Burgman meets West Virginia
My work schedule and the weather cooperated to allow me to take the “new” Burgman 650
out for a ride to Seneca Rocks, Spruce Knob, and Smoke Hole Road. After riding two Honda Nighthawk 750s,
two V-Strom 1000s and a Kawasaki Concours the past 20 years, I decided to downsize. After a test-ride,
I knew I wanted the Burgman. Smooth, quiet, and plenty quick enough for me. Let’s ride!
Since it was foggy, I decided to give my back porch a quick coat of paint. I had scraped and cleaned it
the day before, so I was done by 9am. Most of the fog was burning off and the sun was coming through!
First stop, Philippi Bridge – site of the first land battle of the Civil War.
After almost completely burning down about 1990 it was rebuilt using traditional materials and methods.
Looks just like it did (with the exception of road surface safety improvements for traffic).
Heading out Rt 33 near Elkins. Lots of wind generators on the surrounding ridges.
Short bit of 4-lane as Rt 33 comes out of Elkins eastbound toward Seneca Rocks.
I had to stop at the cave. This man-made cave (limestone??) has been a landmark since I was a kid.
A peek inside.
Continuing on out Rt 33 on the way to Harman.
Nice overlook at Rich Mountain.
Yogi Berra said, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Just west of Harman.
Hey, look! I knew if I poked around long enough taking photos the Harley crowd would catch up.
Must be Mountainfest riders from Morgantown.
Shortly after this, I caught up to their ¼ mile parade going 40MPH so no one could pass. Grrrr…….
Top of Allegheny Mt. Time to re-hydrate with Gatorade.
I was tired of following a group of 40 MPH Harleys packed together like a parade.
Sorry, but this scooter was built to RUN! No problem running 60-70MPH on the mountains.
View westbound from top of Allegheny Mt on Rt 33.
Rt 33 eastbound approaching Onego. Great riding roads!!
My favorite stomping grounds – Seneca Rocks.
I used to bring my grandparents out here after church from Petersburg. We would bring a picnic lunch
and watch the climbers with binoculars. Lots of great memories. When I retired from the US Air Force,
they asked me if I wanted my retirement flag flown over the state capitol or Washington DC. I said I would
like it flown over the Seneca Rocks Visitor Center – it is a Federal facility, after all. The Park Ranger,
Sue Grafton, was very gracious and flew it on a day my parents were coming by to get photos.
In my will, I want to be cremated and the ashes thrown from the top of the rocks.
After Seneca Rocks, it was south on Rt 33/28 towards Riverton and Spruce Knob.
(Yes, I turned around northbound for a more scenic shot)
A quick detour at Riverton to go up on Horse Ridge Road for this beautiful view north.
Same location (Horse Ridge Road) but looking east toward Germany Valley (more on that later).
Climbing the road to Spruce Knob. Whoo-hooo!
Highest Point in WV – Spruce Knob.
The Burgman had no problem whatsoever. Plenty of power.
A hiker came by and took my photo with Burgman.
Cheesy attempt at a panorama from near the summit.
Leaving the parking lot of Spruce Knob to head back down.
Another overview on the way down from Spruce Knob. Looking east towards Virginia.
Of course, I had to stop at Germany Valley overlook, on Rt 33 just west of Frankin.
One of the best overlooks in WV, in my opinion.
After filling the gas tank in Franklin (2.4 gallons for 135 miles!), it was north on Rt 220
to stop and see my folks at the farm. Mom had lunch ready!
After a great pork chop meal, it was time to head out from the farm.
First, I have to backtrack about 10 miles south to Smoke Hole.
Rt 220 south passes lots of old farms.
Smoke Hole Road. This is the south entrance just above Upper Tract.
This 18-mile road follows the North Branch Potomac River for a while
before turning up through forest and farms.
Smoke Hole Road – starting up from the south entrance.
DANG!!! Don’t tell me the oil and gas people are going to wreck this scenic area too!
They are destroying this state for short-term profit and will leave when the money runs out.
What a shame!
Eagle Rock. Guess what it is named for. (Don’t scroll down – answer is on next photo)
Bit o’ history. Grave is in background.
William Eagle’s grave.
Continuing on Smoke Hole road. Following South Branch Potomac River.
This appears to be a sealed-off cave. It has been like that since I was a kid.
Shreve’s store – probably close to 100 years old. Only store within miles.
After Shreve’s store, the road dog-legs up the mountain ¼ mile then turns into the forest.
Narrow, winding road is lots of fun on a bike.
You had better follow the 35MPH limit, though. Fine, loose gravel in many corners.
One of my favorite photo spots on Smoke Hole Road.
Another favorite photo spot on Smoke Hole Road. About 2 miles from north entrance.
Same photo but without the bike. A few years ago, I was at the local mall at Christmas and there
was a lady selling a book about WV stories. There was a photo on the cover that looked
familiar. I asked the author, and she didn’t know where it was. In fact, she was upset because
someone had told her it was actually VIRGINIA. Relax, I said. I told her it was Smoke Hole,
and emailed her a photo I had taken the year before.
Just below the north entrance of Smoke Hole Road. Nice views.
Bridge across South Branch Potomac River (North Fork) at the north entrance to
Smoke Hole Road off Rt 55/28 near Cabins.
Well, it’s late in the afternoon and I have 100 miles to get home, so that’s it for today.
Hope you enjoyed riding along with me.
MILES TRAVELED – 282
FUEL CONSUMED - 4.95 GALLONS ($18.20)
FUEL MILEAGE - 56.9 MPG
See you later.