Saturday, August 13, 2011
One Day, Two Wheels
After the series of mishaps that plagued The Wife and me on the way out to N. Carolina, we seem to have caught some luck.
Deer Trail Campground, slightly off Interstate 77 exit 47 in Virginia, offered a spot to regroup, hit some roads, then sit around the campfire while enjoying a bit of Jack Daniel's and a cigar after a long day. Although running across the occasional odd fellow camper and a statistically aberrant number of lapdogs, it was a fine place to be, surrounded by some of the finest biking country I’ve had a chance to ride. Possibly adding to the experience was the dearth of other bikers attending Sturgis on the other side of the Mississippi. In a seven-hour day of riding, the number of bikes I passed was easily in the single digits.
Our first stop was Big Walker Lookout, elevation 3400 feet. This was just a ten minute ride from camp:
The BW Country Store sits between the east and west views; they have a fine selection of locally made fudge and other items that’ll put several pounds on in short order.
For a ten dollar fee, you can risk your life on this ramp if you don’t like the view from the ground:
From there, riding down Route 16 involves a lot of first and second gear work; vehicles over 35 feet are prohibited. After handling the curves, I can see why:
Still, there’re plenty of straight sections where the operator can enjoy the scenery, thinking about what could be done with enough time and money:
One of the stops was Hungry Mother State Park; the climb and descent from the stopping point involving hairpin curves in first gear for miles at a time, but well worth the work for the view:
Coming out the high areas, we moved towards Rural Retreat, VA to top off the bike’s tank, and grab some lunch. Joey’s Country Kitchen is next door to the gas station on Main Street, and home of one of the largest and best plates of biscuits and sausage gravy I’ve encountered. Breakfast is served all day at their place, and it’s more than worth the ride. The local architecture is something to see also, with several well-preserved Victorian era homes still in good condition, as well as some buildings in lesser condition, but still of interest:
From there, it was back to the campground through Jefferson National Forest, with some more fine roads.
Wytheville, VA is nearby, with more grand old homes, and several Civil War era buildings downtown still in use. Given some more time, I’ll be stopping back there in the future for more riding and local touring.