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Dolly Sods / Smoke Hole Ride

Todd Brunermer Ė State College, PA

Summer 2012

 

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My wife and I chose to go on a getaway weekend on our motorcycle recently.This would be our first bike trip together and we decided to return to the Petersburg, WV area to stay at one of our favorite Bed and Breakfasts, The North Fork Mountain Inn.

 

 

The Inn is located off of route 55 West of Petersburg, WV on Smoke Hole Rd.The driveway in itself is an adventure but easily negotiated.Actually another couple was at the Inn riding a Yamaha FJR 1300, so itís definitely doable.

 

We planned to take the shortest route from State College, PA to Petersburg, WV.That meant traveling I-99 / Rt 220 South to Cumberland.Highway is highway, but Rt 220 has mainly long straight stretches with sweeping turns through farm country with a few mountain views. The road was in good condition with very little in disrepair. We then turned West onto I-68 in Cumberland for 7 or so miles, returning to Rt 220 South, winding thru a few towns and farmland, then on into West Virginia.After going through Keyser, WV, we turned onto Rt 50 West briefly, then onto Rt 93 West, which was in good shape with long straight-aways and sweeping turns through forested sections and farmland.Turning onto Rt 42 South, we found a fair amount of twisty sections that kept us entertained until coming into Petersburg.Route 55 West took us to Smoke Hole Rd which is a fun road to be on.Itís a paved back road, narrow in sections but full of twisties and mild switchbacks.We only did the 4-5 miles to the Inn but we have been on the full length of road to where it eventually meets up with 220 South again and is highly recommended.

 

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Smoke Hole Road

 

For Saturday, we decided to stay in the area secondary to the possibility inclement weather.We traveled down Rt 55 W/28 S into Seneca Rocks.Itís a nice stretch of road with some curves and a lot of great scenery.Once we topped off our tank in Seneca Rocks, we headed down 28S/33E to see Spruce Knob.Just before Judy Gap we turned onto CR 33/4 and headed up the mountain, turning onto FR 112, then finally turning onto FR 104 making our way to the top.The roads are all paved now and have some really fun sections of twisties to make your way through, along with some serious switchbacks.The view at Spruce Knob is awesome and worth the drive.It was a little overcast the day we went but the sun poked through briefly for some good pictures of the area.

 

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The road to Spruce Knob

 

 

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View from the summit of Spruce Knob

 

 

We turned back toward Petersburg with Dolly Sods on our mind.We travelled back up Rt 55/28 turning onto CR 28/7 (Jordan Run Rd).After a Ĺ mile or so, we turned left onto FR 19 (Dolly Sods Rd).This road is all dirt/gravel.It was in pretty bad shape going up the mountain with lots of washboard sections, ruts, and potholes.We made it to the top without losing a kidney or fillings and turned onto FR 75 headed toward Red Creek Campground.

 

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Dolly Sods Road

 

 

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Lunchtime at Dolly Sods

 

 

The clouds moved in and several cars passed us by with rain on them so we stopped and donned our rain gear.With time and weather hurrying us along, we passed Red Creek and stopped at the final parking area on FR75 on the top of the mountain to eat a quick lunch.We headed down FR75 off the mountain with the northern side being in better shape and with much less bone jarring ruts/potholes than the Southern side and picked up Jordan Run Rd heading south.What a great road! They repaved a lot of it.It had some sweeping turns, straight-aways and twisties all piled into one!We wanted to turn around and do it all again but didnít have time.We made our way back to the North Fork Mountain Inn and got there by 4:30pm with rain following thereafter.The return trip home mimicked the trip down but with rain clouds threatening all the way but no real precip.Weíre going to have to come back for a week!Thereís too much to do, and too many roads to explore!

 

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