Motorcycle Riding in West Virginia is Almost Heaven

Motorcycle riding in west virginia on Highland Scenic Highway

Motorcycle riding in West Virginia wasn’t in our plans, but when rain pelted our original destination, western North Carolina and Tennessee, we refused to chill out. We pulled up the radar app and replotted our route to anywhere that wasn’t wet. Fortunately, anywhere was West Virginia, one of our favorite motorcycle riding playgrounds.

Cheap Cruise Control for the F650GS

We started out thundering west on Rt. 64 from the western suburbs of Richmond, VA. I tested my new cruise control for the BMW F650GS. I went with the pros’ recommendation: the Caterpillar heavy equipment O-ring that slips over the end of the right handle and engages when you roll the ring to the edge of the throttle. This cheap cruise control has its limitations. It is really a throttle control – it holds the throttle steady, which does not equate to holding the speed steady when riding hills. I was thrilled with it anyway, especially for $5.

Motorcycle Riding in West Virginia Mountains

If you are looking for a two-day ride with incredible scenery and adventure, this route is it. Rt. 64 rolls past Charlottesville, VA and then starts to climb Afton Mountain. Along the way there are several scenic overlooks that give a glimpse at the stunning views of the valley and blue ridge mountains. Wait to stop until you are heading east though. There is no access to the overlooks from the west-bound side of the highway.

When 64 splits at Rt. 81, we take Rt. 81 North for a few miles to exit 225. While our target, Rt. 250 west, runs straight through Staunton, we have learned the hard way to bypass the center of town. Traffic, lots of stoplights, and the bad memory of a tipover when stopped at a light on a steep hill (oh, the shame) lead us to take the Woodrow Wilson Parkway around town, which meets up with Rt. 250 northwest of the city. I describe our route below beginning with Rt. 250, which whooshes us to the foot of the first of many mountains we will climb in the next 36 hours.

Here’s some perspective on “many.” We covered this terrain from right to left and back:

west virginia motorcycle route terrain

The green squiggley things are mountains. Motorcycle riding in West Virginia is not for beginners. This route is deliberately twisty, so get a few thousand miles under your bottom before you take this ride.

Virginia and West Virginia Motorcycle Road Ratings

There are some good routes for motorcycle riding in West Virginia, as well as some bad ones. Here is how I rate our route west of Staunton in the order we traveled.
250 west  – A+. Twisty heaven.

92 south — B.  Relatively straight and flat. But if you enjoy off-road excursions, take one of the roads marked “Greenbriar River Trail”. We enjoyed a 5-mile ride on a gravel/dirt road to the beautiful Greenbriar river.

greenbriar river trail west virginia

The Greenbriar River from the Greenbriar River Trail off-road excursion

39 west to Marlinton — B.  Great switchbacks, but too much gravel in the corners.

219 north — A.  This would be A+ except for local traffic, and it isn’t fair to call it traffic in West Virginia – more like “presence of a car moving in the same direction as us.”

150 Mountain Scenic Highway — A+, Magna Cum Laude. This road just outside Marlinton was built for motorcycling. No trucks. No buildings. No intersections, no crossroads. Just sharp blue sky and stunning views in all directions, wind whistling over the ridges, and graceful, sweeping curves. Note: Don’t judge the temperature based on how it feels in Marlinton. The Scenic Highway passes over 4,500 feet and it will be at least 10 degrees cooler than in town.

39 west of Marlinton — A. Beautiful pine forests and hardwood canopies on a perfectly maintained road.

20 south — D. Gravel. Gravel trucks. Ambulance entrances to mines. Traffic. Broken down trailers. The only thriving business is in repainting “For Sale” signs.

60 east — C. Gravel plus traffic plus towns, but good road in between.

92 north connecting 60 and 39 — B.  Mostly flat and straight, but no traffic and beautiful farms, valleys and mountains.

