Tigerboy's Domain Flea Market / antique mall hopping odessy on my MZ Baghira - Aug 15 2009

Instead of thinking of the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock, I decided to take today and put in a serious exploration trip on my MZ Baghira. You're heard of bar-hopping, right? Well in this case, I decided to go flea market and antique shop hopping. It's been a while since I've made 'the rounds' in WV so to speak, so what better time to do it, on my bike, on a bright warm sunny day? It will be interested to see what I can add to my collection of license plates. More than likely I will strike rust and overpriced junk, but who knows?

I left bright and early, just after 8am, and hit the flea market at that Drive-In on US-19 between Shinnston and Clarksburg. I don't go there often, and most of the time, there's nothing of interest, but this time, I did score a nice mini-run of WV cycles from the late 70s / early 80s for an easy $15. Look at the number on that 1980. I figure I might YOM register to my '80 Ducati, once I get it running, ha!

Before I get to Clarksburg, I stop by an elderly gentleman's house, he gets plates from junkyards from time to time so I wanted to see if he had anything new. Nope, not this time. Though he still has that Sheriff's plate that one day I hope he'll sell to me (ha!) - A photo of which you'll see later in this story.

When I get into Clarksburg on US-19, I pass thru two familiar intersections that have old-school traffic lights where the red light is considerably bigger than the yellow and green, and sticks out no less. I wonder how old these are. Older than me, I wonder? This photo gives you a pretty good idea of the lights.

Next stop, a junk-shop. Found nothing there, but outside was parked a pick-up with a lovely Korean Veteran plate

As I got back on the road, I remembered the antique shop next to it, which I forgot to check out and turned around to do so. The owner of the shop knew Gary Kincade, our former Secretary-Treasurer, who has probably the best collection in the State. This collection wasn't too shabby either, having fine 1909 to 1911 porcelains on the wall. They weren't for sale, but even if they were, I wouldn't have been able to afford them. Taking the picture was free, so here they are:

I did buy a few plates there, I thought the '39-'40 pair was worth $20 and the cycle plates were worth $5 a piece.

Onward and upward, towards Weston. I got a little ahead of myself in a tight curve that I scraped my boot, causing my bike to go wobbly from over-reacting to this. On my high-clearance bike this isn't all that easy to do, telling me I was way over, and needed to back off. That won't be the first time I scare myself riding on this trip as we shall see later.

I stopped at the border between Harrison County (where Clarksburg is the county seat) and Lewis County (where Weston is that). I try to make a point of photographing those ornate double-sided signs they sometimes have at the border.

In case you're wondering why I my bike parked facing that way, it's because of the camber of the gravel shoulders. Facing the other way, and my bike will want to tip over.

Before getting to Weston, I stopped by what is obviously a junk shop, with lots of junk in the yard, the kind of place, yes, that should have old plates. Turns out they did, but too expensive for my Tiger blood. Fortunately he let me take photos, so here we have dealer plates from 1976, both with the same number but different base-plate.

a used car dealer from 1967 (the year I was born) and a seldom seen trailer dealer, also from the 1976 Map base.

The map base, was the only time they used stickers, otherwise it was (and now is) annual plates. Turns out these plates belonged to his father's dealership, and maybe that's why he had a price too high. Interestingly enough, his daughter has a shop just down the street from my place. Weird, because he mentioned the exact neighrbhood where I live.

Arriving in Weston, the city sign is sometimes to be found, right next to the courthouse.

I like photographing courthouses, in fact I'm trying to do all 55 WV counties, no easy task. The morning sun just wasn't right, I'll have to return there later.

The Post Office across the street is one of the most interesting and beautiful in the whole State, I'm sure.

While downtown, it was time to check out the antique shop, which had moved from across the street, last I remember it a few years ago. They did have a few plates, so I bought these, all Maryland, in pairs. They're good for YOM I'm told but not sure if you can register VFW plates to a private car. Well, I suppose if you're such a Veteran and having an antique car of that year, I suppose. Not an easy resell prospect, that is for sure, fortunately I don't need to be in this hobby for resale, and undoubtedly I'm happy to keep the '67s at least. The 4/30 expiry plates are for trucks, and I know some people who wouldn't openly advertise this fact, and simply say you can use them on a car (which I'm sure you can, because they don't say 'truck').

On the opposite street, I spotted a curious Japanese truck, ones I remember well from being in Japan, but over here? And for Farm Use? Well the owner of the dealership told me he was getting them from Japan (no kidding, with the steering wheel on the right, and they even had the inspection stickers still intact in the windshield!) He said they could be used on the Farm, and then on non-divided highways, that is, backroads as long as you had insurance. THey aren't registered, since you can see, simply have a non-descript plate.

I check an outdoor flea market just outside of town. It looks like rubbish, but might as well check it out anyway. One thing I love about riding is that you never have to worry about parking.

Check out this table of cheap second-hand flea market trash and tell me what's special about this picture.

If you guessed the cat, you were bang on!

Time for Lunch. There's a Fox's Pizza with nobody parked out front yet it was open. Cool, I could really use a Fox's Stromboli. And it was DECENT! I've forgotten how great they are! Too bad the people at work are so anti-Fox (they are a Papa John's Pizza crowd).

Moving on, and finally getting to the heart of my trip, which was a nice tour around the Stonewall-Jackson Lakes region. First stop was the dam.

Built by the Army Corps of Engineers, I noticed their maintenance yard was open, and I figured, probably had some interesting Federal plates for me to photograph.

Sure enough, the boat trailers had these plates. The old style are just blue on white with CE (Corps of Engineers).

But take a look at the new plate. Wow.

They also had a GSA plate on a pick-up that you see everywhere, but this one has a nice number.

Taking county road 30 through the lake district, you get this nice view of the lake below.

