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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Returned Saturday afternoon from a 3000 kilometer ride and tour of West Virginia. This included Summerville, New River Gorge and Bridge, Carnifax Ferry Battleground, Hawk's Nest State Park, Thurmond, Cass, Highland Scenic Drive, Monogahela National Forest, Cranberry Glades, Hinton, Blue Stone and PipeStem, Greenbriar River and Valley, and many other places. The ride included Rts. 41, 39, 19, 60, 64, 69, 15 and 55 and probably several others that I have forgotten.

What I liked best: The awesome views and the great motorcycle roads. Followed by the historic places to visit like Cass and Thurmond.

What to be careful about: Deer - everywhere and all day long. I had some close calls on curves. Have to look through the curves as there are plenty of dangers waiting around everyone including the deer. Along with deer, look out for gravel - seems to be in every curve. I also found wood - from lumber trucks, diesel, and on coming traffic straddling or crossing over the double yellow.

How did the Versys do? Great - it's trully an all roads bike. Even with the stock tires the bike handled flawlessly in the curves. Plenty of power in the engine to haul me, three cases plus a 55 litre dry bag of gear up the mountains. I got caught in the worse downpour of my riding career and the bike handled very well in the wet. I had my vents open on my jacket and the water just poured in - it took about a 1/2 hour to drain all the water out. The best part is that I got lost in some back woods logging roads and ended up doing some dual-sport mud wamping with the Versys. Even with all the cases the V handled the dirt very well and the engine was very manageable in the whole event. I can attest to the Versatile name of this bike.

Overall what did I think of the ride: The curves were technically challenging. The posted speeds were very close to what you could take the curve at safely. But, throw in the gravel, deer, oncoming traffic and usually a local that knows these roads riding your butt - it amounts to a lot of stress. I found that I would be 10 to 15 mph over the posted limit and found someone right on my tail. I hated that part. Some of the curves were so tight especially in the Hawk's Nest State Park area that the road appeared to fold in on itself. You can see the scrapes in the roads where cars have taken the curve too sharply and bottomed out.

Best roads: By far FR 150 - Highland Scenic Drive. Some curves but a lot of awesome straights to get up to speed. The views are spectacular up there. In second is 39 through Monogahela National Forest that leads to 150. And for third 15 heading to Helvatia.

Here are some photos:

Ignore the elevation - that's my current elevation in Niagara Falls.

Highland Scenic Highway (FR 150)


Overlook for Sandstone Falls



If you are interested in the full set of pictures:
http://flickr.com/photos/tdk1246/sets/72157606272405015/
 

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MORE PICS! ;)

Yeah, we've got TONS of deer in the Mid Atlantic region....

My worst wreck was caused by 3 deer, 3 years ago and still aching from it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Glad to hear you are ok - Lukejt. Three deer is a triple, oh dear moment.

The closest I came was around noon, I was cruising through some curves and a red pickup truck was riding my azz so I had the speed picked up a bit and hoping for a turnoff suitable for a motorcycle. Came around a curve and a doe had just jumped down onto the road. I was looking through the curve and had plenty of time to slow it down and let her scamper across the road. She was trapped on the other side and I could see her panic because a sheer wall of rock blocked her escape. I was afraid she'd come back across. Luckilly the driver in the truck was between phone calls and didn't rear end me.

If you want more pics - click here: http://flickr.com/photos/tdk1246/sets/72157606272405015/
 

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West Virginia is a great place to ride....I think it's as good as eastern TN, western NC., or North GA. it's kind of a untapped resource for riding.

The road up Gaulley mountain (RT60) to Hawks Nest is one of my favorite's, as is RT16.

Nice pics, and great ride report.
 

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Looks and sounds like you had a good ride. You hit some of the good main roads for sure.

Wish I had known you were here. You were traveling all around my home turf. Wife and I were out farther to the south Sat scouting for an FJR rally in Sept. I could have shown you some lesser traveled connectors to the places you sought and avoided some of the local traffic while seeing a few sights most miss.

Here is a link to some favorite area main road routes complete with maps, turn by turn directions and GPS files in a couple of different formats if anyone is interested:

http://www.fjrforum.com/eom/rides.html
 

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Discussion Starter #7
West Virginia is a great place to ride....I think it's as good as eastern TN, western NC., or North GA. it's kind of a untapped resource for riding.

The road up Gaulley mountain (RT60) to Hawks Nest is one of my favorite's, as is RT16.

Nice pics, and great ride report.
That was definitely a great road - lot's of fun. I now too have a photograph from that parking lot. What a view.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Looks and sounds like you had a good ride. You hit some of the good main roads for sure.

Wish I had known you were here. You were traveling all around my home turf. Wife and I were out farther to the south Sat scouting for an FJR rally in Sept. I could have shown you some lesser traveled connectors to the places you sought and avoided some of the local traffic while seeing a few sights most miss.

Here is a link to some favorite area main road routes complete with maps, turn by turn directions and GPS files in a couple of different formats if anyone is interested:

http://www.fjrforum.com/eom/rides.html
I should have spoke up before leaving but I felt I had it covered. Did some research and I worked from a book 'Motorcycle Journeys through the Appalachians' by Dale Coyner. I liked his format of using a 'base camp' and circle routes. That way I didn't have to pack up every morning.

What's the deal with the gravel in every curve? Is that left over from winter or what?

I'll definitely be in touch the next time I go down there. Your very lucky to live in a part of the country that has some of the best motorcycle roads.
 

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Gravel in curves is dragged into road by tractor trailers and others as they cut the curves too short and go off onto the berm. 95% of the time if you are running in either of the two vehicle tracks it is avoidable but that other 5% sure does make for some pucker moments!

Yes, I'm very lucky to have such a wonderful place to ride. I try never to take it for granted.

Give a shout next time (if you are so inclined of course) and we'll do up some side roads that were made especially for the Versys! Roads like these: http://s158.photobucket.com/albums/t94/spklbuk/williams_mtn/
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Oh those pics bring back the memories. It's makes me weak just looking at them. I want to go back, soon. We don't have much for curves up here - it's all flat - flat land, flat roads. I know a few select spots but not much beyond that.
 

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Well, I guess that's what you get for letting all those glaciers come thru way back when! Hope you can come back our way soon. Ride safe.
 
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