39 east — A. Back in Virginia, do not miss the Dan Ingalls scenic overlook at the top of Warm Springs Mountain.

Warm Springs mountain view bath county virginia

Looking east at the mountains of Virginia from Warm Springs Mountain, Bath County, VA

42 north/254 east/262 back to 81 —  C.  Nothing special, just got us back to the highway.

Amenities on the route 

Pit stops along this route — plenty

Restaurants with surly waitresses, menus with seven items (hamburger, double hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, hotdog – you get the picture), and microwaved instant food (grits, mashed potatoes, spam) — too many

Decrepit towns — ample

Motorcycle-friendly B&B’s — Old Clark Inn in Marlinton. Clean, inexpensive lodging, motorcycle parking with tools and air, rocking chairs in front and picnic tables in back. It’s our favorite and TripAdvisor rates Old Clark Inn 4.5/5. What more could you ask for?

Stretch Your Legs town — Lewisburg exudes Americana with plenty of shops, respectable restaurants, theaters and street parking.

Good restaurant — Food and Friends Casual Dining in Lewisburg. Homemade everything, with pride. I had lobster and shrimp salad with spinach, avocado and cranberries topped with Pilot House homemade dressing. Scott had the best reuben he has ever had, just as our waitress had promised. Try the key lime brulee’ for dessert.

Cheap Cruise Control for the BMW F650GS

west virginia motorcycle rides on BMW F650GS
I love my BMW F650GS, but I wish it came with cruise control. I ride 500 miles on pavement for every mile I ride off-road, and before my last trip I decided to investigate options for cruise control for the F650GS.

I was surprised to find that my F650GS posed some challenges for cruise control. All the devices on the market are actually “throttle controls” (but I’ll still say “cruise control” here to keep it simple). This means they hold the throttle in one position. Now if you’ve ever ridden a 650cc motorcycle, you know that you have to twist the throttle to maintain your speed while going up a hill – or even an overpass. A throttle control doesn’t let you set your speed and relax. You need to adjust it regularly.

Furthermore, my 2003 F650GS is the single cylinder model. It creates a lot of vibration, challenging cruise control devices to hold steady. The heated handgrips affect holding power for metal or plastic devices, and the results are disappointing.

What the forums told me was that there is not a perfect solution. $150 bucks will buy you a throttle control with mixed reviews. But there is a cheap cruise control solution that was mentioned several times. For $5, I was willing to try it.

What I did to add cruise control for the BMW F650GS

Before you read further, this is a non-approved device. If you are a new rider, or know deep down that you are new-ish since you don’t ride that often, don’t do this. Everyone else, use at your own risk. There. That said, let me introduce cruise control for the BMW F650GS: the Caterpillar O-ring, part 8M4991.

cheap cruise control for BMW F650GS showing a caterpillar o-ring

I attached two zip-ties to the O-ring, but more about that later.

Here’s how it works. See the gap between the bar end weight and the throttle handle above? That’s where the magic happens. When you get the bike up to speed, you roll the O-ring so it covers that gap, creating friction against the throttle like this:

bmw f650gs cheap cruise control caterpillar o-ring in position

You can still twist the throttle with the O-ring in position to adjust your speed either up or down. However, I would not ride around town with it engaged. I found it very edgy to exit the highway with it in place: I couldn’t lay off the throttle to control my speed like I often do with the GS.

So what’s with the zip ties? It’s hard to get that O-ring off when you’re wearing gloves. Even without gloves it’s tricky. But the zip-ties make it simple. They work like this:

taking off the bmw f650gs cruise control oring

how to take off the bmw f650gs cruise control oring

One other lesson I’ll share: don’t waste your time or money going to an auto parts store to see if you can get an O-ring that will work. You will eventually buy the Caterpillar 8M4991. I just called a local heavy equipment distributor and had them mail me one for $5. Yes, I overpaid. But then again, I own a BMW. Even cheap parts are expensive.