County road 30 takes you to county road 15 which winds up and down over a series of hills. Man, what a great ride. Whenever there are roads like that, there are no pictures from me because I never stop. I'm too busy having fun. I meet US 19, then take county road 46 across more of the lake region and finally back on US 19 again completing the loop.

But near the end of the loop, I stop by the State Parks maintenance depot for more plate watching, and spot three boat trailers of three different sizes.

First this great big one, used for a houseboat, so it gets a 'C' plate.

Then a mid-sized trailer which gets your standard boat-trailer 'T' plate.

And now for a real wee trailer, still getting a 'T' plate and this one must be for a wave-runner or something.

US-33 (or Corridor 'H' as they call it) takes me to Buckhannon the county seat of Upshur, where I check out the courthouse, but I've photographed it previously, so I just need to photograph the Sheriff's vehicles. They have a real interesting de-tox unit. Checkout the notches on the side, seems to be the number of meth labs they've cleaned up in the county. Scary.

The plate that is on that truck.

And finally, their home confinement / parole office. It's directly across the courthouse, and the neat thing about this photo is that you can see a reflection of me taking the photo, plus my bike in the background :-)

There are two antique shop to check out. The first has a guy from my area, and mentions a guy in Morgantown who has a great collection. Any collection that has the black on white undated WV porcelain plate, issued in 1908 is a great one. So, I'll have to check it out.

The second shop is a real distinctive one. They offer free coffee (by now, I've been on the road for quite some time, so I could use the caffeine boost). What's weird here, are all those life-sized celebrity stand-up cardboard cut-outs. A lot of them are Elvis, and then you have ones like Dale Earnhart Jr, Superman, and others. This shop had no plates, but they had a really cool Barnum-Bailey Circus poster, nicely framed. Unfortunately not something I can haul home on my bike so I had to pass.

Ahh, circuses. I'd be a lot more entertained, if the Tiger actually ate the trainer! Looks like the one in this poster could! No human could take on that much Tiger muscle, LOL.

I then take county road 151 out of Buckhannon which will take me to Norton. Leaving Buckhannon, I had to stop and photograph these Con-Way frieght trucks.

With the Corporate Indiana truck plate.

When I finally get to Norton via a fairly twisty road that more or less runs close to US 33, that's basically where US250 meets US33. It's easy to take US250 home to where I live, but I decided, at Bennington, to take a detour and check out Audra State Park. That's a great 8 mile road leading there and I meet a guy on a non-street legal dirtbike with motocross numbers, followed by another guy on an ATV, but who is going to stop them on this backroad? At the state park, I noticed a lot of people wading in the water there, for some reason, but I didn't stop to investigate or take a dip. Not for me. Instead I was caught off guard by a switchback, another chance to dump the bike but I didn't and finally onto a main highway, US119.

I took US119 to WV57 and from there, backroads, some gravel, leading me to Anmoore, then Eastview leading into Clarksburg. The gravel roads before getting to Anmoore were nothing I haven't been on before, so I knew what to expect.

From Clarksburg, I take a road just west and roughly parallel to the Interstate heading North, so I get a nice view of Bridgeport below.

This takes me to WV 131, which will take me to Shinnston, but I know another backroads way home. Before I get to that sideroad, I notice the guy whom I met in town (at Spadafore's Gym, actually) who has the Husqvarna motard, a similar bike to mine but lighter. He's with a Suzuki sportbike rider.

Turns out I meet these guys again, when I get to NASA Rd, the place where I would turn off and go to my old work-place (they recently moved me to another building down the road). So I follow them into town, and instead of parking my bike at home and calling it a day. I decide to follow these guys until they go their separate ways.

Okay, after that, I head up to Rivesville where hopefully my friend Ray wil be home, so I can describe my trip. He wasn't home, but his truck was there plus my Triumph Tiger on his deck and looks like he's been taking good care of my Tiger.

Time to head home, but I want to take an interesting road I passed on the way up to Rivesville. This is Hawkinberry-Hollow Rd, just off US-19. So, I turn right on this, and find myself on another gravel road. But boy was I in for a surprise when it passed the houses, and then lead me up the hill and over dale. It got narrrow and rutted.

I had to really wonder where this went, and why on earth people would even use such a road. The road couldn't be passable in the winter, and I couldn't imagine it was much good after a rainstorm either. I have street tires on my bike because I love the way my bike handles on pavement, but it becomes a compromise on a road like this where knobbies would be much better. There were a few places where I really wondered if I'd have the traction. Areas of dirt, some mud, and a pretty steep incline. Turns out my bike made it, and that surprised me. I kept it up the whole way, but when I got to the T-intersection at the top, I stopped suddenly to get my bearing of where I was, and that is when I dropped it. At least my bike is light enough that I can lift it easily enough, so here it is:

Now I had to wonder where I was. I didn't like the idea of going back the way I came, but then going further could only mean the road getting worse, and I'd still have to double back. A jeep coming from that way reassured me the road did lead that way out, so I could continue my trip. After I got to solid pavement, I looked back and said. Wow, who on earth would ever drive on that kind of road? Only an ATV or 4WD Jeep could use it. Then I tought about my timing and how it might have been inconvenient to meet that Jeep as I was climing the hill on a road no wider than that Jeep. Having to get around could have been very inconvenient to say the least.

the other side of the hills where Hawkinberry-Hollow ends is near Barrackville, so I take that back into Fairmont, and of course I had to continue to the Ice Cream stand to see if any of my friends, or bikes, were there. After confirming the negatory, I continued onto Pinch-gut road on the other side of the Interstate, a really narrow road that winds deep through the forest and eventually to Colfax where I took another backroad to get to US250. Now, I finally went directly home, and man that was 12 hours on the road.

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