Road to the Ride-In(tm) Day 3
Oh man am I tired. We rode for more than 10 hours today and I would say 7 of the 10 was on twisty, technical roads that required your full attention. I was in HEAVEN!
It wasn’t necessarily intentional. Before we left MO I told the husbs that I wanted to ride around in West Virginia because when the Ride-In™ was in Canaan Valley, I hadn’t been able to attend and I had heard stories about how amazing the roads were for riding swerves and curves. I had taken an extra day, remember, just to be able to take our time and actually do some sight-seeing as opposed to blasting through on the super slab highway. Well today didn’t disappoint.
We blasted out of Elizabethtown KY at around 7:30 or so. We might have left earlier but for the fact that the elevator in the hotel was broken and we had to walk down all our gear and a couple of coolers from the 3rd floor and the husbs LOVES waffles made fresh…enough said. We made it to Charleston WV in no time and it was there that I had penciled in a detour around the state. It was going to be Hwy 60 to 19 to 41 to….you know the drill. The only problem was that, as you may have heard, WV was horribly flooded on June 23rd where lives were lost and homes were destroyed and I didn’t want to be a Lookie Lou, I just wanted to visit good riding roads. I intended to stay out of the Southeast part of the state and to stay away from those heartbroken people trying to put their lives back together. I intended to but sometimes things just happen.
We started down Hwy 60 which was on the edge of the river that caused so much harm and I finally had to stop at a gas station to review the map because I thought I had missed Highway 19. At the station, I pulled out the Gazetteer (if you don’t have one for every state in the union, get one…) and started the page flipping when the station’s tanker truck driver came over and provided us with some much needed information as to which roads were still closed and what we should do to avoid a bad and tight U-turn situation. He suggested we didn’t do what I had written onto my windshield but instead do something else which sounded perfect but unbeknownst to me would add several miles and hours…
Let’s just say that Highway 60 to Lewisburg was AMAZING! Swerves and curves and climbing and dipping and 15 mile an hour hairpins…not just one or 2 but TONS! Of course we didn’t do that many miles cause the average speed was probably 40 but it was a Memory Maker for sure but those Memories will only be in my mind and not in a photo because all the turn outs were on very loose gravel and because I hadn’t intended to go this way, I had no idea what was around the corner and when I got around the corner it was there and then ARGHHH! Passed it! I also had the husbs who was doing this dragging a trailer and with no rear brake so yeah, I wasn’t going to try to swing us into a gravel pit from hell with a quick twist of the wrist and a blink.
There was a very horrible section when we hit the town of Rainelle. We had no idea that this town had been devastated by the flood. I had known that the Southeast section of WV had been flooded and had thought that we were staying WAY away from that section by staying west of Lewisburg but I was wrong. We rode into Rainelle and I was instantly reminded of the tornado devastation I witnessed in Joplin, MO. The difference was that the citizens of Joplin lost all of their belongings to the tornado and the landscape was void of trees; houses; bushes; flowers; cars; and possessions of any kinds, etc. In the town of Rainelle, the homes were still there but all of their belongings was piled out front of their homes and businesses in a soggy and molding mess. Their homes and flowers and cars and gardens might still be there but they were waterlogged and in some way the piles and mud covered lives was worse for me than viewing the flattened and blank landscape left by a tornado. I am still thinking and crying about their losses tonight. They had to GUT THEIR HOMES! The drywall and furniture and curtains and family heirlooms and….Oh my lord. I have no idea how long it will take for that community and others in WV to return to some state of normalcy so I can only send a charitable donation of funds and my prayers…and tears. So many tears.
We get to Lewisburg and start north on 219 finding it even more swervy and curvy than Highway 60 and more than 70 miles of it to boot. The road was rather rough and there were several instances when we would get a warning sign of a “single lane” which ended up being caused by the road just being gone…I am certain that was also due to the rain but wowzer….
The husbs was hurting. The arthritis in his left thumb; no rear brakes; 15 and 20 and 25 mile an hour curves; 9% grade declines; and then the fact that it was hour after hour after hour of it. I was leaving him behind cause I didn’t have a trailer and I had all my brakes and finally at a gas stop I pulled out the phone to pull up TripAdvisor and booked a hotel 23 miles away…which wasn’t close enough for the husbs.
Tomorrow we only have to travel 230 miles and it is almost all interstate. I promised the husbs that I wouldn’t wake him up super early but I also told him that we wouldn’t be sleeping in and leaving at 10. He asked “So what time then?” and I said…”We shall see…”