Updated options for BMW cruise control

Since I installed my yellow rubber cruise control, prettier throttle control products for the F650GS have come on the market. Touratech in the US sells Kaoko throttle locks for the F650GS made from 2008-2012. The throttle lock works on a similar principle to the Caterpillar, as you can see below. RS Motorcycle Solutions in Germany also sells a black and silver anodized bar end replacement that does much the same thing as my cheap cruise control solution, but it’s much better looking and works for a wide range of BMW motorcycles.

BMW F650GS throttle lock cruise control

This is the Kaoko throttle lock. Same principle as the Caterpillar but in black without zip ties at a cost of $140 USD.

West Virginia’s Secret: A 2 day motorcycle tour

Richmond – Marlinton, WV – Richmond

May 30-31

490 miles RT

motorcycles above scenic highway on a motorcycle ride in virginia and west virginia

Motorcycle riding in West Virginia

West Virginia is the butt of many jokes but those who haven’t dared cross the border don’t realize it offers stunning scenery, silky-smooth roads and solitude.

Highland Scenic Highway West Virginia

Holiday weekend traffic

We discovered this secret 15 years ago on our first tour of the state, covering 1,300 miles in 5 days. Five trips and another 4,000 miles later we’re still excited about going.  We only have two days so we decide to maximize our time in the mountains and stay off the highways.

Our first day is supposed to be hot in Richmond so we take off early. We stash our gear in the hard cases on my BMW F650 GS but the load is still light. Brother-in-law Jeff, an excellent rider, joins us on his Ducati Multistrada for the day.

goochland, VA farmland

Primo property, River Road West in Goochland County, Virginia

We head west on Rt. 6. It’s a beautiful ride between Henrico and Goochland Courthouse. Ironically, some of the prettiest property in the county, rolling hills bordered by the James River, is home to a variety of state penitentiaries.

We reach the George Washington National Forest after a few hours. A previous trip taught me to be attentive to the speed limit in the National Forests. Ahead, Mt. Montebello awaits. The climb rushes back and forth like an over-caffeinated snake. It’s impossible to stop for pictures and Go-Pro would make the viewer car sick. It’s beautiful, trust me.

Mount Montebello Virginia

Mt. Montebello awaits.

Motorcycle friendly Marlinton, West Virginia

After 3 more hours of mountains we reach Marlinton, WV. Our hips and arms tired from shifting side to side through turn after turn. The Old Clark Inn, a motorcycle-friendly B&B where we’ve stayed before, is booked for the holiday. Option B is Jerico Bed & Breakfast, just up the road. It’s tucked in a pretty canyon, a babbling mountain stream providing background music.

We check in and decide to explore, heading up the canyon.  At the crest of the first hill is a lovely barn. Around a curve, a toilet is propped against a tree. Hillbilly humor? Half a mile from the B and B is a shack with 6 decrepit cars sunk to the axles in mud and an outhouse.  OK, some of the stereotypes hold true.

Breakfast is good, the room is nice, but I can’t recommend Jerico unless you like cold showers. The guy that fires up the wood-burning hot water heater twice a day doesn’t show up during our stay.

On Monday morning we wake to cool, damp fog. It rained overnight and we set off wearing all the clothes we brought. You can count on cool nights here, a wonderful relief from steamy Richmond.

West Virginia’s Highland Scenic Highway: motorcycle heaven

Only 10 minutes underway and the fog is gone, the sky blue. Our first destination is Rt. 150, the Highland Scenic Highway, a 22 mile road that was built just for sightseeing. It climbs to 4,500 feet with incredible vistas on both sides.  The scenic overlooks are ideal for photo ops.

Valley view on a motorcycle ride in Virginia and West Virginia

The view from West Virginia Scenic Highway. There are more black bear sightings than people.

Destination #2 is Snowshoe Mountain Resort, north of the Scenic Highway. We want to check out their downhill mountain biking trails for a future trip.

