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Petersburg / Green Bank / Cass / Webster Springs WV

24-25 October 2012


Listening to the weather reports, a tropical storm was heading to the mid-Atlantic states next week and was going to join forces with a big cold front from Canada to produce really nasty weather for at least a week or more.  In the meantime, the weather here was looking great for the next few days (70s and sunshine in late October!), so I decided to ride back over to Petersburg after work on Wednesday to get a head start Thursday morning. My plan was to ride down to Green Bank to visit friends, then continue to Cass and Webster Springs before looping north back into Clarksburg.


Last week, when I rode over to Petersburg and Wardensville, the fall colors were just about at their end.  This week, most trees were bare, with spots of dark red/brown.

The best colors are definitely done for this year.




Rich Mountain overlook on Rt 33 just west of Harman – between Seneca Rocks and Elkins. 






Same overlook, but looking at CR 10 heading south into the Laurel Fork area.





A few colors left at Seneca Rocks.  This place is beautiful all year long, though!





Heading north on Rt 28/55 between Seneca Rocks and Petersburg.

I love these rock cliffs that converge with ones on this side of the road near Cabins.





Another view of the cliffs without the bike.

This area was about 5 feet underwater in the big flood of 1985. The area was devastated, but quickly recovered.






This rock is a popular landmark, located on the South Branch Potomac River on Rt 28/55 by the

Grant County – Pendleton County line.






I wish you could see how the reflection on the ripples in the water made an interesting light show on the roof of the cave.






Some more rock cliffs between Seneca Rocks and Petersburg.






After a quick bite to eat at “Family Traditions” restaurant in Petersburg (see review on Diners Page), I headed to the farm.

The tree by the house was all green last week when I stopped here. 






I had some time for photos before sunset, so I walked around the house.

This old blower was part of my grandfather’s blacksmith shop at the farm.  He was quite handy.









When my grandparents were living, we had no running water at the farm.

This pump in the back yard supplied all of our drinking and bathing water, while we gathered all

of the rain runoff from the metal roof of the house in a large barrel for clothes washing.

Yes, we had an outhouse. 





View of the farmhouse from the old barn yard hill.







Last photo of the night – the farmhouse. 

Time to get rested for tomorrow’s ride south to Green Bank, Cass, and Webster Springs.






The next morning, I was up early and walked up on the mountain road for a short distance.

Nothing like fresh mountain air to get you started in the morning!

After a bagel, granola bar, and juice, it was time to head out.





After riding south on Rt 220 to Franklin, I filled up with gas and headed west over Rt 33.

This is some great riding – passing over North Fork Mountain and by the Germany Valley overlook.






Germany Valley overlook on the west side of the North Fork Mountain summit on Rt 33 – just east of Judy Gap.

I think this is one of the most scenic overlooks in WV.







Germany Valley.  (I finally figured out how to do a panorama photo by stitching 3 photos together)

Didn’t I say it was a great view!!






Close up of the previous photo just left of center.  What a view from that cabin, eh?

Those rocks in the background overlook Riverton.

Spruce Mountain is the tall ridge in the back – Spruce Knob is the highest peak, to the left of the photo.






Coming down the mountain on Rt 33 towards Judy Gap. What a great location for a farm!

There are similar rocks on the right side (around the corner), and the two converge at the road ahead.

There is a gap of just a couple hundred feet between them.






Another photo approaching Judy Gap on Rt 33.






Turning south on Rt 28, I spotted this one bright yellow tree thriving in the midst of bare trees and brown.

I guess the moral is:  Don’t be afraid to shine! (OK, I’ll never make it as a philosopher)







Rt 28 south to Green Bank is a nice road with lots of moderate curves.

As you approach Green Bank, things level out and more farms appear.





Look closely, and you will see an airport next to this barn. There’s even a windsock.






A must-see stop:  Green Bank National Radio Astronomy Observatory.


From their website:  

The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, or GBT, is the world’s premiere single-dish radio telescope operating at meter to millimeter wavelengths. Its enormous 100-meter diameter collecting area, its unblocked aperture, and its excellent surface accuracy provide unprecedented sensitivity across the telescope's full 0.1 - 116 GHz (3.0m - 2.6mm) operating range.

