Thursday, October 02, 2014

TOTD, Day 6

Having forgotten the bike cover, I'd been stringing up my 3x5 Walmart tarp each night... and each morning it was covered with dew (or worse).

There was a gas station and a McD's across the highway from the hotel, so I got fueled and breakfasted up, then loaded up for my run up the BRP.  It was a gray day, and as I climbed into Fancy Gap, I hoped the fog was just local.

Up on the BRP, the fog was thick.  I had switched back to the tinted visor in anticipation of daylight.  Between the fog, the tint, and the water beading on the shield, I couldn't see.  I rode for a while at about 25 mph with 4-way flashers on and my visor open, taking the wet, cold, wind right in the eyes.  I hoped it would eventually thin out as I traveled north, or maybe even cook off as the sun got higher.  It being an absolutely miserable - and SLOW - journey, I decided to give it 25 miles to improve.
A few intrepid motorcyclists passed me going the southbound - they looked to be having about as much fun as I was.  
Finally frustrated with not being able to see, and the fog starting to get pretty heavy and wet, I pulled off to put on rain gear.  I donned my new boot covers, changed my shield... and the rain started right on cue.
I rode a while longer in the rain with slightly better visibility, ultimately deciding this was neither enjoyable or expedient enough to continue.  I took the next opportunity to get off the BRP and head down into the valley, where I hoped the fog would become a gray sky overhead.  I think this was somewhere between Blacksburg and Roanoke.
Sure enough, weather in the valley was gray and intermittently drizzly and rainy, but visibility was good.  

With riding in the clouds off the table, and a crappy day, I decided to take as straight a line to Romney, WV, as possible.   GPS had been winning my heart back for much of the trip, so I gave it another chance and it didn't disappoint:  I was wound thru back roads in VA - I think there may even have been some dirt roads in there.  I remember stopping with cold, wet, hands and changing into winter gloves.  Besides that, hours of enjoyable riding slightly were slightly mitigated by wet roads and gray skies until I arrived at a small town crossroads with a gas station and tiny grocery store - Monterey, VA.  I managed fluids, and had a coffee and a candy bar.  I milled around for a long while - it just felt good to be warm, dry, and indoors for a bit.  A few other motorcycles happened thru while I was there, I chatted with some of the pilots.  Eventually, it was time to roll, and the gas stop in Monterey was my turn - rt 220, about 100 miles from Romney, WV.

I'd been on rt 220 further north on my WV weekend, and remembered it being a nicer mover... it was! This two-laner is sweeper after sweeper north-northeast right up the whole length of the eastern panhandle of WV - and God bless them, West Virginians DRIVE.  I covered almost 100 miles of curvy road on a motorcycle and only once or twice had to pull over or pass.  The cars go the limit or a few over and traffic controls are few and far between.  It's like a super slab without the buffeting, elephant races, and everyone driving a different speed. It passes thru a few towns and a lot of "flavor" between.  Zipping along on a nice road in long, narrow, valley made me want to live here... and to top it off, the weather was clearing up!

GPS set for "direct" took me off rt 220 onto rt 6/ 8 which hugs the south branch of the Potomac thru some pretty rural area and dumped me off on rt 50 just outside of town.  I'd been on this road before, too - in a fruitless attempt to find a campsite on my first night in WV.  It was around 4:30PM.  I was concerned Romney Cycle might close at 5PM so bee-lined straight to them, arriving at about 4:45PM.  After three tries on my last trip here, I had finally made it INSIDE Romney Cycle!

... 10 minutes before closing time!! #$@%

I decided I wanted more than a few minutes here, so asked about lodging options.  I was directed to the Koolwink Motel, with the reassurance, "they keep it REALLY clean."  This sounded a lot like asking what a potential blind date looks like and being told "she has a great personality."
I rode back into town and straight for the one place I knew from experience I'd have Wifi: McD's.  I tried pricelining and expedia-ing for a hotel, but all takers were an hour or more away.  There are two motels in Romney, and I knew one had a great personality.

I found the Koolwink and had to smile at the retro.  There was a "drinking bird" on check-in counter.  I grabbed one of the two vacant rooms - #43 - and was issued my key.  In my room I found that the place wasn't so much "retro" as "original."  And it was very clean.  Recommended.

I watched some TV, reviewed courses home from Romney, and tried to stay hydrated.  Koolwink also has Wifi, so I was able to chat with HQ.  I felt of mixture of excitement to be going home, and sadness that my trip was nearly over. 

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