Snowshoe Resort West Virginia

It’s cold on the mountain top and we talk with a member of the mountain bike patrol until we hear thunder. There are black clouds and grainy visibility in all directions. We hop back on the bikes, hoping to get to less twisty roads before the deluge. When we get to the bottom of the 7-mile drive to the resort, there is a tiny crack of blue sky in the purple and gray mess.

“That’s where we’re going,” I announce, aware of my unreasonable optimism. We wring the throttle for the next 50 miles, hoping to get ahead of the storm. And we do, heading north and then east, staying dry through the twisties that border West Virginia and Virginia.

Lunch stop: Monterey, Virginia

Suddenly, the clouds part like a theater curtain and we enjoy pretty weather again. More sharp curves up Lanz Mountain, down into the broad valley and Hightown. White barns with red roofs interrupt vast fields of bright green. We agree that the jagged, fir and hardwood cloaked mountains in front and behind us are prettier than the Rockies.  Another dizzying climb over and down Monterey Mountain brings us into the town of Monterey. A courthouse, church, gas station, 2 restaurants and a hotel line the main street, Rt. 250. It’s as cute and “old Virginia” as you can get.

The diner, our lunch destination and the only open restaurant in town, has a power outage today. But they do have a huge, smoking grill out front with sizzling burgers, hotdogs and a 2-gallon iron pot of pork barbeque. The resourceful owner has emptied storage boxes to hold canned drinks.  Our Cokes come from an ice-filled plastic box marked “fax and printer.”

The clouds are inching over Monterey Mountain as we depart. It’s hot here in the valley. Although we have more mountains to climb, we’re losing altitude steadily and it continues to heat up. We hop on 64 east briefly but exit at Afton Mountain to avoid holiday traffic.  Starting at the Afton exit ramp we inch down some of the steepest, tightest turns of our trip.

Scottsville is our next goal, the biggest town since Marlinton. We decide not to stop. It’s in the mid-90s today and we want to get back to air conditioning. 10 miles outside Scottsville the road bisects lovely farms and rolling hills, but we’d trade the view for some shade. The heat is coming off the road like a furnace, blasting up our Kevlar-lined slider jeans. I feel like I’m wearing a suit of armor in a sauna. In a sense, I am. My black mesh jacket is heavily padded – safety vs. comfort. For the last 50 miles my hamstrings are cramped and I’m thirsty. Good thing I have a full Camelback. Too bad it’s tucked in my luggage.

We pull in the garage 30 hours after we left, having covered almost 500 miles. That’s a mere 7 gallons of gas on my bike, about 10 for Scott. We didn’t have a meal over $20, a pretty cheap date. I give this route my highest rating. We’ll do it again.

See our route

What Kind of Motorcycle Should I Buy?

What kind of motorcycle is the best? I have heard many different answers, including:

  • A fast motorcycle
  • A custom motorcycle
  • A sportbike
  • A bike that wheelies
  • A loud motorcycle (I’ll never understand this logic)
  • A super cheap, barely used motorcycle

Wrong! If you actually ride a motorcycle – rather than simply keep it in storage for its next owner – the best motorcycle for you is one that fits.

But what if you haven’t narrowed it down to just one model yet? Or you haven’t sat on the bike you think you want to buy?

No problem. Cycle-ergo.com will show you exactly how a bike will fit. Let me shut up for a minute and illustrate.

suzuki sv650s seat height for short adultBMW motorcycle F650GS low seat height

The first bike is the Suzuki SV650S, a popular and relatively inexpensive street bike. The dual-purpose bike is the BMW F650GS, a teutonic thumper with a price tag that jerks you upright. Both are well known as great motorcycles for smaller riders because they have low seat heights, so they’re on my short list (no pun intended).