The single focal plane is ideal for rapid, wide-field imaging systems – cameras.  Because the GBT has access to 85% of the celestial sphere, it serves as the wide-field imaging complement to ALMA and the EVLA. Its operation is highly efficient, and it is used for astronomy about 6500 hours every year, with 2000-3000 hours per year available to high frequency science.






This is as close as you can drive to the telescope, since the electronics in cars causes distracting “noise”. 






Close-up of the big telescope. At one time, it was the largest movable man-made object in the world.







There are also several old telescopes on display.  Several are still functioning and are available for student research.






After leaving Green Bank, I headed south for a couple of miles then turned west on Rt 66 (State Route, not the famous one)






The telescope was still visible for miles.






Rt 66 westbound towards Cass. Nice riding!






I spotted this small road (next to the trees in the background) headed north towards the telescopes.

I decided to explore.






That narrow road turned out to be quite scenic, but short.  It ends before reaching the telescopes.






Another view of the side-road.  I love these narrow back-roads: they’re like a trip back through time.







Next stop, Cass Scenic Railroad.  I got there just as the train was preparing to leave for the top of the mountain.

Not too many “leaf-peepers” on board today.  Two weeks ago, it was packed!!

I did a write-up on Cass earlier if you would like more info:







Heading out.  Wow, that’s a lot of smoke!






Sign on the side of the train.






Looking down the Main Street of Cass.





Historical Marker in downtown Cass with some history of the area.







Continuing on Rt 66 west from Cass to Snowshoe.  This could be a great riding road, but the road conditions are usually not good.

Oh, the pavement is nice and smooth, but there seems to always be fine gravel/sand in the corners that really slows things down.

Today, there were parts of the road completely covered in leaves, which doesn’t help cornering traction.

Plus, if you get stuck behind one of the “Anti Destination League” drivers, there are few places to pass.






From Snowshoe, I turned north for a few miles on Rt 219 to Valley Head, then west again on Rt 15. 

Rt 15 is a great ride!  There is one section around Monterville with a quarry (limestone?), and the trucks leave a

thick layer of dust (when it’s dry) or slippery mud (when it’s raining) for a few miles down the road.

Other than that, lots of moderate to sharp corners, mostly great pavement, and some good scenery.

This photo is east of Webster Springs looking out over the Curtin Lumber Company.

You can see where the highway passes by later on the right.






Another Rt 15 photo – east of Webster Springs.






Rt 15 – east of Webster Springs.  Lots of curves.






And still more great curves on Rt 15 east of Webster Springs.






The Elk River follows alongside Rt 15 for a short while east of Webster Springs.







Downtown Webster Springs.  The town’s official name is still Addison.  Really! 






Hmmmm……..   Nice scripture, but this may a little more “lively” than I’m used to.







Coming north out of Webster Springs (oops, Addison), Rt 20 has miles and miles of great riding ahead, all the way to Rock Cave.






One of the many creeks along the highway.






Another photo of Rt 20 north of Webster Springs.






Of course, every time I’m near Hacker Valley, I have to stop in and see my good friend Rella.

She is a pistol-packin’ Great-Great-Grandma who runs this diner 7 days a week.


See my complete review for more photos and info: 






Rella felt bad since tomorrow (Friday) is her baking day, and all of her baked goods were a couple of days old. That’s OK.

She still had some delicious blackberry cobbler, so that was my afternoon snack.  Yummy!







Rella’s big annual Ramp Dinner is coming November 17th. She had quite a crowd last year – standing room only at times.







Rella’s Ramp Dinner menu.

Nothing fancy – served with Styrofoam plates and plastic forks.  But great food!






After my blackberry cobbler, it was time to head north on Rt 20 back to Clarksburg.

Rt 20 is great riding from Clarksburg to Buckhannon, and especially from Rock Cave to Webster Springs.

However, Buckhannon to Rock Cave is usually slow going with traffic.






More great curves on Rt 20 northbound below Rock Cave.


At Rock Cave, I headed west on Rt 4 then Rt 19 over to I-79.  The last time I took Rt 20 north through Buckhannon

during the week in the mid-afternoon, it took an hour to go the 3 miles from the south edge of town to the Rt 33 four-lane.

I could have walked it faster!  Advice – avoid downtown Buckhannon at those times!


I was home before my promised time!  Wife was happy – EVERYONE was happy!


Enjoyed the great ride today.  Hope you enjoyed riding along.  See you next time.


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