WV Loop to Spruce Knob - Beckley : Sep 21-22, 2012
Sept 21 : to Lewisburg | Sept 22 : to Mullens, back home
The next morning, I discover the hot water faucet is loose. Good thing I had my tool kit with me, which I always carry with me because I'm on a motorcycle. Otherwise I would have had a cold shower and I wasn't willing to wait until the front desk finally opened later in the day.
Looks like a nice day to get started out, I'm on the road by 8am.
I head south on US219 thru Lewisburg and onto Ronceverte. I stop at one of those malls that still has their 60s/70s style sign. Not commonly seen anymore.
US 219 descends into a valley where I meet up with WV 63. There's a CSX station at this junction.
Locomotive 820. Pick any number and do a web search and you will find it extensively photographed by the rail buffs.
Continuing west on WV 63, I note the morning fog hasn't yet lifted.
WV 63 ends at Alderson where I pick up WV 3, an important east-west route along the southern part of the state, before Interstate 64. This will take me to Beckley.
In Alderson, I stop to get a photo of this nice bridge over the Greenbrier river.
With the river on the left, there are rocks on my right. I like the way my skinny bike hides in this photo.
Next a stop at a salvage/wrecking yard to make note of one of those heavy duty tow trucks. Kind of overkill to move my vehicle.
Climing up from the river valley, I come across a sign for the Big Bend Tunnel (but no sign of the Tunnel entrance from here).
Nice view of the valley below.
After some twisty roads later, WV 3 then descends into Hinton (Summers County), where I stop to note the dam.
The rest of WV 3 through Summers county is a rider's dream. Lots of twists and turns until I get to the Raleigh county line.
Now in Raleigh county, onto Beckley.
I pass by this nice small lake, which after checking my map later, turns out to be Beaver Lake State Park.
On my way into Beckely, things are put into a different perspective when you see one of those giant gas station canopies on its side. Most likely it blew down during that giant wind storm that ripped across the state at the end of June. Many people lost power for over a week. I live in town so I was lucky that we only lost power for a few hours (and it was restored before I got home from a long trip out West).
WV 3 snakes under the I-64 overpass.
Now into downtown Beckley, I seek out the courthouse which I remember as one of those modern art-deco style structures.
Note at bottom left, they use an old yellow painted US Mail box to accept traffic ticket citation payments.
Now for a nice corner shot of the building.
This 1-hour dry cleaning service has been in business for a while.
As I head out of town and connect with WV 16 and head south, I am faced with two choices for lunch at this stop.
I pick the assembly line food over the pizza joint. Weather by now has cleared up nicely again.
Now I continue south through Crab Orchard. I always include one of these neat MZ Baghira shadow shots as part of my write-up.
At the Beckley Antique Mall (another place where I look but buy nothing), I spot this very rare Distinguished Flying Cross driver. Never seen one of these on the road before. Interesting how the plate is marked COMBAT. I have to think a medal of that level is only a awarded in a combat situation.
WV 54 splits off from WV 16, on my way to Mullens. Along the way, I note the small Post Office in Lester. Gotta love those postage stamp sized post offices.
A few miles later, I find myself at the turn-off to Mullens, where I meet WV 16 again. I hope those clouds don't gang up on me!
I stop by Mullens Salvage. To be politically incorrect, yes, it's a junkyard.
And yes, they even have a junkyard dog. A Jack Russel terrier.
The last dog I'd expect on the dangerous dog registry.
Next I visit a friend in Stephenson, who lives on top of a ridge. The road would be a challenge on my motorcycle under slippery conditions.
The apex of my journey reached it's now rather late in the day and I want to be home by tonight.
Going down from the ridge is a little easier. There were several switchbacks like this one.
I continue on WV 16 north, which is far more twisty than the WV 54 shortcut to Mullens. I reach Sophia at the juncture.
Which takes me back to Beckley and continuing north, it meets up with WV 61. Neat how 61 and 16 juxtaposed like that.
Continuing past Oak Hill, I notice I am next to US 19. Now, I could get on US 19 and head home directly but I still have enough time to keep the trip interesting.
Continuing north onto Fayetteville, county seat of Fayette county. They have an impressive court house.
Where I have my bike parked, another interesting license plate. I guess this motorist likes to count by fives. In two years, the sticker at top right will say '15' so then they'll go 5, 10, 15.
Soon WV 16 departs from US 19 and I think aha, some good roads must be coming up because I need to cross the New River Gorge and not by way of that famous bridge US 19 spans. So, it will be down the valley and back up.
I like the way my skinny bike hides against the side of the road in this forest.
Soon after this point, the part of WV 16 that is shared by US 60, I see sportbikes going in the opposite direction and for good reason. The road gets very twisty and fun, so no pictures until I reach the New River at the bottom.
The town is Gauley Bridge, where WV 16 splits up from US 60.
I want to continue north on WV 16, which I know will eventually take me to Harrisville. But by then it will be dark, so I figure I'll get on WV 4 which will then take me to the Interstate sooner, just about the time I figure daylight will end.
On WV 16 I reach another cute postage stamp sized post office, this one in Dixie.
Incidentally I'm not far from the Mt. Olive Correctional Faclity, so a directional sign tells me.
Continuing on WV 16 north, I'm in a rather deep valley. Wow.
Looking forward, I see the sunlight is now gracing the top of the hills and definitely not in the valley below where I am.
Starting to get a bit cooler, but not to the point of needing a jacket liner.
I set off once again, only to hear a loud clunk. Shoot, don't tell me my chain broke again. Thankfully not.
A short while later there is construction restricting the road to one-way traffic. I have enough time at the light to get this pic.
I want to stop and photograph the court house in Clay but discover they have some kind of carnival going on main street. BBQ smoke, carnival rides, there's just too many crowds, so I skip parking the bike so that I can get a photo of the courthouse which looks down upon the town.
WV 16 then follows the Elk River.
I skip the turn-off to head north on WV 16 so I continue along the Elk River, this time on WV 4.
That's some serious kudzu vines taking over those trees.
I see a turn-off for I-79 at the town of Duck (yes, there really are some strangely named places in this state), so I get there just as it is getting dark and I can see the moon is out.
Made it to the Interstate just in time, I head north, still around 80 miles from home.
When I get the bike into the garage, I see my chain guard had come loose. So, that was the clunk sound came from.