I’ve used cycle-ergo.com to show what the rider position will be for a person with my height and inseam. I like to go on long, multi-day bike trips, but I’m not going to make it past Day 1 lunch on the Suzuki. My hands will be numb, my forearms and neck aching, and my lower back whining like a V-twin. The BMW, on the other hand, is so relaxed a riding position that I won’t stop until one of my rice rocket-riding companions insists.

Besides providing all kinds of useful information, cycle-ergo.com can help you convince your child that he should not get a motorcycle because, despite an affordable price tag, he will look ridiculous on it:

suzuki sv650S doesnt fit a tall rider

 

So get to cycle-ergo.com BEFORE you buy, and have some fun!

No, this isn’t an ad. I’m not affiliated in any way. In fact, I wish I’d thought of it. It’s an awesome service to the riding fraternity.

 

 

Sunday Ride on Greenwood Church Road

It’s a Sunday in February. For the first time in weeks, flags are limp and rain is hours distant. Plus, it’s 65 degrees. My motorcycle nags me silently, “let’s ride let’s ride let’s ride.” You have to be a rider to understand how moderate weather plus a lazy day urges you onto your bike.

I want to go somewhere new, somewhere out in the country. I want 600-series roads: two lanes without center lines or shoulders, just the occasional tractor. I consult my 15-year-old map of the county. The 600 roads are frenetic, dashing without sense, forking and dog-legging, sometimes just intertwining like ivy on a trellis. My old map doesn’t help much, but I can pick out one 600 road that goes a good, wiggly distance. That’s my route.

Manakin Sabot Virginia church

I start by going west on Broad Street, Rt. 250, to Manakin-Sabot. I take a right onto 623 and am greeted by the smell of manure from invisible livestock. Hundred-acre farms with 200+ year histories border the road. I’ve been on my bike for less than five minutes.

623 crosses Pouncy Tract Road at Hylas, marked by a 6 inch by 12 inch sign, three cinder block stores and an overgrown, sagging clapboard barn, its planks blackened and twisted with age. Development is creeping toward Hylas, and I doubt these buildings will be here in five years.

623 curves back and forth modestly, nothing to get excited about but enough to bring a grin. Black rail fences stake out the homesteads. The Farmers’ Market still has a sign up for Christmas trees, but the lot is chained. Just past the market, 623 inevitably forks to the right, but I keep on what has now become 666. Shortly after, I turn left onto Greenwood Church Road. A tiny sign indicates this is 657.

Greenwood Church Road has probably been traveled for several hundred years. The farms are much larger, the fence posts aged, supported by the sagging, rusty, barbed wire. The prisoners – a variety of cows – stop grazing to watch me go by, and when I honk and wave, whole bovine cliques look up. One watches me with a certain intensity, its head swiveling to watch as I approach and depart. I laugh out loud and shout, “Made you look!”

Eventually I see a sign indicating slow turns ahead. Really? 15 MPH? I find out fast. The road dips downward sharply and makes a 70 degree turn. The black band of pavement corkscrews between the silent hardwoods, a healthy dose of sand in the middle of the lane. Obviously the locals took precautions when we had brief spells of wet, freezing stuff earlier this winter. I can picture an old, beat-up pickup trolling slowly up the hill, a teenager wobbling in back with a shovel.

Fortunately, the sandy twist-n-turn is over quickly. Greenwood Church Road intersects Rt. 33 at Montpelier. Patrick Henry’s home isn’t far from here, but I’m going the other way. I turn left onto 33 East, which has painted lines and is 55 MPH, but no shoulders. Last fall here, a vulture alighted from its secret hideout in a deep roadside culvert at precisely the same time as I road past, nearly ending my life. This memory doesn’t frighten me. It is part of the thrill of being on a motorcycle, where I am zero mistakes from death and/or loss of control.

At 611  a few miles later, I bang a right and am immediately alone again, just me and my Teutonic thumper. And a dead possum, spread-eagle in the middle of the road like a drunken college student resting during the walk home.

