collapsed in 67 and saw some really interesting countryside that seemed almost geometrically perfect. Evenly spaced rolling hills with beautiful foliage that appeared almost trimmed. Point Pleasant itself is charming and small and it was good to be far away. I decided to cross the bridge into Gallipolis, Ohio and then turn back to Charleston. I saw some massive coal plants that I mistook for reactors. Seeing these massive towers in the middle of nothing is a little eerie. As I was reflecting on this I noticed a white shape erupt from the trees on my left and set an interception course for my motorcycle. WHOMP-WHOMP...WHOMP. I heard flapping and initiated course changes to evade this winged beastie to no avail as it course corrected for my helmet. I flinched and whipped my head to the right and just avoided a collision with an unidentified avian being hell-bent on suicide. I passed another massive coal plant and apart from a few ordinary deer the ride into Charleston was less stressed.

I hate deer. I do not know what it is about dusk and deer but as the sun sets some species-wide zeitgeist possesses these things to mess with bikers. Lets dart out into the road and then pull a U-turn and see how it affects that humanoid approaching on two wheels! Fun stuff. Is it a desire to avenge the deaths of hunted deer that makes these rodents so eager to kamikaze themselves by targeting motorcyclists as the light fades to grey?

A self-caused delay gets me into Charleston an hour later than planned. Highways can sometimes split into two directions just as a truck is blocking all signage. Note to self after arriving in town: a street can be very long and have numbers that count down to zero in the middle and then count back up causing a journey of 150 blocks or so to find 6400 Maccorkle St. Note: The Days Inn in South Charleston is to be avoided at all costs. Think mildew. Think stench. Think wet carpet and an AC unit that sounds like a 747. Think far away from the city center. At this hour I needed a short soak in the hotel pool. To call this large bath an outdoor pool requires considerable imagination.

Fantasies of a luxurious Southern home-made meal with a glass of wine were shattered by the lateness of the hour. I traveled all the way to Charleston to have dinner at Applebees. I gorged myself senseless with a bruschetta-pesto burger, blondie with ice-cream and two Margaritas. Salt and sugar past eleven equals dehydration, cotton-mouth and a total inability to sleep.

Day 2 begins with a visit to Charleston proper and a very good breakfast at First Watch. It was at this point that for the first time I got slightly irritated at traveling in a one-piece leather suit. Squirming around to get comfortable, spilling water, enduring the strange looks. After a less than restful night it was irksome. On to Putnam county. After a brief stop to look up an old friend...it was time to ride and hit some good roads. I turned off 62 onto 34. What a road. Think the yellow sign for twisties with the words 20 miles underneath!!!!! Clean road a combination of sweepers and tight turns and a nice well-paved ride. Alas payback was to come.

The cost for this was a descent into unnamed county roads that had me wandering around the backwoods, white knuckling on questionable road surfaces at 5 miles per hour. Rusted vehicle hulks, crumbling buildings and the requisite encounter with a goat-walking local and a grinning toothless, sexless leathery humanoid on a tractor...and no I am not picking on country folk. These were real characters. I watched Deliverance for the first time last month so I admit to a certain fear.

Taking an R6 over crumbling pavement and five mile an hour roads that loop around valleys is a draining experience. Somehow I eventually found Walton and 119. After a pizza stop at Clendenin it was the fun route 4 all the way to Sutton. There is no good food on the road. None. There is only pizza, hot dogs, chips and doughnuts. Especially on Sunday. Fresh is not an option. Nope.

The knees and wrists were going so I had to take aggressive treatment options. Red Bull plus Ibuprofen plus Lipton's diet green tea. Having to strip out of my leathers in a nasty gas station bathroom in Sutton was also not a high point. I switched over to the 15 towards Webster Springs. Great road as well. At Valley Head it was 219 North - a road that follows the valley and has beautiful views and loooooonnnng sweepers . It was getting late in the day it was a right at Huttonsville to take 250 to Monterey, Virginia. Lots of curves. Lots of gravel. Gravel is not fun. It is really shitty that gravel likes to live in spots right before most apexes in the hills. The road is not the track.

Monterey, Virginia as the sun sets. At this point I was actually kind of hoping for a straight road. 250 to Staunton is not that. The buck glaring at me from the top of a hillock was my warning. As the light went so did my ability to take turns. I was early apexing, slow and gripping the bars for dear life. Two little Bambis tried to take me out and then it was dark. 15 mile an hour curves in the darkness. Not fun. When deer rule the roads - not fun. Adrenaline and fear for an hour straight. Best to be parked and safely ensconced by nightfall. I was happy to hit 81 North finally. Intact. The suicide rodents from Hell did not GET me. This time.

The main menace on 81 was the big rigs and DVD-watching sedan owners. This was one time I was actually happy to be on 66.
I hate that road every day except for last night. 66 meant home and my bed. What a ride!!!!!!!
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Knee Draggin!
donniecs's Avatar
Posts: 605
Join Date: March 11, 2007
Location: Frederick, MD
August 13, 2007, 09:19 PM

Sounds like you had a good time. I've wanted to do a trip like this all summer, if you decide to ever do it again let me know.

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