There was a rally at Romney Cycle in WV a few weeks ago which I'd looked forward to for months, only to get sick days before the trip. Daunted, depressed, and three weeks late, I decided to ride my plan. Pro: 4 day weekend. Con: Labor Day.
I spooned on a brand new set of Shinko 705's which took most of Friday afternoon/ evening. Had I instead been packed and ready to roll, I could have left directly from work Friday for 4 nights.... or gotten the bike packed so I could've left first thing Saturday AM. I finally rolled out about noon.
Debutted the cheapo JC Whitney trunks as panniers. Not trusting them completely, I ran a strap thru the frame to capture each of them so if the latches failed, I would not strew gear. This worked perfectly.
Rt78E to 81S to 76W - a long highway slog which buffeted me to double vision by the time I stopped for a reset at the services near exit 189 - or maybe 201. I re-plotted a route which ultimately led to 522/ Rt70S. Somewhere along the way, I climbed a windy road up a mountain. There were lots of bikes and a pull-out at the top... maybe a bar, too. GPS says Rt30
South to Rt68W, pretty countryside, nice ride... then back on the interstate for another beating to Cumberland, MD, from whence a 30 min jog down rt28 delivered me to Romney in the early evening. The m/c dealer was closed. I found a Sheetz in Romney and got some groceries and started looking for campsites. The first one I called was booked. The second and third didn't answer their phone. I headed south to one suggested by the first call. I pulled into one in the seeming endless string of private campgrounds along the south branch of the Potomac and got promptly shown the exit. The campsite recommended was closed for the weekend, abandoned. Starting to panic, I tried to make some more calls but Verizon has forsaken WV.
When it reached a point where I'd be searching for sites in the dark, I decided to head back to Cumberland (civilization) via a route which would take me past a lot of campsite pins on my map. It was a nice route, and I was running fast to save daylight.
Without planning it, I arrived at and crossed the Oldtown Toll Bridge, which I'd run across in the run-up to the missed Romney camp-n-ride trip.
More 'tickets be damned' running up 51 delivered me to Cumberland about 30 minutes before dusk. The hotels in the downtown were full, and I spent 30 minutes of precious daylight on the phone with a worthless booking agent.
When all else fails, call in the big guns... I called and explained my situation to Mrs. Awesome and within minutes I had a room booked in Keyser, WV.
It's nothing to ride in the dark when you have a destination that doesn't require sleeping alone in the woods. I arrived in Keyser in the dark and checked in. The clerk said that all the rooms were booked - I think I got the last one. There was a big 'do' in Cumberland, and a flood had caused the DNR to shut down several campsites on the busiest camping weekend of the year, which shunted a lot of campers (including this one) to hotels.
In my room, I wondered why TF I camp. Here I have a clean, private bathroom, internet/ phone connection, ice, a mini fridge, clean water on tap, climate control... not to mention a bed and TV. All this plushness makes a lot of sense for a first night after a big mile day - and it enables more miles.
I started planning my time in WV.
Microtel room 311 (suite), Keyser, WV