Were I to stay on 611 for long, I would enter a maze of 600-series roads that go nowhere. Instead, I turn left onto Howard’s Mill Road, Rt. 673. Howards Mill winds up and down, crossing the South Anna river at a low point. The river is running clear and fast, probably a perfect day for fishing. Further on, small houses are scattered along the road, each with at least four cars in the yard, many that appear to have been there for many changes in season. I love the hominess, the lack of pretension and the beauty of old Virginia. I wish I could defend it against the merciless development that spreads north and west from Richmond. All I can do though is to enjoy today’s ride.

Howards Mill Rd. brings me back to Pouncy Tract Road at Hylas, and I can almost smell the malls and big-box stores that crowd Short Pump a few miles from here. I buzz back up 623 toward Broad Street and decide it’s a good idea to get some gas. My bike is a miser, getting between 68 and 74 MPG. Ironically, highway driving gets the low end. I pull into the BP next to a horse trailer and pump a little over 2 gallons. When I fire up the bike again, the horse next door lets out a high-pitched, angry-sounding whinny. It took a second for me to realize the noise wasn’t coming from my engine, but I liked the idea of it.

There are no cars at the stop light where 623 meets Broad Street. This is a problem for motorcycles. My bike is too small to set off the sensor to change the light. While I wait for a car to pull up behind and trigger the sensor, I watch a motorized parachutist a few hundred feet above me, the rectangular rainbow silk puffed up like a down coat and the little motor buzzing, defying gravity.  When I finally get a green, I sigh and head back toward highways and traffic.

On Broad Street, I pass a Honda Goldwing and give the traditional motorcycle wave. The Goldwing driver doesn’t see me. He’s probably busy listening to NPR while cruising in his RV on two wheels. It’s a shame to call it a motorcycle when it has so many cup holders, arm rests and stereo speakers. Goldwing riders never get cold for three reasons: 1.) The bike has so much plastic and fiberglass shielding that the rider doesn’t feel the wind; 2.) If the rider did notice the ambient temperature, he has a climate control system to overcome what nature serves up; and 3.) most Goldwings stay in the garage.

It’s been a little over an hour since I left, a very casual 40 miles. This will be a beautiful ride in the spring and fall. This is a good route for beginners with the caveat to watch for “slow curve” signs and sleepy wildlife.

Route:

250 West from Richmond

right on 623

left on 657/Greenwood Church Rd

left on 33

right on 611/St. Peters Church Rd

left on 673/Howard’s Mill Rd

left on 271/Pouncy Tract Rd

right on 623

left on 250 East toward Richmond

 

 

Richmond to Urbanna, VA

April 26th, 2010

Riding motorcycles…

Richmond, VA – Urbanna, VA

180 miles RT

Urbanna, Virginia from the dock

It’s my birthday and I wanna ride. We haven’t been to the water for a while, so we set our sights on Urbanna, a hamlet on the Rappahannock River about 15 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

We decide to take “Old Virginia” roads, the long but scenic way. Our route will take us through Ashland, Central Garage (the crossroads, not the building), St. Stephan’s Church (the crossroads, not the building), King and Queen Courthouse (the crossroads…) and Truhart.

My riding partner knows a shortcut at Hanover Courthouse (…not the building) and we twist our way through a canopy of hardwoods, sun flickering on the road like fluttering confetti.

Rt. 14 is the bomb

Our first surprise is Rt. 14.  It’s flat and much twistier than it looks on the map. It’s also clean, smooth and empty. We plan to take it about two-thirds of the way to West Point and cut over to Rt. 17 at 602, which looks like a wiggling worm on the map.

602, a.k.a. Truhart Rd,  gives us our second surprise. Our helmets tilt sideways as we contemplate the dirt and gravel road at our turn. Really? It probably becomes paved eventually, but we’re hungry and don’t feel like exploring off-road. We bomb down to 603 instead and take it straight into Urbanna.

