Yesterday, my friend Ryan and I decided to do a day trip to West Virginia. West Virginia, as I'm sure a lot of you know, is home to some of the twistiest roads, and some of the best scenery the east coast of the US has to offer. I departed my home here in northeast Tennessee at 7AM, with plans to meet up with Ryan at 8AM in Lebanon Va. Safety checks completed, I donned my riding gear, strapped the helmet up snug, fired the Versys up and pulled out of the driveway. Stopping to fuel up about a mile from home, I realized that in my rush to get going, I had left my wallet on the toolbox in the garage. After returning home to retrieve it and then returning to the station to fuel up, I met up with Ryan about 8:45AM. We departed Lebanon Via Hwy 19, and headed for route 16. after some discussion over the helmet coms, Ryan insisted that we check out an overlook he had discovered on Route 16, at the end of what is known as the "Back of the Dragon". The view here was amazing!:
After a bit of conversation at the overlook, we mounted up and pointed the bikes toward West Virginia. I had forgotten just how much of a blast route 16 into WV is, but was quickly reminded within the first few curves. I don't think they know how to pave a straight road in the state! We arrived in War, WV a little while later and only stopped to take one picture:
This building intrigued us both for some strange reason, and I would love to know the purpose behind the blue, heavy steel door. Was that the jail cell? Pressing on, we made our way into Welch, WV where we stopped to eat at the Sterling Drive-In. Now, we had both eaten here before. Not the greatest food, but not too bad, and neither of us mind one bit giving our money to ole' mom and pop over some large chain. We ordered our food and conversed about the ride thus far, and what the day held in store for us. When our food arrived we both could hardly wait to dig in. For some reason, my brain told me to flip my burger over. Boy, am I glad I did. MOLDY BUN! I decided it probably would be best to pass on eating anything from here, and had the waitress remove the plate from the table. Ryan wolfed down his BBQ and fries while I sat there hungry, having skipped breakfast. We agreed to stop somewhere else along the way for me to grab something to eat, and both unanimously agreed that we wouldn't return to Sterling Drive-In. We rolled out of Welch and proceeded on toward Pineville continuing along 16, until it met up with 19 heading toward Fayetteville. A quick stop at a Hardee's had my stomach full, and we proceeded on to the day's destination; New river Gorge. Crossing the bridge was quite amazing, and we both were standing on the pegs enjoying the view. We made a stop at the visitors center for a couple of quick pics:
Such an amazing place, and we were only getting Started! I had done some research before hand and discovered Fayette Station Road, which I believe was route 88, though I could be mistaken. Fayette Station Road was originally the only way around the gorge and across the river, until the New River Gorge Bridge was completed. We made our way down Fayette Station, twisting and turning down the side of the gorge until we came upon this gem of a photo op:
Ryan, being a photographer decided that he would take the opportunity to turn that overlook into a 45 minute photo shoot and, given the amazing view and the heat of the day, I didn't mind the break.
Making our way to the bottom of the gorge, we were in for the best views of the day from the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge. A wooden/steel bridge that has all the characteristics of a giant erector set. It's construction was quite impressive, as was the view looking up at the Large bridge:
We spent a good hour and a half at the bottom of the gorge, and were both able to capture some pretty good photos.
Looking down on New River from the lower bridge:
Either Chris and Mary K have a child named Savannah, or the 3 of them are in love:
I thought this bit of graffiti was worth sharing:
Just around the corner from the lower bridge, was the put in area for rafters and Kayakers. Some good shots were able to be had here as well:
We decided to mount back up and head back into Beckley and from there grab some dinner and discuss the route home. We decided to slab on I64 to I77, exit in Bluefield, WV via 19. By the time I reached my driveway, I had logged 476.7 miles for the day, my longest on the Versys yet. I must say, every mile was worth it, and I think the state of West Virginia gets a bad wrap. While there is no denying that the state is home to some of the most depressed and poor areas in the union, these areas offer some of the finest scenery, the nicest people, and a simpler way of life that I think we could all benefit from. cheers