Burp

Marshall's drug store and lunch counter, Urbanna, Virginia

Urbanna is a mere burp of a town. When we reach the end of the road we ask each other, “Did we miss it?”  A few restaurants, some stores, a bank, a realtor and a coffee shop made up the commercial area.

We have a tip to eat at the lunch counter at Marshall’s Drug store where we  twirl  on the counter stools like kids while they make our sandwiches. I give a thumbs up to the chicken salad, a pucker to the limeade. Chips are 45 cents extra, just help yourself to a bag. Two lunches plus tip: less than $10. I am a cheap date.

No cloister for the oyster

Every year, Urbanna hosts the Oyster Festival. In brief:

Urbanna Oyster Festival parade, Urbanna, Virginia

They idolize the oyster…

 

urbanna virginia oyster festival parade

They salute the oyster…

 

And then they eat the oyster.

If you like mollusks, either slimy or crunchy, you can find out more here. They have corporate sponsors, folks. This is no small pile of shells.

Summer

The best place to be during the Virginia summer is on the water (or in the mountains if you’re on a motorcycle), and Urbanna’s second reason for existing is its ideal location for boating, near the Bay but still relatively protected. Boat people – I mean sailors – love to gather here and tease the oysters before the fall comes around.

Urbanna, Virginia from the water during the summer

The day we’re there, the harbor looks just like this – except for the clouds, gray water and lack of boats. In the summer, I’ll hang out here if I get a boat and want to R – E – L – A – X.

I’ll have an adrenaline espresso, please

However, I prefer espresso. In fact, I’m finishing a latte’ as the first raindrops fall. We have more than an hour riding at don’t-you-dare-blink speed to get home,  so we bail on the back roads. The sky is dark purple to the North but there are flecks of blue showing to the south. We go south. This tactic has worked before. We take Rt. 33 to 64, where we have to head northwest to Richmond.

Miraculously, the rain holds off as we fly. About seven miles from home I notice that the edge of the pavement is wet. A mile later we hit heavy mist and road spray. We ride the last three minutes of highway in rain. But the storm front is flaky, and by the time we get off 64 the roads are dry again.

Despite the rain it was a great ride. Rt. 14 alone was worth it. If I want solitude, I’ll go to Urbanna during the off-season. Otherwise, I’ll revisit the dock in high summer.

 

Credits: Thanks to the following gifted and giving flickr.com photographers for their photos. In order of appearance:

miss_leslie – the dock and Marshalls

jadam – oyster on parade

holly0h7 – shriner/USA/confederate salute

terren – fried food fiesta

wattman75 – harbor in summer

 

The Ashland Quickie

Ashland, VA

Richmond to Ashland, VA ride

April 16, 2010

The other day I rode a beautiful, winding country road from the Richmond suburbs to Ashland, VA to visit a friend. The road was silky smooth and empty. The fields that lick the edges of the road glowed with new growth. Blue sky, butterflies and a ton of pollen (let’s be honest, it is the green snow season here) completed the setting. It took five minutes to get from the Short Pump Mall to pure country roads. There aren’t many major metro areas where you can still say that, and I feel lucky. I’ve made this ride plenty of times and I promise: even on days when the Farmer’s Market is open, there isn’t any traffic.

You can eat well in Ashland. Homemades by Suzanne (breakfast and lunch), the Iron Horse Restaurant (lunch and dinner) and Ashland Coffee and Tea Company (breakfast, live music, lunch, bands, dinner, music) are great choices. All are located along the west side of the tracks.

Here’s my route from the intersection of Broad Street and Pump Rd./Pouncy Tract Rd.

Route:

Pouncy Tract Rd north

Nuckols Rd west

623 (Ashland Rd) east

Stay on Ashland Rd when 623 forks to the right

Bear right onto 657 (Ashcake Rd)

Cross the railroad tracks and turn left

You are in Ashland!